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Help me buy an amp for a 16-year-old beginner

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by darinb, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. darinb


    Aug 22, 2013
    Here's the deal:

    My sixteen-year-old daughter is learning guitar. Been playing acoustic and electric for a year or so. Just bought a bass (a new-ish Ibanez SR400) on e-bay for a great price.

    However, the Roland Micro-cube I bought her for Christmas isn't cutting it. Not nearly loud enough for the bass. Not really loud enough for the electric guitar either, really.

    So she needs a new amp. She doesn't have much money to put toward it (maybe $150) but I'm going to surprise her and pay half of the amp's cost, which puts us at $300 or so.


    What will be good enough at that price range and will work for *both* regular electric and bass? She has neither the budget nor room for two amps...

    I prefer an item NOT made in China but need not be made in USA.

    A used unit is fine although I have no knowledge of amps and will have a hard time evaluating a used item. Suggestions from this board's buy/sell board are welcome.

    Help :)

  2. jamersonburton


    Jul 22, 2011
    For both.... amp wise, a lot could work. Now, speaker wise, that's when you run into issues. Im not an amp guy but perhaps someone else here can chime in.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I recommend the Gallien Krueger MB112-II combo. It's a little higher than $300, but you won't need anything new for a while. Good quality, good sound.
  4. Dbt25677


    Jun 9, 2013
    Get a Fender Rumble 30/75 (depending on how annoyed you want to be).
  5. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
  6. letsrumble


    May 23, 2010
    Peavey VYPYR VIP 3. Don't know where it's built, but given your other criteria it seems perfect.
  7. Fender Rumble 75 is my well considered recommendation. $250 brand spanking new with a full 5 year warranty. Very Well Made in Fender's Korean Factory. I've had mine for well over a year and have given it quite a work out. Sound is absolutely fabulous. While nothing is truely teenager proof, Fender's Rumble 75 comes damn close.
  8. arai

    arai Banned

    Jul 16, 2007
    A used Peavey TNT will tick all the boxes
  9. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I couldnt agree with munji more! This would be a killer first "real" bass amp for your little girl. Like he said, it is a little over your $300 mark but it will be well worth it. She will be able to use this for a long time, it sounds awesome and it very lightweight. They are great little combos. I do believe you can even get extension cabs for these later on down the road if she wants to add to it. Again, brand new they go $399 but they are made in the good ol' US of A and they are great little amps. You shouldnt have to buy at thing for a while. Well, maybe an ext cab hehehe Hope you find a good one!
  10. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    With your $300 budget, check out the Guitar Center Used site. You will be supprised what you can come away with for $300.. SWR, GK, Peavey, and the list goes on. With GC, do not be afraid to talk to the manager and tell them a price. Stick to it. You will find you will get much more of an amp than you thought. SWR WM 15's, are a great amp. Fender Rumble 100's, Ashdown combo's, really there are many to choose from in your price range and all will work well for an up and coming bassist
  11. will33


    May 22, 2006
    The problem is being able to pull double duty and sound decent with both. This is more to do with the speakers than the amp.

    Guitar can sound acceptable through a bass cab if you're only using very clean tone. The deep bass and the tweeters in a lot bass cabs can make a mess of things with any sort of overdrive sounds on guitar.

    You can get away with using guitar speakers on bass if you have a lot of them, like a big stack. Most are pretty lean in the bass and you could blow 1 or 2 trying to get bass out of them and they won't give you a completely clean sound, if that's what you want.

    One of this Ampeg 'baby svt" looking rigs may do acceptably well at both. It's a sealed 210 with no tweeter. May be able to set that up for a nice bass tone and maybe use a pedal to put more "flavor" on the guitar sound.
  12. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    What does she need to be louder FOR? Is she anticipating playing with a band, or is this just for practice in the bedroom? Gigging, or jamming in the garage? For a good all-purpose amp in your price range, check out Carvin's MicroBass amps. They're lightweight, which is a plus, but there's 200 watts in there. Works for bedroom practice but should be enough to keep up in a jam, and if she's going to play out, they take an extension cab - add a 1x15 cab or so and you should be good to go for most gigs.

    The only drawback is that, unlike some combos, there's no aux-in so you can't run an mp3 or CD player through it to practice along to.

  13. Keep at eye out for a used Ampeg micro SVT and a 112 cab on craigslist. Or even check GC for a used cab. Will last a long time and has the ability to grow with her. If you had another $100 you could find the matching svt210av cab.

    If you are good with wood working, build your own cab for her. Check out Kringle77's 212 builds and build her a 112 off of his design. Then later on you could add another..
  14. portlandguy


    Feb 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Ampeg BA210 or 115 - tough great sounding amps, I had one for a while and loved it.
  15. pedroims


    Dec 19, 2007
  16. TraceWar


    Jul 29, 2010
    NE Ohio
    I would look into the peavey vypyr VIP series since you're wanting to use it for different instruments. Like everyone else said its the speaker that's going to give you problems when trying to switch to different instruments however the peavey VIP (variable instrument performance) has been designed to run all three and it doesn't sound too bad in my opinion. Get on YouTube and look up some of the demos there are full bands using them to show their versatility across acoustic, electric, and bass.
  17. I remember the lesson of cheap snow skis as a tot.
    Crummy equipment = crummy experience, and an acquired dislike for the activity.
    I also remember guitar necks like tree trunks... same result.
    Decent equipment makes all the difference.

    OP, you can always find deals on used gear of quality.
    I look to pay no more than 66% of new-discount price.
    G.A.S. ensures an endless supply of modest gear coming on the market as the owner trades up.

    My band routinely rehearses with a single 10" for bass and an 8" for my keys.
    Personally, I prefer a more full range cab with a better bottom, over one that is louder but lacks bass extension.
  18. 3star2nr


    Jun 2, 2013
    I strongly recommend getting her 2 good amps rather than one amp.

    Here are a few suggestion
    Shop used for the following guitar amps: Marshall 8040, fender mustang 1 or vox vt20. These amps can all be found for 100.00 or way less used and at local pawn shops.

    Of the 3 the Marshall is by far the best. Best tone hands down, best volume, easiest to use.

    The vox vt is awesome its easier than the fender and sounds better out the box IMHO than the fender.

    The fender mustang series aren't really beginner amp they don't sound all that good out of the box, but plug it into a laptop and mess with the software you can make those things sound like anything. They can even emulate the dynamics of a tube amp.

    For the bass amp get her something with 100w of power acoustic b100, is a great choice.

    If you have to have only one amp I'd get a good bass amp. You can play guitar through a bass amp, it will sound weird because most bass amps have built in compressors and no reverb. Some also clip higher frequencies, so guitars don't really sound all that great through them.

    Don't play a bass through a guitar amp those speakers aren't designed to handle the basses low frequemcies and it will wear those speakers out very quick.

    Get her two good amps and that will really help her stick to it, not being able to get good tone because of improper equipment can really mess with the self esteem of a player and will make them get frustrated and quit.
  19. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL

    Touche! This is also a very wise choice indeed. Great little combos they are.
  20. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    I see lots of decent bass amps cheap at the pawn shop. From 15 watts to a 100, amps under $150 appear often. Craigslist usually has them, although CL prices in our area aren't usually that good.

    I bought a perfectly functioning Peavey Mark IV head for $60. I know I could find a cabinet for it for under $100. A head like that with a cabinet could take her through her first 2 or 3 bands.