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ampeg and it's new production

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by DaybeD, Mar 31, 2009.


  1. DaybeD

    DaybeD

    Feb 18, 2009
    Sacramento
    Now I'm a huge ampeg fan but I wanted to ask you what you thought about ampeg moving to china and ceasing or actually stopping production in America. For me this was bad news but good also considering I have USA made gear. But what do you think? Does it sound the same?
     
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    I'm not into it. I don't like jobs leaving here, and that's from someone who is not purposefully patriotic. Is the gear going to improve by such a move? Probably not. Is the savings passed on to consumers? Doesn't look like it - I don't see the prices going town. So I suppose it's just for the economics of the company. It's such an American brand, so it bothers me, I can't help it. I haven't really used a lot of the stuff since the shift, so I can't really comment on the difference physically or aurally.

    JMJ
     
  3. DaybeD

    DaybeD

    Feb 18, 2009
    Sacramento
    Yeah dude it seriously sucks I want to buy a svt without the fear of the cheap components. What have you heard about mark bass? And by the way happy late b day man
     
  4. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    THanks, man.

    Markbass? I heard one rig and it sounded like (gl)ass. Pretty far away from what I like. Other than that, all I know it that it is orange and black.

    JMJ
     
  5. DaybeD

    DaybeD

    Feb 18, 2009
    Sacramento
    Orange and black that's odd over in my side of town they are black and yellow. I just wanted to know from another view because all I heard is that they are extremely expensive. I'm trying to get a new head that's in the five hundred range any suggestions justin?
     
  6. Couldn't agree more with Justin. I've played 'em, but definitely no more. Especially when you have stuff like GB, that to my ears is sonically superior, and several GB guys float these forums and have provided HUGE amounts of CS!!! I'm a GB convert from now on!
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Despite what Justin says about the Markbass, for the $500-700 range, I totally dig Markbass heads. The cabs are kind of meh, but if you like a good solid clean tone that's reminiscent of a very clean Ampeg, the Little Mark II is hard to beat. Not trying to sell anyone on them or anything, but the glassiness Justin heard is way more about the cab than the head IMHO. You won't get any grind whatsoever, but you get a killer clean tone that the cabs aren't the best at playing up. Having said that, I am back to using a vintage SVT full-time because there's just no substitute, and Justin has inspired me to man up and quit trying to save on weight at the expense of the boner I get playing my SVT. And yeah, the LMII IS kind of ugly ;)

    But there are a ton of killer heads in the $500 range on the used market. Check them all out and buy the one that speaks to you. And if you like Ampeg tube amps and can deal with only 100 watts, a vintage V4 or V4B head in working condition sells for $500 on average. It's a great head, and a very loud 100 watts. You can get a used CL or 2-Pro for around $800-900, too, if you can get another few shekels together.

    I'm totally down with what Justin says about Ampeg. Not only did they move, but they spent a good two years putting out gear with a high failure rate. Fortunately, it looks like LOUD's former head idiot totally ran LOUD into the ground, and maybe they can sell Ampeg to someone who cares enough about what Ampeg means to bring it back here.
     
  8. Skeevenmac

    Skeevenmac

    Jan 27, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    I have a Little Mark II pushing a Dr Bass 115 and I love it. It reminds of me of playing my old Ampeg rig but is a total of 37lbs. I can get punch and low end. To each his own though, right?

    Keep in mind the low end may have been coming from my pbass with old flats or my hofner
     
  9. TheDialog

    TheDialog Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Baltimore
    Justin, I purchased an Ampeg 8x10 last year that was made in Vietnam by the new "Loud Technology" Ampeg and production costs went down. The tolex and adhesive they use (in my opinion) was not legit. Once a piece started to rip the whole side seemed like it wanted to go. Definitely not as durable in that respect. Aside from that the metal pieces that are on the corners of the cab were cut much shorter than the originals that wrapped all the way around. Aside from this I a/b the two (my american and the vietnam) and the american definitely took the cake on the test.

    I sold the cab and not own SVT-4 (american), SVT-Classic (black/american), SVT-AV (american), 2 Black 810's and 1 AV 810 (all 3 american). I would stay away from the newer stuff. I was going to shop endorsement with the new record through them, however now I think I'm gonna shoot for Aguilar and mix the Ampeg and Aguilar stuff or just go with a straight Aggy rig and leave the Ampeg at home.

    Thoughts?
     
  10. DaybeD

    DaybeD

    Feb 18, 2009
    Sacramento
    Yeah dude it totally blows but I managed to get a 410 bxt sounds so sick. I might make my own cabs with neodymium speakers. Hopefully they won't fall apart. Any ideas? By the way I think aguilar sound pretty legit. Used one to record sounded really good.
     
  11. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    I'm feeling you 100%. Considering that type of move myself, though not sure about the amp company. Aguilar smokes, that's for sure. I've got a few offers, will be perusing. But you can't go wrong with Aggie for sure.

