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Has anyone tried a different amp after many years, then decide to...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by FishDub, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. FishDub

    FishDub Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    ...keep their bass(es) after almost letting one go?? I currently have a GK MB210 combo and have had it for about 5 years, and like it for the most part. Never played my 3 basses(MTD, Steiny XL2 and Tune Maniac from the 80s) through anything else, or at music stores. Often times I have been tempted to sell one of my basses since it didn't sound particularly good that day/night.. BUT-could it be that maybe trying different amps would be a game-changer? Anyone ever experience this and come out WAY happier with their overall sound through a different amp even though the one you have is "likeable"? Just wondering if somehow I am missing the boat as years pass...:eyebrow:
  2. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Your “bass” is made up of three components:

    • The bass player’s style and technique
    • The bass instrument
    • The bass amp

    Change any of that and you get a different sound. Sometimes a change of strings or a slight change in your attack angle are all it takes to suddenly make something sound good that didn’t before. Sometimes it takes something more decisive (and expensive), like getting yourself a different instrument or amp.

    I don’t really believe (within reason) there’s any such thing as a totally wrong “bass.” Just some ill advised or unworkable combinations of players, instruments, and amps that make them up.
    Bim1959, AstroSonic, chaak and 2 others like this.
  3. I think players tend to romanticize basses over other aspects because of the physical aspect and connection we have to them. 40hz's list above is right on, and the bass is directly involved of two of those things.

    If it's not bright enough we need an ash body. If it's too bright we should be looking at mahogany and a rosewood neck. If there's not enough drive we need pickups with more output....

    .....all sorts of aspects can be just as effectively dialed in with the right amp as it could with a different bass.
    Son of Wobble and FishDub like this.
  4. FishDub

    FishDub Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    I hear ya..Maybe I should have restated the question, being particular about the GK lol...I think its time to go and try out some others, maybe Ampeg(especially for the XL2), SWR and Hartke, which I have heard mostly positives about. The only problem is that the sound dynamics are so different compared to the bedroom.
  5. FishDub

    FishDub Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Spot on..I wouldn't part with my 3 at this point and have had them all for over 4-5 yrs, and GAS has come to a screeching halt for the most part..But I still like to look of course..;)
  6. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Even with electronics, it’s not the type of tone cap or the resistance of your pickups alone. Tone caps and your pots have tolerance ranges. That 250K pot can range 10K-20K on either side of 250K. You capacitor(s) average a 10% tolerance. So what you think if as a .047 cap can have an actual value range of somewhere around .042 to .052. Add that to the imperfections and variances in every pickup - all of which affect the overall impedance and transfer characteristics of a passive bass’s electronics - and you have no way of precisely knowing what your bass will sound like until you wire it up and try it.

    Sometimes it all comes together. You get just the right pickup combined with a unique combination of pots and capacitors plugged into just the right amp and boom - MOJO is born! You’ve got that “magic” bass with the huge tone and perfect response.

    It has nothing to do with a certain brand or type of component. It has everything to do with the combination of specific pickup(s), pots and caps found in a specific bass. And it’s not something you can reduce to a formula or easily run out and duplicate.

    Which is why (when a bass you otherwise like) doesn’t sound good, you might want to tinker a bit first. But only change one thing at a time. Start with a good setup and new strings for example. That’s inexpensive and easiest. Then maybe try a few different capacitors. They’re dirt cheap and easy to swap. Or maybe upgrade your wiring harness if it’s not using top notch components. A new jack, some pots and a cap and some fresh wiring may be just the ticket. Or maybe try different pickups after that.

    The point being to start small and move in carefully measured steps. (Take notes too!) When it comes to an instrument. I’ve found a decent setup, strings, and a little inexpensive electronic rework will often make the difference between an ok sounding and great sounding bass. Sometimes you get lucky and suddenly find you have a dream bass on your hands for nothing more than the small cost of a different tone cap.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  7. It never hurts to try different stuff.
    That's how you learn what other amps sound like,
    how they work for you/your sound and how yours compares.
    Since I am not you, I can't tell you what you will like.

    Warning, you may find that you will want to spend money.

    While your G-K should be good, it may be that an Ampeg
    or something else just instantly gives you something you
    have been looking for, maybe without knowing you were looking.
    FishDub and Jim C like this.
  8. I have too many basses and too many amps, and while some individuals sound good with any counterpart, I absolutely have some basses that are awesome with a certain amp but only decent sounding with another.
    FishDub and Son of Wobble like this.
  9. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Assuming the amps and basses work properly:
    If you had an important gig and had a choice of either a SX or Squier bass through a good amp, or a not so good amp with an great bass, I go with the better amp every time.
    There are some basses and amps that pair better than others, but a good player can make nearly any combination work.
    FishDub likes this.
  10. But there's a world of difference between "getting by" and that smile you can't pull off of your face for a four set night when you've got the sound you've been looking for that makes you happy. And there's the addition of the extra work that needs to go into making something sound good rather than having something that already does. And on top of that you're just prone to do more and groove harder when you've got your sound and don't have to compromise.

    It comes down to when getting by is OK and when your sounding good is important enough for it to be considered the bare minimum for the gig.

    And then there's consistency.....that moment when your rig sounded spectacular in one room on Friday night but sounds terrible in another on Saturday night despite nothing changing but location.

    For all these reasons I think the amp is just as important as the guitar. It's the basis for why we look at pro players and what they're using because to some degree they've already done that hard work for us.

    And to what you said, sometimes it's just the perfect combo; that bass and that amp and that cab.....it just makes magic.
    DrummerwStrings and FishDub like this.
  11. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    I rather enjoy trying other amps, and being able to compare them. I've also found that a certain amp will pair well with certain speakers and not with others. For instance my old Tubeworks RT-3300 sounds great with a G-K 115b but awful with a Bergantino NV115. Both 15" cabs but otherwise worlds apart. My GB Shuttle 6.2 on the same speakers is just the opposite: wonderful with the Bergie, meh with the G-K. And yes, the way a P-bass sounds through either rig is vastly different than my Tobias. So it's a matter of finding what variables you want to keep constant and what you'd like to change.
    FishDub likes this.
  12. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    This is the equivalent of saying that the magic only happens when the amp and bass at are the perfect match for the music at hand, the room, and ones' mood.
    While this may be true for some, most find that after you play a few hundred gigs, the magic is what you make it.
    I play every gig like it's my last.

    The OP states that he has 3 basses that he has only played through his one amp.
    It is obvious that they would sound different through different amps, or rooms, or types of music.
    I thought he might be looking for a deeper answer other than, yes, a new amp could be a game changer.

    As Jimmy Vaughn once said about gear:
    Everyone's always looking for something to get them over the top, sometimes a new pair of shoes makes me feel better so I play better; or something along those lines.
    FishDub likes this.
  13. FishDub

    FishDub Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    So all of this being said--I just have to take a bass or two down to GC and try a few out, particularly the Ampegs. The reason why is that I have heard good things about the XL2(and many others) pairing well with Ampeg. Before GK, I played through SWR with a different family of basses but could never seem to coax what I wanted out of them. Then I heard about the GK MB combos and was blown away by the weight, power and prices..
  14. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I currently have 2 Ampegs, 2 GK's, and an SWR SM400.

    I have found the SWR to be a real challenge to get a bass to sit well in the mix.
    They sound great solo, but the scooped mid range is nearly impossible to EQ out.
    Mine also puts out sub-sonic low frequencies that can be a speaker killer.
    Some of the newer units have sub-sonic filtering.
    Back in 1984, this was the baddest amp made and I would sell mine in a heartbeat but they virtually have no used resale value. They are well built.

    The Ampegs and GK sit in the mix beautifully.
    I find the older RB series GK's to be more warm but not nearly as powerful as the MB series.
    The inherent voicing of the GK's sound more aggressive and the Ampeg's more warm and thumpy (to me),
    Either can work well with many different types of music, basses, and cabinets.

    What type of music do you play and what cabinet would you use with a new amp?
  15. FishDub

    FishDub Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Well---I dont gig out anymore, BUT I grew up in the 70s-80s era and play anything from all Reggae artists, disco, old school rock and everything in between. I used to go with amp heads/cabs but now prefer the combo units, which is why I got the MB210 combo. Plenty of power for my needs and lightweight, and I do like the eq section and its capabilities. I need the aux in option because I play through headphones and my Ipad/phone mostly, which the GK has...I have seen MANY of the BA112/15 combos but they always seem to be for sale, and they just seem "meh" to me.
  16. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    The only other thing I could suggest would be to try out a Fender combo.
    I have no experience with them but many here find them to be a great amp.
    FishDub likes this.

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