Great rig for testing a bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Gopher, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. Gopher


    Jun 12, 2017
    When auditioning a new bass design, does anyone feel it's important to use an amp/cab combo that's neutral in sound or popular for the basses intended genre?

    Do you have suggestions on what you'd use as a sort of "reference" rig?
    A B|Amp paired with a HDN212 has been suggested to me by one retailer but I wonder if maybe using something a bit more widespread like a Tonehammer 500 and an SL212 cab might be a better strategy.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Lineā„¢ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    I use multiple rigs that cover the spectrum from vintage to current for validation. while it may be nice to utilize a super trendy and hi-fi rig, the real test is how a bass sounds in the mix of both a live band setting thru 'regular' combos and also naked thru a direct box into a mixing console

    while it may be nice to have the coolest solo'd bass tone ever, it means little if it doesn't fit well in the mix and play nice with all the other instruments/percussion/vocals
  3. Is said retailer trying to sell you said amp(s)?
  4. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    I only use one rig for trying out a bass....that's the one I know very very well. It doesn't need to be flat or anything other than very very familiar.
    Groove Doctor, MRinus, lfmn16 and 3 others like this.
  5. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I test new standard model instruments through a small solid state amp (a Carvin 150W head) through a PA monitor speaker with a 15" speaker and a horn, flat EQ. That's the clean, full range system. The point is to see what the bass does by itself, with no additional effects or EQ curve adjustments from the amp.

    When I'm working on an experimental bass, I'll also try some other combinations. A 10" speaker only, a 15" speaker only, an SVT head, etc. But I still usually stay with a flat EQ on the amp. I want to build/adjust the bass so it sounds nice, while clean and flat EQ. The bass shouldn't depend on patching from the amp to sound decent.
    G RICH 5, Gopher and rwkeating like this.
  6. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Firstly welcome to Talk Bass @Gopher it would be helpful if you fill out you profile. It helps us help you.

    Most bass amps have a lot of tone shaping built into them so with some tweaking almost any amp and bass can work together.

    What bass are you interesting in buying?
  7. Gopher


    Jun 12, 2017
    Yes, of course. Hense my posting here. Hoping to hear what works for others.

    Sorry if I wasn't clear Paul. I'm not buying a bass but asking about what rig other builders use to determine if they hit their tonal target or not.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  8. I didn't notice your newby-ness until Paul mentioned it.
    Hi. :hyper: Welcome. :bassist: Hope you have fun here and maybe even learn something.:thumbsup:
  9. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Exactly - you want to ONLY hear the difference from the bass. This is how you take the amp out of the equation.

    The biggest issue I have with this whole idea is STRINGS. I only use flats and the tone of different flats varies a lot, plus no bass in a store has flats on it of any kind. I have no idea if rounds vary this much since I never use them.
    Wfrance3 likes this.
  10. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    And I NEVER use flats! My ancient Precision had no strings when it came to me in 1968 and I installed Rotosounds. When I obtained my B15 I drank the Kool Aid ind installed a set of Flats. I hated the sound that gave and so I bought a new set of GHS Brite Flats for it which I will install when I get around to it.

    I should add that wires played havoc with my frets on that instrument which is why I installed Brite Flats back in the Eighties.
  11. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    when testing a bass, i like to use an amp and cab or combo i am familiar with at settings i have used for other basses. that way i have a frame of reference.
    G RICH 5 likes this.
  12. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Well, here's my "artsy" answer. I usually just test it to see that everything works as installed. Sounds flaky, but an instrument to me is just something an artist uses to create a result. I don't need to paint a picture to see if a brush works - I'll leave that up to the artist that uses the brush... :D
  13. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Brace Audio; Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    On our companies new builds we are using a TC Electronic BG250-115 MKII 1x15" 250-Watt Bass Combo, it sounds very good and able to setup not to "color" the bass sound. I actually like it alot.
    Just use a decent amp so that you can tell what you want and need to know about the bass.
  14. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    I don't really care what it sounds like through an amp I don't own.
    Bodeanly likes this.
  15. EMoneySC2


    Aug 25, 2014
    Minneapolis, MN
    Bass -> DI w/ no EQ -> Reliable headhones

    If I were testing basses at a store, I'd bring my Radial JDI, Rolls PM351, and Meee Audio Pinnacle P1 headphones. It'd be a silly setup to carry into a store, but as long as the store was cool with it that'd be my go to.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  16. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    Shouldn't this be in the amp section?
    MRinus likes this.
  17. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    I'll usually try my builds with several combinations of these:


    I also will typically make a recording along with guitar, keys, and drums, so I can hear how it sits in a mix.
  18. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Plenty of drool worthy stuff there.....:thumbsup:
    mapleglo likes this.
  19. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    Direct into the board through a decent set of monitors. At least that's what I do when I get a new bass or change out parts from one of my current basses. My amps all color the sound too much for me to really get a feel for the character of any given bass
  20. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I have a Tone Hammer and love it but don't think it would be the best for demoing new basses. The eq section really takes some getting used to, it does not work like you may think it does. No experience with a B-Amp but would love to try one, especially if matched with a Berg cab. I am not a huge GK fan but think they would be good to try out a bass as they are so bright. Just my .02.