Do amps ever come back in style?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JazzyJacuzzi, Oct 13, 2021 at 12:18 AM.

  1. neddyrow

    neddyrow @TeddyPlaysBass - Instagram Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    The appearance of the Tyler Fliptop amp and Broughton Fliptop pedal makes me want to say, "yes" but did the Fliptop ever go out of style. Seems like more of a mainstay. A classic never dies right? Just people want one and can't find one anymore?
    DJ Bebop and matti777 like this.
  2. bassinflorida

    bassinflorida turn that dang thing down

    Jan 27, 2014
    Tampa, FL
    Well, I think it is just rude for you to brag about having more friends than I have.
  3. dannnnn


    Nov 14, 2007
    Beaufort, SC
    Did Gorilla amps ever go out of style? Were they ever in style?
  4. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    This thread got me thinking.

    Over the past 50 years that I've been trying to play bass I've owned and gigged (listed in the order I had them) Kustom 200 w/Kustom 215 cab, Sunn 200S w/Sunn 215 JBL cab, Acoustic 360, Ampeg SVT w/Ampeg flatback 810 cabs, G.K. 800RB w/one Ampeg 810, Eden w/210 & 212 cabs, varied class D heads till I found the right one for me, to the present day's rig combination, Mesa 800+ amp w/two 210 Neo Avatar cabs, just which rig really stood out to my ears and would I like to have back?

    I'd have to say, I'd REALLY like to have my Acoustic 360 back.

    That's the one from the past that stood out for me.

    Would I like it as much as my present day lite weight rig?

    I'd love to A/B them to see.....
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 1:57 PM
    PhatBottomBass1 and J-Bassomatic like this.
  5. projectapollo

    projectapollo Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    I have a lot of interest in this Tyler Fliptop amp, but it sure seems hard to locate.
  6. chriscarcinogen

    chriscarcinogen Supporting Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    The City
    There's been one the classifieds here forever.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I couldn't disagree more.

    If you only want knowledge of facts about bass players, go read their biographies.

    If you only want knowledge of facts regarding amps, pedals, speakers, and basses,, their manuals and specs are all elsewhere on the interwebs.

    There are online bass lessons that can teach you how to play. Knowledge of theory is also obtainable elsewhere.

    I prefer to read (through posts by my fellow members) what about their favorite bass player inspires them. I prefer to read anecdotes from actual players regarding their experiences with various gear. And I even like sharing random phone pics, stories of loved ones they have lost, and (believe it or not) whether or not they like tort and flats. Heck, I even enjoy reading what they think is the best bass for metal!!!!

    Is there knowledge to be gained here? You bet. Are there facts floating around TalkBass? More than I can count. But if that's all that were here, I would not be.
  8. projectapollo

    projectapollo Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    3000 miles away. When searching all of TalkBass for Tyler Flip Top there are very very few mentions. This must be an extremely niche product.
  9. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I still want a 400RB. I found two over the years at Guitar Center but both had a pretty bad humming sound, so back to the store they went.
  10. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    Yes if anything there appear to be FAR more choices than there were say 25 years ago.

    The companies being referenced as going out of business didn't go out of business because of going ampless or even issues with the products. They were bought out by corporate entities without their best interests in mind and put out of business as part of that process.

    Now I'm not one to suggest that 35 pound bass heads and 100 pound 4 x 10" cabs are going to make a comeback into the mainstream, but from a tone perspective they are hardly lacking.

    The phrase I hear time and time again here (I think the average age here must be north of a Corvette forum LOL) is "I'm old and don't want to lift that kinda weight anymore"

    That's fair and a pretty good reason but reality is a LOT of people still own and use amps, the IEM thing is particularly popular in churches because that way the backline doesn't upset the old ladies in the front row at the service.

    Also that type of situation lends itself to a no amp/IEM situation because you are usually in the same place with an installed sound system, usually run by the same people, and you are not breaking down and setting up the system.

