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Emulating the G-K tone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by YosemiteSam, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. YosemiteSam


    Jun 8, 2005
    Chatham, MA
    I wasn't sure whether to put this in Amps or Effects; It could really go either way.

    I've got a Fender Rumble 500 2x10 combo. It's a very "flat" sounding amp, producing plenty of volume and decent tone, without coloring the sound too much. I like it for its versatility, since I play a variety of music in a number of different bands, as well as its power and light weight.

    Over the weekend I was playing my Lakland (Bart humbuckers and preamp) through a G-K 400-RB combo, and really digging the sound coming out of it. It isn't a sound that would work for everything I do, so I don't want to ditch the Fender for a G-K, but I wouldn't mind having that sound in my pallette.

    Is there any way I can shape the EQ on the Fender to approach the G-K sound? Is that a mid-scoop, or boost? I can't tell, I just know that it sounds "thick". I realize the drivers in the combos will affect the sound too, but I'm just trying to get close, not exact. If I want exact I know I have to get a G-K. I have an EQ pedal I can use in addition to the preamp on the bass, and the EQ section of the amp. Heck, I even have a couple of different preamps I could put in the chain (BBE, Tonebone PK).

    Or should I just start saving my pennies for a G-K amp or preamp?
  2. somegeezer


    Oct 1, 2009
    "Is that a mid-scoop, or boost?"

    Probably a boost, if anything. The GK stuff has some huge mids. But really, you're unlikely to be happy trying to chase a GK sound in a Fender. Could be worth just grabbing yourself your own 400RB, if that's what you like.
  3. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    This is a left-turn suggestion, but try the Zoom MS60B. I used a GK 1001RB-II for around 8 years, and I got tired of getting it repaired. Granted, I beat the hell out of it, but it was one thing after another going bad. So, I royally simplified, and made my main tone from a stomp pedal in to DI. There are so many eq and amp options on the MS60B, that it's mindboggling for the price and size...$100! There's a four-band pre model in there, the "AC Bs Pre" that says it's graphic eq, but it's a four-band, similar to the para eq on the 1001/700 GK heads. I was able to dial the EXACT same sound from this pedal that I got from my old GK.

    I'm serious. I doubt I'll ever get rid of this little gem.

    Try it.
    Zoom MS-60B Multistomp Bass Effects Pedal
    YosemiteSam likes this.
  4. As you can see, a credible pedal approach will be at least $100. Why not just get a used GK400RB - they go for around $200. Pretty light and compact, makes a good backup head too.
    blubass likes this.
  5. YosemiteSam


    Jun 8, 2005
    Chatham, MA
    Was thinking a preamp, or one of the M series heads might work, too. I question whether the 400 would have enough power, but then I can run the DI out to the board. Hmm...

  6. The 400RB is high passed just enough to keep from wasting power on the lowest frequencies. This allows it to play at subjectively higher volume levels than you would expect from its power rating. With cabs capable of reproducing those low fundamentals there is some loss of bass depth and power. For most cabs the loss is minimal to inaudible.
  7. YosemiteSam


    Jun 8, 2005
    Chatham, MA
    Thanks for the considered reply! Very much appreciated. Now I just have to think about a cabinet.
  8. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    400RB is plenty loud. Or you can get a Plex pre amp pedal.
  9. there are many tones that go into the G-K timbre, but once you're in overdrive it goes all solid state sounding
  10. Buzz E

    Buzz E Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    After having 3 separate Rumbles, 1 V2 and 2 V3 500's, I was tired of the repairs and the lack of tone and switched to GK. Best thing I ever did. Sooooo much more versatility, articulation and tone! You can EQ the GK's to emulate the Rumbles muddiness and boominess but you'll never get the Rumbles to get the clarity, articlution and tone of the GK's.
    Mystic Michael likes this.
  11. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    At this point, I'd say just save for a GK head. I don't know how to feel about the plex di they have, but at its price, you could easily score an amp.

    Some people aren't fond of the backline series, but it's so close to the RB series tone. It's indistinguishable from the RB series, especially when it's in a live setting. The can be scored for around 100-150 bucks.
    AstroSonic likes this.
  12. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    The Plex Pre Amp is excellent.
  13. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Have you played an RB series head?
    KickingBass and Hidden Bassist like this.
  14. disssa


    May 6, 2009
    I own the Plex preamp and a 400RB-II. They sound different. The Plex simulated the sound of a 800RB. But if you compared a 800RB and the Plex, there is a different in the sound.
  15. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I own GK heads and cabs, but not the Plex preamp. To me, GK has a unique sound/voicing that is hard to get without GK gear. I would try the Plex preamp into your head's effects loop by-passing its preamp as the cheapest and most versatile alternative.

    To my ear, the GK tone is more than just EQ, it includes quickness and clarity - a touch like the attributes of the Mesa Carbines.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
    KickingBass, Buzz E and YosemiteSam like this.
  16. YosemiteSam


    Jun 8, 2005
    Chatham, MA
    Frankly, I was even wondering about the speakers & cabs. All that stuff works together to produce the "GK tone".

    Eh, I may end up having two rigs, I guess. I like the uncolored response of the Fender, don't find any muddiness or boominess that isn't the fault of bad EQ settings, and haven't had any repair issues on mine, unlike the above poster. The GK sound probably wouldn't work on all my gigs, but has its place.

  17. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    I dont see why the GK wouldnt work for all your gigs. Ive seen them used for every thing from R&B to metal. Theres a ton of tones just in how you set the input, woofer and boost controls.
    Al Kraft and YosemiteSam like this.
  18. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    The GK sound from my experience is more oriented towards sounding good in a mix and from an audience perspective than impressing anyone up close, in a store or in a living room/bedroom setting. GK will not only work well on most any gig, it's one of the GK strengths as far as I'm concerned. Interestingly enough there are a lot more amps and cabs that I like the sound of better when I'm just playing them on their own. YMMV! :)
    AstroSonic, petrus61 and KickingBass like this.
  19. Buzz E

    Buzz E Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    GK amps play really well with most other preamp and character pedals, so the tonal possibilities are endless!
    Al Kraft likes this.
  20. Wicked G

    Wicked G

    Jan 19, 2017
    Hell Paso Texas
    Funny you say that because when I am playing around at home, I seldom pick up my GK MB500, but on the gig that amp slams hard and cuts through with no problem.
    AstroSonic and Al Kraft like this.

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