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help me pick an amp based on this crazy criteria!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by basilwomack, Sep 12, 2005.

  1. basilwomack


    Sep 12, 2005
    I'm a fairly new bass player (almost two years playing), but have stumbled myself into two great bands. I'm going on tour for a month with one of them, beginning in October. I've been playing on my drummer's bass rig, but want to buy my own now -- because if it is going to get pulled in and out of a van 30 times in 30 days, if it breaks, I want a warranty to pay for it. That, and it's just time I buy my own gear.

    SO - I have a bunch of criteria, and after a salesman tried to sell me an Ampeg (and pretty much didn't want to offer me anything else), I thought I'd pick your brains and see if you know of something that fits my needs, more than what the Ampeg-obsessed salesman could offer me.

    If it's helpful, I play a 4-string short-scale Slammer Hamer bass, which is passive. The drummer's rig I currently use is a circa 1990 Hartke 3500 Mosfet 350 watts head with a 410 Hartke cabinet.

    1) For starters, for one of my bands, I also play synth bass through the bass rig. Which means built-in compression is a big plus, as is two inputs - one for passive (my bass), and one for active (the keyboard). Some kind of compression is necessary for both the bass and the keyboard - the two inputs is helpful, but not necessary.

    2) I'm five feet tall and weigh 100 pounds, so portability is an issue. I know there's no gig-worthy rig on the market that someone my size could carry alone, but since I'm about to stuff it in and out of a van 30 times (with the help of a friend), it would be nice if it weren't excrutiating to lift. Wheels would be a huge bonus.

    3) It has to be built to last - very durable, again, because I'm touring and don't want it banged around and broken.

    4) Direct in (again, because the keyboard signal...)

    5) For the most part, I play sort of quick, mathy rock, and move a lot over the fretboard, so I need a very clean, articulate sound. I don't need a really bass-boomy ribcage-imploding droney tone, because I don't play that kind of music. The ampeg salesman said I need a solid-state, enclosed rig to achieve this sound.

    6) my drummer is pretty loud, and I put the Hartke stuff at a master volume of around 1 o'clock in practice situations to be heard. Trying out the Ampeg B2RE with the Ampeg SVT 410 HE didn't seem like it was very loud in the store, although without context that's hard to know.

    7) good warranty and repair service from the company.

    8) a combo or a head+cabinet -- i could go either way on that.

    9) price is difficult,because I don't really know what's out there, and how much it costs. If you've got recommendations, I want to hear what those are, whatever the price of the equipment.

    help me out! I want to buy this thing in the next month or so!
  2. You are describing a Thunderfunk TFB550 to a T!! 15 lbs...tone for days....add an Accugroove Tri 210 or a TRI 112 (or 2) and you have a KILLER compact rig that can give you most ANY tone you could want!! In My opinion, that is.....Don't be afraid of the 500 watt rating..it is a monster 500 watts and seems conservative to me. Good Luck and have fun on the tour!! Get plenty of rest but make sure you take the time to smell the roses and see the sights!!

    Check out the T-Funk here:


    Accugroove Here:


    T-Funk with Accugroove package pricing pricing here:



  3. Aenema


    Apr 18, 2001

    it doesnt get any cleaner or more articulate then GK. plus rmcaudio.com has the best prices youll ever see on GK gear. good luck with the rig and the band!
  4. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    Although I agree with all three of these guys on the gear end, I don't think that you need an Accugroove speaker or a Glock amp (I love Glock's!). You are a fairly new player with a farily low end bass. Nothing wrong with that but you don't need by any means to start at the top of the equipment chain. I don't care if you can play like matt garrison (www.garrisonjazz.com) after two years, in my opinion you should start with some really good medium level equipment and learn what works for you before you spend thousands of dollars.

    Secondly, Dan Elliot, should you really be posting a post like that since you work for GK? Now that that's out there, I will agree fully with what Dan has suggested. Try a GK amp, preferably the 1001RBII if you have the money. Than try that amp with a GK cab or an Ampeg cabinet. The Ampeg will give you a warmer, more vintage like tone I think. I only mention this because I played through a GK amp recently into an Ampeg 410 and I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it sounded. I think it's a nice combination.

