A great point of view on the "Ampeg sound"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Maxime01, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Maxime01


    Jun 25, 2019
    I was reading an interview of Anthony Esposito (Red Dragon Cartel) when I saw this :

    Tell me about what you refer to as the “wheel” or “holy grail” of bass tone.

    When I first joined Lynch Mob as a 21-year old kid, I called every bass amp manufacturer under the sun. SWR, Trace Elliot, Eden… All those boutique amps sound really, really good on their own and Ampegs don’t really sound very good on their own, but when you play them in rehearsal, or in the context of a band, they just magically fill the frequencies that you want to hear. Ampeg sounds amazing in the context of what you’re going to use it for. A lot of people that go into Guitar Center, they’ll A/B these amps and go, “Whoa, this sounds incredible,” and then you play it with a guitar player, and keyboards, and they don’t move the air and they don’t fill those frequencies that the Ampeg just magically gets. You don’t know, until you get into a rehearsal room or onstage, how it’s going to interact with the other instrumentation

    I completely agree with him. By the way, check out RDC’s latest release, called Patina. That's a fantastic album and the bass tone is HUGE. The bass playing is also top notch, so as the songwriting.
    And for the interview, it's here :
  2. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    So basically like a P-bass.
  3. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    Everything has to fit together sonically. I find that active basses are harder to fit into a mix because they have a wider bandwidth. On their own they sound great. The amp plays a similar roll as well. But all this depends on the type of music.
  4. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    I haven’t owned anything Ampeg for awhile but I still regularly use my original Tech21 VT Bass preamp. I am a fan of that tone - just not a fan of the weight. Still, I sometimes miss my old SVT-CL.
  5. bassdude51

    bassdude51 "You never even called me by my name." Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    And which "Ampeg sound"? There's a lot of Ampeg sounds. B12. B15. V4B. B25B. SVT. 8-10 cabs. 2-15 cabs. And then there is their modern line of amps many which are solid state.

    And then, Ampeg has changed hands several times and is now owned by Yamaha.

    Ampeg is mostly made in China and S. Korea and some stuff used to be made in Vietnam and yes, some stuff is made here in the USA with overseas components.

    What is the Ampeg sound?

    There are many bassists that don't use Ampeg and they sound good to me.
  6. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    playing in front of the mirror at TV volume levels VS playing at rehearsals with a loud band.
    Michael Bauer and Standalone like this.
  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins Dominated Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Pish. I call bull crap.

    The “frequencies that you want to hear ... that move air” are available on any amp with EQ knobs. Ampegs sound good, but they don’t have exclusive rights to magical frequencies. Perhaps the message really is “if you’re too lazy to twist EQ knobs, you should buy an Ampeg”?

    Anyway, I completely agree about the album. I’ve had it on non-stop repeat for weeks now! In the videos he uses a Kubicki Factor, but I don’t know if he recorded with that....
  8. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    That describes my reaction to playing a Sadowsky bass for the first time; meh by itself, but with a band - killer!
  9. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Not even a mention of "mojo"........fail!
    mouthmw, Heady, MattZilla and 15 others like this.
  10. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Every single Ampeg is a magical amp, got it.
    mouthmw, Heady, Chickenwheels and 5 others like this.
  11. braud357


    Jul 1, 2010
    Gonzales, LA
    Well, I must admit that I have never owned a SVT, but I have played on several supplied as backline. While they were more that adequate, I simply have not felt the "wow" factor with them ! About a year ago I bought a Ampeg PF800 head, and gigged with it all of last year. Long story short - I recently sold it. I play in a 8-piece horn band, and was equally unimpressed with the sound and available power. It did not "play" like a 800 watt head ! I played through a friends Aguilar Tonehammer 500, and it blew my Ampeg away, volume-wise. Believe it or not, I have ended back up where I started (Peavey), and so far I am very satisfied. I know that Ampeg is considered by many to be the "holy grail", I was not convinced !
  12. brother21


