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First Gigging Amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Handsome Dan, May 7, 2015.

  1. TBer's, I am fairly new at playing the bass, I love it and practice every day. Recently I have been invited to jam with a few different musicians/bands looking for a bass player. Though I have not been formely invited to join any bands just yet there have been hints of it, (being invited back) and discussions of gigging. While I have a very nice bass that no doubt is capable of any gig (Musicman Stingray Classic) my currnet amp is a fender rumble 40. I know this amp is probably not that effiecient. I am looking for recommendations for a decent set up for small to medium venues. Not looking to spend more than around $800 us. I am sure most wills suggest the used gear route which I am definitely looking at. But my knowledge of amps ad gigging are very limited.
    Type of music and band I am looking to join would be mostly blues based rock/classic rock and what I would call "Hick-a-Billy"
    (is that a genre? I dont know) Thanks in advance for your knowledge and opions.
  2. There is a lot of good used gear on CL and GC/MM (and other commercial sites). Most of it is heavy solid state heads (lead sleds) and cabs (many with stressed drivers). Any thing Peavey is going to be reliable and offer at least serviceable tone. For the type of music and venue size you are interested in there are plenty of rigs within your budget. If weight is not an issue, and you would prefer better than serviceable tone, consider a GK 400RB, or GK Backline 600 head, and a 115 or 410 cab by Mesa, Genz Benz, or higher end GK. If weight and transportability are an issue, consider a new Fender Rumble 500 or Kustom KXB-500 head, and Fender Rumble 115 or GK CX-115 cab.
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Looks like you are ready to get a serious amp. Get the best possible cabinet you can. Used is fine. Test it when you go to buy it. Make certain there will be a bass head available if you don't have one.

    Have the owner play what he/she considers to be the "loudest while still safe" level. If is sounds clean, without rasping, farting, rattling or other distorted distressed sounds, then it likely is OK.

    I'd look for a 410, though a 212, or pair of 210's or 115's could work, too. Be prepared for a cabinet (or pair) that weighs in excess of 90 lbs. The beauty of this is that as new lighter cabinets have become available in the last 10 years, a lot of perfectly fine, but heavy cabinets have gone on the used market. You should be able to find a great 410 that originally sold for around $900 for around $400 or less.

    Almost any amp that has enough power and is in good working order will do the job. Power will need to be at least 350 watts into 4 ohms. That is a bare minimum. I'd be happier with 600.

    Remember, with watts, the potential loudness doubles when you multiply the power by 10.
    1000 watts is "twice as loud" as 100, so 700 watts is only somewhat more that 350.

    Me? I'd avoid Behringer, SWR workingman's series, Ampeg PF-500, GK backline (sorry, astrosonic), and GC Acoustic, but that is just me. Craigslist and Talkbass classified are your friends, and friends don't let friend buy combos—they are a trap, IMHO. Good hunting.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  4. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Indeed, your Rumble 40 probably isn't optimal for anything bigger than coffee house gigs, and unless you've got your heart set on buying another combo, it may be time to look at building your first rig. Based on your budget, I'd second the recommendation for GK 400RB and a decent cabinet.
  5. klokker


    Jan 7, 2009
    Steele City, NE
    Since your knowledge and experience with gear and gigging is limited, I personally wouldn't go used. God knows what you could end up with. It's easy to say "used", but you need to have some experience first, IMO. If you want to do your homework, you can probably land something decent, but if you're new to this game, I'd avoid it. Ask me how I know........

    For your classic rock, rockabilly genre you don't need anything more than a 2X12, even that is too much, if it was me I'd go with a good 1x15. 4X10's are great, but you just won't need it! So for something with a little more than what you actually need, I'd recommend something like an GK MB 212 combo. Reasonably light weight, and would work perfectly in the real world. 500watts into a 2x12. You'll never run out of gas playing classic rock or rockabilly.
  6. The GK Backline 600 suffers from association with the GK Goldline series - the Goldline stuff should be avoided unless a person truly knows what they are getting into (in which case they probably wouldn't buy one :-( ). Here is a review of the BL-600 that should dispel any doubts about its quality - http://personalpages.tds.net/~fdeck/bass/gkbl600.pdf.
  7. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    OK, but the only time I every used a GK Backline head, it was not really doing the job. Perhaps it was faulty. :cool:
    If you and fdeck say it's OK, I'd have to bow to greater authority on that. :thumbsup:

    @Dan Martin — All of this should not put you off of GK aka Gallien Krueger amplifiers. The MB500 and MB800 are highly regarded around here, as well as the Fu$ion, older RB series, and others :D

    I guess I'd also have to add the PF-350 to my avoid list, even though it is supposed to be 350 watts rms @ 4 ohms. Not that mine was bad, it just barely had enough power to do the job (a fairly modest volume 210 application). The guy I sold it to soon felt the same way.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  8. Rmackner


    May 1, 2015
    Get a good solid head 300w+ that has a DI out the back. Unless your playing in someones backyard you will most likely have PA support and your cabinet is a stage monitor.
  9. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I do a lot of club gigs with no PA support. You are fortunate, I guess. :thumbsup:
    Bass_Pounder likes this.
  10. Found this on local craigslist, opinions?

    Ashdown Evo III Abm 500 amp
    Ashdown Abm 410 cab @ 8 0hms
    Very little play time.
    Also includes Kent flight road case and vinyl cover for amp.

    To late, its sold :(
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  11. Good equipment (though a bit heavy: amp - 31 lbs, and 410 cab - 79 lbs) and reasonable price IF its in decent condition.
  12. I am about 99% sure I am going to get myself an Ampeg PF-500 and an ampeg pf-115he. I have read many good reviews and it seems a rig like this would get me by just fine, and I can add an additional 115 if I ever needed it. The one question that I have left is that I have noticed some amps have two inputs, an active and a passive. I am playing a Stingray classic 4, the ampeg PF-500 has only the one input, should this be a concern playing active pickups through this amp?
  13. brotondo


    Feb 7, 2012
    Kimball MI
    If the ampeg has only one jack, there will most likely be a button/switch for the decibel reduction sometimes favored by active basses(not all actives are high output). If not, Ampeg deemed it unnecessary for that model and I wouldn't worry about it

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