Amp reccomendations for playing upright in a pop band?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by fsanfili, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. fsanfili


    Feb 5, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I'm playing in a country/rock band with an organist, electric guitar, drums, and a couple vocals. I'm finding that my GK (uh, dunno the model # offhand, but it has a 10" speaker), which is quite good for small jazz gigs, doesn't project enough oomph or definition at these increased volumes. Any suggestions on what other amplification options I should explore?
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I like the EA stuff. Tom Bowlus can tell you about pretty much every combination of the EA line.
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    EA gear is great. No question about it.

    But you might just need an extension cab for your current amp. If you like your current sound, but just need more of it, borrow a 1x12 or 1x15 extension cab and give it a shot.
  4. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    That little combo isn't enough to get even with the drummer. Even with an extension cabinet. Not enough power, not enough drivers.

    I use Euphonic Audio. An EA iAmp 800 into two VL208's or a VL208 and a CX310 or All three if I'm in a huge room or outside with no PA. On big stages with huge PA's feedback can be a big problem and I tend to use very little on stage. Last gig in a 1500 seater the PA was sitting on the stage. My bass was feeding back like a stuck pig no matter what I did. I shut the stage rig off and just played through the mains with no side fills or monitor.

    Best results for me come with high power, multiple small drivers and tons of low end rolloff.

    I also have some anti feedback stuff on my bass like a pad between the tailpiece and the table and some wristbands wrapped around the afterlength of the strings. Phase reversal on the pickup is essential. Plywood instruments can often work better than carved solids. Seems like the tight dull sounding basses work better for higher volume work than those that project and carry on their own.

    Check the archive and for more ideas.
  5. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have used ext. cabs (4X10 and 1X15) with success in big band (not jazz big band, but as in guitar,piano,keys, ect.) situations and loud volume.

    Good Luck.
  6. I'll second the EA recommendations - my CXL 112 is a phenomenally flexible and solid cabinet. It is my main cab and it's the only one I need for 95% of my gigs.

    If I were to need additional volume, my first candidate would be EA's 2x10 cab. I've had very good experiences with my Acme 2x10 cab in the past, and I love the idea of a 2x10 that is more efficient.

    Amp-wise, it seems like your best bets might be the EA iAmp 800, an Acoustic Image Focus, or a Walter Woods. All three are quite expensive, but they all seem to be almost universally hailed as the highest-quality and most flexible amps for DB and/or DB & BG doubling. Personally, I would go with the AI Focus, as my AI Clarus sounds great and is small, but it is a bit underpowered for some louder applications.

    Hope this helps!
  7. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    FWIW, on my Messenger bass, I use an Ampeg SVP to a QSC 1450 to an Aguilar 112 and Eden 112. It works for me other than my rack is very, very heavy. I'm a 27 year old in a 50 year old body (back problems).

    I really want to get an iAmp 800 and have talked to Gard about it. With his customer service and his quote - this is where I would like to go, BUT since I am funding (or at least trying to) an engagement ring, all of this is on hold.

    From what I hear, EA has the best in customer service as well.

  8. You could do what I've seen done at festivals - use the GK as a monitor and pre-amp and plug its DI into the PA. GK do a mount that will attach it to a mic stand and allows you to pivot the amp to face up (or down) so you can have your foldback at a sensible ear level instead of lost-on-the-floor and worse, pointing at the bass's body.

    Even if you want stand alone gear, using the GK as a monitor and pre-amp/di to a generic power amp and then iinto a bass cab placed well out of feedback range is thought?

    GK also do extension cabs - I've seen a local pro use one but can't comment on it since he went throught the PA as well - and that domminated.
  9. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Walter Woods into EA VL208 or CXL112. Since WW is so expensive you could also do well with an Acoustic Image Focus with EA cabs.
  10. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    The GK 800RB with 4x10" always worked well for me as did an SWR Super Redhead. Quite a few rockabilly guys seem to like SVT's. Uprights all amplify so differently that they can be choosy about what amp they like and what works great for me may completely suck for you.

    I think though that the pickup and preamp you use actually makes a whole lot more difference than what the amp is. These days I just go Azola multi piezo bridge with a Raven Labs PMB preamp into whatever house monitor or rental amp is convenient and do my best to make friends with it.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Dave Holland uses the small GK combos - but when I saw him at a fairly big hall in Brighton, he was using a Hartke 4 x10 as an extension cab from this.

