Bass head or combo?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by PawnBass, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. PawnBass


    Jul 15, 2013
    I'm giving the bass guitar a chance as an adult. I was bad at the acoustic guitar as a child.

    Should I buy a small bass head and build my own separate speaker cabinet, or buy a combo? What model? This will probably be a used purchase either way. I like clean tone over loud tone. Headphones output is a plus because my wife, you know...
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass! We would need a few more details to help you out.

    Where are you?
    How good are you with projects (like building cabs)?
    What's your budget?
    What are your volume requirements?
  3. PawnBass


    Jul 15, 2013
    Building a closed cabinet I should be able to do. I have a 10" woofer I plan to put in there, possibly with a tweeter so that it can be made play recorded music if the need arises. This project has no cost to me because I have the material already.

    The bass head or combo can be $150. I'm playing alone for now. The output can be low to moderate. I fear that a combo will make me unhappy, tone-quality-wise. A good woofer is $50, how can they put in a good amp for $100, if going with a new combo?

    I'm in Florida.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I'd get a Gallien Krueger MB200 ($249 or less, new) and build my own cab. But I'd use plans from greenboy or Bill Fitzmaurice for the design so there's a good chance of it sounding good.
  5. just my 2 cents.

    A small head goes a long way and is extremely flexible. For instance i have a fender rumble 150 head. it puts out 150 watts at 4 ohms. it is a very inexpensive head at only about 225 brand new and maybe less than that if you wait around for a coupon or know someone at the music store. there are others like the hartke 2500 comes to mind right off the bat. Some people would say that 150 watts wont get you very far with a band but it really depends on what speakers you pair it with. I have 4 different cabinets that i use depending on the application. A markbass 6x10, and fender 4x10, an old peavey 1x15 and a very old Sunn cab loaded with a JBL E140.

    the markbass is by far the loudest because of the sensitivity rating at 104 db and 6 drivers. this head and cab is easily as loud as many 300-400 watt amps paired with an average 4x10 which usually have spls around 96db. for a similar tone but less of it I use my fender 4x10 which i would guess is in that range of around 95-96 db but i can't seem to find any specs on this.

    for an entirely different tone i use the old sunn cab. that JBL E140 is an absolute monster for tone. and with the JBL's fairly high sensitivity rating of 100db it is still very loud, even with only 150 watts pushing it.

    i usually just keep the old peavey at home. i traded an old cheapo distortion pedal for it and it does fine for practicing at home. if i did not have the other cabs i would not be afraid to take it to rehearsal or even a small gig but my others sound so much better.

    you can find a good small head used pretty cheaply on CL or "the bay" as many people are into having huge wattage to get more volume and never realize that just getting a more efficient cab or adding another identical cab will add more volume to the their sound than doubling their wattage.

    i also have a fender 2x10 350 watt combo. the 150 watt head and 4x10 is easily louder, lighter than the 2x10 combo.

    Lastly, a head and cab is more flexible because you can change one half of your tone combo at any time while keeping the other. you have the flexibilty to swap heads around and keep the same cab.

    welcome to the wonderful world of bass. i hope you love it here as much as i do and good luck on your quest for tone.
  6. orangejulius3

    orangejulius3 Supporting Member

    May 6, 2013
    La Habra CA
    Probably look at the GK MB200
    Solid amp from a great company.

    Other one to test is the Ampeg PF 350.

    Both amps have an AUX in and HeadPhone out.
  7. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Good info there, neighbor. I'm from Lancaster, SC, and have a house there, although my main residence is in Cayce. But, I'm in Lancaster at least once a week. Been to Rock Hill a million times.

    To the OP, you can find a Peavey head for cheap, used---and a speaker. If you're just giving bass a try there's no need for you to spend much.
  8. I'd agree with the GK MB200. I'd be concerned that the 10" speaker you are thinking of using to build a cabinet may not be a speaker that can handle the stress of a bass guitar. The MB200 can put out 200 watts at 4 ohms (125 w at 8 ohms) which could be a lot for a speaker not expecting this load. You may want to find out what brand and how strong this speaker is before making a cabinet and see if it's design can handle a bass guitar's signal. A used cabinet designed for bass may end up being a better use of your cash.
  9. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    BFM (Bill Fitzmaurice) would be my choice, the Jack 10... .

    I'd also do the GK MB200, again used. They pop up on the TB classifieds (best bet) for under $200 shipped. Or even try evilbay or your local CL.
  10. AusExp


    Mar 28, 2012
    Gk mb200 is a great choice....probably the best in class. I'd also be concerned about the speaker choice. Good sounding cabs can be tricky. Gk also has an awesome 15" combo amp...just a thought. Before you go through all the work of building something that you may or may not be happy with.
  11. PawnBass


    Jul 15, 2013
    Thank you for the thoughts. It struck me today that I should choose a bass head that will also amplify electric guitar nicely, if I buy one later.

    The bass heads that consistently get good reviews are Hartke HA2500 and LH-500. Does an electric guitar sound natural through those?
  12. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    More flexibility with a head/cab set up.
  13. Fenderon


    May 28, 2008
    I like to research gear online, find someone selling it at a good price on craigslist. Just picked up a Carvin BX500, on CL for 150.00, now waiting for a good buy on a nice cab for 200.00 or less.
  14. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    The head/ cab setup will allow for more versatility over the long haul, imho.