Ampeg V-4B Overdrive Switch

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Domi79, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. Domi79


    Oct 28, 2017
    Hi Folks

    For a while I have been pondering about an (logical) Issue and just can't get it right. But I'm confident that I came to the right Place here to get some answers :)

    First a little bit of Context: I'm fairly new to playing Bass, having done it 4-5 Month now. Before That I was playing Guitar but that not in a Band. Right now I'm playing on a Ibanez SDGR but someday soon I will go for an Fender P-Bass. I started recently to play Bass in a Band and we are playing mostly Blues-Rock. We are all into Hendrix, Wolfmother, Steve Ray Vaughn, Black Keys, Rival Sons etc. So far I have been playing on a lend Gallien Krüger Amp but I really want to buy my own. After a long research I narrowed it down to an Ampeg V-4B (reissue) or the Fender Bassmann 100T. Tone aside (which both are great) I'm almost convinced that the V-4B would be right for me. Not to much Knobs (I like it simple), not too heavy, 100W (We are not gonna play big venues anytime soon), way cheaper than the Fender and the great Ampeg sound make it seam like a no brainer....BUT....

    and now thats the Problem:

    The V-4B has just one Channel right? So if I want to go from clean to overdrive I would have to mess anytime with the knobs on the Amp itself. There is no Foot-Switch as there is no second Channel... Right, I could change the Settings on the Amp itself between Songs but it would be annoying. Or what when I want to change from Clean to Overdrive in the middle of a Song? Well the obvious answer would be a overdrive pedal right? But here is the dealbreaker: I find it irritating to buy a pedal just to emulate the overdrive sound which is already available on the amp itself. Or is the overdrive sound from a good pedal anyway better then the one from the amp? I just can't get my head around it and it's the only thing why I haven't bought the V-4B already. Off Course I wouldn't have this Issue with the Fender but so far this would be the only argument which favors the Fender. Do I miss here something or this a known issue?

    It may sound like a Newbie-Question but any help would be really appreciated :)


  2. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    I just set my amp for overdrive and then use my volume knob on my bass or my pickup switch (switching from a high output to a low output pickup) to get a cleaner sound.
  3. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    Guitar amps with channel switching are fairly common. There are different EQ settings that allow the player to get the overdrive that they need within a song. Fender takes their channel switching queue from guitar amps and offers it in the 100T. The question is, does the Fender boost increase the volume without distortion in the way that you want it to work.

    Bass players tend to rely on using the bass volume control to set the level. Some bass players use pedals for a whole host of effects, just like guitar players. A pedal called a clean boost not only increases the volume but also changes the EQ to provide more high end. This makes your playing stand out more. If there is enough of an increase in the signal, the pedal will overdrive the input stage of the tube amp. This will provide distortion. The right balance has to found with the pedal settings, you may not want distortion, just a volume boost.

    What is important that sets the two amps apart from my thinking are the tonal qualities.

    Hopefully someone who has owned both will comment.
  4. The_Janitor


    Jun 30, 2012
    Madison, Wi
    It's a common misconception that all overdrive pedals are meant to emulate a tube amp. Most of them, especially the classic circuits, are intended to provide a signal boost with a small amount of clipping in order to drive the preamp section of a tube amp to distortion. They're designed to work in tandem with a tube preamp. So I'd re-think your aversion to pedals. The V4B isn't designed to be super dirty on its own, if you want drive/distortion you'll either need to crank it to full or add a pedal.

    You could pick up the new Ampeg Scrambler pedal for under $100, or even cheaper would be a Joyo Ultimate Drive. Just be sure that you get something that's purpose-built for bass or you could end up cutting out a lot of low end.
    High Camp and bobyoung53 like this.
  5. Domi79


    Oct 28, 2017
    THX for the Help Guys!

    Hmm OK I think I get it. So lets say I dial in my settings on the Amp so that I have a nice clean sound and then with a Clean Boost or Ampeg Scrampler I would like boost the signal so that the Preamp breaks Up / distorts, right? But the EQ on the Amp would stay the same...? Ah but I guess the Pedals have their own EQ. Make sense.
    But what if you have a solid state Amp and have the same Problem? There would be no Tubes / Preamp to break up with a stronger signal, right? So in that case you would have to go with a Pedal anyway?

    @The_Janitor: what are typical classic circuits?


    Dec 21, 2007
    Cowtown, USA
    For what you want the Fender Bassman 100 would be ideal.
  7. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I usually set my amp for the volume I need an duse an overdrive to push it beyond when I want a driven sound. You can also do as suggested by setting the gain at the drive level you want and backing off with the volume on the bass or alternatively by using a volume pedal. Used to do that with my sound city, it was non-master and always sounded a bit driven at the volumes I wanted but using a volume pedal allowed me to back of the gain in the early stages while keeping my bass/effects levels consistent before the amp.
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  8. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    As Corey said above. Set the amp for an overdriven sound, then back off the bass volume to clean it up. Work the volume control.

    A clean boost pedal does something else. It boosts the level and the high frequencies a bit. BUT, the output of the pedal does not have to be so strong that it overloads the input of the first stage. It’s a clean transistor based preamp that provides some gain. This allows it to work with a tube or solid state amp. If you are using a tube amp, you have the option of turning up the level of the pedal so that it does overdrive the input stage. This can be creamy or it can be distorted depending on how far you go with the level. The pedal matters as well.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
    Sartori likes this.
  9. Domi79


    Oct 28, 2017
    OK, well I think I'm gonna try both ways; with just volume control / overdriven amp and then with a clean Amp and Clean Boost Pedal or a Overdrive Pedal.

    Can you recommend me some classic Boost or Overdrive Pedals who work good with the Ampeg V-4B? I'm really not looking for a full Distorted Sound or Fuzz, which are to harsh. I like...well Overdrive Sound (creamy, Blues Rock Sound) I guess. What about the Ibanez Tube Screamer? Or the Ampeg Scrambler?
  10. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    I really like a Timmy but look into some "transparent" overdrives. Pedals you can set for that kind of edge of breakup sound without really coloring the tone too much. Can also check out the xotic rc booster, barber direct drive, wampler euphoria, BJFE blueberry, of fairfield barbershop.
  11. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    There are so many pedals to choose from. In general clean boost circuits are based on a single transistor or an operational amplifier (TL047 for example). They are are a simple clean amplifier stage.

    The one that I like is the Strymon OB1 Bass (with the bass mod, specified when ordering). It combines both a boost and a compressor to trim the peaks. This can be useful in that it makes the boost less harsh, the compressor provides even more boost. If you use a lot of pedals this one whould go first in the chain. There are options on the pedal, also more settings inside, it’s a complex pedal.

    Worth checking out. The down side is that at $200, it is more expensive that most boost pedals.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    AmericanFenderJazzMan likes this.
  12. P-oddz


    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    You definitely should peruse some of the pedal threads to find what you are looking for. There are tons of threads on "transparent" overdrives.
    But honestly, I would say that until you get the amp, I wouldn't worry about trying to find a solution before you even have a problem. The playing dynamics of the V4B and the catalog of songs you want to play are really going to dictate what type of pedal you'd be looking for, or if you even need a pedal. The amp excels at creamy blues rock tones, but still fits in cleaner settings as well with a bit of push. It's a tube amp, so it sings when you are giving it some juice.
    So, unless you are expecting crystal clean hi-fi most times, (in which case you shouldn't be looking into a 100 watt tube amp) and your idea of driven tone is the polar opposite, I don't know if you need to worry about such things yet.

    Now, completely negating what I just said, I've found a Catalinbread SFT plays well with Ampeg amps. I use that with my V4B to get some extra drive. Also, a cheap boost worth checking out, IMO, is an Ibanez BB9. It's a decent mild pedal, especially for the price, IMO.

    I did some clips of the BB9 into a PF800 here:
    Ibanez BB9 Bottom Booster (the boost you've never thought about) SOUND CLIPS
  13. Domi79


    Oct 28, 2017
    Hi there

    yeah I guess I wanted to be certain that the ampeg is the right choice and to clearify those topics before I buy it. Tube amp is set and if you say it delievers creamy blues rock sound, that is exactly what I want. but yeah maybe I should wait with the pedal till I get the Amp. Just wanted to have an idea tough and so far I have some interesting suggestions your clips with the bb9 sound great. I like the simplicity of it. are u missing a blend knob? as with other interesting pedals I often encounter guitar pedals used for bass. losing low end seems always to be a topic. are pedals specificaly made for bass not the better way to go?
  14. Michael Schreiber

    Michael Schreiber Commercial User

    Oct 14, 2014
    Kassel / Germany
    Not in my opinion; even having a pedal that doesn't compromise the low end, I prefer using it with a blender-looper pedal.
    I use my Earthbound Audio BEAST pedal that way; connected to the send/return effects loop of the blender-looper, followed by a volume pedal, I can blend in as much fuzz as needed during the song. Works similarly with overdrive pedals.

    However, I only use that to fill the gap in the mix when the guitar's playing lead melodies/soli.

    Otherwise, I simply play softer, so my V-4 doesn't distort.
    Works very well for me - but it may have to do with my bass; my 4001s don't have extremely hot output signals as, for example, my HB-8.

    So, if you have problems controlling the overdrive with dynamic playing alone, feel free to try reduce your bass output bit by bit until you find the sweet spot in terms of both dynamics and tone.

    Much success and much fun - the V-4B is a great amp, IMHO! \m/
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Both are fine pedals that will do what you want, although if you go the TS route, get one that's been made for bass, even if you have to get a clone. But I've been using the Scrambler for a few months now, and it's a great pedal with a lot of clarity, and I always get drawn back to it when I try other ones.