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Amp Alternative for Beginner?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ryguystye, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. I just got my first bass and amp to start learning how to play. I just got a cheap $100 15w amp from Guitar Center and was wondering if I could use something as an alternative so I don't have another bulky speaker lying around and I portability isn't an issue. I already have some stereo speakers (that my dad gave me; they were high end speakers in the 90's) and a receiver, so what do I need to connect my bass to my receiver?


    If I return the amp and use the $100 to buy something else to put between the bass and the receiver, would it sound better than the cheap amp? What could I use?
  2. Don't do it. Recorded music is not even close to being as stressful to speakers as a live bass is. You will blow out those nice old stereo speakers pretty easy and a stereo receiver is not capable as a live instrument amp.
  3. This, plus: that receiver is intended to service music reproduction, not production. It'll sound sterile and nasty as well just before it's destroyed by your bass. I tried it about 25 years ago.

    Keep your little combo amp. It'll come in useful and you'll be glad you have it sooner than you might think.
  4. Wait, so does that mean using headphones with the headphone output of the amp combo unit won't sound good either? How would these two setups differ?

    Bass>Amp>(headphone output to aux input)>Receiver>Speakers
  5. Headphones handle bass that your home stereo can only dream about. Sorry to burst your bubble but home speakers aren't built for live bass guitar. If you had half a dozen cabs stacked up it would get a little thrilling, until you popped them.

    Keep practising and saving, won't be long before you will need a good amp.
  6. If you have an aversion to bulky speakers lying around, i'd say bass guitar isn't the best choice of instrument for you.
  7. Plus headphones get less than 1 watt of power. Take the headphones off your head and turn the drivers out while they are on a table. Enjoy!
  8. NightCat


    Apr 4, 2013
    It might make an interesting thread or competition to see who can make the loudest bass amplifier for the least money. I would have to be kludged together not some off the shelf amp.
    As far as the OP. I have seen some remarkably decent older combos for sale at the local music and pawn shops. I think there is some old Peavey 15" combo for $65 at the local shop. Unless you are willing to destroy stuff, you really do need something designed for bass guitar.
  9. Ok, thanks! I'll stick with an amp combo. Although, I'm thinking I might return the new amp and buy a used one. Any suggestions for which brands or models I could get used for $100? I kind of don't know what to look for. I'm just a beginner and I'd prefer something that sounds good, but don't need it very loud.
  10. You should be able to find an Ampeg or Peavey combo used. Play them before you pay.:)
  11. You may struggle to get store credit spent on used inventory. A little practice amp is a handy thing to have anyway. I still use mine more than any other.
  12. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central New Jersey
    I have a Fender Rumble 15 that is a killer practice amp.

    Nice sound and volume.

    Get them used for $50.
  13. In my newbie experience,
    You can practice about 4 months with headphones on and then you really want to hear it thru the air…

    When you do, try to get a combo with two speakers (or just use head of a single speaker combo to feed a cab with two speakers-- 10" minimum). Unless it's an high end combo, there will be a fart out hitting the low bass notes with any combo amp with a speaker less than 15 inches.

  14. Seems like you already have what you need. If you're not gigging yet, or jamming with friends, then maybe stick with what you've got.

    Alternatively, you could get a small headphone device with amp simulation and effects for practice. Something like the Korg Pandora. An MFX stompbox with a headphone out would be even more useful as when you do get a giggable amp, you can still use the stompbox with the amp and still practice at home – it's easier to schlepp an FX unit back and forth between the rehearsal space and home than an entire rig.

    If you have an iPad/Pod/Phone, then trade in the practice amp for an interface so you can plug your bass into your iDevice – lots of cool and free apps with good sound, not to mention ear-training apps, metronome/drum machines, recording, sight-reading apps etc.

    I have such stompboxes & devices and a high quality amp and speaker and find I still practice mostly unplugged.
  15. Also, buy used proven gear that sounds good. Most musicians are home musicians and have very well kept gear that eventually must be parted with… I've yet to buy a new piece of gear :rollno: due to knowing old musicians who "cups runneth over." Old musicians know a lot and tend not to try to screw newbs, unlike salesman who are paid on commission.
  16. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    ryguy, might want to fill in your profile .. at least let us know where you are .. several on here have asked for help like this and TB folk have provided a few nice alternatives in the local Craigslist to fit the need ...

    I would echo getting used, but again, not knowing what you have, or anything about you (profile) makes it tough for anyone to help much ..

    Just for comparison, I currently have a Peavey Basic 112 out on loan to a youngster from church, and when that comes back I will probably sell it for under $100 ... very loud 60+ watts into a sealed 12" that has held its own in practice and small gig settings with 2 guitars, keys, drums ...
  17. Sav'nBass


    Jan 18, 2009
    Virginia Beach
    That amp is a winner. I was going to suggest looking on ebay for a Peavy 110 Max. I played through one last night at a rehearsal at another church for a Christmas concert this weekend. I was totally blown away by how good it sounded. I had a full choir behind me and an orchestra and I coulds still be heard.
  18. Woodstockz


    Sep 23, 2011
    San Diego, Ca
    For $100 you could get an Ampeg BA-108 new, or a BA-110 used.
  19. Thanks the advice. How much of a difference do tweeters make? Do small practice amps in my price range even have them? I'm just curious.

    And I was wondering about using my computer with my bass for recording. Would I be able connect the bass directly to the sound card or do I need to use the amp's headphone out first?
  20. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    As a new player, there is so much to be learned on this forum. I understand that you have lots and lots of questions (as we all did/do), but you will find the answers to this and much much more by reading through posts on this forum. Start by checking out the stickies at the top, and go on from there.

    After enough time on TalkBass, you will be no better at bass, but you will know tons about gear! :bag: