Help a newbie - Good Combos for $500

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by funkasaurus, Apr 24, 2001.

  1. funkasaurus


    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    After playing for two months (and lurking here for a week), I've got G.A.S!

    The little 15w fender practice amp I'm using is ok for practicing in my apartment, but my teacher wants me to start playing with other musicians soon, and I know I'm gonna need a better amp.

    After reading some of the posts here, it seems that ampeg, swr, eden, and carvin are really popular. Any other amps I should be looking at in my budget?

    I don't mind buying used, but I haven't found a lot of used amps in my area (NYC), and I'm weary of buying a used amp over the internet without seeing/hearing it first. You'd think that NYC would have a lot of used gear floating around, but I haven't found it. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places.

  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Of those that you mention only Ampeg and Carvin's lower level PB line will come in at the price point you've mentioned.

    I never owned one, but I don't thing you should rule out Peavey either. They're a popular choice and have an interesting new 2x10" called "BAM" out. I think Gard uses, or has owned, a Peavey and he works at Bass Central, where he is surrounded by fine gear all day.
  3. leftybassdog

    leftybassdog Senior Supporting Member

    Look over the river and take the train to n.j. pawn shops !!!!!!!! I use to play alot of clubs there and found alot of cool stuff in the pawn shops,
  4. davetsbass

    davetsbass Guest

    Mar 24, 2001
    burnt hills NY
    I had the same budget as you when I was buying my 3rd(?) combo. I went used as I always have. I got the Fender BXR 300C which I didn't bother playing on, and I got it used for $400. I'm thinking that #1. I should've played on it first and #2. I shouldn't have gotten it because it took me about 4 months to get a decent tone, but at least its got head room haha. But I'm just stating that I got a combo that has a 15 and 300w for a reasonable price and I think that used was deffinatally the way to go.
  5. Hey Funkasaurus, since you're a fellow New Yorker,
    go to 48th st. and check out what they have on hand in Sam Ash, and across the street at Manny's.
    There's nothing like checking stuff out first hand.

    Mike J.
  6. funkasaurus


    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I will definitely check out the Peavey. BTW, why are there so many people that don't like Peavey?

    You're right about eden being out of my price range, but I think the swr workingman 12 is about $500 street. I guess I should have clarified in my original post that I meant $500 street, not list.

    I wouldn't mind checking out pawn shops in Joisey. Any suggestions on where to start?

    Thanks for the quick responses.
  7. sbassett


    Apr 2, 2000
    The Ampeg BA-112 (50 watts, 12 ") and BA-115 (100 watts, 15") should fit that price range, as will the Hartke Kickback models (10, 12, and 15). I have the BA-112. It has a deep, warm sound typical of Ampeg bass amps. Not real powerful, but I play in a jazz quartet, so volume is not a huge issue. The Hartke amps, to my ear, are more forward and less warm sounding than the Ampegs. I have read good things about the new Ashdown combos in that same price range, but have never tested one.
  8. Jman


    Mar 24, 2000
  9. Hey man,
    I highly reccomend at least taking a look at the fender bassman 100 (100 watts @ 4 ohms, 15" eminence driver, piezo horn) Very nice amps in this "bassman" line, and thats exactly 500....They've been getting nothing but good things said about them.
  10. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    In some cases, experience -- of the bad variety, typically with older gear or with Peavey's low-end stuff.

    In most cases, simple bias. Never tried it, never played it, but they heard one time that their cousin's friend's keyboard player had an uncle who used one on a gig and it sounded awful, and quit working, and flames came shooting out of it, and it exploded and killed his mama....

    It's not one of the "cool" brands, so it gets dissed a lot. But if you read the magazine reviews, it stacks up pretty well against the other manufacturers.

    Five years ago, I wouldn't have touched the stuff, personally. But after doing A LOT of reading and trying EVERYTHING, I concluded that they made some pretty good products. Check out my profile now -- I'm all Peavey. Gard will attest too.
  11. lowfreqguy


    Oct 18, 2000
    The SWR WM12 can be found used for $275-350. I use one and love it, just keep in mind it may not compete with loud drums and other players.
  12. For $500 you may even find a SWR wm15.....Used of course....

    Check these links out....

    I know you said $500, but these are close....The Genz Benz is a little much but I would consider waiting an extra couple of weeks and getting it...

