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Any one using these small amps for double bass?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by TenorClef, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. Roland Cubes
    Galien Kruger Backline
    Line 6 ‘Studio 110’
    SWR LA10

    The Studio 110 really interests me as it small and loud but i note a lot of the above amps are really designed with bass guitarists in mind particularly with the amp model sampling. I'd be really interested to hear experiences from how they sound with upright bass.
  2. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    Roland cube works pretty well. I think the Backline sounded like poop when I saw a friend using it in a quiet trio setting. I tried the Line 6 with slab and remembered it having much less output than the GK150 I was using at the time.
    I owned an SWR Workingman's 10 and didn't like it for DB at all.
    Ric Vice likes this.
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I played through a Roland at a studio session once. It was fine, I can't really vouch for it beyond that, without a better field test, but people do use them.

    I know a guy who gigs with an SWR LA12, but I've never really understood why. I know another guy who gigged for years with a Workingmans' 10 and got a great sound with it, but he has a great bass and big acoustic sound and I think the amp was just providing some support.

    When I used to gig on electric bass, I had an Ashdown and loved it. (it was a seperate head, I don't remember what). I used it on doublebass for a while, but it has a "shaped sound". I also used a Ashdown combo at a studio once and it sounded just like I remember my head sounding. Not what I'm going for with doublebass and it's not a common choice. Good gear, though.

    The SWR California Blonde is a good choice from the SWR range and the Strawberry blond, which is cheaper and lighter may be too, but not a lot of power. You'd have to try it. Probably okay for a coffee house gig.

    What are you going for?

    A used GK MB150 will take you to the ends of the earth. I think there was a MB200 in our classifieds for a few hundred dollars, if I remember right.
  5. pjleo


    May 27, 2003
    del valley
    I have the line 6 110 lowdown amp.
    I have used it on upright for Big band and low volume jazz gigs.
    I was pretty satisfied with the sound, and received compliments...however the EQ is a little bit of pain....switching between models / and powering on off the EQ can be confusing ...you always have to start over and get your bearings etc...
    Its a great little amp to have around as a backup and for rehearsals , easy to carry etc....
    I have been using my GK MB150 which I have had close to 20 years and ...always seem to come back to.
  6. Deltree


    Feb 7, 2005
    I use the 100 watt cube, and think it's pretty great. Pretty cheap, pretty light, pretty flat, pretty loud. There's a 'super-flat' setting along with the amp models. That's what I use for everything. The DI out is very good - quite a lot of output and very clean.

    It may be interesting to note that most of the times I've seen anyone using an extension cab with their cube (I've never done it) it's been the little SWR thing.

    I'm well aware that there are swankier amps to be had, but this one's very useful. It's the only amp I personally schlepp around town, otherwise I borrow or hire a bigger rig.
  7. walking_line


    Jun 3, 2009
    Yeah, I have the Roland 40B cube. It's ok for lower volumes--it does the job, but it's nothing special. Pretty neutral sound, and the price was right (a buddy of mine gave it to me). I have recently replaced it with a Markbass 121p that I like a lot.
  8. Bungee


    Sep 23, 2006
    Cleveland, OH
    Consider a Fender bassman 100 - 10" speaker, tiltback cab, 100 watts, lightweight, VERY useful.
    BarfanyShart likes this.
  9. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I used a very old Roland Cube in a school big band setting. I really did not like the sound I was getting with upright, although it seemed to perform well with EB.
  10. I had a rehearsal sunday night with my Big Band and just used the bands portable 100Watt keyboard/PA amp, it was ok it did the job, every one said they had no problems hearing me, but I would have preffered to have used a small amp more dedicated to bringing out the bottom end of the bass.
  11. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I just bought a Backline 112 for my nephew to use on UB and BG, after trying it out with my UB with glued-on Fishman pickup. I think it has enough flexibility in the tone controls to get a good sound with most pickups, and the "Contour" button gives you a sound very much like the MB150 series. Compared to the MB150, it's bigger and heavier- but it's also less than half the price- a non-trivial concern for many! I'd considered the 110, but my local GK dealer (Music Castle) is a jazz guitarist, and he told me he'd gigged with a bassist who used a 112 and got a very good sound.
  12. I got one of those.... and I have to say it's just about the best amp, overall, that I've ever owned and used - and I've had them all... from Bassman 50 stacks through Bassman 100 stacks to massive SVTs and TE 500s.
    BarfanyShart likes this.
  13. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I've been using the AA-battery powered Roland Cubes for about 10 years now. I also have a full size sound system, but for a moderate sized indoor or outdoor audience (up to around 200 people) the Cubes have provided good tone and volume and a high degree of convenience for about 10 years now.

