How to make moving a heavy combo amp easier for back challenged player?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Big Hoss, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Boy did I get sidetracked with my GAS post. I should have known better...

    Yes I want a lighter, more powerful amp without a doubt, but let's face it, if I had the cash for it now, it's not like my wife is going to tell me no. I mean really I coughed out for a $150.00 hair dryer and I don't even want to know how much the flattening iron she had me buy her cost... But the budget just doesn't have the room until well into the new year (Probably by the time Uncle Sam gets appeased in April...)

    Until then, I am dragging my amp around more and more. Which with my back problems is getting to be a BIG problem... As you may recall from previous threads, I have had back problems since a major car wreck going on 14 years ago. It flares up from time to time and is seriously NO FUN...

    So here's my situation. My current amp is a Crate BX-100. I know there's not a ton of love for these amps, but with my level of playing, it's ideal tone and loud wise... Last weekend's jam session I was playing on the E string a lot, and I could FEEL the air shaking around us, it got things moving enough we cracked one of the window panes in my buddies garage / jam room. (Good thing it's a cheap window!) So maybe for a LOUD bar this thing would be worse than useless, and honestly, it would SUCK for a loud metal band, but I don't do that stuff. I play some classic rock, some blues, some Praise music that kind of thing... and it works. Until I go to move it...

    I have a small hand truck, and ratchet straps. So rolling it out of my home jam room, out to the drive, and then from the jam friend's drive to their jam room is no problem.

    Picking that 67lb behemoth with only one handle smack in the middle of the top, and lifting it into the bed of my 4" lifted F150 4x4 without killing myself however, is a bit of a challenge...

    I was hoping for maybe some pointers / ideas on maybe some sort of handles, or lifting assist device that I could use to make this job less, well hazardous...

    My intent with this amp is to keep it even after getting whatever light weight / powerful / tone I like amp (Still leaning toward the Fender Rumble 500 with maybe a 1x15 extension cab...). If the jam gig gets to be a regular thing, I will simply house my Crate amp over there on a semi permanent basis. But for now... I have GOT to make this thing easier to lift, and lower down.

    I am not adverse to building say plywood and 2x4 ramps if that is feasable, and understand it's not just the amps that are heavy here... I am also not adverse to cutting / drilling into the Crate Cab to install say casters and / or decent handles assuming I can be completely sure they won't pull out...

    What have other folks done in situations like this while pinching the budget a bit?
  2. vmabus


    Nov 1, 2013
    I use a Magna cart to truck my 2 2x10s in and out, then hoisting them into the wagon with the handles on either end. Would two side handles on the Crate enable you?
  3. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Maybe. The dumb thing did not include side handles. I am concerned about adding handles and having the screws pull out... Is there a good way to get inside the cab? If I can use a proper at the very least Tee nut, or preferably a nut and fender washer to distribute the load over a larger area of the cab material which I seriously suspect is MDF, I would feel a LOT better about adding side handles.

    I'm not worried drilling holes in the sides will devalue this amp. Heck, I'd think proper installation of a quality handle set would improve the amps resale value!
  4. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    You probably should not be lifting more than 25-30 pounds.

    I still think for the long term, you need to think about splitting the weight.
  5. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    Your back us worth spending a couple bucks and getting a Neo cabinet and maybe class D head...

    Cabinet probably get $300 or less used and a GK MB200 also less than $300

    Even if you short for a while 70 lbs will leave a mark. Took my son leaving the house (he loaded and woke him up @ 3am to unload) for me to take the plunge
    TC424 and Big Hoss like this.
  6. I'm not familiar with that combo but I suspect the front grill comes off, then you take the speaker out, and then you have full access to the inside of the cab for Tee nuts to add handles on the side. I added side handles to my Peavey Databass combo and it helps immensely. Dunno why manufacturers skimp on handles.
    vmabus and JimmyM like this.
  7. LowEZ


    Mar 29, 2011
    Central NJ
    The top handle on the Databass was merely a hookup point for a crane. I'm totally for the Class-D head / Neo cab solution.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Ever price quality handles? Could easily add $5 to the cost of manufacture ;)

    Side handles would make it easier, but a 67 lb. amp is still a 67 lb. amp when you deadlift it onto the stage. And it'll be a 68 lb. amp with two extra handles. I get wanting to hang onto it, but really, your only good solution to keep using it is to get help.
    SirMjac28, hsech and Big Hoss like this.
  9. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    This would work, but it would be cheaper to get the lighter rig:


    Maybe you could rig some king of manual pulley system into the back of the truck?
    SirMjac28 and seamonkey like this.
  10. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Sell it and get a micro head and one or two 112 or 115 cabs. A micro is under 6 lbs, and a ordinary 112 is under 30.
  11. Well, I have thought of another option. Buy a Peavey Classic 400 head, weighing in at 100 lbs, and a good-sized 2x15 cab weighing another 100 lbs....

    Then moving the 67 lb combo will seem like a walk in the park! :)
    psp742 likes this.
  12. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Sometimes it's not the weight but the leverage you can get. Taller cabs can tilt back and slide in sometimes easier than lifting a shorter one in. Lightweight cabs can be made but cost more just from using good construction and bracing to make up for lighter wood.

    The good news is lightweight heads are over and they sound great.
    Gaolee likes this.
  13. vmabus


    Nov 1, 2013
    I found my Promethean (300W, 15 + horn, 37 lbs.) on eBay for $200. It makes a one-trip load-in -out possible, and is plenty for practice or small gigs. There are lots of light-weight, powerful, good-sounding combo amps available, thanks to class-D technology. I truly think this is the best way to go.
  14. Still, though, if the OP's budget doesn't permit buying a new (used) rig for a while, then that's what he must contend with. A couple of handles on the side might not make the combo lighter, but at least it can sometimes allow better lifting angles or at least the use of two hands.
    JimmyM likes this.
  15. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Not disagreeing there.

    Doc says no more than 50lbs...

    Not sold on a separate cab / head setup mostly due to lack of familiarity with them... I have always used combos.. I know not gonna get a lot of love on that but it is what it is...

    And it doesn't help this heavy thing up into my truck and back out...

    Fwiw the handles would make it easier to get otherwise reluctant help lifting I think.
  16. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Okay not sure why I can't find a facepalm emoticon but oh well...

    BIG thought just came to mind...

    This is a 4x4 pickup that is actually used offroad, including getting stuck...

    I have LOTS of winching gear. a simple 3/8" plywood and heck even 2x2s to keep the ply from bowing ramp, a couple of snatch blocks, a couple of carabiners and a length of rope, and all the sudden that 68ish pounds moves up with about 15lbs of force at the operator end...! Just need to plop the beast on a movers dolly and strap in on to be secure and it should work like a champ!

    I guess that degree is worth something if I get a kick in the rusty brain every now and again...
  17. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune rational romantic mystic cynical idealist Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Princeton, Texas
    Owner & designer, AudioKinesis; