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Good bass or good amp?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Gunnar Þór, Mar 16, 2002.

  1. I have horrible gear. There, I said it. A cheap P-bass knockoff on which the neck is starting to bend and an amp from a company that no one's ever heard of (the amp may not be so bad, 60w and a 10 or 12"). So I've decided that I'm going to upgrade my gear this summer.

    Which would you recommend, getting a better bass (like a Reverend or a Rickenbacker) and staying with the same amp.

    Or, getting a cheap-ish bass (like a Hohner Phoenix or something similar) and getting a killer amp later?
  2. Get a great bass that you'll love playing and feels good in your hands. :D

    An amplifier will only multiply what it's given. The best amp on earth can't make a crappy bass sound better, but a great bass can make some awesome tone come out of a cheap amp.

    Unless you got money and patientce to throw away, that's what advice I have to offer ;)
  3. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I've actually had the complete oppisite expierence. I've found that a moderate quality bass will sound killer coming through a great amp. (Of course, something like a Rogue is going to sound crappy no matter what :p )

    I've only played one Hohner in my life though, and I didn't care much for it. But that's just one bass, so I can't say "Hohner Sucks" or anything. I've played Fender's that suck and I'm a big Fender fan.
  4. Get a good bass first. It's the first step in the sound chain. If it sounds crappy, or if it's so bad that it's unreasonably difficult to even play well, then nothing farther down the chain can salvage the situation.

    Eventually, of course, you want both.
  5. Remember, he doesn't have a moderate quality bass, he has a crappy one! The basses he's thinking of getting are what sound to me like moderate quality ones. Once he's got something like that level, I'd agree that he doesn't need to get an even better bass until he's got a better amp, if then.
  6. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    In my very humble opinion... and thus a matter of personal taste and experience...

    I'm fed up with purchasing expensive instruments. Sure I'd be fully satisfied with a Wal, a Conklin or a Sadowsky if I could afford it. But I'm not sure I would NEED it.

    If you had a $ 100,000 to spend, you could by the best gear ever, even if not needed. But I suppose it is not the case.

    Then, you should have a look at a cost-effective solution. Many basses now are rather cheap and good. Not very professional instruments, but do you need a very professional instrument ?

    Cort, Ibanez, Rockbass, MIM Fender, Epiphone, Whale, Tune, Aria, etc. : there's a huge range of basses that are better than you may think, though they are affordable.

    Then, some amps are affordable too : Laney, Marshall ValveBass, Peavey, etc. They are not GREAT amps, but they are good though.

    Finally, for the price of a Reverend or Rickenbacker, you could purchase a decent bass AND a decent amp.

    But once again, that's a very personal opinion.

    All the best,
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Yes, but more often than not, if you're going to a gig, rehearsal or recording session, you're expected to bring your instrument. Even if you bring an amp, the instrument comes first.

    Get the bass.
  8. I'll vote with the bass first/amp later group.
  9. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Depends on your situation.
    If you're already in a band and there may be gigs in the near future, get a good/decent amp and cab or a combo, preferably in the 300+W range.
    You can play gigs with POS basses and still sound ok to good, but gigging with a 30W practice combo is hopeless.

    If you more in a woodshedding phase, get a good bass.

    Another thing: Buy 2nd hand, you may be able to get an amp AND bass for your money that way.
  10. Get a MIM Jazz (and spend $30 to upgrade the bridge) & get a half decent amp. You should be able to afford this combination if you're prepared to pay for a higher-end bass.
  11. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Normally, I'd encourage you to upgrade the amp. But the neck issue you mention is just too severe to overlook.

    IME, there are more situations where you can use or borrow someone else's amp, than opportunities to use someone's bass. Most of us are reluctant to let strangers use our instruments.
  12. All right, thanks eveyone for the great advice.

    I'm now thinking along the lines of getting a new bass, in a pricerange between a Hohner and a Reverend. Bloody shame, because I'm ready to kill for a Rick. Also, I've discovered that my friends bassist uses a very small amp for gigging, they mic it and amplify the signal. An approach that never occurred to me. I was going to go for a 400w monster with multiple speakers. :D
  13. I'd go with a decent bass and a decent amp, than upgrade to a better amp, than bass.

    I made the mistake of buying an expensive bass before I had a decent amp, and I ended up thinking I had bought a bad sounding amp. Then I played it through a good amp, and the thing killed. I didn't know the bass had it in it.

    The best Sadowsky will still sound like crap through a cheap amp; also, a decent set-up may do wonders for your bass problem.

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