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What should I get? A new bass, or an amp?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by najko, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. najko

    najko

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    First of all, I apologize if this thread doesn't fit in the Bass section, but I couldn't find any better.


    This is my situation: I've been playing bass for about a year and a half, and I'm currently playing on a band. So far I've had no trouble with my gear, though it is rather poor. I can't complain.
    It is a beginner starting set I bought in Thomann: http://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_hbpbset1_ebassset.htm

    The problem is, the bass is really bad, and with time, I feel like it's getting worse, maybe because I haven't paid it much attention.
    Also, the amplifier's got just 20W and I'm on pain to hit the strings hard enough to compete against two guitars, both with pretty good amplifiers, (60W and 130W) and drums. I'm currently playing it with everything maxed out (volume, mid and high).
    Now I don't know what to do. Should I first get a new bass to play more comfortably? Or should I get a better amplifier?


    I want to know what is the big deal on getting a new bass (is really an expensive bass that good?), and which amplifier should I get, if I should get a new one. I'm willing to spend around 200-300€ on either a bass or an amp. I don't expect a pro-godlike bass or amplifier, just something I can rely on when I gig.

    And finally, would having a good bass and a bad amp mess it up? Or either way? Should I instead get both?


    I'll be glad to hear your advice. Thanks in advance!
  2. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

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    I doubt the bass is a problem. You most likely just need to have a tech set it up properly - that should make it play well.

    I think you need more amp.
  3. Grateful

    Grateful Supporting Member

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    The best, most expensive bass in the world won't be heard over guitars and drums through a 20W amp.

    If you can only do bass or amp right now, I advise you go look for a good amp with as many watts as you can find that sounds good. I'm an ignorant Yank and don't know what options are available to you over there in the 200-300€ range, so hopefully someone more local can chime in with some suggestions!

    In the meantime, a setup and string change can often do wonders for marginal instruments.

    Good Luck!
  4. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More Supporting Member

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    You should definitely get a better amp first. And get your bass set-up. Even if you match your guitard players at 60W-130W, they will still be louder because a guitar's natural frequencies are higher and easier to hear than bass. So the more powerful the better
  5. smogg

    smogg

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    Put new strings on your bass and have it "set up" by a professional to help make it more comfortable to play. Upgrade your amp based on what you can afford. Used amps/cabs will get you more for your money. You may have to save up a bit more to get a decent rig (loud enough & sounds good) to compete with the rest of the band.
  6. najko

    najko

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    I also thought the best fix would be a better amplifier, but I couldn't help the fact that I'd like a nicer bass. So the best solution would be to get a more powerful amplifier, but how much? And which do you recommend?

    I might try to fix the bass myself to save up some money. Regarding to the strings, I actually feel comfortable with the strings the bass came with. The only one that broke is the fourth because I used to slap it too hard. However I like better how the remaining three sound, warmer.
  7. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines I'll hump your leg Supporting Member

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    What size venues/audiences are you gigging to?
  8. PlungerModerno

    PlungerModerno

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    +1,000.

    I have a PJ version of that bass - twas my first about a year ago (sniff)...

    I got a 110W amp to go with mine - I knew I would be up against drums from day 0 - so it's worked well for me.
    I got a thomann brand (Harley Benton) amp CB 100 X or something: http://www.thomann.de/ie/harley_benton_cb110x.htm

    Has held up to a year of use... sounds OK. for the cash you'll probably get little better new.

    Used you may be able to get an amazing deal and score something good for that... keep an eye out for peavey and hartke used gear - it can be seriously good for the buck.

    As for the bass - if it's like mine it'll have an ok neck (not too stable) and crummy tuners and such.
    My advice is set it up according to the guides: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f18/all-basic-setup-questions-answered-here-125382/

    and see if you can't work with it for now. I'd say get a decent amp, and after that upgrade to a decent squire or something along those lines - when / if the cash becomes available. Things are tight for a lot of us right now so I'm trying to keep it low cost.

    Used can screw you over - but it can get you major deals. Best of luck, ask loads of questions, watch setup vids on youtube etc. and practice, practice, practice!!!!! :D :bassist:

    P.S. A warm welcome!
  9. LowEndLove

    LowEndLove

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    My first amp was a fender rumble 75. It's about in that price range and I really liked it. See if you can try one out at a music shop.
  10. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    My advice would be first and foremost, buy used, you get way more bang for your buck that way.
    Spend your money on a decent cab. You can have all the watts you want, but if your pushing an inferior cab your still not accomplishing much. 200w into a good efficient will be louder than 500w into a junker. The best way to increase volume is to add speakers not watts. So I would recommend probably a 410, go 8ohms for later expansion.

    Then find a decent head, at least 200w, more would be better for clean volume. My first head had a thousand knobs, two EQ's and a ton of buttons and switches. I would recommend against this. Keep it simple, and it will be easier to dial in a better sound.

