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General question: What should come first? Quality bass or amp?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jabberbox, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. So, this is a fairly general question..hope to get lots of opinions. I like many people have a fairly tight budget..and I can't buy everything I want at once. My question is..do you think it's better to buy a nice bass first..and use a lower end amp setup..or to do just the reverse. Buy a nice amp setup first..and use a lower end bass?

    For example..I'm using what I believe to be slightly on the lower end a parts p with an SX body, Mightymite neck, Gotoh bridge, Schaller tuners and a Darkstar. For my amp I'm using an old Crate BT-350 head w/an SWR Goliath SR. 6x10.

    Needless to say, the time I've spent on the forums has made me want to upgrade. Where should I start? Keep the darkstar'd P and buy a quality head/cab? (I'm thinking an Ashdown ABM-500) Or sell the darkstar'd P and use some extra cash I have to buy a vintage P or Lakland or possibly a Nash.

    What do you guys think? Thanks in advance.
  2. I was thinking about this same question, and my answer came up as this:
    Buy a good amp first, then a good bass. From experience, i have found a good amp will make more of an overall difference in your sound. Unless it is a REALLY terrible bass you already have, since a better amp will let more of the natural tone of the bass come through, which may not be a good thing. In the end however; Good amp, then good bass.
  3. phatduckk


    May 24, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    id say if you're playing with a "full" band - loud drums, 2 guitars, possibly more instruments, then a good amp w/ enough power is more important IMO
  4. On the other hand, a bad bass can hold you back as a player. It's nice to have something that you haven't (or can't) outgrow.
  5. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I believe in "Good Enough" status of things.

    Buy an amp that's 'good enough' and then a bass that's 'good enough' and go from there.

    Being a great piece of either one will likely end up with you trading it or selling it sooner rather then later as you adapt your sound.

    Get 'good enough' then move ahead based on what you feel you specific wish to enhance... or more importantly really "need" to enhance.
  6. bassplayertom77


    Sep 24, 2008
    Excellent question! Sorry, I don't have an answer.
  7. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I'm not sure anyone can really answer this question for you. Which piece of gear are you currently the least satisfied with?
  8. look in the miscellaneous section of the forum. There's a sticky on this exact topic :)
  9. flea claypool

    flea claypool

    Jun 27, 2004
    id much rather go bass first then amp.. as long as u have a amp which can compete with jamming volume levels, cause at gigs your just gonna be DI'd anyway.. A bad bass WILL HOLD YOU BACK(+1 JUMBOTRON) .. butt i wouldnt class your Darkstarred bass as bad, or even near it..
  10. JasonLamb


    Aug 17, 2007
    get the best bass you can afford then deal with the amp
  11. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
    So, what's wrong with the Crate head? 350 watts of power, tube preamp, bi-amp capable, 7 band EQ. It's not a bad amp at all. The cabinet you're running it into is no slouch either. Both the amp and cab should be able to get you through many gigs.

    That being said, do you really NEED another amp, or do you just want another amp?

    Before you answer that question, look at your bass, then look at the amp, then the bass again. Which of those 2 do you think you'd be better off replacing? I'd say the bass, not that it's a bad bass, but of the 2, the bass is the first thing I'd upgrade if I was in your situation.
  12. OtterOnBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    Bass first, though it happened that I got my 'good' amp first. My reasoning is that you will 1) want to play more if you have a 'good' bass, and 2) you will get to know the bass and become more comfortable the more you play it -the tone is in the fingers. 3) You may be able to use a PA instead of your crappy amp.

    (edit: no offense to your amp, I assumed since you wanted a new one, it was crappy.)

    (edit2: your gear seems fine, it's looks more like GAS now.)
  13. Navybass


    Mar 12, 2005
    Norfolk, Va.
  14. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    If you play by yourself, bass first.
    If you're in a band, amp is more important.
    The BT-3501 is much nicer than you seem to think it is. Good EQ, great chorus.
  15. That's not a tight budget!!! lol

    Joking aside though, you have to ask yourself what kinda amp your are going to play out of in the long run. Do you like tube or solid state better? Are you possibly considering a hybrid? Do you prefer active or passive basses? Do you use effects?

    There's a lot that goes into this...

    If you like tube sound or passive basses, spend money on a decent all-tube or hybrid head. You have an awesome cabinet already (better than mine... :scowl:) so you obviously need to spend no money there. If you're on a budget you can settle for a used Traynor YBA-200 or a Peavey VB-2. For hybrids, I got my eye on the Marshall MB450H...quite fine IMO and priced reasonably as well. Keep your bass or maybe just slap in some new p-up's and strings, you'll be amazed how much the sound can change with a few simple mods like that.

    If you prefer active basses, use lots of effects, or dont want to lug around an all-tube or hybrid bass head, I'd either stick with your head or sell it off and get a GK backline 600 or possibly a fancier one if money permits. As far as basses, sell yours off for whatever you can and get yourself a used ibanez or schecter with actives in them. the SR300's aren't too bad but I'd splurge for an SR500 if you can afford it :D

    But ultimately the best advice is what your own ears and hands tell you. If you hate the way the bass feels, you wont play it...and if you hate the way the amp sounds you wont want to use it. So you'd of course want to try all these options and combos out, which is half the fun! So enjoy shopping for your gear! :bassist:

    **EDIT: Didn't look up the amp till after i posted this....dude, what would you want another amp for??!?!? If it bothers you tonally, buy some JJ 12ax7's and stick them in there...other than that sell off your bass and get yourself a nice one!
  16. I think the bass is most important, it's what you play, not the amp. A bass that isn't working for you, be it poor action, fit, what have you, is a chore to play and it shouldn't be. A good bass will inspire your playing a poor one, not so much. Besides, the amp you have now isn't really a bad one I think. My buck fiddy anyway....
  17. pendergasta

    pendergasta .- .- .-. --- -. / .--. . -. -.. . .-. --. .- ...

    Jan 7, 2008
    North Carolina
    You don't know what type of amp setup you'll need (or want) for at least several months, and it all depends on what band gear is available, pa, type of music, etc.
    A nice bass is a nice bass. Period. No matter what you're playing it through.
    Just my 2 cents.
  18. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    If you had nothing I'd say a Squier or SX bass, get a pro setup and good strings, and the rest into a good amp. That's the road I'd take. However you have a good cab and Navybass says your head is good enough (not a Crate fan myself but I have no experience with that head), so assuming that another bass would be my route (2 nice basses > 1). Now if you just don't like your head then get a good but powerful enough amp like a GK RB800 or something and save the rest towards a nice bass. All things being equal tho if your bass isn't doing it for you get a pro to set it up for you, you might be pleasantly surprised and it could help your decision making.
  19. shce


    Sep 27, 2008
    Considering the head and cab and bass you have are pretty good, keep the Frankenbass if you can and get a second bass as the upgrade. Don't ever be without two basses you own, know and trust IMHO. Webtroll's right about getting a setup on the bass you own. Might make it more acceptable as your second instrument (I'm assuming any other bass you own is unacceptable for gigging.)
  20. Wow, thanks for all the responses guys. As I expected, the replies are pretty mixed. Navybass to answer your original question..I guess that it is that I want a different amp. Actually, the bass and the cab are mine..but the head belongs to my guitar player in my band. So, I'll always be able to use it. But it's not mine. I've always wanted an Ashdown and found one in the FS that's being held for me. I think for me, that's gonna be the best way to go right now. Then I'll own everything. And I can upgrade the bass in the coming months.

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