Amplification Question

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by kirkm24, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    I searched through the sticky's on amps and searched this forum but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.

    After having disbanded for 10 years, my old swing band is re-uniting and we have got together to rehearse a few times. Right now I am using an Acoustic B200 (the Guitar Center deluxo el cheapo combo). It's not terrible but I'm sure there are better options.

    My question is concerning the best upright amplification for a modern swing band (i.e. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Royal Crown Revue, etc.). In the sticky's everyone seems to love the GK M150 and Acoustic Image stuff but my concern with those amps is wattage/volume. I can see where those would work great for a jazz trio, quartet or even a big band but in my particular situation, modern swing music is a little more driving almost like rock. We do have a few songs that flirt with Rockabilly as well.

    In the late 90's when I played before I used an Azola Bug Bass EUB and a pre Fender SWR Workingman's 150 watt head with a SWR 4x10 cabinet. It worked fine but that was with an EUB. Towards the end of that run, I used an acoustic upright with a Fishman BP-100 pickup and preamp and it sounded pretty bad.

    I know Dirk from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy uses a SWR Super Redhead combo with a Son of Goliath cabinet underneath. I thought his tone sounded alright live and they're style of swing is more driving like ours.

    I just wanted to find out if anyone else on here is in a modern swing band currently and what they use for amplification and how it works for you.

    Right now I have an Engelhardt laminate bass with D'Addario Helicore strings and a K&K Double Twin pickup with the K&K Pure Preamp. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    It would also be ideal if this rig could be used with electric bass.

    Some amps I was considering:

    GK MB150 w/ extension cab (could it handle the volume?)
    TC Electronic RH450 and RS210 or RS212 cabinet
    EA Doubler and some kind of a 2x10 cabinet (need recommendations, was thinking Bergantino or Epifani)

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The EA Doubler would definitely be a good head. I would also recommend looking at a Markbass LMIII or even the Gallien Krueger 700RB-IV if you need the volume. They are a few of the bass guitar amps that I have found that work particularly well for Double Bass(with a 1x12" cabinet). If you want a really great sounding, and light weight combo I would seriously look at the Markbass Mini CMD121. It works well for Doubling, and is very clear sounding. One other thing... the Double Big Twin pickup isn't the greatest at higher volumes. You might want to consider a different pickup like the Fishman Full Circle, or even the Revolution Solo II.
  3. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    I know the double twin isn't the most ideal but it is the only pickup I can use without replacing my bridge. I have one of those weird bridges where the wing slots are angled and the revolution solo and the bass max pickups won't fit in the sockets. I just don't want to replace the whole bridge and have to re-setup the entire bass for a pickup. I do have a preamp on it so I can boost the gain. My goal down the road will be to add the bass max and get the dual channel K&K preamp so I can blend the 2 pickups together.
  4. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    The Markbass CMD12 definitely sounds like a great option. I will check into that one.
  5. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    How about a Fender TB600 with a Fender 215Pro cab. This rig wouldn't be on sale at GC but it would more than do the job.
  6. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    15's are not good for upright, too muddy/boomy and they ivnite feedback issues.
  7. LarryR

    LarryR Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I agree with your comment on 15's, but, if the right 15 isn't sitting next to your bass, it could work fine. Put it on chair, and even less chance of feedback. Still, not too many guys use them. I'd get 12's before I got 10's, but, that's just my experience. OTOH the EA VL208 (grail cab that I've never used) has 8's so there you are. I used to use Acme Low B1's, then Bergantino 12's, then tried an EA MLine 12. VERY good doubling cab, but, not cheap. I bought a 2nd one, and I'm done looking for cabs. FWIW, I miss the Acme's and Bergs, but, I forced myself to settle on something. M-Lines were it for me (for now). I confess I'm dying to try Jim Bergantino's newer AE line.

    As to heads..... even rock heads, Ampeg B25B, GK400RB, GK700, Mesa Walkabout, sounded good (for drivin' swing). It's all about EQ'ing IME... and/or the compromise of how much content you have to EQ out for a particular situation. That's what FDeck's hi-pass $ 60 filter is for.

    IME Kirk, the GK MB - even with ext, won't do it. I'd look for 300w+. With MB150x you'll be pushing it hard. Also, seems you're new to this stuff, but, lots of guys here are looking for my bass louder (ie. most natural sound). AI, EA, Walter Woods, maybe Genz Benz (haven't tried 'em) AER, Schertler et al are designed for the desire of clean reproduction. SO much is in your hands though that I DO believe, a good bassist can make just about anything work. In your case, you're not going for replication of subtley's ie. in a trio or duo setting, so, to sum it up, I'd think bigger head and cab.

    Me? I've used a Sadowsky 410 cab with upright, down to a 12lb. GK MB112 with a Phil Jones Bass 150w D-200 head. Both worked fine. That GK cab and PJB head cost me $ 400 total. Many SS heads IMO don't work well. Ashdown ABM500 for instance. Way too phat. Dialing out low end turned the amp into a transistor radio.

    If I given you more questions than answers, then ha ha ha ha!!!! Welcome to the club! :) Good luck with your search though.
  8. I use a focus 2r into an EA 2x10. Works fine for me.
    Presumably the swing band plays through a Front of House PA. I sometimes get away with just a contra if I know that the Sound Guy can throw some bass into the monitors. Saves carrying unnecessary gear.I don't think that a big rig is the way to go.
  9. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri

    Kirk, The bad sound you were experiencing was probably the result of the Fishman BP-100 you had. Especially if you didn't use a Fishman pre amp with it. On most basses it emphasizes all the worst parts of the midrange. Newer pickups like the Full Circle sound markedly better.

    I've played in both 12 and 16 piece bands and the EA VL 208 is just perfect for those gigs. Unfortunately, there kind of hard to get your hands on since EA discontinued them. They do make the Wizzy 12 M Line though. I'm considering a EA Doubler because I like the design of the amp. I currently use a Walter Woods, great amp, but not inexpensive.

    It would also be ideal if this rig could be used with electric bass.

    Some amps I was considering:[/QUOTE]

    Great little amp, very affordable, but frankly it would not be able to keep up with that many other instruments.

    I have no experience with this amp

    Good choice I think since the Doubler has the tools to get a great DB sound. (Bergantino's according to many on Talkbass are
    good cabinets for Double Bass.) Consider the Wizzy 12 from EA as well

  10. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Thank you all for the advice. I dumped my K&K setup and got a Fishman Full Circle and a Pro Platinum EQ/DI/Preamp unit. The bass sounded much fuller and focused and the feedback issue was eliminated when I hit the little phase switch... what a God send!

    I also re-strung my bass with Evah Pirazzi strings and the tone and feel is a lot nicer and it sits really well in the mix with everyone else. Overall, I was fairly happy with the amp but I'm still going to consider other options. I just don't want to hastily rush and dump a bunch of cash on gear that won't work for me. The change of pickup, strings and preamp made a world of difference!
  11. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Great, glad it is working out. I usually suggest trying a better / or more feedback resistant pickup along with a nice preamp such as the Pro Platinum , before going out and buying a whole new bass rig. You did the right thing.

    Many electric bass amps can work OK if you have the pickup and preamp covered. One way to get a "less-colored" tone is to plug your preamp into the effects return - when using a less than ideal bass amp. With my GK head, I like the tone better with the pro platinum into the regular input though, so it all depends.

    Some bass amps just sound better with double bass than others - like most GK amps and the Markbass LMII and III and the Markbass 112 combo mentioned above.
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