Best second-hand combo bass amp for a beginner?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Lucca Rodrigues, Oct 21, 2021.

  1. Hi TB, this is my first post here.
    I started playing bass back in early February, when I got my first bass (Tagima TJB4 Jazz-style bass) and a cheapo no-name 15-watt combo practice amp. Recently, I've been looking to upgrade my amp and buy a nice second-hand unit for a better sound. So far, I've found the following models in my area, all roughly the same price:
    • Hartke A70
    • Hartke A100
    • Hartke HD75
    • Fender Rumble 40 (v3 model)
    • Fender Rumble 75 (older Rumble model)
    • Fender Rumble 30 (older Rumble model)
    • Peavey Max 115 (60W model)
    Any thoughts on which unit might be the best? Pros and cons for a specific model are greatly appreciated. Any other particularly interesting amps that you think might be worth tracking down? Thanks!
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
    Peter Torning, Bobo and CallMeAl like this.
  2. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    The good news is that pretty much any of those will do better than what you’ve got; the not as good news is that that won’t narrow it down much ;) the Peavey is probably the most neutral sounding of the bunch and the loudest, so if you don’t yet know what kind of sound you want, I might suggest going that route (with the caveat that I’m a big fan of Peavey). The Rumbles will do vintage well (at least the newer ones, ironically), the Hartkes will sound more edgy.

    If you have a good idea of how you’d like to sound, or have a style or player you’d like to emulate, let us know and we could suggest other models; but you’ve already turned up some good options :thumbsup:
  3. Little Rock

    Little Rock Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2015
    Montreal, Canada
    I have tried several different brands and models over the years and really liked the tone of Hartke and Fender Rumble V3.

    Right now, I have a GK MB115, a Traynor SB112 and a Fender Rumble 100 V3. They all sound really good, but i tend to prefer the tone of the Fender.

    Recently, I replaced the original Fender speaker with an Eminence and covered some walls with quilt batting, which made the Rumble sound better then GK and Traynor (at least to my ears).

    In summary, I think you will be well served with any model from your list, but if weight is an issue for you, it is good to be aware that Fender makes the lightest combos in the market right now.

    I hope it helps (boa sorte)!
  4. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Welcome to TB!
    Is this just for practice or are you planning to use it to play with other musicians? This might lead the conversation in a certain direction.
    I'm not a fan of the older Rumbles, but the latest versions are rather good. That said, bumping up to 40 watts will probably leave you wanting more.
    Any of the Hartke's would probably be a noticeable step up. The A-series have a kickback design that helps aim the speaker at you ears instead of your ankles. The HD75 is newer than the A-series.
    Peavey has a well-earned reputation for no-nonsense sound and high reliability. These all seem to be potentially good choices and it may come down to playing through them and deciding which you like the most.
    Good luck!
  5. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    If you are just playing at home, and/or are interested In the lightest most portable combo: Rumble 40. Plenty of headroom for around the house, super light, can hang with a low-volume jam situation.

    If you want to jam with others, want maximum output, and don’t mind a heavier combo, then I’d look at the bigger 12 or 15 inch speakers. Looks like the Hartke A100 is the biggest headroom/speaker combination so I’d bump that to be the first in line to check out.

    But I agree with above, that’s a pretty good short list! Hard to go wrong. Welcome and good luck! :)
    Lucca Rodrigues likes this.
  6. Bobo


    Apr 11, 2017
    I use a Trace Elliot ELF head with a separate 1x10” TE cab. It’s plenty for small gigs, and it has an XLR out to go to a sound board for larger venues. It surprised me how good it sounds and how much power it delivers. They also make a combo with the head integrated into the 1x10” cab. Trace Elliot ELF 1x10" 200-watt Bass Combo Amp
  7. Why settle for a Combo?

    Ampeg SVT810, or go home.
    baddarryl, Ed Byrnes and Bobo like this.
  8. Based on your list, I suggest the Rumble 40 or 75 only because I've owned them and they're pretty good sounding to me. They'll probably give you the sound and volume you need at this point. Good luck!
    Ostie and Lucca Rodrigues like this.
  9. Wfrance3

    Wfrance3 Supporting Member

    May 29, 2014
    Tulsa, OK
    I have had one of these for the last couple weeks. I specifically got it to leave/play at home, for lower "home-friendly" volumes. I play a P bass mostly. I've played other, the GK MB100 is in the ballpark of what you want, and I like its tone a little better in my opinion. I've also had an extremely old Peavey Minx. Could be avail. at a pawn shop for cheap, I don't recommend it...
    The GK is a pretty easy to coax that sizzly p-bass tone. The fender not so much. Just doesn't sound as punchy to me. It can get there, but the easiest way i've found is thru an eternal eq.
  10. Thanks, Ranger! I'll definitely try all of them out if I can, they're not exactly cheap amps here in Brazil, even though they're second-hand gear. I've really enjoyed playing some more groovy music, funk, acid jazz, jazz-fusion, disco - think bands like Jamiroquai, Vulfpeck, TWRP, old-school Motown, Stevie Wonder, and even some Daft Punk tunes, - so any gear that can bring out more of that "groovy" sound is already a win in my book, though I like to believe actual practice rather than upgraded gear will net me some groovier basslines. :)
  11. Thanks! Mostly solo practice, but I'd love to get something a little louder for some small post-COVID gigs at college, hopefully. :)
    I've been hearing a lot of great about the new Rumbles, I really like their design and their tone seems to be really solid, so I might end up getting the Rumble 40.
    The Hartkes are a bit louder (and heavier :p) than the Rumble 40 but might be worth it. That kickback design makes them a big "fatter" IMO but that might be a non-issue. I'll try my best to test all of them, hopefully I'll find a good-sounding amp that will last me a long time.
    CallMeAl and Riff Ranger like this.
  12. It certainly did, obrigado (thank you)! ;-) People really seem to like how lightweight the Rumbles are. I've been hearing a lot of nice things about them, I might end up getting one!
  13. Sorry I can’t give you a good answer on which as I’m not that familiar with this combos. That said, just a couple of thing to look for. One, the ability to add a second cabinet. Secondly connectivity.

    Just in a brief review, Hartke A100 in good shape would be my first look.

    good hunting, and welcome to the forum.
    Lucca Rodrigues likes this.
  14. Thank you! To be honest, 100W does seem almost excessively loud to me, but I've never done a gig before in my life and all I've ever known is the distorted mess from my 15W unit, so who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    More is generally better though, I'll try to test the 100W Hartke soon and see how I like it.
    Clutchcargo, CallMeAl and Riff Ranger like this.
  15. Chicken Wing

    Chicken Wing

    Mar 26, 2017
    Rumble 40 for home practice
  16. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    I used to own a Hartke A100 -- it'll take you pretty far.

    (Actually I think I still own it -- it's just been sitting in my drummer's basement for several years.)
    Lucca Rodrigues likes this.
  17. SLPimp

    SLPimp An Injury to One is an Injury to All Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2020
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Not on your list, but I own and have rehearsed a 4 piece band with my Rumble 100 V3. Super light and probably worthy of coffee house gigs and rehearsals in a small space.
    Duckherder and CallMeAl like this.
  18. Then you get old and the SVT stays home! And you pick up a light amp to carry around… ;)
    Lucca Rodrigues likes this.
  19. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Nov 28, 2021

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