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How much does a cheap bass effect a good rig?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by iScott, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. iScott


    Jun 13, 2007
    Decatur, GA
    The rig I use is a GK 1001-RBII with a GK Neo 2x12 cab. Lots of great reviews and recommendations.
    The bass I use is an Ibanez GSR200 4-string. When I bought it (for $200) it was just what I needed. Something to get me started.

    My question is whether or not this cheap bass will impact and, ultimately, hinder the sound and performance of my amp and cab. I ask because I notice when playing live and having my volume on the amp at around 50%, I get that muddy thump when I hit notes on the E string fairly hard.

    I know the Neo 2x12 cab isn't a monster, but I figured for the price it'd be able to handle something like that. Would a $700-800, higher quality bass more than likely do the same thing or is it just my rig?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Lon86


    Jan 21, 2008
    Venice, CA
    poop in...poop out...
  3. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    How does the bass play? Is it set up properly? Do the pickups work? How are the strings? (one of the biggest factors). If if plays properly, it's probably fine. There are pros that play with cheap basses. There are pros on here that play with SX basses. Some will tour with Squire basses.

    Hand your cheap bass to a pro player and you'd be amazed at the tone that he/she would get from it. Much of it is in your hands.

    Change the strings first. What type of tone are you looking for?
  4. From my experience it didn't effect it that much.

    I consider my rig pretty good (700RBII, GK NEO 112, Avatar NEO B210).

    I gigged last summer using an SX PJ with a Duncan Peformer P pup and stock J pup. Sounded great! I received compliments on my bass tone from the average joe, musician types who are 'in the know' and my fellow bandmates!

    Of course my Lakland 44-02 sounds head and shoulders better than my SX through the same rig!

    But by no means does my SX sound crappy or make my rig sound crappy.

    The only bass that's ever sounded crappy through my rig was a Peavey Millenium BXP 5. I don't know if it was the strings, the preamp, pups or what. It just sounded like like someone put a blanket over my cabs. That's only a $300 bass, but that's twice the price of my SX.

    BTW - I haven't experienced one firsthand, but many here will attest that the GK NEO 212 run by a 1001RBII is a monster and shoud sound like such! Heck anything run by the 1001RBII should sound monsterous!
  5. By Volume do you mean your GAIN, BOOST or WOOFER knob? Learning how these 3 interact is the key to getting good sound out of your GK rig!

    FWIW - Generally I start with EQ flat. Then set my GAIN to 12:00, BOOST anywhere from 9:00 to 12:00 and my WOOFER between 8-10ish. At that point my rig is usually sounding pretty dang good! Then I EQ to taste.
  6. iScott


    Jun 13, 2007
    Decatur, GA
    The bass plays okay. Can't compare it to much as I've never played another bass other than in a music store. It buzzes on a few frets on the D and G strings. In terms of set up, I have no idea. Just started playing it out of the box. Never had anyone do any work to it. The pickups work but they do give off a fair amount of hum and buzz. I change the strings regularly. The sound I am going for currently is just the pretty basic, powerful rock sound.
  7. iScott


    Jun 13, 2007
    Decatur, GA
    Do you run these cabs at the same time? I also have an Avatar B212 that I keep at home for practice. Doesn't fit in my car nearly as easily as the GK 2x12, which is why I gig with the GK.
  8. bassbrock


    Feb 20, 2007
    Callahan, FL
    In my humble opinion, I've come to learn that in the world of bass guitar, you do not always get what you pay for. Wood is wood, pickups wound with copper around a magnet are pickups and strings are strings. What you pay for them I've come to learn is irrelevant. There are plenty of expensive things that suck and cheap things that are great. There are also inexpensive things that suck and several expensive things that are great.

    But don't think that just because your bass is an inexpensive one that it is holding you back. I've found that a nice rig can actually make a cheap bass sound great! Or any bass for that matter.

    And as others have said, it is all in technique and all in the hands.
  9. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I see that you are located in Atlanta. There are quite a few TB members in that area. Try to hook up with one or two (or a GTG) and have someone look at your setup. It really doesn't take much to set it up (so long as the neck isn't all messed up). It sounds like a few buzzes and a quick adjustment by someone knowledgeable could make the world of difference.
  10. iScott


    Jun 13, 2007
    Decatur, GA
    I went to the last GTG. Good times. It would be nice for someone who really knows their stuff to look at my rig setup and show me what works best in terms of levels and also the proper way to set up the cabs, etc.

    Anyways, I'm right about to get a new bass. Haven't decided on which one. I just wanted to see if this tone/sound problem was something that would carry over or get better with a better bass.
  11. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    You will get a different tone from a different bass (in general). Who do you listen to or should I ask, who are you trying to sound like? Which bass players do you like the sound of their bass?

