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Bass amp recommendations

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pod222, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. pod222


    Mar 24, 2009
    Newbie here. I appreciate there are hundreds of posts for "amp advice", so I've tried to pose some specific questions. Any thoughts appreciated.
    Time to move from a practice amp (50w Yorkville) to something bigger. My "genre" is still unsettled, but mainly bluegrass, country, classic rock, not too hard, playing in smaller to medium clubs, mainly with fiddle, acoustic guitar, banjo and bagpipes (admittedly an eclectic blend), and on the side drums and electric guitar, but only rarely. Usually can plug into the mains. My instruments are an upright, Fender Jazz and banjo-bass (by Gold Tone) - also an eclectic blend. Everything has a pickup. Looking to buy used (CL), hoping to spend between 300 and 500 (CDN).
    I think these are the questions I need to ask (myself or the forum members):
    1. combo or separate
    2. which instrument's should I worry most about; seems the upright may be the most finicky (?)
    3. how big?
    4. any disadvantage to buying quality used? Do amps get "better" or "worse" with age?
    5. any particular amps better suited for upright?
    Thanks for any help
  2. bassman_al

    bassman_al Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2008
    Fairfax, VA USA
    I have never bought a new amp (20 years of playing) and to this date have never regretted it. GK, Hartke and Ampeg amps. Good luck!
  3. Dan55


    Apr 26, 2006
    For the types of instruments and styles of music you're playing, I'd probably look for a used Gallien-Krueger 400RB head and a 2x10, 1x12, or 1x15 cabinet. The G-K MB150 combo or separates are also worth consideration. Then again, if you like your Yorkville combo, a move up to one of their more powerful combos is worth thinking about.

  4. Adam Bomb

    Adam Bomb

    Mar 26, 2008
    Bezerkely, CA

    Hopefully you posted this on the upright forum as well?

    In general I have come to prefer head/cab to combo. But I am thinking that in your budget you might could get a pretty good combo.

    For example: http://bass-guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Kustom-Groove-310C-Bass-Combo-Amp?sku=480765


    I'm not saying that this particular monster is best for you, or anyone. But lookit that thing! :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:

    Anyway. So my answers are:

    1. Separate

    2. Dunno

    3. The answers to the other questions, and your budget, will answer this one

    4. I keep meaning to buy used but I don't have the nerve

    5. Dunno

    Good luck! And have fun!

    --Bomb :bassist:
  5. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    I'm going to recommend the Carvin LS1503 PA cab and either their BX500 head or the B1500 head, new or used. A year ago, I would have suggested the powered version of the cab and your choice of preamp, but they've DC'd it. This setup should provide you with the power and articulation (I use it for bass, eGuitar, acoustic, ukulele, and violin with different preamps) for your needs. Also, it's fairly inexpensive and lightweight. Do a search and check out the forums for Budget Boutique 3-way 115.
  6. zagnut


    Jan 4, 2009
    Back in Detroit
    Man, that beast is still on clearance? Looks like they're out of stock though.

    Sep or combo - Just for the record, there are a couple of combos out there that will "get 'er done". Depends on the portability and ease of setup you desire.

    Which instrument should you worry about? Not sure, I only play electric.

    How big? - Depends on what size audience you plan on playing for. Keep in mind, that wherever you may play might have a PA that you can run into from your amp. Also depends on your back, your crew, how big a van you have and your budget.

    Buying used vs new - well, 1 is used and 1 is new. Some warranties aren't transferable, some are so old they have run out. Sellers reputation (online selling) is a big determining factor. As far as amps getting better with age, not really sure. The older something electronic is, the higher probability of it breaking down sooner is. If you find local, be sure to play before you pay.

    Amps for upright - see answer 2
  7. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    Hartke HA3500 (Used. There are plenty around for sale $200-300)
    Hartke 210XL (New-$199) You can buy them new, with free shipping, and usually be less than a used one plus s/h.

    If you need more power, add another 210XL. They are 8ohm cabs, so adding one will double your power. The 210XL will surprise you, and the 3500 has multiple ways to alter your sound, since you use several different types of basses.

    If money is really tight, get the HA2500.

    I have two 410XL's plus a 210XL, with a 3500. (LH1000 on order) I can take my head in my amp rack bag over my shoulder, and the 210XL in the other hand, so it's an extremely transportable rig. I use the 210XL at practice all the time, and sometimes on stage with a 410XL, depending on the venue. It only weighs about 46lbs. Get the XL, not the Transporter. Not much difference in price or weight, but the 210XL will handle 50 more watts than the TP.

    I confess I'm a Hartke man, though. I think they are the best bang for the buck.