    Dec 26, 2008
    I've played a few provided SVT's at gigs. My opinion is they sound very good for some musical styles. If you need clearly defined sound I like to look elsewhere. They do work well with loud guitars.
  13. Londo Molari

    Londo Molari

    Jan 1, 2014
    2 blocks east of Mars
    Decendant from the Clovis culture. "Emitting that wonderful bass effect since 1970".
    Don't forget this:

  14. Charlzm

    Charlzm Guest

    Mar 25, 2011
    Well, I guess that, if you don't want to mess with EQ, this might be true for many a rock band. I play hard rock/prog rock/metal and I have never been inspired by the Ampegs I have used when they were backline on a few occasions.
  15. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    We used to quote that add at band practice as kids.
    "If the beat is important (and it is) then heavy loud music is out of order. It simply doesn't swing, never did, and never will and cannot. But it gets loud and heavy and vulgar...

    From Whicki:
    While Hull was retained as President of Ampeg, Unimusic had purchased the company with the intention of using as a starting point for change. After a year of conflict between Hull and Unimusic, Hull tendered his resignation on October 3, 1968.

    Apparently he wanted no part of that evil, vulgar, super loud, SVT the kids in the shop were working on.
    Times change
  16. For anyone who doesn't get what the OP is saying, if you ever had an opportunity to play through a real SVT with it's matching 810 cab, on a stage where your normal amp is... you'd totally get it. First time I played through one was when I Was a teenager in my high school band when we played at this music festival. The bass amp was a svt... I even have a pic with me playing through it somewhere in a book, it was like nearly as tall as I was! I plugged in, didn't know the controls, but just started playing to warm up - and HATED the tone. It was so lo-fi. No deep bass, all lower and upper mids, no sizzle, this weird subtle distortion thing.... and I was playing in a jazz/funk big band. Yuck. I thought, this is the holy grail everyone talks about? With the band, performing, I disliked it too.

    Move on about 5 years, I'm a professional musician working very hard in my 20s and doing just fine, and handed opportunities to use whatever gear suits the situation best. I learned fast that that SVT thing is AMAZING in a rock band, or at least it was back in those days. I could be heard, yet it sat so well in teh mix, and actually had a magical sort of scoop thing going on and that subtle distortion grind thing was just bliss. Gotta play them LOUDLY, and it makes a huge difference (not in a jazz band as a kid).

    I actually owned one for many years, for certain uses.

    Moving on I don't miss it at all, and the pedals do NOT sound exactly like one at all, really, but they do soudn REALLY REALLY good and imho actually better than the actual amps sounded.

    The amps recorded great, but I really prefer hifi amps for bass to those, with the svt type pedals to get you there while still retaining some of the hifi ness of modern technology without the weird missing lofi holes in the tone that you got with an SVT.

    Just my personal view. I don't miss them... but yes I do get completely what the OP is getting at.

    Now I'm moving onto a modeling system - a new tech one (I used to rock a behringer v-amp bass rack for pro work years ago and despite everyone's bad wishes on Berry, my sound was great... but current systems blow those old things out of the water) - and suspect I won't miss any of this junk any more LoL.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  17. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Yes, an SVT is a P bass with tort
  18. Maxime01


    Jun 25, 2019
    He used 2 Pbass : 1 fretted w/ DiMarzio's PU and the Tony Franklin's fretless signature model.
    ctmullins likes this.
  19. Jimmy Paycheck

    Jimmy Paycheck

    Apr 25, 2006
    Solo vs. in the mix is definitely a thing to consider. I used to design and build tube guitar amps at a boutique company, and when listening solo an amp that sounded a little too bright and cut a little too much was probably perfect when you started playing it with a band. Also "Ampeg SVT" is a wide area, I hate the SVT Classics, but love vintage, VR and V4-B tones. Where does the SVT tone end and the 8x10 tone begin...
  20. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    I feel the same way about Bag End cabinets. When you here them on their own they sound okay..but when they are on stage in the mix they sound amazing.