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Ampeg PF500 or MarkBass LMIII...for Motown?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by CLMSHQ, Feb 26, 2013.



    Apr 17, 2007
    Danielson, CT
    My Current set up is a LMIII going into a 8ohm 112 Avatar for smaller gigs, and the LMIII going into a 4ohm 410 Avatar for bigger gigs. I use a Am STD Fender Jazz and a MIM 50's P.

    My Jazz sounds Awesome to my ears, but the P' lacks the tone I need.

    I am in a 7 to 9 Piece band playing stuff by Chicago, EWF, Cocker, Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Mowtown.. ect.

    Is an Ampeg PF500 the answer???

    I want to play my P more with this band..but I am having a rough time getting that Jamerson tone....But My Jazz almost nails it.

    I have played through Ampegs before and like the tone, but video clips I have seen of the PF500, they are more trebly sounding than say a Classic Ampeg tone.

    Anyones .02???
  2. Best thing for you to do is take your cab and bass down and go try out a PF-500.

    When I was purchasing my PF-500 I tried the LMIII as well. That amp does absolutely nothing for me. To my ear a P-bass with the PF has a certain magic that cant be done well by most other amps.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Try bringing the high mid down to about 9:00 when playing with the precision. I find with the LMII/III that tends to give the best sound with a P-Bass. The Aguilar TH heads are something you should check out as well. They kill with a Precision Bass, and don't have the reliability issues the PF heads sometimes have.
  4. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I owned a LMII; could never get enough of the R&B vibe for my tastes.
    You could adjust the EQ but never liked the midrange or overall vibe; a bit too sterile.
    I now have the TH500 and it is great for rock & R&B with a Pbass.
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If you want to nail the Jamerson tone/Motown sound your amp choice doesn't matter. Here is a quote from Bob Babbitt.

    "As far as the Amp if you spend a little time with it, regardless of the Amp you are using, I am sure you will find the sound you like....
    Start out with the Bass/Treble/Mid knobs all Flat....
    You can try Bass 2 o'clock, Treble 10 o'clock, and Mid 12 o'clock...You can tweak it from there, You also can try everything at 2 o'clock and tweak...Good Luck, Bob"

    Link to Bob's post on his forum.

    Hope that helps.


    Apr 17, 2007
    Danielson, CT
    Correct..but does the PF500 nail the true Ampeg sound or is it more Hi-Fi sounding???

    To me the clips (Ampeg PF Series) seem more like a Genz Shuttle rather an older Ampeg...just what I can hear.

    There are not too many Music stores near me that carry the PF500's or have them in stock right now.
  7. I think a lot will depend on your cab as well. The only way you will know for sure, if the PF will fit your needs along with your existing gear, is to go and try one.
  8. I LOVE the LMII with a P Bass for the Motown thing, which is very clean and round with very little grind. With the EQ set flat and the VLE engaged around 10 o'clock to take the clean upper treble out, you should be in heaven. (Edit: make sure that VPF is totally off).

    If you want more grit, keep the VERY nice LMII and just by a VT pedal. That way, you have the gloriously clean and warm LMII/III tone, and can get the more Ampeg midrangey vibe with that bit of midrange distortion by clicking a footswitch.

    Many, many TBers use this LMII/III with VT as a 'best of both worlds' sort of solution.


    Apr 17, 2007
    Danielson, CT
    Good advice..I have come close by also using my EH Big Muff Pi with a little grit to get close to that too...I should probably take my rig home this week and mess with the settings more... :meh:
  10. +1 And again, there is very little 'grit' in most of those old Motown recordings to my ear. Nice and warm, dead flats, tone control turned down on the bass. Very little of what I would call the 'classic Ampeg' tone in there, and most of those tracks were direct to the board anyway. Given the little class D Ampegs reliability record, I would think LONG AND HARD about making that switch. If you really want a bit more grit and grunt, that VT pedal is a really good 'Ampeg emulator', and the new model shipping in May has a DI and a few more bells and whistles than the original, and is much smaller than the high end VT pedal.