    JMJ
     
  12. TheDialog

    TheDialog Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Baltimore
    Word. So refreshing to hear from people that understand. If you were starting fresh with endorsements who would you think about endorsing (amp/cab) wise.

    How's tour going?
     
  13. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    As sort of a very rough idea, I have interest in Mesa, Aguilar, and Ashdown, I guess. GK makes some cool stuff too. Those Bergantino cabs also seem really nice. I just want some stuff that's huge sounding, bassy, and really rugged. And that doesn't look silly. Aguilar seems pretty epic, though. As does Mesa.

    JMJ
     
  14. kyral210

    kyral210

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester
    I guess its like telling a Brit (like me) that Marshall or Ashdown was moving all production out of the UK. Its a weird thing how if a rig you love is made in your country you feel that little bit of pride welling up inside you. My Ashdown main rig is made in the UK, and I feel that little bit warmer towards it than my cheaper rig (for carting around the circuit), which although is still Ashdown, is made in Korea of China, or somewhere similar. Then again, maybe its because the main rig is the 'true' Ashdown amp and the import is the 'second rate' stuff. Either way, there is a patriotic slant.

    having said that, I do have a burning love for my Bass Pod Xt (which you might have guessed if you, or anyone, follows my posts!) which is American made...

    :bassist:
     
  15. thombo

    thombo

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    jmj,
    i wouldn't ask, if you weren't entertaining this thread, but i was wondering- is this because ampeg's customer support/artist relations has diminished, mild patriotism/mild xenophobia, looking for something new, or other reasons?

    would you be looking for another sealed 8x10 or just something that sounds good?

    this is a curious situation, and it is admirable for an artist like yourself to discus this in public- the fact is (as i know you are aware, and your forum proves) that what you play will influence some people to buy/consider the gear that a company offers.

    also, is your stage gear ever dictated by the artist that you are playing with? i have worked w/ a few people who didn't like the live gear that they used, but had to use it b/c the artist that hired them had an endorsement (i work for a backline company).

    you can always refinish your cabs in neon green tolex and remove the ampeg logos from your existing cabs.
     
  16. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but I'm going to encapsulate my take on this issue in this post and hopefully leave it here, from this point forward.

    In terms of Ampeg: It's not a matter of patriotism, per se.

    But it IS a matter of good jobs leaving just for the sake of the bottom line, coupled with the gear quality not necessarily improving (haven't played the imported heads, but wasn't into the cosmetics on a cab I used recently from China or Vietnam), along with a price advantage not necessarily being passed down to the consumer. Also, just a sense of an iconic brand somehow being watered down. I couldn't be the only one to feel this way. Lastly, all of the people I've been working with at the company for years are no longer there; those are people with which I had built great relationships.

    That is my rationale for not continuing an official endorsement of the products.

    This doesn't mean I won't use the gear. I LOVE my U.S. Ampeg gear. It sounds great, it works great, it looks cool. It's possible that nothing will sound like my sealed 810AV cabs, for instance. Or my B-15R. They are singularly awesome. I use them all to this day.

    But those changes in their business model which I touched on above have made it so that I don't have interest in ENDORSING the product any longer. I haven't been convinced to do anything otherwise by the company or anyone else.

    As far as an allegiance with another brand, I may or may not decide to go down that road, depending on my future needs. Regardless, wherever I end up, the relationship would have to be based on some sound fundamental principles and candid agreements for the good of both sides.

    Hopefully that all makes sense.

    Best,
    JMJ
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've heard of that happening. I think Justin is beyond that point, though. When you have the clout to where you can cut your own deals, that's a little different than someone getting hired to play in a band where the leader has a deal and nobody else has that kind of clout.
     
  18. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    Yeah, I don't really need to worry about that, thankfully. That would be an interesting scenario.
     
  19. jk3

    jk3

    Jul 25, 2007
    Chicago
    Justin,

    you mentioned a couple brands you'd be looking into for endorsements. i know you said youre motives dont revolve around patriotism per se.

    Peavey came to my mind - as they seem to have made the complete opposite moves (that you mentioned) from Ampeg -
    In that:
    -they now make two all tube heads, the VB2 and Pro VB3
    -Made in the USA
    -for $899 & $1,799.

    i'm not a Peavey fanboy but, like i said, it seems they've gone in the opposite direction that Ampeg has gone - and maybe you'd want to give them a look when considering endorsements...if you dig Peavey's style, that is...
    JK
     
  20. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    Looked at their website. Have you seen the visuals on those Peavey heads? Sorry, no can do. :) Thanks for the notion, though. I think Peavey stuff is really good, I've used rented stuff on occasions, and they're combos are nice and loud. Plus my old T-40 bass is epic.

    Best,
    JMJ
     

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