Please help a mum pick an amp for her child

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by Pink Angel, Dec 30, 2013.


  1. Pink Angel

    Pink Angel

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Hello all
    I am hoping that you may give me some valuable information in purchasing a bass guitar amp for my 12 year old son as we are both so new to the guitar world.

    I have read through the forums and quite frankly, I am more confused than ever.

    My son is in his 2nd year of learning bass guitar. He has a practice amp which even I find offensive.

    He has a 4 string bass guitar and was looking for a bass amp that he can plug his guitar into. We thought 45 watts would be a good compromise between giving him a bit of noise when he wanted to, but not turning our lounge room into a club. I have seen some really cheap ones on ebay but would rather purchase something that will last him quite a few years but not too technical as he is not doing any performances outside of his school.

    He practices on the school Behringer amp but then I read a few disparaging remarks about that brand in this forum.

    In a nutshell, can anyone recommend a good quality bass guitar amp without breaking the bank?
    Thanking you in advance.

    We live in Melbourne Australia, if that makes any difference in brands and models that are available.
  2. KingDavid

    KingDavid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2013
    Here's a few great companies:
    Fender
    Ampeg
    Genz Benz
    Mark Bass

    As for something just to practice at home, I would *personally* take an Ampeg BA110. Powerful enough to rumble, great tone, and price, I would say.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hi Mum. Unfortunately, bass and guitar have different needs, and bass amps don't usually sound good for guitar unless you have some sort of guitar processor or effects. But if you can only have one, get a bass amp since a guitar won't easily blow out a guitar amp like a bass can blow out a guitar amp. Some of the more decent brands to check into are Ampeg, Hartke, Gallien-Kreuger, Orange, Eden, SWR...don't know what's most available for a decent price in Australia...maybe some Aussies or Kiwis can chime in for that. I endorse Ampeg, and they have some very cool little combos that aren't too expensive.

    Might come off that 45w limit, though. For home or very light jamming, it's cool, and Ampeg has a great little combo called the BA112 that's 50w. But if he plans on playing bass in a band with a drummer who plays at the usual drummer volume, he might struggle. Just remember they all have a volume knob ;)
  4. Shakin-Slim

    Shakin-Slim

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Location:
    Tauranga, New Zealand
    Hi, and welcome to TalkBass :)

    Do you have a budget in mind? Personally, I think a Genz Benz Shuttle would be a good choice. I know you said 45 watts, and the Genz Benz Shuttle series is significantly more. But at 45 watts, you're basically looking at another practice amp. If your son is interested in continuing bass, and eventually playing in bands, this is a good option. The Shuttle, with a matching 10 or 12 inch cabinet, is the size of a practice amp with significantly more power if that power is ever needed. It's small, light and extension cabinets can always be added for more volume in louder bands.

    http://www.genzbenz.com/?fa=detail&mid=2260&sid=610&cid=95 Here's a link to the Shuttle 3.0 with a 10 inch cabinet. On the left side of the screen you will see links to other options, such as the 6.0 (more power again). Of course, this all depends on budget. For the money, though, that would be my choice. They should be found rather easily in Australia. They are common here in NZ.

    At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is go to a music store and have him play through a range of amps within your budget and other criteria (size, weight etc) as every amp is different and it all depends on the sound he desires.

    Shaun
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  6. sratas

    sratas

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Location:
    Parma, Italy
    staying away from more specific sounding amps (because we don't know what kind of music he plays and will play in the following years) or bigger ones.

    2 models come to mind for a little, lightweight practice amp that will sound good even in the low volume gigs or can be expanded using an optional cab.

    The Markbass Minimark, and the Phil jones Briefcase or Bass cub. Personally, I'm a 42 bass player with tons of great gear but I'd love to have a Minimark for home and acoustic-lower volume occasions, very cool

    Both choices are expensive, but I regret giving an advice on a budget amp for a good bass player (2nd year of lessons, the kid likes bass). Cheapest choices usually are wasted money if someone grows with a passion and usually tends to improve skills and equipment quality.
  7. Shakin-Slim

    Shakin-Slim

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Location:
    Tauranga, New Zealand
    I could be wrong, but I think Mum was referring to the bass when she said 'guitar'
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh...in that case, never mind.

    :D
  9. Manichga

    Manichga Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Hi fellow Melbournian. Ring the Bass centre in south melbourne. They will give you good advice. Roland cubes, fenders or even peavey will work well for what you want. You are right about not buying el-cheapo. Don't bother. I teach at a secondary school and we have fenders and Roland's and they are good workhorses.
  10. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Heh, if kiddo is to play in a band then a tool is needed, not a toy. Yes, the tool can become a very annoying toy at home. That is a discipline issue.

    The problem is guitar watts and bass watts are not the same thing. Bass needs very much more power than guitar, to be heard as equals. Drummers hit drums as hard as they can get away with, a level usually dictated by the guitar when it should be dictated by the vocal PA, the weakest link.

