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Classy, Simple, Tube, and a Combo...like the old days

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JJBluegrasser, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    Hi all,
    I was looking at one of the new Bassman Reissues today and I am longing for that look, simplicity, and style in a really good bass amp. I know those things aren't really great for most folks as a bass amp anymore, but what ever happened to the days when you had your bass in one hand and your amp in the other (albeit very sore from the weight) hand?

    There is a lot of really great sounding gear about there, so I'm not knocking any of that. I'm just growing tired of carrying two cabinets and a head to every practice and performance I do. It takes me 10 minutes to hook it all up and play, not to mention the 3 or 4 trips to the car to get all of it and the cables I need to hook it all together.

    Also, not to knock the new stuff, but there's something really classy about a combo full of tubes and one bright red incandescent light saying its 'On and ready to rock'.

    I've never really been much into the 'gear' side of playing. I'm not trying to fill a stadium and if I'm in a big club, there will be PA support. Guitar players have lots of boutique options that are plug and go, but not bass players. I just want to buy something that sounds good (full of tubes), looks classic, and I want to carry it inside in one trip, plug in my American Precision (complete with flat wounds) and rock.

    Are those days gone? Is there anything like this out there now? I'm only 27, so is it also possible that this never happened in the first place and I've bought in to some myth? I know the Ampeg Fliptop is a good candidate, but that's all I know of, and it only comes in a 15 if I remember correctly.

    Any one else wish amplification was more like this? Anyone know how to get it?

  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    The Mesa Walkabout Scout is a hybrid amp that is simple, very 'tube' sounding, and loud.
  3. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I don't really think the Walkabout is all that tube sounding at all, and when the preamp gets pushed, the overdrive sounds harsh & buzzy. Of course, nothing replicates tube overdrive like power tubes.
  4. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Seems like we are on the same threads today. Well, if you want a full, out overdriven tube sound like on your links, I would agree 100%. If you, however, are going for a more Ampeg fliptop traditional warm tone, which seems to be what the originator is looking for, I find the Walkabout relatively in the same tone family.
  5. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Maybe look for a Mesa Buster used... Its hard to find tube combos for bass these days, and the only one still sold new that comes to mind is the Fliptop.
  6. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I also have a fliptop. You can't get the same tone with the walkabout. Not even close really. Maybe with a tube swap.
  7. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002

    I seriously doubt the poster with "bluegrass" included in his name, is looking for your preferred overdriven guitar amp with a bass played through it sound Ox. I second the Walkabout suggestion.
  8. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    Hi Cheezewiz,

    That's funny. You're right, although I should clarify that I am playing mostly rock and roll with my electric setup (bluegrass is only one part of my musical experience). I use only Double Bass for Bluegrass. I'm just looking for an old electric sound in a stylish (vintagey) and easy to transport package.

    That being said, I wouldn't know how to purposefully use overdrive like that if my life depended on it!:)

    Thanks for all your comments so far guys...

  9. I'll also recommend the Walkabout. As far as looking vintage (if that's a selling point), Mesa will allow you to custom order a number of "finishes" and grill cloths. You haven't mentioned a price range....this may be a limiting factor. I think they are going for over a grand ($1100?). Any how, they are at least worth a test-run at your local dealer. Good luck.

  10. demon666


    Jul 16, 2005
    Providence RI
    I've got an Ampeg B-15R ( the new reissue 100w) Its a great amp sounds fantastic but is really heavy I wouldn't suggest carring it with one hand It weighs around 120 pounds. I picked it up used at guitar center fairly cheap ($1150) considering what they go for new (around $2200?) It gets old playing out with it because its so heavy I'de much rather take my Mesa walkabout its easier to carry and sounds good . I basically use the Ampeg to record with .You can swap out the tubes between 6L6 and EL34 (there is a bias switch on it) Right now i've got EL34 in it and crank it up to get some really sweet overdrive that I blend back in with my direct track for recording so i"ve got the punch of the direct track and the warm tube sound from the Ampeg
  11. Almost forgot....the Ampeg B100-R supposedly gets a "vintage-like" tone. Zero tubes, however.

