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Dual Purpose Amp Advice

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jmal, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. jmal


    Apr 5, 2006
    Hello All,

    This is my first post after browsing the forums for a while. I have played guitar for quite a while, but have just recently begun bass. I am looking for an amp, though I will have to sell my guitar amp to afford something decent. Here's the question: how well do bass amps work for guitar, primarily a clean sound. I would like to be able to use the amp for both and am willing to sacrifice a little of my guitar sound to accomodate the bass. For example, I know that many covet old bassman amps for guitar use, but those are not really bass amps by modern standards, IMO. In terms of the bass amp, I need something warm and loud enough to play with friends (drums and often two guitars) in a moderate size basement. If you view my profile, you'll see that I listen to/play "older" music. Basically, simple, functional, warm sound is my goal. I hope I have articulated my needs well enough. Any specific recommendations or advice would be great. Thanks.

  2. The two channel Acoustic Image heads (the Focus and Clarus) are GREAT for that application. There are a number of jazz-oriented guitarists that I know who use the AI heads for amplification with various cabs. The two channel models come with effects (reverb primarily) that are useful for guitar, and they sound great with bass. The heads are VERY clean... no tube grit or anything like that, but they product a very warm and pleasing bass and guitar sound.

    Combining them with one of the smaller Accugroove cabs (like the Tri112) would result in a nice small loud rig that could be used successfully for bass and 'jazz-oriented' clean guitar sounds IMO.

    Edit: Stay away from the AI combo's though... IMO not a good thing... boomy and not very loud versus their heads with other cabs.
  3. Any modern bass-amp will do. These are full-range nowadays. Just try different models to hear if the horn sounds good with these relatively high frequencies.
  4. I'm not sure if I agree with that. Heads like SWR and Eden that are really voiced for bass would probably sound like dog with a guitar... but who knows. For some reason, the AI voicing seems to really work with both.

    +1 on the 'horn' comment, which is why I recommended the Accugroove with the mid driver and those very natural sounding soft dome tweeters.
  5. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    You could also look at the Polytone Mini Brute series of amps. They have a website now. You'd want one of the 15" models.
  6. +1 on those also... similar voicing and concept to the AI stuff... warm but relatively flat and 'clean' sounding.
  7. I use my SWR Working Mans 12 combo quite alot with guitar. I have a BOSS delay and overdrive pedal with just a hint of overdrive and tend to play with the horn OFF. I can keep up with the drummer and the rest of the band doing some blues and good old rock and roll.

  8. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    a Portaflex (B15N or F, heck maybe an S). Admitadly (sp) it is my soultion to many amp questions. I have heard them used for guitar effectively. For old Western Swing bass its kinda a done deal.
    Of course my current Desk Top background is Jesse Oliver and Friends.

    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.

    Attached Files:

  9. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    If you're not planning on being all that loud, I don't think a Bassman is a terrible idea at all. They sound great with guitar, obviously, and they actually sound really good with bass as long as you use relatively efficient cabinets.

    However, I think you're going for an old Mesa D-180 head - they are great for both guitar and bass. They aren't that expensive if you look around a bit, and with some decent cabs, I'm sure you'd be fine.

    As far as cabinets go, I'd look for a two-way, but with a woofer and a smaller cone midrange rather than the standard woofer/horn. Piezos sound like junk with guitar, unless you're really wanting a REALLY clean tone. Accugroove might also be a good bet.
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    If you're looking for old school, there are plenty of 15s that work pretty well for both guitar and bass, with no tweeter at all. The EVM-15L and JBL D140 are two common examples.

    I'd second the AI heads too, especially if you're looking to do jazz-voiced guitar. You could get a "modern" speaker like the Accugroove or EA cabs to optimize for bass, and maybe use a modeler to voice the guitar to your liking as well.
  11. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    If you already have a good guitar head, try it out with some bass cabs. (hint: turn the bass knob/preamp gain down, to increase head-room). You might like it.
  12. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Yes, this is the cheapest solution if your existing head can get a loud clean tone.

    Most of the old Sunn tube heads sound great for old warm music and were designed to be used with both bass and guitar. I gigged my 60W Sorado and an efficient 2x12 cab lots of times with both bass and guitar. For medium to large rooms the bass required PA support, but the guitar was more than loud enough for any room. I used an Ibanez pedalboard for guitar distortion etc.
  13. jmal


    Apr 5, 2006
    Thanks for the advice so far. In response to recommendations to use my existing guitar head, I can't do this as I have a combo (35w Victoria). Regarding the AI stuff, I have heard them plenty with guitar, but I'll have to look into the sound with a bass--may be little too "transparent." Similarly, I have never heard an eb played through a Polytone. I may have to unwisely use the cc and buy an amp, rather than sell my guitar amp.

  14. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Do you need the speaker to break up a little, like on guitar cabs?

    Guitar speakers and cabs tend to be much more efficient, so it's much easier to get them loud and overdrive them than a bass cabinet.

    I'll also agree with the AI stuff. Especially the Focus 2, since it has two channels. You can easily add an amp modeler into the XLR channel, and a bass into the other. There's a number of possibilities.

    As far as a head, the Aguilar AG500 is a sick little puppy in the distortion realm. It can do nice little overdrive, to thick saturated, replace the rhythm guitar player tone. The GS112s sound real nice when they are overdriven, but seem to lack a little on the clean end. I'm actually gonna plug a guitar into that rig this weekend and check it out.

    I'm not a fan of 15s for a guitar. They sound too honky to me. The speaker is too slow for capturing some of the nuances of the guitar. I'd go with a 12" or 10" cabinet.

    The Accugroove Tri112 sounds wonderful with an acoustic and clean electric guitar. The IP112 sounds insanely good with a Jazz Box, but other instruments sound great as well. Schroeder makes a guitar cabinet as well, so I wonder if it would sound decent with a bass.
  15. jmal


    Apr 5, 2006

    I'm not sure that I need speaker break-up necessarily, but from what I have heard of the AI with guitars, it's a little too neutral. Modelers are out. Basically, I want to be able to play my guitar when the mood strikes, but I'm more interested in bass at the moment. Perhaps that was not clear from my initial post. I'm willing to sacrifice the guitar a little. I would rather have a solid bass amp. So, I'm pondering selling my guitar combo to fund the bass amp, but I'm not sure I want to make that jump just yet. Your store is on my radar as I live in MD.

  16. LarryO


    Apr 4, 2004
    an old, all tube fender bassman (100 or 135 watt), or an peavey valve king (100 watt all tube head) are the 2 i'd look into.
  17. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    The mesa d-180 and ampeg V-4/V-4b work great for bass and guitar. My rig kills, at both. (see list below)
  18. The D-180 can be hard to find, but excellent for guitar and bass. Not only a great clean guitar sound, but killer hard rock tones along the lines of old Sabbath. A 100 Watt Marshall "plexi" or reissue is great too. Try 100 watt tube guitar heads in your price range.

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