    But I still felt he was drowned out by the drummer!! ;)
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'll second this. While I don't care for playing that loud anymore, I think the key to it is having that hi-pass filter to overcome the boominess that the low frequencies cause, and then enough power to push the sound once you've cut the lows.
  13. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    I’ve been struggling with this problem for a while. Especially the last 6 months as I’ve been playing large shows on tour with a singer/songwriter on a major label. He was touring with just a cello player before he took on a band and I had to cover those arco parts on my double bass on some songs and play the rest of the songs on slab and double bass. Most of the gigs this summer were outdoor 3000-10,000 seat venues opening for a band called O.A.R. They carried their own system. It was an incredible system. We had our own front of house engineer and used their monitor guy so it was consistent with the same mix every night. I used a Fishman Full Circle plugged into a Raven Labs USIP into a Stewart World 2.1 into a Bag End 4-10 for that run. I did use my NS Designs EUB on a few gigs, but I really wanted to use my real bass whenever possible. I set the USIP flat and split the signals between bass guitar and 2xBass through different paths into one channel since each has it's own D.I. on my pedal board. I ran a Fishman Bass pro EQ platinum before the USIP as a D.I. and for EQ. It worked but I had to suck out the low mids and have the monitor guy adjust the level of acoustic guitar and kick whenever I played double bass. Arco playing was always a problem because the E string wanted to take off on me.

    The fall headlining tour was much better. We played venues on the size of 300 – 1300 depending on the market. I wanted something that sounded like a real rock bass amp and I knew the double bass would be an uphill battle no matter what I used. So I brought out the Ampeg SVT Pro 4 and the same Bag End and got a D-Tar Soltice before I left to use with the same bass with the Full Circle. The Solstice took the place of the Fishman. It worked so well for me. I kept the Ampeg flat and the Solstice flat and ran a little in the monitor and side fills even with some drums in the monitor. I just turned my amp down and just used the monitors when I did the arco stuff on the mellow songs. It was so nice and my bass sounded so natural considering the volume we had on stage. I also had a great rock sound on the old slab, but that ran through a different pedal/D.I. setup than the double bass. I also like the Solstice for electric bass, but I didn’t run it that way for the tour.

    So I can put in a “thumbs up” (way up) on the Solstice and I would recommend a speaker cabinet and head with lots of power. I got the Solstice because I thought I would need to use my String Charger blended with the Full Circle to get the volume I needed. That just muddied up everything and didn’t add that much in useful low end. The Full Circle and Solstice combo was so natural sounding plus I could mute it with a foot switch when I switched to electric bass. The NS designs bass stayed in the trailer except for a couple of gigs that had a tough load in or a bad house P.A.

    Sorry that was so long winded, but I just wanted to let you know that you can play double bass in a LOUD situation without compromising your sound.
  14. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Yes, I probably can! [​IMG] I think that the only two cabs that they have ever made which I don't own (or owned at one point) are the CxL-110 and the NM-410.

    As mentioned below, the VL-208's are fantabulistic! Two or more VL-208's are a wonderful thing (I'm up to four, now!). VL-110's are also great for their size, but I prefer the 8's on upright. One of my favorite lightweight rigs right now is my iAMP 800 powering two Wizzy's. Like many cabs, the Wizzy really shines when you stack two of them.

    As for EA 2x10's, I have tried all of them (VL-210, CxL-210, and NL-210). The VL's are still probably my favorite, but the NL's are so light, it feels like there are no drivers in the cab! And the NL-210 is a bit more full and warm sounding than the other two (but still quite clear).

    If you have any specific questions about EA cabs or amps, please let me know. I also own a Walter Woods Ultra, which is nice if you double (or if you just like to carry around a 7 lb 1,200w amp!).
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Man, you are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to EA stuff! Thanks for the input. Slightly off topic: have you had a chance to compare the iamp800, the WW Ultra, and the AI Focus through any/all of the EA cabs? I've done my own preliminary comparison of the Focus and the 800, and would welcome your views as well.
  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The only AI amp that I have tried is the Clarus SL (which impressed me mightily). But with regard to the iAMP 800 versus the WWU, the WWU has sweeter mids, but is not as tight in the low end (though it really isn't a slouch, either), and the highs seem pretty similar, with perhaps some of that WW midrange sweetness on the upper mids making themselves heard. For me, it comes down to different cabs sounding better with one or the other, and in most regards, I view the iAMP and the WWU dead even equal competitors (except for portability, where the little Wally Ultra has a significant advantage). This says a lot the iAMP, IMHO. I would love to hear a Focus of these days, though.

    Oh, and as for which cabs with which head, with Accugroove and ACME cabs, I give the clear nod to the iAMP 800. The thick lows get a bit uncontrolled with the WWU. But Bergantino's love the WWU like nothing else I have tried so far. The Hevos Midget also loves Walter's little amp. The WWU sounds really good with VL series cabs, and VL-210's in particular, but the iAMP is also great - just a little different. Same thing with Epifani cabs - good with both, but different with each.

    Hope this helps, Tom.
  17. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    I also use the solstice with a full circle. On the road I usually get a 4x10 and a trace or swr head, and run direct into the power amps. It get plenty loud, and I often play 2000 seat halls. At home, I used the solstice with qsc plx 1602, and an ea vl210. I could hear over keyboards, guitars and vocals. I have recently downsized everything due to age. Now the solstice, into the effects return of a clarus and a wizzy cab. If it needs to be louder, those are the gigs with rental 4x10's.
  18. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    That's what I've been doing since I been off the road. I hope A.I. comes out with a poweramp like it's rumored.