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First impressions: Gallien Krueger Backline 110

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by UK_Lefty, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. UK_Lefty


    Jun 5, 2012
    In case anyone is thinking of buying one...

    I have read good and bad reviews of the GK Backline 110, this is my first impressions after some home use and a band practice with one and I'll try to add in some of the stuff I didn't see in other reviews.

    In the past I've had a 1980's Peavey TNT, two Torque 100w combos, Marshall Bass State 150, Vox Escort 50, Carlsboro Stingray, Warwick Sweet 15, Hartke Kickback 15... a few amps!

    I needed a small amp as the Hartke takes up too much space. I took an eBay gamble and got a great deal on a GK Backline 110, 10" speaker and 70w output. I was concerned that the output might not be enough to play along with a drummer, its a concern for when my band gets a drummer - BUT it has a jack line-out so that should be ok.
    The 10" speaker is in a really compact combo, so easy to carry around, drop in the car, carry with a bass in the other hand, easy. This sounds punchy which is new to me and welcome for now.

    I took it to band practice playing a passive Fender Jazz through the amp, my guitarist was using an acoustic with no amplification, and singer. Didn't need to crank the volume much but there was some hissing. I removed the hiss by rolling down the treble. Now the EQ... on my Hartke I set the three eq knobs to 0 and then add a little treble and a little more bass. With the GK I tried this but rolled the treble down to remove hiss - but the treble was still so loud when I played! Lucky the other guys like that, I'm not so keen so may bring see if my compressor pedal can even this out.

    I can't really work out this EQ yet, need to spend more time with it. But in the band practice using the EQ and the clean channel (this has an overdrive channel too!) I got a very Flea like tone with the bridge pickup on full and a little neck pickup - some grit and rumble on the deeper notes and a rich high. It was pleasing to get this tone but not sure I will always want it, trouble is finding something else through the amp that sounds good...

    The overdriven channel sounds ok, not sure I'll use it much but you can control it using the gain and channel level, before master volume to make it more/ less subtle. Not sure what the "contour" switch actually adds for me, having an audio input ("Mix" jack input) lets me plug in my MP3 player which is a bonus, am sure the line-out will get used a lot in future when we get a drummer and need a PA.

    Overall I'm impressed by the "Flea" tone I found and the clear volume from the unit, but the hiss on the treble is a concern. Finding other tones I like for other instruments and sounds may take some work, like with any amp. I didn't have high expectations - I was expecting a very cheap basic amp but this has authentic tone.

    If you want to sound like Flea but have only a compact amp and a passive bass buy this (then practice a lot!!)
    For a compact and portable amp with some volume its a good bet too if you can't afford MarkBass etc.
    So far I think this amp has its own distinctive "voice" which I think adds to my MIM Fender J sound overall but not sure I want that voice colouring everything I play - maybe I need to spend more time working with the amp.
    Not the favourite of all the amps I've ever had but maybe it will grow on me... for compactness and portability though its up there with the Vox Escort 50 but with much greater punch and volume. :bassist:

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