Average Joe bass amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by tubatodd, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    Little Background:
    I'm 34 years old. I've been playing bass since I was in the 7th grade. I went to college and got a degree in music education (tuba). I was a band director for a few years and now I work in IT. I've spent the last 10 years not really playing bass at all. This summer I decided to get back into it. I bought 3 basses and I'm now the bass player with a local dance band.

    Current Gear:
    Squier VM jazz basses: 1 natural wood and 1 TSB
    Sterling by Musicman Ray5
    Spector NS2000Q 4 string
    Hartke Kickback 10
    Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 (mostly for guitar)

    My Question:
    I'm fairly new to Talkbass and I've been doing some reading. I've noticed that most of the bass players here seem to have rigs far beyond anything that I have or anything that I could afford. My current gig does not require anything more than a combo amp. My Hartke does a decent job and actually works quite well in the balance.

    Lately I've been thinking about upgrading my amp to something a little beefier. I don't really have a need to purchase anything huge. In fact, most rigs I've seen on here, even people's practice rigs, are overkill for my needs.

    There are a couple of guitar shops in town, but I've been a little too busy to spend much time there trying out gear. I was hoping y'all might have some suggestions. I'd like to get something < $400 (preferrably under $300) that has a great sound and headroom. I've always liked the sound of Ampeg gear, but the only thing in my price range would be a BA115. Considering it would be 20W less than my Hartke, it doesn't make logical sense. I've seen good reviews of the Peavey Max 112 and 115 II amps, but I haven't heard too much love for these amps here. I've considered the TC Electronic BG250. Unfortunately, the old (cheaper) model doesn't appear to be available any more.


    EDIT: I've also been considering a Carvin MB15 and MB210
  2. Shawn Cav

    Shawn Cav Guest

    its going to be hard to find a good amp for less than $300 with some beefy sound esp if you like the ampeg sound.

    my suggestion would be if your setup isn't broken why fix it?! infact if you can mic your combo for gigs then why go bigger if you're happy with the sound. save up for something you really want. that's how I've always gone about any of my purchases.
  3. kikstand454

    kikstand454 Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2012

    Ill add though you may want to save and hunt up a low wattage head.....(2-300 watts) ...and a good small cab (15, 210 etc). Since you're not in desperate NEED of a new rig.....you can be picky and wait for just the right deal. You could easily score a mini rig like that for <$400.
  4. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    While I like the Ampeg sound that doesn't mean I'm only interested in an Ampeg. My Hartke sounds nothing like an Ampeg, but I like it.
  5. radioface


    May 2, 2013
    I like Peavey amps. If you can find a leftover or used SWR Working Man 15 combo, that might do the trick. I have a Peavey 300 combo and the fore mentioned SWR. Both these amps are reliable but by today's standards, are much to big and heavy for the amount of output they have.
  6. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    There are still some decent deals on the old BG250 on ebay - hard to tell which one you are getting though. I have one I use for most gigs. It's not the ultimate for tone, but the light weight and ample volume are great.

    Both of the Carvins you mentioned are probably fine too.

    This Ashdown 112 combo looks interesting:


    What I want to know is how you are playing in a "dance band" with only a tiny 10" practice amp? Must be very quiet stage volume. What do you guys do for monitors?
  7. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    If you're willing to go up to $400, the Gallien-Krueger MBE Series 1x15" Ultra Light or the Gallien-Krueger MBE Series 2x10" Ultra Light Bass Cabinet
    are a really, really good options at that price point and I highly recommend them.

    A little more expensive, but at $450 the Orange Crush PiX CR100BXT 100W 1x15 would serve well and it sounds like you may dig the tone.
  8. topcat2069


    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
    why not just add a cab to the Hartke Kickback ? does it not have a ex speaker out ?
  9. Hi and welcome to TB.