    I hear the guys down at the church of Satan though, those guys are still using SVT's LOL

  11. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Interesting thread,
    I think most folks agree that with few exceptions, bass amps rarely come back-in-style. When it comes to solid state gear especially, bassists generally want clarity, portability and volume. All three of those have improved dramatically over the years. There's not an amp I've owned and gotten rid of that I'd purchase again. Unless I have another tube-amp-phase (unlikely), I happily look forward to a future with progressively lighter, louder and clearer amps.

    There's an interesting parallel here with my other instrument, Pedal Steel Guitar. 6-string electric guitarists seem to frequently bring old amps back in style -even some solid state amps- for a variation in tone, distortion, etc. Pedal Steel players however, have similar preferences to many bass Bass players. We want clarity, lots of clean headroom and we have a preference for lighter weight. There's a few heavy classic Fenders that and some Classic Peavey steel amps that are some steel players will always play, and the relatively few Steel-specific amps produced by Peavey and a few others will always have some adherents. However, generally, if a given amp hasn't already been considered a "classic" for many years, it's a good bet it won't be coming back-in-style anytime soon.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 2:40 PM
  12. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    These amps are either no longer being made by their original owners or no longer being made at all. That's probably a big reason you don't see so many of them anymore.
  13. Benj-jammin

    Benj-jammin Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2020
    North Carolina
    OK, fair enough. If you've worked on them, that's ahead of where I've been.
  14. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    SVT's were never the amps that college kids playing in bars used - they've always been more a thing with touring pros and folks with a fair amount of cash. The touring guys don't care about weight (somebody else has to lift the darn thing)

    The rest of the market has turned over a few times - Tube amps to Class A/B solid state, and now class D heads and....ampless gigs. There may be a few retro folks not in the SVT crowd that play tube heads or heavy solid state stuff, but that's a diminishing part of the market - over time it will slowly go away. The majority of my gigs are ampless - I have one gig that's a "coffee house" vibe where I use a class D amp with a small cabinet. That gig is almost certainly going away at this point (long story) - by the start of the year I'll be 100% ampless, with 3 class D heads that....who knows what I'll do with those. In my world, amps in general for bass* are almost history.

    *and guitar - most guitarists I work with are on Kempers or equivalents at this point.
    spiritbass likes this.
  15. nozkcb

    nozkcb Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Heck yes! In the 90's it seems you couldn't give away an SVT because everyone was on Eden, SWR, Woods, Aguilar, etc. . . . Now, you'd pay an arm and a leg for a US made SVT head.
  16. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    Inherent in this "classic amps coming back" thing is the fact bass amps have gone through various phases throughout history, some changes were due to technology, others were due to changes in musical styles. Consider that:

    1. Early era - vastly underpowered, didn't sound very good, but typically used with old basses with flatwound strings because that was what bass guitar was supposed to sound like.

    As venues became large and the Marshall stack appeared to fill said venues (from the late 60's to the early 70's the stage amps filled the venue if it was indoors usually, the small, low powered PA's of the time had the vocals, maybe keys and the drums) you had the dawn of stuff like the Acoustic 360/371 and it's follow ons and the SVT. To a lesser extent the Sunn Coliseum.

    The thing was unless you had the cash for one of these top flight rigs you wound up with one of the "little brother" versions, and these were in reality underpowered, typically 100 to 150 watts.

    2. The 5-String "Hi-Fi" era - Hartke was the initial brand to use speakers with more high end response, and soon it became obvious a double 15" bass cab was not suited to the new styles of music of the era.

    This was the era of SWR, Eden, Gallien-Krueger, etc. ; fairly high powered amps using cabs with 10" speakers, often a pair of 4 x 10" cabs.

    The 2 x 10" cab came out of this era as a cheaper alternative when you did not need a full 4 x 10" for a smaller venue.

    These cabs usually had horns for the high end, and porting arrangements to suit the low B strings of the 5 string basses in vogue.

