Hartke: Why Do Musicians Use It?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Silas Caldwell, May 12, 2021.

  1. While watching the likes of Dave Ellefson, Billy Sheehan, Rex Brown, Etc., I noticed they all used Hartke. From what I seem to have noticed is after the Mid-2000's Ampeg Meltdown many artists transitioned to Hartke, but why? Why not Ashdown, Gallien-Krueger, Aguilar, MarkBass, upon many other bands? I'm pretty sure you could get a full Hartke 1000 Watt head and 2x12 HyDrive Cabinet that Billy Sheehan uses, and still not have enough to get even a used Aguilar (or other brands) Head. Why do the big names use Hartke?

    Other Notes: I have heard these speakers blow out a TON, another question mark there....
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  2. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    Perhaps they are paid to use them?
  3. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    There's nothing wrong with Hartke equipment, but you certainly sound like you think it's repugnant.

    Maybe there's a grain of truth, but it seems rather cynical. Most name artists don't need free gear, and most name artists have worked years honing their sound. I think they play what they like.

    G-K has their own roster of name artists, as does Ashdown and all the other manufacturers. To each his own.

    As far as speaker reliability goes, you should state your sources. Otherwise it's just "I'm hearing...". If they really failed as much as you want us to believe, they wouldn't be endorsed and wouldn't be in business.
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  4. I don't mean to sound negative towards the brand. I'm not biased, it's just my friends who use it report having blown speakers.
    murphy, PennyroyalWe and DJ Bebop like this.
  5. I have been a Hartke loyalist since the 90s. At that time I launched on a quest to find the best speakers, and money was no object. I compared the aluminum cone Hartkes to all their paper cone competitors, and here is why I made the choice. I found it was easier to warm down The bright tone of the Hartke, than to brighten up the warm tone of paper cones.
  6. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    Not sure who this is directed to but I do not think Hartke equipment is repugnant. In fact, the Hartke gear I have heard other bassist playing sounded just fine.

    This was not my point. When manufacturers pay musicians to hawk their wares, they actually pay them. Money. They don't just loan them a rig or give them a rig. They PAY them and, under the agreement, the musician agrees to use their gear in public.
  7. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I'd be curious how many of these name artists are actually paid for their endorsement.
    I don't imagine that bass amp manufacturers have lots of cash to throw at artists. But I'm not involved in the business aspect.
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  8. Old Fart

    Old Fart

    Mar 11, 2011
    Well, it depends. Sting and Geddy get paid more than I do. LOL. ;)
  9. bulldean

    bulldean Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2015
    I bought the entire Transporter series when they they came out, 4x10, 1x15, 2x10. Why? I had learned that the people out front are hearing bass through the PA. And they were lightweight. Used them for 20 + years and never had any issues. They didn't sound the best but it was fun to mix and match different cabs. Usually the 410 & 115.
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  10. The Petro

    The Petro

    Dec 29, 2020
    Why the hell not?
  11. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    They sound good, they're affordable, the customer service is great, and they're practically bomb-proof.
  12. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Southwest Virginia
    I played through a Hartke 410 cab one time. It was provided backline equipment for a pretty big stage I was playing... saved me having to haul my own. I thought it sounded fine. Wasn't my favorite, but then, it wasn't mine either.

    The OP is in Nashville... and I've been gone from there for 25 years, so I don't know what the hungry gigster shleps up and down Broadway & Printer's Alley these days. But if Hartke sucks, this is the first I'm hearing of it. I couldn't have afforded one in my day.
    Artman, rholler, Winoman and 3 others like this.
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Former Hartke amp owner [3000, 5500]. Never a single issue. Solid products.
    Artman, colicchio, JRA and 12 others like this.
  14. TreySonagras


    Aug 11, 2013
    I have used Hartke since 1999. They work for me, but that doesn’t mean they are for everyone. It sometimes seems as though members of TalkBass have lukewarm feelings toward Hartke.
  15. Victor Wooten is also using them.

    Some folks like simplicity.
    If they plug in and hear what they want right away, there's no reason to look elsewhere.
    Artman, Justinian, Porkchop2 and 9 others like this.
  16. Nuage420

    Nuage420 Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2014
    Ellefson has said in multiple Q&A that he started on them and they delivered the sound he had in his head so he plays them.
    Artman, pipaberg, smogg and 5 others like this.
  17. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Yep. Hartke amps are great bang for the buck. As already stated, they sound good the second you plug in and turn them on. I had to make a repair on my LH1000’s circuit board to the input jack circuit. I did it myself so it was free. I guess if I had paid a shop I may have been a little bitter…but I was using long cables and not wrapping them through the rack ears. The weight is what damaged the jack circuit IMO.
    A couple years and a few hundred uses later it’s still going strong.
  18. I liked my Hartley 210 Combo when I had it. It had the fully aluminum speakers.

    The fully aluminum speakers sound better when accompanying a group than playing by yourself. They had a strong attack to them. Maybe that’s where “Transient Attack” comes from.

    Sounded clean and clear when playing with two guitarists and a drummer. Cut through anything. I kinda want to get another 2x10 cabinet.
  19. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Alt title for this thread: Music Gear: Why Do Musicians Use It?

    GK head into Hartke cabs was the rig when I started out in the 80s. Funny to hear disparaging things about Hartke cabs now, but I guess everything has its day.
    Yup, optimize your rig as dependable stage monitor. Nobody cares what your cabs sound like or what the badges say.:thumbsup: That may sound dismissive, but it's really liberating.
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
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  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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