    For our full band, unless we're being specifically paid for the use of our full sound system, we'll setup two to three Micro Cube Street speakers each with two mics attached and use these for instruments and voices...

    For my DB I'll use the Micro Cube Bass RX, either using my mounted piezo/pre-amp or my mounted mic, feeding wireless into the amp so there are no signal or power wires for either the bass or the amp.

    I've used this setup inside auditoriums and outside and have consistently been pleased with the results.

    The most important key to using small amps is to raise them up to above waist height, so the sound they produce is not shooting into peoples' feet and legs.

    I will always prefer playing totally acoustically, but when needed, speakers and amps can help make it so musicians don't have to push themselves beyond safety limits.
    MattZilla likes this.
  14. M0ses

    M0ses Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    IMO the built-in GK tone is not great for electric and even worse for upright. YMMV!
    I am a big fan of the Bassman line, vintage and modern.
    I have not tried the Roland Cube on upright but judge the tone as fairly neutral without an extreme low range so I expect it would work reasonably well.
  15. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    Hey, that was my baby for over a decade. Still got it in the basement, can't bear to part with it. That thing changed my life, I straight up unloaded my two other rigs after buying it. The line out was so good, I didn't even want something bigger for big rooms.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
  16. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I never had any luck with any of the Fender Bassman amps I tried for Double Bass, at least with my instrument and pickup at the time (the Underwood) they just didn't have any clarity of sound. That's why I bought a Ampeg B-15N in the 1970's which sounds great with DB. The original GK 200MB's were great with DB and not bad for EB although they only put out 80 watts, so their not big enough for concerts without FOH. The GK MBE just wasn't voiced right for DB and IME the GK Backline amps were pretty awful. I owned the original Roland Cube 60 Bass ( they were Orange) and the GK 200MB's were far superior sounding. I think that it's kind of most of the amps your mentioning are older builds and some like the Nemesis, Eden, and SWR aren't even in production anymore. There's better newer stuff
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
    M0ses likes this.
  17. M0ses

    M0ses Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    The vintage tube bassmans were absolutely lovely for electric - I adore the silverface - but I can easily see how they'd be less than ideal for upright. Highly colored sound. However the newer versions, if you haven't tried them yet, you may be very pleasantly surprised. Not totally neutral, maybe a bit bass hyped, but pretty clean!
  18. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    If you want a truly tiny amp, check out the Phil Jones Double 4. I just got got home from an outdoor gig with drums, 2 horns, keyboard, guitar, and singer and cut it. I use a Lifeline into an old Fishman Platinum pre into the Double 4. If I'm playing in a decent indoor setting I'll use something else, but this little combo - 9+ pounds - is phenomenal.
    Ric Vice likes this.
  19. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    The only issue I would have with a vintage Bassman, or similar Fender, is the tone controls are not flexible enough for upright use. Throw a utility EQ like an Empress ParaEQ in front of the amp and it would sound really nice IMHO. Not as much power as I would prefer though. Also they are pretty big and bulky. The baked in Fender mid scoop actually works pretty well with upright in my experience.

    FYI input impedance for these amps is 1Meg, which is about the minimum you want to use with a piezo.

    For the record, my current rig is a GK 700RB/112 combo. IMHO it works better with upright than bass guitar.
    M0ses likes this.
  20. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I used a Roland SuperCube Bass 60 with a BSX EUB for a while back in the early-mid 90's — that is, until it was stolen out of the back of my car. It was quite a nice rig: compact, quite light, reasonably neutral in character and plenty loud enough for quartet playing and even sometimes with a big band. And it was a cool blue colour. They're very hard to find now and I've been keeping an eye out in case one pops. It'd make a nice little rig to have on hand.
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