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Yamaha John Patitucci Signature Electric bass

There is much to admire in the superb workmanship and surfeit of tone-shaping options in this upgraded edition of acoustic-electric virtuoso John Patitucci’s signature instrument-the Yamaha TRB JP2 Electric Bass. Opening up the case and taking in the luminous amber glow of this six-string bass’ quilted maple cap (and matching headstock), was enough to take my breath away-this instrument is simply gorgeous.

But handsome is as handsome does. And whether or not jazz players gravitate toward this instrument is as much a matter of personal taste, musical comfort and acquired technique as it is a reflection on the instrument itself. First of all, this instrument is not, strictly speaking, a six-string bass in the tradition of the original Fender VI from the mid-1960s, which was essentially tuned just like a guitar, only an octave down, with a 30-inch short scale neck. The Yamaha TRB JP2 is a contrabass guitar-essentially a long-scale four-string bass guitar, tuned in fourths, where the range is extended by the addition of an extra high-C string and an extra low-B string.

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