Amps that growl like I’m used to hearing in loud rock music

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by J-phatt, Apr 13, 2024.

  1. J-phatt


    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    I have a rather bland bass amp (Hartke HA3500) and I’d like to consider other amp heads (and cabs) that are designed to produce an aggressive rock tone without resorting to a lot of preamp monkey business. I’m coming from guitar so I’m used to crunchy Celestion drivers and tube overdrive. I grew up on sounds of Hendrix, Cream, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, Beatles, the Jam, Yes, Jefferson Airplane et. al. I know an SVT with 810 fridge cab will get a badass sound but it’s above my budget and volume requirements. Any suggestions?
  2. Nebadon2000

    Nebadon2000 Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    Moyock, North Carolina
    Some of the older Mesa Tube and hybrids can get you there;

    Their Subway WD-800 and TT-800 Heads also can get in territory without much trouble but maybe slightly tamer

    Cabs many good ones out their Mesa, Bergantino and Darkglass to name a few

    I haven't heard any yet but Ampeg New V series Heads and Cabs maybe

    Also GK stuff
    WRM, _Obra_, Mark Karwan and 5 others like this.
  3. J-phatt


    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    Like the Ampeg V4B? What about their current SVTs? Which GK amps are good for growl?
  4. Nebadon2000

    Nebadon2000 Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    Moyock, North Carolina
    Well V4B is a contender but Ampeg has new line [no tubes]
    Ampeg – Bass guitar amplification

    GK either their Legacy or Fusion[tube preamp] and all their older stuff:)
    _Obra_ and J-phatt like this.
  5. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Growl means midrange. Tube amps compress and lose low end as you turn them up, which is how they get that smooth distortion. Try using your Hartke amp's tube channel with compression while setting the EQ and/or Bass Contour knob to progressively roll off everything below about 100 Hz. (That's the amp's Bass Contour hinge frequency.)
  6. bottomzone

    bottomzone Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2005
    Darkglass bass amps may have what you're looking for.
    Spectrum, Gervais Cote and J-phatt like this.
  7. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    Northern KY
    Cab fan, hobbyist
    GK400RB turned wayyy up. If you guys are pretty dang loud maybe 800RB

    Mids not big lows.

    (Bonus) Hartke aluminum cones.

    Bridge pickup, plectrum.

    KellyC, FRoss6788, coryr1000 and 12 others like this.
  8. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Some of it is technique too.
  9. J-phatt


    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    I like to crank both preamps. Learning to use the graphic EQ is next level. I’ll try that One Weird Trick.
    HP Hovercraft likes this.
  10. J-phatt


    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    Do you think the GK400RB nails that tone more than any of the new line (affordable used) from Ampeg?
    I’ll see about getting a Hartke alum-cone driver cab if one shows up cheap. Amy particular array more growly than another?
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2024
    coryr1000 and LowendG like this.
  11. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    I’ve been seeing reasonably priced Walkabout heads lately, you might want to read up on those.
    Mark Karwan, MCF and rodl2005 like this.
  12. J-phatt


    Apr 6, 2024
    Best Coast
    The Aguilar? I saw one today at GC for like $300.
  13. Lance Bunyon

    Lance Bunyon

    Jul 17, 2018
    Mesa Boogie Bass 400+ gets super growly in channel 2 at master 3 volume (gain) 3.
    It gets downright wooly and gnarly after that.
    It's just shy of 50 lbs and costs a cool $500 to retube, but I'll never sell mine!
    MCF and mikewalker like this.
  14. The GK400RB has a very classic growly tone. I regret selling mine and will likely buy another - even just for home use, though I have more expensive amps, they don’t sound like that.

    Also my Aguilar AG500DC “overdrive” channel sounds real nice with the gain dialed down to 50% - so not really overdriving it too much, but pushing some frequencies just enough to get a more full sounding and a bit growly.
    rodl2005 likes this.
  15. bftbassman


    Aug 23, 2014
    Ephrata PA
    Got all kinda bass rigs but this thing growls as good as its big brother
  16. Mighty Thumb

    Mighty Thumb Supporting Member

  17. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    Buy a MESA WD800…
    Bury the gain control and tweak other controls as needed
    You will get your desired result in spades..
    dannylectro, KellyC, coves and 2 others like this.
  18. Dincrest

    Dincrest Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    I used to play a Warwick Corvette (German-made, bubinga body) with DR Hi-Beams through a Gallien-Krueger Fusion 550 head during my stint in alt-metal and punk bands. The tone was beastly "rip paper off walls" tone. Even when other bassists would borrow my rig (often with Fender or Fender-style basses), they sounded volcanic through it. I've had a few GK amps (400RB, Fusion 550, small combo as a practice amp) and they were always louder than their wattage ratings indicated.

    Gallien-Krueger amps definitely have that "baked in" GK tone as opposed to Hartkes which are more transparent. My practice amp is a Hartke and my gigging head is a Peavey MiniMax v.2, and I like that they're more transparent (read: "bland" sounding to some).
    roycroft_88 likes this.
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    4:00 instead of 8:00
    eddododo likes this.
  20. LowendG


    Jul 30, 2013
    My fave rock rig I ever played through was an OG 400RB through an Ampeg fridge. P or J, roundwounds, pick, and that rig---undeniable.
    JMacBass65 and Stylee Mousse like this.