    Good luck, and have fun with your G.A.S.
  8. I'd recommend Hartke all the way. I have a 3500 stack with a 4x10 and 1x15 and the blends of sounds you can get are unreal:) Everything from muddy old blues bass through to crisp stadium style tube amp settings. If you're playing upright though, i'd recommed the phil jones suitcase combo, but it';s if you can find one at a cheap price 2nd hand. Hope this helps you!
  9. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Double Bass Forums: Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]
  10. I have to say that given the size of venue and other instruments that the OP states he'll be playing with, I think a head/cab setup would be a waste of power. I play similar types of shows and my combo (Acoustic B200) never goes past 4 and it's got pleeenty of headroom left. Just my 2 cents.
  11. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    You're probably right about the excess power of the head/cab, but I have a combo in my studio, and it kills my back to lug it around, because it's so heavy and thick. The 3500+210XL is nothing to transport compared to my 115 Ibanez combo. And it has the flexibility to add or subtract, change cabs, heads, etc, in the future. His needs may change.

    I play guitar w/tube amps, too, and have no need for a lot of excess headroom with them, but I have found there is no such thing as excess power for bass amps. :) More headroom=cleaner sound. So long as the size and the $$ fit the situation. I mean 2000 watts would be overkill, but 240w@8ohms probably wouldn't be.

    That's just one man's opinion. But I speak from experience.
  12. The weight factor could be an issue but again, there are a few combos out there that incorporate neo speakers so that may be an option for the OP. I'm 6'2" and 230 pounds so the weight of a combo isn't a biggie for me but for a smaller guy, most definitely could create back problems.

    As for his needs possibly changing, again, you could be right but to me, that's like saying that I might decide to take up trombone playing 10 years from now so I'd better buy one now just in case :)

    But I won't argue about a head/cab offering more versatility. Some combos can accept an extension cab but then you really get into heavy lifting. It wouldn't be *wrong* to get a head/cab combination but I just wonder if it's really necessary.
  13. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    I agree.... There is no "right" or "wrong".

    We've both presented options to him, including the pros and cons, and I think that was what he was looking for.

    I'm 5'8", 160lbs, btw. It's not the actual weight of my combo that bothers me. It's how thick it is, which puts the center of gravity away from my body, so it tugs at my back, outwards, something fierce. Just awkward for me.

    I started with the combo run through the PA, but after one gig, I got my head/cab setup. Now my combo stays in my studio. I play guitar through a Marshall combo, so I'm not opposed to combos at all. But it doesn't bother me, because it isn't nearly as think as a bass combo amp.

    Either one will do the job. Just a matter of his tastes, and which fits his situation. That's why they make both types, isn't it?;)
  14. Well said. As an aside, I also find my combo allows for more room on stage. I play one little place in particular that is very small (fits maybe 30 people max) and I know that if I was using a head/cab setup, it would literally be like I was playing in a phone booth!
  15. zagnut


    Jan 4, 2009
    Back in Detroit
  16. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Overall you have a vary wide range of music tastes.. this proably gets you into a wide range of sizes of gigs.

    Question.. -Do you ever plug into mains.. a 50 watt with a direct box may do your trick

    1-Separate - It took me years to decide to take the plunge.. you can find some cool heads and cool cabinets.. I REALLY like having a few options to suit the place I'm playing... I have everything from a small micro amp to a huge rackmount. At home I practice through headphones.

    2. With the opinion above, you can mix/match cabinets and heads to the ROOM, The GIG and the BASS... like you I have an array of gear.. there is no single answer for one of use eclectic players

    3. Size does matter - it's amazing how many folks OVERKILL the size. My biggest setup is 400 watts biamped.. I've never heard what it is like wide open. I'd guess 150 watts is where stage volume in any cirucumstance would command going into a board. At large chruches I play a 50 watt combo amp with direct OR headphone direct monitors

    4. USED.. few things in music plummet like the value of used amps.

    5. IF playing upright.. it's more the cabinets.. I have one single (it's a strange "folded sub" with a 10" in it) that just makes an upright sing.

    Overall.. you'll receive opinions talking about the exact model folks like and how to spend your loot.

    Opionion.. it sounds like you may be in the position to move into an array of cabinets and heads.

    Opinion.. when looking at heads your next gear.. make sure you have a direct out (XLR) output.. eventually you'll need one... saves another $50 box


    Disclosure .. I have a rackmount biamp.. a Crate Power Block.. 50w combo.. 1-12.. 2x10.. 1x15.. 1x10 and 1x12+tweet... between all of this, I proabably have put in about $750 over the years.

    I USED to have a combo amp.. over 50w they become a pain to move around.
  17. clubdude

    clubdude The Ten Man

    Just one note on size and stage room....

    I stand my 210XL on it's side when we practice, and the head on top of it (which is really the side). It takes up no more than my combo-maybe less.

    We practice in a basement that has very little room to move around. I take up no more space than the guitarist with a Fender combo, and less than the keyboard player, even though he's playing through the little studio PA.

    My cab is 14x24x12, so standing on its' side it's only 14" wide. The head is about 17" wide, so that's a really small setup.

    I've expressed my opinion as to brands earlier. Regardless of brand, my opinion is a 2x10+a head is hard to beat.
  18. honestjohnny


    Nov 24, 2006
    The GK Backline 600 gets good reviews on this forum, search for fdeck's review. Add a 4 ohm Avatar 210 and you're out roughly $700 USD.

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