    By the way this place is in Scranton PA, the a$$hole of the universe, also my hometown, but it takes me just under 2 hours to reach the Lincoln Tunnel from here....This place is worth the drive...
  13. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    I had a 4x10 cab, the 410TX, with (90% sure of it) Sheffield speakers. I hated it. It didn't give me the sound I wanted from the amp I had and knew the potential of. It simply sounded too boomy and dull, not the tight and hi-fi-like sound I wanted (lots of low end, though). I have also played through an older Peavey head, and hated it also. My former band rented a PA with Peavey speakers, which weren't too good either. I have also played a TKO 75 combo extensively and decided I didn't like that either.
    So with this experience, I decided that I don't like Peavey. :) But, I have to admit, I haven't played their newer heads, or through a cab with Black Widow speakers, so I don't know how well their higher-end stuff performs. It could actually be great, although I have my sincere doubts.

    But it's all just personal preference.
  14. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    funk - Keep those words of Oysterman in mind. He has been playing long enough that his ear has gotten "more sophisticated" as yours probably will in time.

    Oysterman lives in Sweden and owns EBS amplification which is very high end and costs a relative load of money in the US. If you can ever try it out, you should take the opportunity, just to see what "really good stuff" is like.

    If you go to the Peavey site, I think they have a list of endorsers there you might check out, although those users may have theirs tricked out. Peavey and Fender are two of the most common brands of choice for people in the US upgrading from their first amps. They are reasonably good sounding, don't break the bank, and are built decently. And as I said, I have never owned a Peavey but I know people in other bands who have used their better models and found they got the job done.
  15. Another option, that slightly exceeds $500, is the Nemesis NC-112 or NC-210. The 112 is 200W RMS into 1 12" speaker. The 210 is 200W RMS into 2 10". Both retail for 700-800, but you can get the price down to $500-$600 from places like The nice thing here is that *they* pay shipping, which can save you quite a bit of moolah. I got my NC-212 for $650 and am as happy as stink on bug with it.

    NFI in riksmusic, just a happy customer. You can see review for the NC-112 and NC-115 at under gear and combo shootout. It got great reviews for tone and weight.
  16. funkasaurus


    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I actually bought my bass and practice amp at Manny's. I really liked the service there, especially from Gil.

    Thanks to everyone for their input. With all of the different amps out there, I was hoping to narrow the field down a bit, at least so that I would know where to get started. I feel like I've got a good idea of what to look for now. Looks like I've got some auditioning to do this weekend. :)

    Another question. Do you guys take along your personal basses when you're shopping for amps, or do you just use the store's basses? I'm guessing it would be better to bring along my own bass.

    Thanks again.
  17. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    funk - You are correct! It is absolutely written in stone, (at least IMO), that you run the bass you intend to use through any amp you are auditioning.

    Obviously, they will put some beautiful piece of wood in your hands if you don't bring yours, but often times, you create a situation where the salesperson is now trying to sing a sweet song to you on buying the amp AND the bass.

    Then, when you refuse the bass, they use that as leverage to not give you as good a deal on the amp as you would have gotten with the bass.

    There are many good dealers who won't do this, but there are a lot of sharks in the waters, too.

    Let us know what you find, if you would.
  18. I really like the Fender Bassman series, like a Bassman 100 or 200, and would recommend it. I've played a 200 ($639 in Musicians Friend) and a 60 ($379), and they sounded GREAT, plus they were LOUD for 200w and 60w, respectively. I've never played a 100, but I've talked to many people who own or have played them ($499 that rave about them.

    But try used first! Definitely!
  19. Dave S...

    Dave S...

    Oct 13, 2000
    Lots of good suggestions so far...

    Genz Benz just came out with a new combo, I think it's called the ML series. It's a little different in the power amp, (200 watts RMS bridged in 8 ohms...which whould be thie internal speaker, i guess) Or, it can be used as seperate 100 watt in 4 ohm amps. (But, since it's low power, there aren't connections to bi-amp the individual 100 watters.

    I think it's got a parametric mid and XLR D.I. out. Apparently, they can be had street price about 500 for a 1x15. They make a 2x10 for a bit more.

    Hope it helps...sound like you're on the right track!

    Best Wishes
  20. funkasaurus


    Apr 23, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the heads up. I will definitely take my bass along with me.

    I was planning on heading over to 48th street this weekend to check out Manny's, Rudy's, Sam Ash, etc. Unfortunately, one of my dogs is having surgery today, and I will probably have to look after him this weekend. Nothing serious, just have to keep my eye on him. So my amp shopping will probably have to wait until next week sometime.

    Here's what I plan on checking out, in no particular order:

    Whatever used stuff I can find
    Fender Bassman 100
    Peavey BAM
    SWR Workingman's 12
    Ampeg BA115
    Ampeg B100R
    Nemesis NC-112P
    Tube Works
    Genz Benz

    Now I'm wondering which, if any, of these would be the best for playing with a drummer and guitar player?