    PS I'm not saying 'don't make the change' (i.e., you might like the PF better in general), but making the change to get a more Motown sort of tone makes little sense to me.
  11. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I play an American Jazz Bass with D'Addario Chromes (flats), kinda heavy, into a LMIII and even into a Markbass cab (151P, or two), and get a good Motown sound. Do NOT turn your low knob up, but rather turn it down to about 10:30. You don't need much in the 40Hz range. In addition, turn your high mids back some to taste (I have to to avoid fingernail clack--although when in a band mix I can get by without doing so). Another thing to try before you turn the high mids down is to turn the high knob all the way off, and see how that sounds. After all that, try the VLE knob at around noon, or even more (you might can just do that and nothing else). When you get to around 2:30 with the VLE even fingernail clack is gone, and you still have your mids. You might get by just using the VLE by itself in this way. Then...

    The real EQ comes with your fingers and where you pluck the strings, as well as the angle of your fingers. I can manipulate almost any amp to get the sound I want with just my hands. For instance, I always grumble about the LM seies amps not having a way to control frequencies in the 100-150Hz range. Well, after doing a combination of the things above I find that I can further eq by moving back a little on the strings. If I come forward I can get even another eq.

    I, too, have had GAS for a PF500, but I am too afraid of the reliability issues associated with that amp. Although, many folks have had none of those issues appear. Who can say if I, or you, would be so lucky. Your call on that (you could always send it back).

    One more trick. Turn your eq knobs all to 9:00, filters off. Then make up for the loss of volume with your Master (if you do it with the Gain knob the clip light will come on too much). Believe it or not, you get a different sound that way from when the knobs were all at noon and the volume down. Just try it and see.
  12. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    The PF amps are not at all hi fi by nature. EQ can make it happen, but they have that good old Ampeg tone baked in. Stick with the Jazz, I'd say. I'm in the same boat, experienced the same dilemma recently with my P Bass through a Little Mark Tube and Avatar B210. The sound was even and clear in every song, which is really nice, even if it's a trade off of a little gritty character. My MXR M80 pedal helped the sound a bit, but I think my Jazz will just sound better.

    There's nothing quite like a P bass through an Ampeg, but no way my band would let me show up with a PF. Both PFs I've purchased never lasted long enough to make it to a gig (just my own luck), so I have a MicroVR. May or may not work with a bigger band, but I have it now, and no more GAS. The little stack is perfect for my old P bass, and I'm using it in other bands. The Little Marks are versatile, dependable workhorses, and that flexibility and peace of mind would be missed.
  13. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    The PF-500 with a matching 1x15 cabinet gets a very good tone. Tried one out with an Epi Viola bass and it was pretty amazing. Tried a few other basses through it and I was impressed with how good of a tone it could put out. Obviously it's not a spot-on match for a B-15 or other Ampeg classics, but it's still a good tone for a ss amp. I like the PF-500 but I think the cabs have a lot to do with the character as well.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The PF500 does have a treble knob you can turn down ;)
  15. CLMSHQ


    Apr 17, 2007
    Danielson, CT
    Thank-you..I have tried the 9 0'Clock setting as well..I liked the sound, but not what I am looking for now..I guess I will keep playing with the eq.
  16. AlexanderB


    Feb 25, 2007
    Some of our band's songs have a bit of motown vibe and I like the tone I get with my Squier JV Precision through an LM II into either an Ampeg SVT-210HE or a Deltalite II loaded EBS Proline 210.
    (The Ampeg cab sounds thicker and "bigger" but not as clear as the EBS cab but with a bit of eq-ing I get a focused and "click-free" tone from both.)

    I have tried using the VT Bass that adds a bit of Ampeg flavor to the sound but was not happy with the added grit. Now I run a clean signal that sits surprisingly well with guitar and drums, even if it sounds a bit too "modern" when soloed.

    Just my 2 Eurocents.
  17. CLMSHQ


    Apr 17, 2007
    Danielson, CT
    I think I made the mistake of trying an Ampeg PF500 Today...Finally.

    Oh My!!!..Sound is what I am in search of...NOW WHAT???lol

    Very close to what I remember my BA115 Combo sounded..except Louder...Wonderful...lol
  18. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    If you can at all afford to get it while keeping the markbass, go for it. If you get a good one it should sound great for your gig. I would be interested to hear a review of how it sits in the mix compared to your current amp.
  19. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    LMIII. It won't blow up.

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