  12. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    B-100V All-Tube Combo Bass Amp

    Power Output: 100 watts RMS
    Controls: Volume, presence, treble, middle, and bass
    Speaker: 15"
    Output Jacks: 4 ohm, and 8 ohm
    Tubes: (2) 12AX7 and (4) 6L6GC
    Effects Loop: Yes, send and return jacks on rear panel
    Cover: Black tolex
    Dimensions: 18-1/2" x 13-1/2" x 28-1/2"
    Weight: 66 lbs.

    Internet Price: $489.95
  13. Not to spoil your daydreaming, but those days NEVER happened. Back in the early days of amplified music, a Fender bass player might be lucky enough to play through a Pro with a 15" speaker that farted constantly or a Showman with a 2x12 cab and not enough volume to keep up with a moderate drummer. It wasn't until the SVT (Kustom, Acoustic, later Fender) era that bass players EVER got to be heard onstage.

    Sounds to me like you're struck on a Portaflex-style combo.


    The Ampeg B15R mentioned earlier is a good candidate for a standalone combo, but it sounds almost NOTHING like the original B15N. It's actually the V4BH head permanently mounted on a 15 combo. If you like "old school" tone, the Ampeg B100 has the look(blue checkered tolex) and tone without the weight of the B15R and, to me at least, sounds better and is a LOT cheaper than the Mesa Walkabout.
  14. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    How about a Schroeder "airhead" cab with your preferred rackmount tube head? That'd surely get you a hell a of a combo in a reasonably portable format.

  15. To me it sounds like a Polytone may fill your needs. Good tubey like sound(although it's solid state) and can be carried in one hand. A lot of pro players use these!


    Attached Files:

  16. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City
    While the "farting" part is true, I must disagree with the last statement. In the mid-sixties everyone else was quieter, and the bass WAS heard. Even high-school bands in 1966 and '67, with the bassist using a Bassman with the small cabinet, I could hear and distinguish the bass. We just didn't play that loud.

    In 1968, when the psychedelic era "flowered" - THAT's when we started needing (a lot) more power!

    Nowadays, with the prevalence of large PAs, there is also less need for monster amps.
  17. While I still appreciate the sound of old bass gear, there's no doubt in my mind that applied newer technology has greatly improved bass sound over the years. (just the reverse of guitar amps IMHO)

    Nothing like a B15N flip top for a reasonable size and great sound, but a Schroeder 1210 Airhead cab with a Thunderfunk TFB550 is one amazing pocket rocket.
  18. EVERYONE wasn't always quieter, and I assure you that bluegrass picker on a Martin D-28 would have NO trouble absolutely drowning out anything less than 100 watts for bass. At least in the country and blues scenes of the time, volume was always an issue, even going back to big band days when GUITAR players couldn't hear themselves. Pop (read Beatles wannabes) groups of the early 60's had less volume problems because most of them were beginners and didn't really have a desire to project or really be heard.

    There are a lot of factors in stage volume, and nowadays, it's mainly dependent entirely on the drummer and good drummers with dynamic sense are like pretty women with rich families- I'm sure they exist somewhere because I've known a couple, but danged if most people will ever find one for their own.
  19. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    I'm not sure I follow you. I can drown out any single D-28 on Earth without an amp on Upright. That being said, for Rock and Roll, 100 solid state watts is truely not enough in my opinion either. However, 100 tube watts and 100 SS watts are different from what I've heard. I play through 300 SS watts now, and it's stupid loud. Way more than I need.

    That's awesome:)

  20. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I suppose you could carry this in one hand, but I do guarantee that you wouldn't want to be using that hand to play bass right after lugging this in:


    The Twin Valve Combo (100w, all-tube) does sound awefully good though. I also own a Pignose B-100V, which is a very different animal. Much lighter, though.