    This info may help in your decision of what bass to get.
  12. iScott


    Jun 13, 2007
    Decatur, GA
    To be honest, I'm not quite sure about the tone I want most because I've never found it. I like the bass sound on stuff like Incubus and Tool. Clean and powerful. Also, I'm about 3 weeks from my first class at the Atlanta Institute of Music so I want to upgrade to a 6 string.

  13. Yes, I run both because my amp head (as well as yours) can run a maximum load of 4ohms to put out it's maximum wattage. Both of my cabs are 8ohms, which breaks down to 4 ohms total. If both of your cabs are 8ohms you can run both from your amp.

    But even running 1 cab at 8ohms from your 1001RBII, should STILL be A LOT to shake peoples' bladders!

    Basically, our GK heads can run either 2 8 ohm cabs or 1 4 ohm cab to get the maximum output of our respective heads.

    Or we can run 1 8ohm cab to get roughly half the wattage of our respective heads.

    There are many members that know a lot more about ohms\watts than I do. I only know enough to know what I can run and not damage my head, cabs or my hearing! lol!

    At any rate, your head is a BAD MOFO, so you shouldn't be having trouble getting good sound with either of your 212 cabs.

    What do your head settings look like?
  14. AFAIK... the cheaper Ibanez pups are WHERE THEY'RE LET DOWN!! IME!! I had a SR 405 & it was made beautfully & sounded OK, but when I tried a mates BArtolini soapbar pup in it WELL the difference was ASTOUNDING!!!! not sure about their P/J pups but the soapbars are where mine "wasn't" at. ATM tho I've a new(2nd hand) Ibanez AGB140 & the single pup in that sounds GREAT! Tone control is cr@p, but pup is GOOD. Thats a Humbucker w/ exposed polepieces.
  15. buckminster

    buckminster Banned

    Apr 29, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    Pickups are the first link in the tone chain. Then strings. Setup can definitely make a big difference as well. And ultimately your playing technique will affect your tone. It sounds like you have a setup that will give you a "rock" tone.

    The other thing to consider about the tone you're going for is that there is a fair amount of dirt to it. Not super overdrive, but definitely some grind. Like metal on metal. These guys probably change their strings alot. And their amp setup probably emphasizes the high mids and highs by way of scooping out some of the mids. Not scooped like a slap tone, but about half way there (lots of strong low and high mids). You may want to add a 210 cab to your rig to make the high mids and highs really pop out.
  16. Definitely try to contact one of the guys from the GTG and have them give you the basics on how to set your rig up.
  17. I've owned and played a lot of really great basses and I also own one of those Ibanez basses that we use at HS. It has a nice thin neck and a clear tone. The tone doesn't have a of character but what the heck $200. I've never noticed any muddiness and any volume. I think it's a great little bass.
  18. ElizabethC


    Aug 24, 2007
    New York City
    So true. Proper setup of a bass can bring a whole new life to what one might of thought as a "dead instrument."

    When I first started learning to play bass, I got a hold of a relatively low-end bass. It wasn't anything expensive and surely wasn't any super-popular brand-name like "Fender" or "Music Man." But, at that time, I had no other equipment and practically no knowledge of how to really play the bass; so, it did just fine for me. But, of course, the years went by, knowledge and playing experience grew, another bass ($1600) came into play, and new equipment (GK 700RB-II, two GK Neo 112s, Tech 21 SansAmp RBI) was acquired. I had also learned over the years how to do the basics of a bass setup. So, one day, I decided, "Hey, why not go back to my first bass and mess around with it just for the fun of it?" But, boy! That thing felt HORRIBLE. The action was super high, the intonation was so unbelievably off, the strings felt so bad -- I wondered how I was able to play with that bass for even more than a year and not get tendonitis or carpel tunnel!

    Nevertheless, I decided to give it another shot by changing the strings, adjusting the action and pickups, and correcting the intonation; and, wow! What a difference it made! In the past, the bass sounded dull, muddy, and lifeless; and, after about an hour of playing, I remember my fingers getting so fatigued that my whole hand would shake like crazy. But, after the setup, the bass took on a whole new sound and feel. I enjoyed it even more than my $1600 bass and now use it as my main bass!

    So, all this to say: Just because a bass doesn't have as many dollar signs next to it doesn't mean it's junk.
  19. eedre


    Feb 26, 2007
    St. Louis,MO
    When I'm at a local BOTB or regular show - I can tell the sound of a MIM Fender from a mile away.
  20. iScott


    Jun 13, 2007
    Decatur, GA
    Wow. Great story. I'll definitely look into getting the bass property set up. If I wasn't planning on going to 6 string I'd do it immediately. But I'll try to link up with a local and see what can be done.

    Thanks for all the input guys! Exactly what I was looking for.

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