    Now, if the bass is the weakest link the rest should turn down to match. This never happens. Instead bassists get blisters and blow up their speakers. This is where Mum comes to the rescue.

    So, is kiddo playing with others at the moment?

    I well remember the highschool rock band. They were obscenely loud. I gather this is par for the course until about age 30.
  11. IPYF

    IPYF

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    This ^^^^

    The team at Bass Centre have been looking after me since I was your son's age. They'll steer you in the right direction, guaranteed.
    They carry the Ampeg BA110 for a good price. That would be a good option for you I think. That amp has a bit more gumption than the BA108 (which is also good if you're on a tight budget).
  12. Pink Angel

    Pink Angel

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Thank you all for some information that I can draw on.

    I did go to a music place called Pat's music in Melbourne. They had three bass amps to choose from and the assistant could not add much information as he was not a bass player.

    Really appreciate the time you have taken to give me a better insight. :)
  13. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    This is great local advice. At this point you're buying service as much as gear and even if you pay a few dollars more than at the giant music super-store it's worth it to get the right gear the first time and be well taken care of afterwards.

    Go out and get some quotes on specific amps and get back to us for opinions. I know your selection is more limited down there due to shipping costs and you probably won't find everything everyone will suggest. I will reiterate though that you're looking for at least 100 watts. Get less and you'll be looking for a new amp as soon as the boy starts playing with a drummer...and as a bassist that is in the immediate future. Like Jimmy said they all have volume knobs (the amps, not the drummers unfortunately) and learning to play at a reasonable volume is something we all have to accept....er, more or less. Anyway a 50 watt amp turned up loud is going to annoy you every bit as much as 100 watts will....maybe more because it will probably be distorted and crappy sounding.
  14. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Have a look at ebay. Used gear is great value if it hasn't been abused. Ebay is very buyer biased these days.
  15. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Location:
    Like old Hampshire, but New
    As far as the noise levels go, amps do come with a volume knob that can be turned all the way down to zero. Nearly all practice amps come with a headphone jack as well. I practice in the morning before my family gets up and none of them hear me because I use headphones.

    There are a lot of good brands out there, and I don't really think there's all that much difference to worry about at the bedroom-practice-amp level. Off the top of my head, I'd probably recommend an Ampeg BA108 or 110 or a Fender Rumble 30. Those run between $150 and 200 US new. It's often worth buying used and saving some money. Once he's going to play in a band, though, he'll need more power - I'd suggest something with 200 watts through a 15-inch speaker or two 10-inch speakers to start.
  16. cardboardJoe

    cardboardJoe

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan USA
    Go with an Ampeg V4.
  17. SteveHeissner

    SteveHeissner

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    First of all let me say you're a nice Mum.

    Secondly, I might suggest any Gallien Krueger combo amp like an MB110 or MB112, although they're 100 watts.
  18. Jack

    Jack

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Newcastle, UK
    :rolleyes:

    If some of these brands are a little above your budget then look at Laney or Peavey. They're not as top-tier as Genz or GK or Ampeg but they are a little cheaper and when you're looking at 10" speakers and 50 or so watts there's not a great deal between amps IME, as long as you stay away from the really cheap stuff.

    If the noise bothers you then look for a combo with an aux input and a headphone output. That way he can play bass along to an mp3 player silently.

    Lastly, well done you for asking here! You'll have saved yourself money in the long term and kid will be better for it too.
  19. Skeeter1

    Skeeter1

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    Also if looking at combo amps ( amps that have speakers and amp to power speaker in one unit) I would suggest three things:
    1. headphone out jack (believe me mom, you will thank me for this. There are a lot of wrong notes and hours of practice on the road to being a bass virtuoso)
    2. A Line Out or XLR out allows the amp to plug into a mixing board. That is designed so the amps sound can be amplified by a house sound system. This allows a small practice amp to become a useful tool for playing in small to medium indoor gigs.
    3. An Aux in is nice. You plug your mp3 or CD player in that and the music comes out of the amp. This allows you to practice and play along with the music...again, headphones come in nicely here.

    I like the Ampeg and Gallian Krueger(GK) lines.
  20. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    N.H.
    Second year student, combo amp for sure.
    Buy a brand name, Fender, Ampeg etc.. It will sell easier if
    he does not stay with it.
  21. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    If you can find one, I highly recommend a Hartke. They make a great amp called the Kickback, which can sit upright, or be leaned back on an angle like a stage monitor. They are small (12" or 15" speaker options), very portable, lightweight, and sound great.
    Everyone has their favorite brands on here; Hartke is not mine, but I owned one of these for years, and it was an amazing amp.
    My only concerns with the other brands mentioned on here are:

    Fender - Mediocre amps, awful resale value
    Genz Benz - Just went out of business, so no support if you have technical issues
    Mark Bass - Eh, I suppose. Not my cup 'o tea, but your son may like them.

    Your son may want to take his bass to the store and play through a few first, to see what he likes.

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