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Good low budget amp setup

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kfinch, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. kfinch


    Aug 25, 2012
    Christchurch, NZ
    Hi all,

    I was recently given a bass guitar by a family friend, and have made a commitment to myself to learn how to play. I am a complete newbie to the world of playing instruments but hopefully this is the start of a wonderful adventure.

    So now I have a bass but no amp setup. Through a little browsing I have realised that one can either purchase an amp and speaker or an amp and speaker in one. Can anybody recommend a good place to start...best brands and all that? I have a budget of around $300US max.

    Thanks in advance for any help, and if such a thread exists already you may slap me and send me there :)
  2. Shop used. I would be looking for some older peavey gear. A mark series head and a TVX/TFX cab.
  3. It all depends. Are you going to be gigging soon? What kind of music do you like? Answer those questions and maybe we'll get somewhere. Like the guy above said, used is good. You can find some great stuff. Also, welcome to the low end. Hope you enjoy your stay!
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'd look in the amps forum, I'm pretty sure there's a sticky thread at the top regarding your question.

    $300 can get you lots of different stuff. You need to define what your needs are though, if you want to make the best choice. What's most important is a good place to start. The following are IMO the most important things to consider.

    Ability to upgrade

    While many might argue, my experience is that in the $300 range the quality is going to be about equal on anything you buy.

    If you want the most volume for your $$ I would be looking at Behringer. I owned a Behringer that I abused for over a year, and never had an issue with it. By the same token, I've owned amps big names, costing 4X as much, that I had tons of issues with. If you're looking for the best tone for your money, and will only be using it in the house or for small gigs, then it actually gets a little more complicated because only you know what tone you're looking for. If you describe that people would be better able to point you in the right direction.

    You can also buy used which obviously opens lots more doors.

    There is soooo much that can be said about amp choice... I tried to keep it as short and basic as I can. More info from you would help people help you.
  5. Definitely shop used. Peavey is hard to destroy, cheap to buy. I see you are in New Zealand too, your options are less and all gear is way expensive here compared to US. The Americans will be recommending a bunch of stuff that is way over your budget. There are a few cheap rigs for sale in ChCh on trademe lately. What's your NZ dollar budget?

    A tuner and a cable help things along.

    Do a "setup" on your bass:


    See that the height of the strings is ok so you don't have buzzing nor strings miles off the fretoard making it hard to play. You may have to raise or lower the bridge saddles. Then check the relief of the neck and adjust truss rod.

    Check the intonation. This is the adjustment of the string length so the pitch of the 12th fret is the same as the harmonic airy note you get by holding a finger lightly on the midpoint of the string and plucking.

    This important so your ear doesn't learn off pitches as "normal". Then when you graduate to fretless or singing you will be in tune. Yeah, I know the fretted notes aren't exact either but better than starting out with an out of tune bass.
  6. Myth_103

    Myth_103 Supporting Member

    I started out with Hartke gear. It never let me down and sounded great for the price! Check it out.
  7. kfinch


    Aug 25, 2012
    Christchurch, NZ
    Thanks so far for your help!

    I'll try to answer some of the questions you guys have posed...

    1) I'm completely new to the bass, and any instrument for that matter, so I doubt I'll be gigging anytime in the near future. Hence I suppose that quality will be the most important aspect to focus on, perhaps? Then again, who doesn't like volume :D

    2) To my fellow kiwi: I knew that things here would be more expensive than overseas. I guess my budget here would be around $500NZ at a push.

    3) I doubt I'll be upgrading for at least a couple of years after this.

  8. Hmmm, if that's the case then you'll do well with a headphone amp? Save yourself some money and let you practice without disturbing the neighbours. Headphone amps are pretty cheap as well. Try looking at the Vox AmPlug Bass. Then maybe when you're more familiar with the instrument, you can get what you know you want and need.
  9. It doesn't take a lot of practice to be able to hang with other musicians.
  10. ThatÂ’s sad!!!
  11. +1.

    Or just get any cheap little practice bass amp that you like the sound of - and get one with an input jack for an MP3 player so you can learn your favorite songs by playing alone with them.
  12. LowEZ

    LowEZ Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2011
    Central NJ
    Dollar to decibel you can't beat that setup.
  13. Geroi Asfalta

    Geroi Asfalta

    Aug 23, 2011

    I must agree with this- I recently picked up a used but very clean hartke combo for $200, improved my sound drastically.

    It has a nice clean sound, plus some have built in overdrive. I'd simply recommend staying away from low end fender amps, they tend to sound funky (bad funky)
  14. kfinch


    Aug 25, 2012
    Christchurch, NZ
    Thanks for this...I had no idea such a thing existed until you mentioned it. It is probably a better option for me too, I doubt my flatmates want to hear my discordant practice sessions :D It's also well within my budget which is a big plus, and it will give me some time to research proper amps more thoroughly.
  15. Tascam bass trainer for you then.

    I started out attending some jam nights, learning the 145 progression and jumping up on stage after a couple of weeks practicing. A bassist was born. Ymmv, up yours J'L'V.

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