    Then take your bass to a tech and have it set up and a new set of strings on it.
  11. smogg

    smogg

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    If you are are NOT playing metal you can get by with 200 or 300watts and a 2x10 or 1x15 cab.
    If you ARE playing metal you'll need at least 300 to 500watts and 4x10 or 2x12.
    this should cover most bars you will play.

    lol... Kind of limiting yourself with just 3 strings ;)
    If you do not know what you are doing you will just wreck your bass. Get a new set of strings and have a pro show you how to do a set up. Then later on you can start doing it yourself if you want to. That way the bass will always play the best it can.
  12. Mossmatic

    Mossmatic Compulsive Modder Supporting Member

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    I understand the allure of wanting a new bass over a new amp, but you really need a more powerful amp. I'm surprised you can hear yourself at all at band practice with a 20W amp against 2 guitars and a drummer. I would recommend something at 250-300 watts. You can "get by" with a lower powered amp (150-200W), but an amp with more power equals more "headroom" (you won't have to crank the amp to maximum volume in order to compete) and more headroom equals better tone.

    I don't know about the availability in Europe, but here in the states, a used Peavey combo is always a good choice for a player on a low budget. Those amps are built like tanks and a good used one can be had for $200-$300 (depending on the model/age/condition). A Fender Rumble might be a good low-cost option too. But that's here in the states.
  13. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

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    +1

    I would look in the used section for a nice combo.
  14. darkstorm

    darkstorm

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    Starter packs are generally allways all garbage in all ways. And you can easilly get much better for just a little more via careful buying in used gear. Even the starter packs by mfg like companies like Ibanez & peavey and Esp ltd fall into this catagory. Best advice is replace both the bass and amp with used gear as soon as possible. A 15" bass combo of some kind and a decent bass used thats not from some starter pack.
  15. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member

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    Yep. This.
  16. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

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    I started getting serious with bass about a year and a half ago as well. I had a Jackson JS-40 that had a horrible setup and was making life dificult. I took it to a local shop and they did a setup for $30 plus the price of strings. It changed EVERYTHING. It is a relatively inexpensive fix and will really help your playing.

    As for the amp... In this country we have craigslist which is a great source for buying used. I picked up a vintige (OLD) Peavey TNT 160 bass amp for $150. It wasn't wonderful, but it was loud enough to jam with others and get started. I since have upgraded my bass and amp, but but the old Jackson with a decent setup and a cheap semi-powerful amp were enough to get me going.
  17. Waterpilot

    Waterpilot

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    Like others have said I'd go with the amp. I'd probably go with a used 115 combo but a 210 combo with the ability to add another cab when you have some extra money might be a good idea as well.
  18. najko

    najko

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    I play mostly punk, rock, and just a couple metal songs. About the strings, I meant that I changed just the string that broke, and kept the rest. I however bought the whole 4-string pack and can change the whole set if I want.


    So, telling by the comments the best choice would be to buy an used amp with quite a lot of power. Would an used one bring me any trouble? How long are amps meant to work, or is there any other consideration I have to take into account when buying it? (because aside from the Watts, I couldn't tell which one's better).

    PlungerModerno suggested this one: http://www.thomann.de/ie/harley_benton_cb110x.htm which seems to be pretty good, actually. It's around 130€. If I can get a good deal with the amp I could try to get a new bass soon too.

    I was thinking of something like this: http://www.thomann.de/es/behringer_bxl900a_ultrabass.htm

    Advice?
  19. 5Stinger

    5Stinger

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    My advise is to go with the bass to your trusted music shop and have it set up properly. It will improve the playability of the instrument a lot if done correctly and to your tastes.
    When I joined a band and looked for an amp I was told that a bassist needs at least twice the power than a guitar amp to cut through with it´s low frequencies.
    With what you wrote about your colleagues amps it would be at least 260 watts.
    My advise would be to look for a decent amp which has the muscles to punch you through the mix! :bassist:
    So you don´t have to max everything out on your amp. Which is not the best for the amps lifetime IMHO.
    AND you have more room for sound nuances while playing instead of always hitting the strings like you have to save your life.
  20. BKuettel

    BKuettel

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    If all possible, stay away from behringer. They aren't great quality amps and I've heard a lot of situations of them breaking or sounding like crap. I would check out brand like Gaillen Krueger, Ampeg, Hartke, Acoustic, and Fender. Research what specific models are top rated on online music stores.

    If you want to be heard well in a punk/metal band, your going to have to get a seperate cabinet and head, as combo amps are best for home practice and lack tone when played loudly. What specific make and model is up for you discover and experiment with. Try andto make itthe above 300w, and NOTHING less than a 2x10. Look used, and look for better rated gear as these wont break as easily and if you buy used it is a good thing to go with trusted and reliable gear. You get more bang for your buck used too. Check craiglist too, lotta people jut looking for a quick sale and will dump their rigs for ultra cheap prices.

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