First amp, hard decisions...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by IguanaFish, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Hello!
    I ll let you know a little bit of my situation before proceeding...
    Right now I´ve been playing bass for 4 years right now, i own a fender rumble 15 for practicing and a silver face MiM Sunn Concert Bass with an acoustic cab for giging, its functional, but I wanted to take things a little bit further and buy a more "proper" bass head.
    My budget is around 500-600 dollars
    I found this great Ampeg SVT 1000 on a store for about 600 (Really cheap compairing prices in stores around mexico), but found another interesting options, such as the Tech 21 VT Bass 500 (that is around 600 dollars here too because of taxes), or the Hartke TX 600 (500 dollars in here).
    I´ve tried that ampeg model in some rehearsing rooms before, but im open about trying something different.
    I dont know what to choose... What would you do? Do yo have some other options that i should consider?
    Thank you! And keep bassing on!
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  2. Which Acoustic cabinet have you got?
    What is it that you don't like about your current rig?
    dBChad and IguanaFish like this.
  3. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player

    Jun 12, 2008
    What do you consider to be less than “Proper” about your current rig? Is it a matter of volume? Tone? Weight? Appearance?
  4. The tone, that amp gives me volume but nothing more, it just makes my bass sound really "thin"
  5. Well, the tone, my bass sounds loud but the tone is really thin, as I was playing on a guitar amp
  6. joel406

    joel406 Inactive

    Dec 27, 2013
    Move up to the rumble 500. If at all possible find a Gallien Krueger rig. They are pretty much the best amps out there.

    I’ve been using GK since the 1980s(or was is the 1890s). Anyway. Find a GK and you’ll never want anything else.
  7. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player

    Jun 12, 2008
    OK. Now we need to identify the weak link in the chain in terms of tone. First off, are we sure that the tone you want is coming out of your bass at all, e.g. have you played through other rigs and heard something a lot closer to what you want to hear? Most of your tone is in your fingers, strings, and pick-ups. Secondly, is the weak point the amplifier, or the cabinet? More of your tone comes from your speakers than from the amp itself.
    If the amp's giving you enough power to hit the volume you want, I think you'll find more room for tone improvement on the cab end. See if you can't play your bass and head into a very different cabinet to see how much that changes things. You should have a lot of choices within your budget that would be improvements over a recent Acoustic, especially if you buy used.
  8. actually my bass is a squier jazz bass classic vibe with bartolini pickups, and i dont have any trouble with the tone of it in other amps (as i told, the ampeg svt 1000 sounded great with it) and i was looking for a change of both cab and amp, but my priority right now is the amp.
  9. looking it from that point it could work, i didnt like the sound of the rumble combo amps, ill check it out as soon as i can
  10. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    Get a Rumble 500!
    BigBear77 likes this.
  11. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Try TC electronic BH550
  12. 74hc


    Nov 19, 2015
    Sunny California
    Best bet to me is next time you gig up north, bring back a class D amp. If the button lights upon entry back into MX, tell them you took it with you to the gig.
    StrangerDanger likes this.
  13. joel406

    joel406 Inactive

    Dec 27, 2013
    You also said you have a tc electronic head in your area. Those are worth looking at. If GK isn’t available.
  14. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
  15. Everything suggested would work great for you. Since you have an adequate rig for your needs, I would start building "your dream rig". I have always been in the "buy once, cry once" camp. Start thinking about the rig that would make you happy, and fill all your needs, and start working towards that. Get whatever piece of it you can afford now and start working on the rest later. Get something you won't outgrow.
    I currently use the Rumble stuff, but I have never played a GK amp I did not like.
    Jhengsman likes this.
  16. sonojono

    sonojono Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2013
    GK all the way!!!

    Second best would be Ampeg imo..
  17. I bought a new Aguilar Tonehammer 500 on Reverb for $595 with a gig bag and some other goodies. Honestly a TH-350 will almost certainly serve your needs, and for even less. I also picked up a new Amp PF-800 for $480 new from Sweetwater a couple of years ago. I matched the TH-500 with a Bag End 1X15 for an extra $250 used I got in the NW suburbs of St. Louis, and the Ampeg with a used Bag End 2X10 in the Houston area, also for $250. Honestly, the Aguilar is so amazing that I play it almost exclusively at gigs.

    I am not a huge fan of Rumbles of any ilk. Fine amps, but their sounds don't tickle my sweet spot. Context: I am mostly a P player and always a LeBella flats player, so you can decide how relevant any of this is to you.

    I would suggest that you buy used, if you can find what you want. You'll get way more bang for your buck that that way.

  18. I bought a Tone Hammer 350 because of the TB hype and was disappointed. IMO it sounds so dull. Returned it and got a VT bass 500 head instead.
  19. dBChad


    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    I've seen 2 posters suggest GK, one claiming that once you try it you won't ever want to use anything else. Not my experience: I went from GK to SWR and was much happier. Another suggested TC Electronics. I thought those were good at practice levels, but got unpleasantly harsh at gigging volumes.

    The point I'm trying to make is that everyone wants different things and that to tell what its the sweet spot for you, you just have to try it out. You mentioned really liking the Ampeg, so I would keep that in mind and try the others available for you to actually hook up to. We can all give our 2 cents, but either it works for you or it doesn't.
  20. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player

    Jun 12, 2008
    I usually go out of my way to avoid saying "buy brand X" or "don't buy brand Y", as there is a tendency for TB threads to devolve into "buy an X, I've got one and it's awesome". A bunch of makes/models have come up here, so at the risk of annoying some people, and in the hope of stirring up some spirited debate...
    • SVT 1000 - I have a 70's SVT (so "only" 300W), and while they have a really nice sound, they are to some degree tonal "one trick ponies", and so damned heavy and bulky that I haven't gigged mine in over 20 years.
    • Tech21 VT Bass 500 - I have one of their guitar amps and have used their pre-amps, but haven't played through this particular head. Their other stuff has been good enough that, of the three options mentioned by the OP, this would be my choice, if I had to pick one.
    • Hartke TX600 - I don't know this model, but I've never been overjoyed by the sounds I've gotten out of Hartke gear.
    • Fender Rumble - I really disliked the tone of the first several generations of Fender Rumble. The newest ones seem a little better and are at least relatively cheap and easy to find.
    • TC Electronic - I've got some of their gear that I think is outstanding (e.g. G-Major guitar processor), but, for whatever it's worth, last year I went to a Steven Wilson gig where Nick Beggs sounded like *poopie*. I'd seen him before and it had never been bad, so I made a point of getting up to the stage after the show to see what he'd been playing through - and it had been TC Electronic BH550s! Probably not the fault of the amp itself, but put me off TC as a bass amp vendor.
    • GK - GK RB's were the first solid state bass amp family that I thought sounded good, back in the day. The current small/cheap MB heads are OK, but are *so* small and light that some care seems to be necessary to keep them from being pushed/pulled onto the floor. Probably easy to find and not too expensive in Mexico.
    • Aguilar - Very nice amps and cabs. The Tonehammers are a little bit "one trick ponies" - if you don't like their particular take on "grind" distortion, they're probably not for you.
    Now, all this having been said, I still think the original poster should worry more about speakers than about the amp head...