YAMAHA SLB300 Silent Bass
Bass Player|Holiday 2020
An electric upright that assembles in 30 seconds? Jon Thorne sets his stopwatch...

The evolution of the electric upright bass, or EUB, has tended since the Nineties towards hybrid instruments that attempt to satisfy the middle ground between double and electric bass players. With this new Silent Bass, Yamaha’s aim is clearly to develop an instrument that replicates the exact experience of playing a real double bass, with a clear view to reproducing its sound as closely as possible. Simultaneously, the SLB300 may also provide valuable solutions to some of the travel problems facing the modern player. Let’s unpack it and see.

Build Quality

My initial impressions upon first assembling and playing this bass acoustically were extremely positive. Constructing the bass straight out of the case is a very simple task—and yes, it can be done very quickly, depending on your environment. Can it be done in 30 seconds, as Yamaha claims? I was being very careful not to damage the instrument, so for me, it was a minute or two.

The shoulder brace is the best I’ve come across on a EUB. Two side pieces that represent the upper bouts fold out and are fixed into place when bolted on at the top of the body. When this leans against you, this gives it a genuinely realistic feel, just like a double bass. It feels completely stable, sitting perfectly with good balance. There is none of the feelings that you’re holding a long neck with no real sense of where the body is for reference. It also gives the correct playing tension under both the left and right hand, without you having to hold the bass in position—a rare and valuable asset.

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