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AC-30 as bass amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by reep, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. reep


    Sep 24, 2006
    Duncan B.C.Canada
    I've been rereading the Bill Wyman book "Stone Alone" and something said has me scratching my head. in detailing his early gear purchases, he talks about going out and buying an upgrade amp.....a Vox AC-30. Setting aside the power issues (I know lower wattage amps for bass were pretty common then), could a person actually get away with playing bass through an AC-30?
  2. back then, it was common for a bass player to use AC30's, they had speakers that could endure bass guitar notes without any problems
  3. GreggBummer

    GreggBummer Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Southern New Jersey
    Get away with it? Why not? I often use my Vox VR-30 for quiet living room practice. It is a serviceable guitar amp that sounds OK for bass and sounds wonderful with my Epiphone Dot plugged in.
  4. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    My 12 watt princeton reverb sounds great pugged into a single 15 cab. It also sounds good in a way up on a stool, playing quietly through the internal 10" speaker. A unique, studio only sound ...

    My AC 15 sounds friggen' awful as a bass amp.... A complete waste of time. I think the front end and tone stack -or lack thereof is just not appropriate. I love the AC 15 as a guitar amp though. I almost never even turn on the Princeton Reverb any more. It's a really good PR as well, 72 restored to '66 BF specs... the ac15 just has a lot more going on that works for my taste and style...
  5. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    Back when bass tones had mid in them, you could do a lot more with small amps.
  6. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Seems like a pricey/valuable amp relative to how little utility it would have for bass. Sure you could use it for bass. I dont see it holding up in an ensemble if a kick drum is in the picture.

    If you are also a guitarist and that's part of your interest in the AC30, look into the Genz Benz Black Pearl 30 as a more versatile alternative. It does the Vox thing and much more... phenomenal amp for the $, total sleeper.
  7. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    JMI's "bass version" of their AC30 was called the AC30X (X for expanded). It housed two 15" Celestion T900 speakers so the cabinet was enlarged to accommodate them.

    Also the circuit and components used in the AC30X were voiced much lower than the standard AC30. It was really designed as a keyboard amp rather than a bass amp.

    Lots of great photos and info on it and all of the JMI Vox products in Jim Elyea's Vox Amplifiers, The JMI Years. If you're into Vox amps and their history and the bands/artists that used them, you'll love all 682 pages of this book.

    Regarding Bill Wyman's AC30, his was a regular AC30 Twin (guitar amp) covered in Fawn Rexine covering material. Apparently he still owns the amp but it's well worn.

    Dadagoboi likes this.
  8. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    There was an earlier version of the 'bass' AC30 combo with beefed up twin 12's and tone stack, as used by Jet Harris of The Shadows, in addition to the 2x15 combo. Once again, Jim Elyea's book is the ultimate source of knowledge. Otherwise, it's great for recording, but I would tap off the amp into a proper bass cabinet. It's hard to describe, but it has this fantastic, immediate sound. Using it live I'm afraid it's underpowered for low frequencies, and you'd loose that tone, but for guitar it's the loudest 30 watts you'll ever hear.
  9. benny_bass


    Mar 10, 2010
    I read that he poured 2 or 3 inches of concrete into the bottom of the amp and it improved the tone tremendously. Made it a little hard to carry in and out.
  10. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Back in the Sixties for reasons I no longer recall, I played a borrowed AC30B bass amp. It was identical, as far as I could see, to a standard AC30 of the time. I played what was the Silver Blades Ice Rink here in Liverpool. The thing was walking down the sloped stage but to my amazement it could handle everything my EB2 threw at it.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  11. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The AC-30 bass model was offered as an upgrade, an extra 5 guinea = £5.25 now. He also played their Phantom bass in public.