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Bass Head - Rackmount, Guitar Heads - Not, WHY?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by agreatheight, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. I was wondering if anyone had thoughts as to why the vast majority of bass heads are rackmount but the vast majority of guitar heads come in cabinets. It's wierd to me - any thoughts?
  2. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    That's kind of true, although there are more and more bass heads that are self contained:

    Euphonic Audio
    Acoustic Image

    I'm sure others will chime in, too. I'm not sure why though. Might be an interting thread
  3. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Only thing I can think of is that bass heads typcially weigh more than guitar heads. Or it also could be that we bass players are just smarter than guitar players and want to protect our gear! :D
  4. anyonefortennis

    anyonefortennis Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Lincoln, NE
    As a former guitar player, I have to say that bass technology is light years ahead of guitar technology.
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I think the whole rack thing started with bassists using PA gear, especially big power amps. Thus, the rack box has become standard bass gear. Guitarists never went down that road in any significant way.
  6. I also think that tube amps are much more common for guitar players, and tube heads are (almost) always self contained.
  7. I'm not sure about the others, but I know that Thunderfunks come in rack versions, and same with all Fender heads besides the 300 PRO.
  8. Daytona955i


    Feb 17, 2005
    Albany, NY
    Ever tried to put a rack case on top of a slant cab?
  9. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    I know there used to be a rackmount version of the Mesa Boogie Dual Rec, and my old guitarist used a Marshall rack system. Other than that, I haven't seen any.
  10. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    The guitarist in my band has a Marshall Power amp and a Rocktron Prophesy in a 4 space rack.
  11. Giraffe

    Giraffe Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    San Diego, California
    As a sometimes guitar player, I have a few suggestions.

    Guitar players hang on to tradition like grim death. Most of them are playing instruments that were designed in the 1950's (Strats, Teles, Les Pauls, 335's), or a lot earlier (archtops and flattops) with very minor design changes over the years. A small majority of new guitar gear is still marketed as some extension of vintage guitars or amps. They don't embrace new gear like bass players, partly because the guitars and amps made prior to 1970 sound as good or better to most people as modern gear. Bass gear, almost without exception, is light years better now than it was in the Eisenhauer administration. The old guitar amps were pretty small but loud enough for guitar frequencies, and they sounded, and still sound great.

    Guitar players can live comfortably with 15 to 25 watts of power, as long as it comes from vacuum tubes. Many experts would never own an amp with more than 20 watts or so because in order to push the power tubes to distortion, you have to push them pretty hard, and with a 35 watt guitar amp pushed hard enough to distort the power tubes, you will literally hurt yourself. Headroom is usually a bad thing for guitar players, because they want their amps to at least get close to distorting, where they really start to sound their best.

    Point a little 18 watt Fender Deluxe Reverb at your head, put the volume at about 11 o'clock, and play a few notes high up on the neck. It hurts, and it makes your ears ring right away. A buddy has one he bought in the sixties, and it is the only amp he has ever owned. He is so deaf that you don't even try to talk to him without making eye contact, so he knows to watch your lips. Those high frequencies cut something fierce.

    A guitar player can have a loud amp that sounds wonderful and weighs 40 pounds, easily carried in one hand. These guys don't see the need for brutally heavy rigs that are thirty times more powerful than they need. If you could carry your rig in one hand for ten blocks without getting tired, would you be looking to trade it for an SVT?

    Those guys have it easy. Clapton recorded Layla with a Fender Champ, about ten or twelve pounds, I would guess. I saw Santana once in the seventies, and he used a little battery-powered Pignose, set up on a folding chair and miked. Sounded great.
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I think this hits the nail on the head. Guitarists are shocked that I have a 500W amp. Who would *ever* need that much power?
  13. Crockettnj


    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    good point on the use of PA poweramps for bass setting the stage for racking.

    other posts mentioned the bass's need of more watts, all things considered. obviously played a part.

    as an aside, though its far more common for 6 stringers to NOT rack up, one guy i recently played with uses TWO 6 space racks, with only 2 empty slots! eee gads! likes his gear! but he's no twit, so who am i to complain?
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Besides, they would have to come up with a 24-inch wide rack.

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