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Combo Wheels/Handles

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pbasswil, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    Hi all,

    I'm looking to leave my separate head and cab at home and simplify my life with a modern, light combo.
    I'm very interested in the Markbass CMD 102P, it would give me the sound and volume I'm after.
    My only hesitation is: I'd love to have a combo with wheels or removable casters -- and even better: a built-in telescoping luggage handle at the back. It'd be great if MB offered that, at least as an option.

    Has anyone had success adding wheels, or fastening a dolly to one of their combos?
    Or barring that, any recommendations on a separate, lightweight collapsing luggage rack? I have one, but it's not really wide and sturdy enuf, and my gear keeps tipping off. :^( The sturdier ones I've seen become one more heavy item to carry.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd just go to a hardware store and buy the cheapest smallest handtruck they have. Adding casters or a dolly will add weight, and you might end up messing up a good thing.
  3. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    >buy the cheapest smallest handtruck<

    Jimmy, I may well end up doing that; but I'd first like to explore my options for having the wheels attached. I'm really craving the simplicity of that. I'm not precious about keeping my gear mint -- I buy it as a tool. So if I can safely attach something, I don't mind drilling a few holes.

    I just noticed the Portaflex in your signature; my ancient Portaflex has a bolted-on dolly, and it's fantastically convenient!

    Peter W
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It has its moments, for sure. The one thing I don't like about it, though, is it makes tilting it back really difficult. Taking the dolly on and off is a PITA. If you're not a tilter, it's not so bad, but I like to do it and I'm just too lazy to do it with the dolly.

    You could get all the parts for a Portaflex-style or SVT-style dolly at www.fliptops.net if that's the option you want to do. Probably wouldn't be too hard to make it.
  5. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Some hand trucks and dollies.
  6. rok51


    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    Over the years having gone both ways (not THAT!) with casters and a hand truck...I vote overwhelmingly for the hand truck. While the mounted casters seem more convenient, they have their definite downsides. They don't work well over rough surfaces-think gravel, grass, dirt, etc. They roll around when you don't want them to...in one's vehicle, for instance-although you can lay the amp on its side and listen to the casters rattle. Trying to set one down, temporarily on a flight of stairs is always interesting. Depending on the dimensions of the amp, casters-depending on what direction they wind up facing-can actually result in a loss of stability (easy to tip over) for the amp.
    A furniture dolly can be used instead, but it has many of the same limitations.
    Hand trucks rule this task. For years, I toted my big stuff on a Milwaukee D handled truck with 10 inch pneumatic tires. I then saw an early version of the $30 folding hand truck...and got one. It stays in the vehicle, taking up very little room. It could handle my 100 lb cabs...even over gravel parking lots. It wasn't as easy as the big hand truck, but it was-and remains-a very functional solution the the problem.

  7. hasbeen

    hasbeen Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2004
    Vice President, KMC Music. Warwick U.S. distribution, Ampeg distribution
    another vote for the handtruck. To answer your question about manufacturers adding telescopic handles: it sounds simple in theory but, in practice, it creates a significant chance for your amp to vibrate, buzz and rattle.
  8. David S

    David S

    Apr 4, 2004
    I used an appliance dolly on my Standel cabinet. I could wheel it in by myself, and would maybe unhook the strap. Rack on top hid the handles. Also was great for loading in my truck, just lean the dolly on the bed, and drag it in (ok, needed someone to push).

    FWIW the cabinet is a 4-12" with 2 layers of 3/4" plywood, WAG over 100 lbs, maybe 30" wide by 48 tall. I plan to get it our to storage today, need some photos, and to fire ti up again!

  9. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Schroeder offers their "Telescopic Steel Dolly" that should work for ya.
    Here's the link: http://www.schroedercabinets.com/options.htm

    Mesa Boogie did have a telescopic handle and tilt-back wheels on the discontinued Buster combo models:

  10. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    Hey, great, thoughtful responses everybody -- thanks. Didn't know there was a Fliptop website, Jimmy; great stuff. And thanks for the point to the handtruck place, MIJ-VI, appreciate it.

    anderbass: It looks like the Schroeder wheel/handle thing is an option to order built-in to one of their cabs, no? It's not clear that they'd sell them to you separately; but an email should clear that up.

    Now my options are a lot clearer. You folks are a great resource; never underestimate the usefulness of the shared experience here.


    Pete W
  11. rfclef


    Jan 19, 2007
    Woodburn, Oregon
    I could not find it on the website, but in the luggage section at Walmart, they have a foldable handcart that runs about $15-20, if I recall. will hold lotsa weight. I keep my 15" combo on it all the time (cart comes with a bungy). I can leave it on or take it off to play. I often put my 2x10 cab on top of the combo to haul into gigs. Good sized wheels and pretty sturdy for the price...
  12. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Yeah, I'd imagine they'd sell ya one if you fudged a bit and said you owned one of their cabs... That (screw on) dolly seems to be made for specific width cabs so you might wanna check their cab sizes before you get too far along down that path.