    This is when the SVT actually made a bit of a comeback, because while expensive it was not that much more than a top flight rig from the other guys with a pair of 4 x 10" and had a sound with top end, and a sound associated with metal and grunge and other popular styles of the era

    3. The modern Class D era, with smaller/lighter cabinets.

    Big drivers for this era people seem to be missing:

    a. The number of rock bands, rock venues, etc. shrank and the audience started aging out of going to see bands all the time in the local joint. Different styles of music became popular with younger people, many of these styles did not even use a bass player. DJ's, bass lines on synths that sort of thing

    I would bet you the number of young bass players out there today is probably 10% of what it was in say 1990.

    b. The aging of the bass player market - this place is a good example, seems to be mostly old dudes (guilty as charged here) and these old dudes, with their iffy rotator cuffs and bad backs didn't want to haul that 100 pound 4 x 10" around anymore.

    BUT there were not as many young guys who would be fine with heavier gear, and for the younger guys cost is an issue.

    Some of you guys change amps and cabinets like underwear; that's a side effect of old boomer money....they gots it to spend so they get GAS and are flipping gear all the time.

    I saw a recent thread where this guy just bought a new cab, and said he had owned 6 Genzler cabinets prior to his purchase.

    c. Cost per watt - Class D allowed amp companies to effectively outsource the power amp part of their products (yes I know there are exceptions to this but for the most part this statement is true) so all they had to do was do the preamp part, and put that into a much smaller case (which costs less).

    Today you can buy a really nice Mesa D800+ for what, a grand? And it's 800 watts?

    That $1,000 backdated to 1990 would be under $500. I don't recall any Mesa bass amp product that only cost $500 in 1990.

    Go back further and the price differential becomes even more dramatic.

    My Acoustic 220 from 1978 (125 watts at four ohms, $330) would be a near $1,400 head today. A 320 head would probably be nearly $2,000 today.

    Consider too a $1000 Mesa is more at the top of the class, you can buy less regarded brands with fewer watts for $500 or less today.

    So this reduction in real world pricing allows the boomers to swap out amps all the time, while the far smaller number of young guys can at least get a decent, powerful amp within their more limited budget.

    Consider the (regular price) $279 Acoustic B300HD I recently purchased, that amp would have been $65 back in 1978.

    Back then there was NOTHING, flat out NOTHING in the bass amp world that was that cheap.

    d. Used gear - this old stuff has proven to be pretty damn reliable and the marketplace and the world is full of amps from the 1970's to the 1990's that still work just fine and in some cases are in really good shape.

    People who want the older type gear will just buy used over new gear. ESPECIALLY if you are a younger player without a lot of money.

    You can sell a young guy today a used $300 SWR pretty easily but you would never sell him a new $1,500 SWR, they don't have the disposable cash like the boomers.

    Now more performance, more watts, lighter weight sure these are all good things but the economics of the market and the fact playing bass in a band is not the thing it once was (so fewer new players) is the big driver of the market.

    So to summarize, the reason why these classic amps don't come back is a combination of:

    1. Cost
    2. Limited market
    3. Plenty of viable choices on the used market

    That's why the few remaining products from the olden days still on the market (SVT, V4B and the like) don't have competition; there is simply not enough market to make companies want to reintroduce their old products.

  17. WG Plum

    WG Plum

    Apr 9, 2021
    Vox is pretty popular among guitarists I know.
  18. JazzyJacuzzi


    Sep 17, 2021

    A history professor once told me history is the study of why things happen. You can find the rest, what you call "facts," like dates and such, in newspaper and on Wikipedia.

    The question is not when WWII started; it's why it started.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 5:26 PM
  19. agedhorse over at Mesa is doing wonderful things with ss amps to bring back the warmth :)
    Subway-TT-800_front-hr (1).jpg
    Coot and juancaminos like this.
  20. JazzyJacuzzi


    Sep 17, 2021
    I think it's part of the reason, but that doesn't stop people from buying CE2s and Tube Screamers and 60s Precision basses.
  21. 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.

    Oct 17, 2021

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