Amp Advice: Coming out of retirement

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Quaff1, Dec 8, 2013.


  1. Quaff1

    Quaff1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Hi All - I am new here so please be gentle

    I am coming out of bass retirement and need some amp advice. Here's my story

    I played bass for about 15 years before hanging 'em up. I primarily played in all original hard rock bands and pretty much with the same guys for about 10 of those 15 years. Awesome times. Some decent success.

    About 15 years ago - I got tainted and cynical about the situation/scene. Decided to sell my gear, cut my hair, get a job, get married, have kids etc etc

    I literally didn't touch my remaining basses during this time (Alembic, Gibson Ripper) - I just wasn't interested

    A weird series of coincidences in the last month has me excited about playing again - so I need an amp - and I am hoping to get something really flexible - something able to cover all of the angles:

    1. Practice Amp - I am out of practice and need to get my chops up to speed in my basement without shaking the whole house

    2. Jamming - playing with drummer and 2 guitars with Marshall half stacks - it might get loud :)

    3. Gigging - probably join a classic/party rock cover band

    4. Something easy to move around as needed

    I used to play a GK 800 RB w/ 4/10 and 1/15 - which I loved - so I have affinity to the brand

    So - any recommendations?

    I have been checking out the GK MB options and they seem pretty good/flexible. Possibly:

    MB 115 with a backup MBP 410 cabinet
    or
    MB 210 with a backup MBP 115 cabinet


    I just don't know if the MB 115 can hold its own with loud guitars and drums
    or if the 210 would be a suitable practice amp

    Any advice or suggestions on the options above or other amps to consider would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks!
    Jason
  2. xabicho

    xabicho Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Location:
    Long Beach, California
    I will go with a GK new light heads you can get a decent power without the weight and a 2x12 cabinet either GK or Ampeg. If weight is not and issue I will go with the Ampeg VST and a 4x10 and 1x15 cabs. Mesa would be my next choice.

    For practice you can get a decent practice amp for under $300.00 or get a Pandora and HP.
  3. Mike in Chicago

    Mike in Chicago Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago
    Sounds like me, but I never stopped playing, just stopped gigging.

    Had a job which kept getting in the way, but was out here and there.

    Started again about 5 years ago and have been busy. Still had all my old stuff, (never got rid of my basses) but it saw its age. Went through PFs, and all the other lightweight stuff. Should have bit the bullet, went out bought a SVT Classic and been done with it.

    As far as getting back in shape, re-learning "Thick as a Brick" front to back always got me there.
  4. GeoffB

    GeoffB

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Welcome back to the bass. Since you like GK, I'd recommend the mb800 for an amp. It packs a lot of power into 5 lbs.

    I use it with different cabs. I have two ACME B2's and a Markbass 102 (all 2x10s). These are good for practice, rehearsal and small gigs.

    I have a Goliath III (4x10) and a couple SVT 8x10s. Those at least look louder when playing bigger gigs.

    I also like the Markbass Little Mark's for amps. The new Class D amps are powerful and light. Haven't had any troubles.
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  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2004
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Columbia MO
    Disclosures:
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I'd check out the GK MB800, and MBFusion800; one is all solid state. The Fusion has three preamp tubes.
    Either weigh about 5 lbs.
    For cabs, with those, I'd get the Neo 112 for around the house, and a Neo212 to put under for gigging.
  7. lyla1953

    lyla1953 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    Almost the same story except my gap in time is roughly 40+years.
    At first I went with my old flames equip wise - on the amp side, V4B Ampeg + 2 410's and a few other very heavy as hell goodies. The weight never really dawned on me as it was never even an issue. Hell I was 18!
    You can guess what happened next - *** mate!
    Basically sold everything (except the goodies) and picked up 2 Aguilar db112nt's and a Aguilar TH500. The TH is the wonder @ less than 4lbs given the volume and tone it spits out.
    Check them out - it will not be a waste of your time.
    p.s. Welcome back
  8. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    I'm also an old G-K 800RB user, and I like my G-K MB115, and its loud - but I have a feeling you'd be happier with the G-K MB800 amp and two 212MBE-II/8 cabinets.
  9. BawanaRik

    BawanaRik Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I use an Eden WTX264 feeding an EA Wizzy. The whole thing weighs about what my RB800 used to weigh and get louder than it should.

    But there are many amps available that weigh about the same as a Mutron III pedal.

    I haven't found another cab that moves the air at the same weight as the Wizzy. If anyone has please share with the rest of us.
  10. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    Location:
    Toronto
    Same story for me. The new class D amps opened up a whole new world IMO. I got a 250/500w Ibanez Promethean a couple of years ago to play while I watched the Bills lose on Sundays. This year I added a Bergantino 2x12 to play with 2 half stacks and a loud drummer. The head puts out it's 500w into the 2x12, 250w into the combo. Then I discovered this forum and.......watch yourself, it only took about 3 weeks for me to order the TH500. There are great threads here on every head, cabinet and combination you could think. Good luck and have fun.
  11. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Location:
    Lake Havasu City, Az USA
    I'll throw another option out there for you.
    MB210 II (only MB combo to support an extension cab)
    210 MBE II extension cab (combined 500 watts amp power to 4 10")

    If you need more power (and have good earplugs) then add the 500 watt MBP powered cab in either 212 or 410 from the chain output of the MB210. Adding the 200 watt powered 115 MBP would not make much sense with the 350 watt 210 combo. With a 8 ohm non-powered cab added to the MB210 II is 500 watts output. You could get the 115MBE II to add to the MB210 if you really want to mix a 210 and 115.
  12. worxforme

    worxforme Self Actualized Bad Speller Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    LAnsing MI
    I'm siding with Chef on the cab; GK Neo 212 will be all you need.

    I'm partial to the 700RB2 for a head because it's been around a while so you can buy it used on the cheap without worry and it's flexible enough to find your sound.

    For me, a great sounding rig sounds even better knowing how little I paid.
  13. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Media:
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    Albums:
    1
    Location:
    phoenix, az
    Like you, I am also getting back to playing after many years, also after marriage & children. In the before time, I always admired the Ampeg tone, and was playing through an SVT for some time.

    I recently got an Ampeg Micro VR, and picked up a 2nd cabinet. So it's 4-10's with 200 watts. Same tone as my old SVT, but much easier to move. I don't know if it would keep up with a pair of Marshall half stacks, but it's great as a practice amp when matched with the one cabinet, and rocks with the 2.
  14. Winfred

    Winfred

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    1. Small, cheap, used (or new). Doesn't matter. It's for your own personal use at home. Keep it simple.

    2. This could be a problem, unless your guitarists are very good and truly understand dynamics and how to play well with others? If they're loud, and competitive, you're in for an ear-ringing, head-splitting bad time.

    3. Same as #2. Your amp requirements are gonna vary depending on how loud your guitarists are gonna play. Now factor in a drummer...

    I have no idea what you should buy. It's really gonna depend on your band mates, and how "musically mature" they are.

    Those Marshal half-stacks have volume knobs, and hopefully your guitarists understand that knobs can also be turned to the left.
  15. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    As others have said - get a good lightweight head and two matching lightweight cabs. Head plus one cab for practice/small gigs, add the other cab for louder stuff.
  16. JohnMCA72

    JohnMCA72

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    I practice with just a bass, PC (iTunes & several other playback programs), & headphones. Nobody else gets rocked at all.
  17. bgavin

    bgavin Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2001
    Location:
    Orangevale, CA 95662
    OP,
    My comment is go Light, go Modular.
    Buy used, buy mainstream.

    Modular:
    Start with a 2x10 you like, add a second of the same model.
    Take what you need, where it is needed.
    If you require Big Noise, four 2x10 driven by a Class-D power amp is a powerful modular ticket.

    If you opt for a preamp + poweramp, my experience is get the smallest SKB Standard rack that fits your needs.
    Typically this is the 1SKB-3U.
    Avoid the SKB Xrack series (I own one), as they are annoying at best to make rear panel connections.

    Mainstream:
    Read the classifieds, get a feel for selling prices.
    My rule of thumb is 66% of new-mail order price for production gear.

    I own the Sansamp RPM and VTRM preamps, Crest Prolite2 class-D, and various QSC-PLX power amps.
    You could put a Sansamp preamp and Prolite into the 3U SKB rack for a light and powerful rig.
    Yes, more cost, and more bulk than a micro head.
  18. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2006
    Location:
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    Disclosures:
    Union card-carrying liberal academic musician
    +1

    Welcome back! Check out used deals on TB classified. The GK MB800 will pretty much be all the head you need. As for practice, anything can be turned down, LOL! :smug:
  19. TC.65

    TC.65

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Location:
    Metropolis Il
    +1 to this. The GK 700RB-II just has some kind of mojo that the other GK heads don't have. I had one paired with the GK Neo 212-II cab and it was very loud with an awesome tone. It will be hard to beat that rig. JIMHO
  20. Quaff1

    Quaff1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2013
    Thanks all - I appreciate the advice and you've given me a few things to think about

    Jason
  21. Bass_Pounder

    Bass_Pounder

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2002
    Location:
    Palm Coast, Florida
    Skip the mixing of a 1X15 with a 4X10. It may have been "popular" in the day, but it is a bad combination for a variety of reasons (read around the forum - topic comes up frequently).

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