    I could of swore I'd ran across a simalar product to Schroeder's but I couldnt find it.
    (edit) here it is: http://www.reliablehardware.com/Hardware-Part/52 External-Mount-Pull-Out-Handle-Assembly.aspx

    You'd have to do some serious cutting... but here's another option:
    http://www.reliablehardware.com/Category/Handles/Pull-Out Handles.aspx
    http://www.reliablehardware.com/Category/Casters/Tilt Casters.aspx

    I know allot of guys seem to resist using a nice hand truck for some reason, but they really do end up working beter than anything else I've tried.
  13. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    i got a folding hand truck from musicians friend...holds 200 lbs and can be used to help out other band members, and on other things when not in use for your gear.

    Much smarter, much easier.

    It's great to put effort into your gear, especially if you notice your car runs better after you detail it...I'd suggest putting that effort into cables or speaker connects or making a cover.


    It's great. Of course you're gonna do what you're gonna do...
  14. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    Wow, more thoughtful perspectives and referrals; thanks everyone, I'm eating this all up. :^)

    anderbass, I wouldn't say I'm "resisting" the hand truck; I _have_ a handtruck, and I find it a nuisance to securely load it up out of my trunk (up here it's liable to be snowing for half the year), and then to keep everything balanced and secure while I yank it up stairs, over and around obstacles and holes, etc.

    And on the kind of casual gigs I do, often enough I have to do a sound check on a stage, then move my setup to an outer room for an hour of cocktail background music, and then back to the stage again for the main event. Built in casters are great for that kind of perpetual schlepping.

    But that wheel-less Markbass 2 x 10 combo really seems like the perfect ratio of sound (LOUD, full range with no major frequency holes, detailed) to weight (44lbs) for my purposes. Anything I've seen with wheels is a lot heftier. EBS's is 20lbs more; Eden's Metro is 34lbs more; SWR's Redhead is _51_lbs more!

    Peter W
  15. jonathanhughes

    jonathanhughes Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I had two combo amps that I put casters on (heavy duty ones from a hardware store), and I never had any problems in terms of things getting messed up due to vibrations. But like Rok51 said, they're not good for going over rough surfaces. There were a lot of times I had to carry the amp because rolling wouldn't work. Also, over long distances, it's tough to push something that's that short around (you have to hunch over). There would be cons to a hand cart, too, but I think hand carts work in more situations. Of course, you could always put casters on _and_ use a hand cart if necessary.
  16. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    JH wrote:
    >I had two combo amps that I put casters on<

    Jonathon, how did you attach them? Did they pop out? Did you have to drill holes and then insert sleeves? If so, did the sleeves extend very far into the box?

    Pete W
  17. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

  18. rfclef


    Jan 19, 2007
    Woodburn, Oregon
    Have a peavy KB-300 (or something like that) keyboard combo at my school that had casters on it. Real drag taking it across a parking lot. I pulled the casters off and got the same Walmart handcart I got for my own amp. and it is sooo much easier to deal with. My personal vote is "no" on casters. Your mileage may vary.
  19. Lee Barker

    Lee Barker Labor of evident value satisfies the soul. Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    Redmond, Oregon
    owner, Barker Musical Instruments, maker of the Barker Bass, No Longer In Production.
    This has been a very enlightening and civil discussion and I'll add a couple things. I have three hand trucks, two pieces of bass equipment with retrofit telescoping handles & wheels, and one of these:


    Mine is not a knockoff--I paid $175 about 8 years ago. The platform telescopes together to become half its length, and the handle telescopes down and then folds. Neat design, and in some settings it has some advantages over handtrucks.

    I don't use casters except at church, which is a carpeted run from storage to rostrum and I made a platform dolly with good 3" casters for that.

    I have a set of the removable kind which I think are common on Mesa equipment, but I haven't installed them on anything--they came with a recent used purchase on TB. I can see their advantages--including they're a tidy way to get a tilt by removing the back casters.

    That said, the SWR solution to the tilt need--a recessed, springloaded handle mounted in the bottom--is an elegant and practical piece o' work.

    In my (professional) shop I use wheels whenever possible. It just makes sense. (I am toting spinal titanium, but that shouldn't be the reason.)

    This all goes back to the OP's original motivation, which is to simplify. We study the options--generously supplied by our peers here--and see which works best for us in our typical outings. I figure the fewer calories I burn and the simpler the setup, the more horsepower there is for playing. And I need that margin because I am old and not very talented.
  20. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    My Gallien-Krueger NEO1001/212 combo has two casters on the backside and a telescoping handle. It's extremely easy to move. I rarely use my larger rackmounted rigs. With 460 watts and a DI it's all I need for most situations. I haven't experienced any vibrations.


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