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Buying a new amp, advice?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Think deep, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Think deep

    Think deep

    Jun 27, 2012
    Hi, this is my first thread!

    I want to buy a decent bass amp. I don't have unlimited resources but I am looking to spend $1200 altogether (bass and cab). I played guitar for 7 years and have played bass for the past 2. I am now comfortable enough to spend some real money. I am looking for class D, solid state. I really like Aguilar amps, I know they're expensive but what do you guys think of the Tone Hammer and AG500 SC? Also, what are other good digital/solid state amps? Input please! I play a Fender MIA P-Bass and love it! I like vintage fat tones but don't want to buy a tube amp at this point. What gets good tones with digital amps?


    -Think Deep
  2. jybarry


    Jan 29, 2010
  3. Jheake


    Jan 21, 2010
    Gilbert az
    If you like vintage fat tones maybe the pf500 and a couple pf15s would be what you are looking for. They are in your price range and meet all of the criteria you listed minus the fact that it's ampeg instead of Aguilar.
  4. $1200 is plenty to spend on a first amp rig. As always, more for your money with used gear.

    Tone Hammer is yesterdays news around TB. Queue the Markbassists and the Ampegites.

    You need to play gear loud in a band before you really know if it's what you want. Vintage fat is traditionally tweeterless 15's. Most amps can dial up an approximation.

    I would go for a preamp + power amp, maybe $450 used, leaves plenty of money to buy cabs. Check out the pre + power threads for the ins and outs of matching output/ input sensitivity. Some preamps won't fully drive some power amps.
  5. G-K MB500, MB800 or MB Fusion and 2 212MBE or 115MBE cabs.

    BTW class "D" does not stand for digital ;)
  6. FooHead


    Jan 27, 2005
    Western Canada
    I would agree that used gear is the way to go. Keep an eye on the TB classified's, always lotsa good stuff there!

    For a fat vintage tubey sound you may want to look at a Mesa Walkabout head and some kind of tweeterless 15" cabs.

    The ampeg PF is a good suggestion too.
  7. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    ooooohh.... that's a toughie.

    If tone is a major criterion, maybe don't write off the tube amps just yet. :D
  8. Think deep

    Think deep

    Jun 27, 2012
    Thanks for all the input, I really appreciate it. I live in a smaller town and all the music stores went bust with economic situation. So I only get to try amps when I travel, it sucks. In reply to Skychief and FooHead -- yeah I realize it's kinda dumb to say "I want fat tone...don't want a tube amp yet" but I just am afraid to get burned on buying a tube amp used and it not really being in great condition and then...it is a race to an amp technician and spending god knows how much on new tubes -- make sense? I was looking for a solid state just because I feel a little more comfortable with buying one used. But I'm new to the bass amp game so that may change. Thanks for the input!
  9. crobasster


    Jun 16, 2009
    Buy an amp with plenty of MOJO.
  10. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Here are my favorite heads: Mesa M9 Carbine, Gallien Krueger MB800, and Genz Benz Shuttle 6.0. I paid ~$800, ~$450, and ~$400 for each used respectively. They can all make great FAT clean tone. Your cabinet choices used are vast, but I recommend looking at Epifani 410 and 310 cabs, Bergantino 410s and even a pair of Bergie 112s.

    There are some newer technologies using 3-way and 2-way scientifically designed sub-woofer based ported cabs that are terrific. You can find these kinds of designs from Avatar (TB153) or build a real Greenboy fEARful yourself. BTW, there are pros who build fEARfuls, and such cabs pop up used on TB now and then.

    Good hunting! You are going on a long but fun journey! :D
  11. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Might add a pair of Aguilar 112 cabs make a great rig, too. GB has some killer 212's that sound great, are light weight, but hard to find used...except maybe on TB classifieds.
  12. FooHead


    Jan 27, 2005
    Western Canada
    The Walkabout is a hybrid amp. There are only 2 12ax7 tubes in the pre-amp, the power section is all solid state. The tubes will last a long time with no fuss or muss required and no trips to the tech to bias. I would say the pre-amp tubes are pretty worry free. Walkabout is small too, only 13 lbs. Just to clarify...
  13. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Go see some local bands where the bassist is using a rig similar to what you're after. It should give you some approximation of how yours might sit in the mix. In fact, listen to lots of live rigs for things you may have overlooked.
    +1 to buying used (carefully) and building your own cabs
  14. mhduffl


    Nov 27, 2008
    Hong Kong
    If you like Aguilar sound (same here), you can get a good used aguilar rig here!!

    A Tonehammer 500 is around 550USD used in talkbass and many great cabs (not only aguilar) in talkbass for sale..... For instance, there is a GS212 for sale now for 400USD.

    I like TC electronic and aguilar rigs.

    Good luck!
  15. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    This is a perfectly logical fear. Some tubes are really expensive. :eek:

    The trick is, choosing a tube amp which uses commonly available tubes ( 6L6's, EL34's or even 6550's).

    A 100 watt tube amp (with 4 6L6's) would cost around $80 to re-tube(output section).

    The good news is, barring catastrophic electrical component failure, most tube amps will run for years on a fresh set of tubes ----They don't need to be replaced like light bulbs.

    Ive got a 42 year old Bassman amp ive been using for close to 15 years now....never been re-tubed. The thing is like the energizer bunny.....just keeps going...and going...

    anyway, im not trying to talk you into a tube amp; just trying to quell some of the fears you have about tube amps. And when it comes to tone.... well.....;)
  16. A 100w tube amp isn't powerful enough to get clean tone in most bands.
  17. wonderjosh


    Nov 19, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    Clean tones are overrated. :cool:
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I used a V4b and 810 for over 10 years in the 80's playing all sorts of music, mostly hard rock and roll, and never ran out of clean volume except when I first got it and was trying very hard to make spleens explode in a 100 seat bar. I also think I had to replace one tube in it the whole time I had it. Through the right cab, I find it pretty doggone loud and clean. But I do understand that some people do still try to make spleens explode, and there's an outside chance it wouldn't be enough.

    As for tubes, skychief is right...they ain't light bulbs.
  19. username1


    Dec 28, 2005
    alberta canada
    I got a restocked ampeg svt pro 7 for $599 from musicians friend that works great and is the new c revision. I see now they have them for $550 with free shipping. I would go with a used speaker box of the highest quality you can find for the money left over.
  20. Think deep

    Think deep

    Jun 27, 2012
    I appreciate all the help and advice I got from this thread! I ended up scoring an aguilar ag500sc head from a friend who has acquired so many toys over the years he didn't mind selling it to a younger musician fro a price I couldn't refuse. He likes his old tube amps and T.C. Electronic stuff more so I came out with a great deal. I'm considering aguilar cabs as well but haven't decided yet. I really can't explain how helpful everyone on Talkbass is. It's really hard to try and learn the tech side of things living in a musically dead town. Thanks for the comments,

    -Think Deep

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