    As far as running your bass and your keyboard into the amp, I really think that your best bet is to get a little Behringer mixer to do that. It'll give you the most control over each instrument and should cost under $100. Also look into a seperate compressor like a pedal of some sort. Everyone here will tell you about the best boutique pedals to do the job. Truth is you don't need one of those (and I love them myself). Find yourself a Boss compressor and start there. If you have the money than get a Demeter Compulator. I've been seeing them used for $150 or less. Check the classifieds here or Ebay. By doing these two things (the mixer and a pedal compressor) you'll give yourself many more feasable options for a bass amp.

    Good luck man and have a great time!
  5. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Thunderfunk & a Schroeder 1210. Loud small and reliable.
  6. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    I just thought about this for a moment. You may certainly want to look into the GK cabs as well because with their amp you can power the horn in the cab seperately from the woofers. This would be a very good solution since you're putting your keyboard through your setup as well. It'll make it so you have less of a chance harming the tweeter at higher volumes.
  7. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    I actually don't think so. I've seen others get flamed for doing so. You may want to PM folks instead. I'm all for getting info out there but is seems to go against the Talkbass rules being that you're recommending equipment from the company that you work for. The reason why this isn't suppoed to be done, from what I can tell, is because if everyone was allowed to do this than there'd be no reason to buy advertising space at talkbass.com. I'm not trying to bust your b**ls but it undermines what the creator of talkbass is trying to do, make money to support this site for all of us.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    Thunderfunk/Schroeder sounds nice.

    GK recommendation wasnt bad either- meets the poster's requirements for weight/articulation.
  9. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    I am new to the CUP but it appears that emjazz is right on the money . . .i think. Here is an excerpt from CUP:

    A couple examples:

    If you are a manufacturer and a user posts a question about your product, you may post a reply containing only such information as requested. However, if a user asks a general question such as "what kind of bass has feature A and B" or "what's a good amp for...", please do not suggest your product in reply.

    Similarly, if you are a retailer and a user asks a question specifically about your retail business, you may reply with such information. But if a user asks "where can I find an xyz bass?", please do not advertise your own business in response.

    As I said the CUP is new to me. I don't think I'm violating it by posting this. However the tricky part is that the CUP as written would not allow Dan to post or PM/email. While the poster would appreciate an email from Dan about GK the CUP reads, to me at least, that I can't PM/email the poster unless the poster asks me directly.

    From CUP sticky:

    Last point, (although there are others in the commercial user policy, so please don't consider this post to contain the CUP in it's entirety, you have to read it for yourself), as far as i understand it, it's OK to PM or E-Mail another TB member with more information or suggestions regarding your product than you're allowed to in a thread only if they ask you for it. After conferring with Paul, unsolicited PM's or E-Mails from commercial users to other TB members and up being considered SPAM. The point is, if the member asks for more info from you, (e.g., pricing), in that case it's direct person to person communication, and not a public advertisement for your product available to all to see.

    So by the writing of this (only if they ask you for it) I'm not sure how the poster could find out that Dan is a GK rep to contact?

    Know what I mean? Sorry for derailing the thread.

    Back to the original post. You mention you are not sure of pricing. You might want to start by looking at some online sales to get an idea of what is out there to narrow down your price point. You now know what the Ampeg in your town costs so that can be a bit of a guide when trying to compare apples to oranges. "What can I buy for $1000?" For some brands the answer is not much. The only frustrating thing you will come across is the retail price MSRP being listed but the actual price will be lower, sometimes a lot lower.

