1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Damned newbie question: what amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tombolino, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Tombolino


    Dec 28, 2012

    New to bass. Just have a 4 string Ibanez, Soundgear. Cheap, bought when I was not interested in bass ;)

    I honestly dont like the process of choosing gear because too many choices and being newb I dont know what to look for (basics).

    Possible gigs in the future when I can play would be small jam rooms, small bars, bigger bars, patios, ocassional various private parties. Large halls, fests, big nightclubs and such... who knows.

    What are the specs to look for in a bass amp and, are they like guitar and each amp has its own personality?

    Size and lugging experience is important for me. Wondering if may need 2 amps? One for easy quick get up and go small room jam, and another amp for power with band, larger place. I have seen bass players with speaker and some type of bass sound racks on top. I guess those are the fancy pants set ups?

    Music I would like to play: all kinds. But, i know I will look for whatever gigs related to: latin, funk, non difficult jazz standards, and weird stuff like Radiohead, and even avant garde stuff where wide eq range helps (though i assume most eq will be dicatated by the bass?---i dont wanna over mess with that)


    Happy almost new year!

  2. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Well, too many answers to give. How about a Markbass Little Mark III head and a Markbass Traveller 151P cab? Like me.
  3. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    2 key questions:

    1) Where are you located?
    2) How much do you have to spend?
  4. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    SVT and 8x10 all you will ever need
  5. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    For gigging, look for 300-500 watt head, and pair that with at least a good 2x12, 4x10, etc. Iow, a medium sized cab, NOT a small 1x anything. But, a good 1x15 combo amp can get you a good long way as well. Maybe start there, and work up to the big rig later.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I would go with a GK MB800 (or MB500 if you don't need that much power) and a Bergantino HD212 (or AE212 if you can find a used one). That should cover pretty much everything you described. The amp is very versatile and works extremely well with those cabs.
  7. M. Owen Santy

    M. Owen Santy Banned

    Aug 10, 2011
    Springfield, MA
    Michael Tobias Designs Kingston Series & Traynor Amps Artist
    To Me - Would look at a Decent 400W (or better) head + a 2x10 and a 1x15 cab. Makes for a modular set-up that's very easy to grow with and won't be out-grown for a few years at the very least.

    For heads - anything traynor or carvin are affordable & simple to use - great investments. And Carvin cabs are always solid.
  8. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    Buying used can be a great way to save hundreds of dollars. Your location, price range, and whether weight & size are an issue are all important factors in the suggestsion equation though.

    I'd suggest generally: 300-500w, 410's, 2x 210's, 212's, etc. For versatility, look for an amp with onboard graphic EQ, overdrive, 4 band (low, low mid, high mid, high) or a parametric mid control to allow for extra flexibility.
  9. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    It sounds like you could really use a modular system, one with a separate head and two (preferably matched) cabinets. Like a 500w micro head and a pair of good 15s, 210s or 212s. That way you'll have a small rig, just one cab, and a larger rig with both. Also, no backbreaker pieces of gear. Each item can be 50 pounds or less. The amp head itself can be under 10 pounds.

    To an extent, each brand of head (and cab!) will have its own personality. If you like a really modern sound, probably best to stay away from retro sounding Ampeg units. And if you like a really retro sound, perhaps Gallien-Krueger isn't the best fit for you. But also to an extent you can fashion your sound out of EQ settings, strings, technique and effects to get by with just about any choice. Is there a particular style or sound you're mainly after?

    Remember: bass isn't guitar. You can't survive with a 50w combo with a 12" speaker. in many instances, having double the speakers and ten times the watts will be a reasonable comparison. That's just how it is.

    You don't need big racks of gear with flashing lights, although you certainly can have that. Nowadays there are micro heads weighing 7 pounds and good pedal compressors and tuners, obviating the need for a huge rack of stuff. This is my opinion. Others will feel differently, no doubt.

