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Amplification suggestions for young bassist, please!

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by bassist6, Jul 24, 2012.


  1. bassist6

    bassist6

    May 20, 2007
    Carlsbad, CA
    Hi everyone!

    I am looking for a first mic/pickup/amp setup for my son, who is 12. He has been playing primarily classical, but is signed up for a jazz camp and needs some sort of amplification. He will also be playing some jazz at school in the future (the school has jazz combos and a large jazz orchestra/big band). He *really* likes the sound of the bass without amplification, so I want something that will keep his sound as natural as possible, just louder. Also looking for affordable and easy to get on/off (his bridge does have adjusters, if that is helpful). I would appreciate any suggestions; I am getting overwhelmed with all of the various possibilities! Thank you for your help!
     
  2. My first bass amp was a Fender Rumble ... 15w?
    Fairly loud and keeps it very plain sounding with no real tone differences (in a good way), so I would recommend that for sure.
     
  3. Tough bill of goods there.

    I'd say Bass max. Simple to install once it has been fitted and fairly inexpensive. Tone won't be stellar, but it is sturdy and will make a good backup for down the road when he has a more expensive setup. A little Fender amp will probably be just fine too.
     
  4. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR_qVZEqk6fPWuodh9Z6ayv3OT-BYxqLDNmW69QU4HRY0ACkEjh.

    I'm afraid that even this guy couldn't grant that request! :D Many of us are in search of the holy grail, i.e., "My bass, but bigger." I view amplification as a necessary evil. We do the best we can. The transducers and systems that keep sound as natural as possible are definitely not the most affordable. No surprise there.

    My opinion:

    Especially because of the desire to easily remove the pickup, I would suggest a bridge-wing type (one that fits into the wing of the bridge). The most affordable and easy to install is the K&K BassMax but it yields anything but a natural sound. Far better is the Rev Solo. The Rev Solo requires very careful fitting but it's worth the effort. If you're willing to leave the pickup on the bass, two other favorites around here are the Realist and Full Circle.

    As for amps, there are others here more familiar than I am with the entry-level, smaller rigs. It would be helpful if you'd let us know something about the venue in which your son will be playing and your overall budget.

    Best wishes with the search. :)
     
  5. engedi1

    engedi1 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2005
    Nashville
    Time for my Erhlund plug. I have the Exact same goals as your son. Natural as possible, easy to be removed for classical playing, non permanently installed. I found my happiness with Erhlund. It is expensive, but sounds better than any piezo based system I have ever heard. By a long shot, not even a close comparison. There are a couple if great threads about it. Handles volume well without feedback, I have done many gigs with it and it has worked great. Best Arco tone of any pickup as well.
     
  6. bassist6

    bassist6

    May 20, 2007
    Carlsbad, CA
  7. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I think that I will soon be getting an Ehrlund. Really though, it is quite expensive compared to the alternatives and, by all accounts, it requires a fair amount of trial and error to get the right sound, although it seems well worth the effort. It also requires a pre-amp. I didn't mention it because it didn't seem to fit the bill of being affordable and just didn't seem to be a robust choice for a 12-year-old player at jazz camp.

    I consider this to be a really good choice if you want to do this on the cheap. Also, see if you can find a used older model like this.

    I use one of the BX1200s as an amp for rehearsals. I plug the Rev Solo directly into it and, for a $200 rig, it's hard to beat. No, it's not up to the level of the equipment we usually discuss here and I don't gig with it but it's a huge bang for the buck.
     
  8. bassist6

    bassist6

    May 20, 2007
    Carlsbad, CA
    Drurb, you bring up some good points about affordability, and ease of use! I should probably consider either the Bass Max or Rev Solo, which will also save me (?) from buying a preamp right now. Do you think the Acoustic B100 would be a decent amp choice, or would you have another (affordable) recommendation?
     
  9. engedi1

    engedi1 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2005
    Nashville
    The bass max and rev solo ii will also need a preamp. Most bass amps, especially ones like the acoustic that are geared towards bass guitar are not set up to receive the impedance of most piezo pickups, and a buffer (preamp) helps a lot. K&K, who makes the bass max, also makes a preamp, that is pretty nice, with 3 band eq, that is pretty cheap. I have a bass max that I might be willing to sell very reasonably. I'll pm you. It is in mint condition, used only couple times.
     
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I was posting while you were (see above). :) Most peizo pickups fare better with a pre-amp. One of the best equipment purchases you can ever make is fdeck's high-pass filter/pre-amp.
     
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, "need" is relative here. Yes, no doubt about it, the BassMax and Rev Solo benefit greatly from a high input impedance. Still, if shaving every dollar, the Rev Solo, moreso than the BassMax, can be used without one. My best advice as a minimal system would be the Rev Solo, fdeck's pre-amp, and one of those little Behringer combos. The Behringer has an interesting "shape" control that allows one to hide some warts. It works quite well. As I mentioned, I run the Rev Solo right into one in my group's rehearsal space and I get a sound that's much better than you might imagine.

    engedi1 is absolutely correct and I share his preferences (although I haven't gotten my Ehrlund yet. :)) I'm doing my best to keep it bare bones and low budget for bassist6. As most regulars here know, this is not a route I would usually recommend at all but we're not talking about a gigging pro here.
     
  12. seang15

    seang15

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    Don't forget to search the threads for Fdeck's Hpf! ( preamp essentially.) But Drurb can tell you a whole lot more about that!
     
  13. seang15

    seang15

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    Yikes, we responded Fdeck same exact time lol :)
     
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I just looked up some specs. My little Behringer BX1200 has a 1 Mohm input impedance. No wonder it works decently with the Rev Solo. The newer ones have a 250 kohm input impedance. So bassist6, if you can't find an old BX1200, then either go with the fdeck pre in front of one of their newer models or look for a little combo that has a higher input impedance. Anyone have suggestions?
     
  15. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri

    Durb,
    I finds it very interesting that a manufacturer like Beheringer would get the input impedance right in the first place, only to screw it up on the newer model. A used GK MBS would be my first preference, if you can find one for the right price. All of the Gallien Krueger Amps have a 1 meg ohm load. They have new amps coming out soon. As far his bass sounding just as it does acoustically, that's possible with a Shure SM 58, but it's tricky to get it loud enough into the amp without having it feed back.

    Ric
     
  16. engedi1

    engedi1 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2005
    Nashville
    I just used a 58 on a gig a couple of weeks ago when I forgot my ehrlund. Worked great wrapped in a towel and placed between the bridge feet. It was a quite gig so I pulled it off.
     
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    The old Behringer 1200 had "active" and "passive" inputs... one high, one low impedance. Good as a Shure SM58 would be, doesn't sound practical for a 12-year-old at jazz camp, given the mounting methods and all. Then there are the feedback issues. Trying to balance being foolproof, inexpensive, and decent sound. :)

    You forgot your Ehrlund? You take it off your bass? :eek:
     
  18. engedi1

    engedi1 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2005
    Nashville
    I take it off after every use. Why you ask? My bass just barely fits in my case, which was ordered for a smaller bass. I don't want to scrape the pickup off while packing up my bass, and I don't like to practice with it on. I actually left the Erhlund at a venue, and miraculously recovered it 3 weeks later at the same venue!
     
  19. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I recommend the Realist for many reasons. Its fairly easy to install, or remove. It works well with many different amps(which is a bonus if you are using school amps), and its one of the most natural sounding pickups. It does vary bass to bass, but its easier to get a sound out of a Realist than something like a BP100 or a Bassmax(although I don't mind the Bassmax).
     
  20. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    If you mean the original Realist, then, of course, it's much more difficult to remove than a bridge-wing pickup, considering that it's mounted under the bridge foot. No?
     

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