  10. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Agree with the posts here. If the TF and Accugroove are too pricey, the GK stuff would fit what you want to do to a "T".
  11. If you like the HArtke stuff get the 7500 (twin power amps like the 3500). If you are going to be hauling the stuff in a van or trailer you need to rackmount it or as I do get a used piece of samsonite luggage from a thrift store and wrap the head ina blanket (the eq sliders are notorious for getting broken off). Also you might find the Dr. Bass rx212 a lighter weight choice for a cab and it has a REALLY tough bedliner finish on it that would hold up to being hauled around.
  12. My mistake. It won't happen again.
  13. TheChariot


    Jul 6, 2004
    Boston, MA
    I agree to most extents.

    The GK tone isnt for everyone... but if it IS for you (give it a shot) then your in luck... because their equipment has a nice average weight, and is a great deal.

    You REALLY need to get a sense of your budget though. It really plays a massive role in the equipment you hunt down.

    To me, it sounds like you'll be looking for at least 500Watts, and at least one 4x10 cab. I recommend a 2x12 if you only want one cab.... unless its the schroeder 410 (or anything from the schroeder line, for that matter).

    If you only have $1000.... fear not. That's more than enough to land a preamp, power amp, rack, and an Avatar cab. You could even splurge and get a Neo, probably. Still, you'd have to figure out which preamp is truly for you, and stuff of that nature.
  14. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Heh, if Dan didn't recommend GK, I would've so all's fair in love and war. And honestly, I woulda recommended the same setup. I'm itching to upgrade to that for my synth use. Only difference is it's got a single input, so you may want to run a mixer or something in front of that to take care of your active/passiveness.
  15. basilwomack


    Sep 12, 2005
    Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. The GK possibility is looking really good, price-wise and sound/weight-wise.


    The only thing I'm worried about, is that GK got horrible reviews on harmonycentral.com -- for customer service and repair. People had horror stories about not seeing their amp for months, not being able to talk to the same person twice, etc etc etc.

    has this been anyone's experience (GK salesman not including... ;) ) ??? Nothing's as annoying/stressful as having something broken and not being able to get it fixed in a timely manner...

    by the way, this was my first post, and I've already learned a lot. THis is a great forum!
    Basilwomack (who is really Wendy Spitzer...)
  16. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    Hi Wendy, and welcome to TB!

    From what I've heard in the past year the GK mess that was happening over there has been taken care of. However, go back over to Harmony Central and look to see what the post dates are on the reviews to get an idea of when folks were having problems.
  17. I agree with the salesman's recommendation for solid state gear for fast articulate tone but I didn't think my B2R fell into the category of fast or articulate. In fact my Ampeg SVP-CL seems to be more of both and it is a tube preamp.

    Of the limited gear I've owned I would say the BBE Bmax preamp was by far the fastest and most articulate. Good tone as well, has a built in compressor, and if you shop smart you can pick one up for about $240 new.

    If you like the idea of a preamp/power amp rig you'll need a power amp. Again my experience is limited but I feel it is worth sharing. QSC makes an RMX series that is lower in price and heavier but sounds good. Their PLX series is lighter and more expensive but there is no sound quality improvement that I'm aware of.

    For good low cost cabs check out Avatarspeakers.com. I won't recommend a particular cab because of the subjective nature of tone but a little research an Avatar using the search function near the top of the page will tell you all you need to know about their value.

    Lastly, if you like the Hartke stuff you may want to consider sticking with it because it would be hard to duplicate their tone with other gear. Good luck in your search. :bassist:
  18. protoz


    Nov 30, 2000

    I won't buy GK again after my first GK amp blew up in 4 months and I had to send it in myself as no one in my area would touch it.
  19. Funkengrooven

    Funkengrooven Turn it down? You gotta be nuts!!

    I think I might recommend an SWR, especially the Black Beauty, and maybe an extension cabinet if the single 15 is not enough.
    If that is not enough power then there are other SWRs that really pump. Have you decided on what size and configuration of speakers suits you the best??
  20. I wouldn't hesitate to get GK gear (new). There was a relatively brief time that service was a problem as was some bugs in one or two of the models of amps which has been worked out. Now the service has been exemplary, and the equipment is a great bargain. If you are going to buy used, feel safe with any 400rb, 400rbiii or iv,or 800rb.