    Don't buy a combo amp. I believe they're best suited for a) people who just want to play by themselves in their apartments and b) gigging pros who know exactly the limits of their amp needs and who understand thoroughly the drawbacks and pitfalls of such ownership.

    Buying used can save a lot of money if you know what you're looking for.

    Like some other Talkbass folks, I'm sold on getting my speakers as vertical as I can, so as to be closer to my ear when I play. This means a single 410 cab is probably not my best choice. Rather two smaller cabs stacked on top of one another.
  10. MontanaBassDude


    Sep 20, 2011
    My 2cents:

    Get something with more power (into 4 ohms) than you think you'll ever need -- in a couple years, you'll probably wish you had more.

    Headroom is your holy grail.

    I'll boldly and generally state that most amps cost about 1$ per watt.

    That said, you can get a new Carvin (1500w bridged into four ohms) for under $579.

    If you have any woodworking abilities, look into building a Fearful 15" DIY cab. Shockingly loud, deep, articulate across ALL freqs, never farts out. After 30 years of bass cabs, there are few commercial cabs that touch it. Still - you're gonna spend $600+ building one of these, due to the price of the Eminence 3015LF neo driver... and that awesome little 6" 18-Sound midrange.
    As for me, I'm done looking at commercial cabs. No need.

    Now let the hate-mail begin.
  11. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    While I agree with the modular POV I would not recommend a mixed cab set up for someone new to our instrument. There are just too many variables. A pair of identical cabinets, 15s or 2x10s make for a versatile rig.
  12. Anthony Fury

    Anthony Fury

    Jan 20, 2009
    THIS exactly, ESPECIALLY when you're on a gig with a P.A. and will already be in the house.

    I've used this on many occasions. Actually, the older one, which says "Nemesis" and is blue. Short of playing in a pizza restaurant with a bunch of teenagers who have Marshall half stacks / the John Bonham signature Ludwig kit (which I used to do), it's pretty hard to sink. And you can tip it up toward your head so nobody has to hear your pesky bass lines, especially not your drummer who is too busy being in his own "I'm the drummer, we're taking my tempo!" world.

  13. MontanaBassDude


    Sep 20, 2011
    Your post talks about playing gigs from tiny to outdoors. Maybe a PA or no. In my experience, venues RARELY offer a decent enough PA to handle a low B.

    I'm stunned; does no one play with drummers? A bass has to stand out over the dBs a drum set puts out... not to mention a couple of screeching guitar amps and vocals. It's asking a lot of bass equipment. And a cute little bass cube can't do that.

    Tiny rig = tiny venues... and that's it.
    Big rig = tiny venues and much more. (It's why God invented the Volume control.)

    Maybe it's because I'm a geezer. :crying: My newbie amp was an Acoustic 360 refrigerator. Then I went smaller and got buried even in rehearsals.

    I'll just be over here with my ringing ears if anyone needs me...
  14. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    You don't need an 810 fridge to handle a large gig. If you think you might need to go big, get a pair of 212 cabs. One for small-medium, two for large-extra large or when you just want to look like a badass.

    Getting an 810 means you'll be wheeling it into every coffee house from here to eternity. Nobody wants that.
  15. Tombolino


    Dec 28, 2012
    Thanks friends. So what are the typically known personalities of sound of the different brands? Seems that:

    Gallien = modern
    Ampeg = retro

    What other brands out there?

    Which brand is versatile in sound?
  16. Oh yes there it is, the answer to end all answers regarding amp and cab suggestions around here :D
  17. Tombolino


    Dec 28, 2012
    Thanks. Which SVT? :)
  18. I've run an SVT-II & 810 setup in small bars and large-ish halls. Anything bigger would be going through the PA anyway, so it worked fine for me.
  19. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    Am the only person who thinks wheeling an 810 into a small venue is silly?
  20. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    No, but then I think a lot of things others do is silly and they believe the same about me :eyebrow: