head recommendation in the $600 range?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by hiros, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. hiros


    Jan 12, 2005
    In getting up to speed with all the amp options out there, I'm looking for a recommendation for a head priced new at around $600. I'm a guitarist moving to more bass playing and a first time bass amp buyer.

    Instead of getting a combo, I decided to purchase a head and borrow a friend's 15" cab (some obscure brand I can't recall - very beat up condition) until I really get a feel for what I need. I figure that getting a head is the most flexible approach and that I will do the research on cab options at a later time.

    I play a MIM jazz bass with a pick, standard fingerstyle, and muted thumb. I rarely ever slap or pop and don't like my sound to be "hi-fi". I like a warm solid tone with a hint of growl for more rock stuff. I don't need the more extreme sounds found in a lot of metal or contemporary pop. Somewhere between McCartney and Me'shell is where I would like to be.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. GK 800RB
    Kustom Groove Bass
    Sunn 1200s/Fender Bassman 1200 PRO
    Genz Benz GBE 600
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
  4. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    You can get a Mesa head in that range off ebay.
  5. Yorkville XS400 should be around that price.
  6. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    You said, "warm solid tone with a hint of growl for more rock stuff"

    I'd look for a used SVT-II (non pro version). They can sometimes be had for around $600.
  7. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    For a new head (not used), I'd recommned the a Kustom Groove Bass 1200 or GK 1001RB II for sure depending on your playing style.

    The Groove Bass is slightly warmer (almost tube like) than the GK and you can get that overdriven tube sound out of it if you set the master and gain properly and EQ is correctly. It can be rather bright and in your face also, but not as much as the GK.

    The GK as stated above is rather bright and has that modern, in your face hi-fi tone. I found less versatile than the Kustom when I A/Bed them both, but if you are looking for that hi-fi tone, then it might be the head for you.

    The Kustom GB puts out 50% more watts at 2 ohms (1200 vs 800) than the GK, but it comes at a slight cost......weight. The Kustom weighs about 30 lbs and the GK is just under 20 lbs I believe.

    BTW, I play mostly classic and hard rock (but not heavy metal) both pick and finger style and really don't slap much if at all. The Groove Bass is PERFECT for this application. Nice warm and can get gritty and packs 1200 watts and it can get down to 2 ohms.

    Both are GREAT values for at or under $600 The GK's are about $600 even at Ricks (can't remember his URL) and the Kustom can be had for about $500 if you find the right dealer.

    Of course the above two are the best option for NEW heads with warranty under $600. There are some great used heads out there, but just be careful. I've gotten some great used heads and also some duds that broke quickly or were not as described. I personally aim for new...

    In any event, good luck!
  8. illidian


    Jul 2, 2004
    +1 On the Gallien-Krueger recommendations. When trying one out, make sure to use the Boost knob quite liberally. ;)

    A used Mesa Walkabout would be almost in your pricerange.

    If you go Yorkville, save up a bit extra and get the XS800H. It has more power and a tube in the preamp, and will prove much more versatile.
  9. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    From the sounds you want to the buget you'll afford, I'd say you need to check out the Kustom Groovebass before you make a decision. It is unmatched in power per dollar, and the sounds, ohhhhhh the sounds. If you're a rock player on a budget, the Groovebass is a heaven-sent amplifier.
  10. Someone talking sense there!!!!!!!

  11. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    If you want warm and you want new, for $600 you can go all tube with the Traynor YBA-200. 200 watts all tube, but you would probabally have to change out the stock tubes (they suck) which would cost a little more. But, as was mentioned, you can get something pretty awesome used; I got my used Mesa 400+ for just $700 and I'm loving it ;)
  12. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Don't those SVT-2's weigh in around 80 lbs? If so, it's not the head for me no matter how good it sounds!
  13. Check out a Fender Bassman Pro 400 head.

    You should find it cheeper than what's listed in the link, new. IMO, great amp head for the price. Well worth auditioning.

    Don't let the anit-Fender amp crowd keep you from listing to one. :bag:
  14. yeah, so, hernia's add to character :D
  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    From what you have described, I second the recommendation for the Mesa Boogie Walkabout.

  16. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Why not the Pro?

  17. ah hah! i knew quadzilla would strike here!

    anytime the kustom groovebass is a possible answer/suggestion, you appear. :D i'm still looking for one of those bad boys to try it out. but i've been busy lately.
  18. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    :eek: :D ;) :p
  19. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I can only talk about the GK since I have not tried the Kustom 1200.
    For the size, weight and price, it's definity worth a look & listen. Riks music.com for $600 shipped. GK1001RB-II would be my recommendation. Great Tone, punch, light-weight and small, use the boost knob to get your overdrive/grit edge and your all set. Grunge to Hi-Fi. It's been reliable and solid. After being a staunch Eden guy, GK works for me. Made in America. (cue out-tro with flag waving in the breeze to fade out)
  20. amen.