    Yeah, checkout the new Gallien-Krueger MB-II series bass combo amps too.
    They're super lightweight, compact, sound awesome and are very affordable too.
  10. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Talkbass is the refuge of gearheads. :) The fact is most bass players never heard of talkbass and most have never heard of many of the brands/models of equipment we talk about here as if it were common knowledge. There is one thing that talkbass has that is a real asset to someone like you ... the classified section. You can find really good deals on well maintained, properly used amps and cabs.
  11. Try the Tech 21 VT bass pedal. Ampeg sounds and more for about 175$. And it fits in your gig bag!!
  12. Chazinroch


    Feb 2, 2003
    Ontario N.Y.
    Your Hartke has an xlr out. You can always get an xlr cable and go through your band's PA if you need a little more oomph. You can get a decent xlr cable for about $25. Again the classified section here on TB is a good place to shop for good used gear. Very trustworthy sellers and buyers here on TB.
  13. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    And Todd, remember that when someone bugs you about your tuba.... "It's not heavy metal, it's weighty brass" - Opus from Billy and the Boingers
  14. Sollie7


    Mar 13, 2011
    Woodstock, Ga
    Go try a ba 115 they sound surprisingly good
    20w wont make a difference to the human ear an my guess is the ba 115 would actually be louder. Its a 15" speaker as opposed to a 10" plus you can completly max the gain and master without undesirable distortion.:D if you can find a used ba115t thatd be even better
  15. fabubass


    Jan 13, 2006
    Check out used combos too. I saw a used GK 2-10's 500 watt, 37lbs. at guitar center over the weekend for 299.
  16. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    One of my favorite small combos is an Ampeg B100R. They can often be found used for around $300. It is compact, but not light weight. The sound is simply fantastic. It is modeled after the B15, which is a classic among classics.
  17. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Used is definitely the way to go. Quality used stuff, that has not been abused, is always a better deal. I do this with instruments (trombone and bass) audio equipment and most of my cars over the years - I have also bought a few new items - a few instruments, stuff like phono cartridges, where used is a complete crap shoot - but the used thing has worked quite well for me. Get with your local Craig's List.

    As for sound and volume, ideally you should check things side by side with your current rig, and let your ears make the decision. Perceived and actual volume flow from a a wide range of variables - speaker size, speaker efficiency, speaker ability to move air, 4 or 8 ohm, cabinet design, horizontal and vertical dispersion into a room - beyond rated wattage... and not all makers use the same tests in stating wattage. Then there is tone - what it's all about, but which is hard to quantify or describe, and we all have different, subjective perceptions and ideals.

    Meanwhile, a number of decent suggestions here, especially that Ampeg B100 - never played through one, but have heard them and they really bring a great old-school sound. If your "dance band" is a big band, then I'd say you can't go wrong with a used B100, a used SWR Working Pro 12, or that lightweight GK 1-15" referenced above. Speaking as a bassist and trombonist, it seems that bigger cabinets/speakers, even without mega-wattage, just function better in that particular kind of time-keeper function, rather than some of the smaller, louder units. All of those horn players are moving a lot of air, and somehow, a 15" often seems to have the relaxed fatness that provides a proportionate pillow of bottom underneath the bones and baritone sax. a 15" cabinet may well be your best friend, rather than smaller speakers having to shout.

    Good luck, and congrats on playing again.
  18. Gaolee

    Gaolee It's all about the polyester

    A guitarist I jam with regularly has a B100R, and instead of hauling crap over to his house when we play, I use it. I'm not an Ampeg fan most of the time, but that little combo sounds great, especially with the upright. It's excatly the right size and weight to be a complete back destroyer if you have to do anything except roll it around, but if you don't have to move it very often, it sounds very much like an old Portaflex even though I'm about 90% sure it is completely solid state.
  19. The hartke you like and it gets the job done. I would be looking at pre amp pedals.
    I play hartke(ha3500, hydrive 410) i run a sansamp bass driver into the front of it alot. It sounds great. I believe the somewhat brighter sound of hartke aluminum speaker works very well with the somewhat scooped sound of the sansamp.
  20. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp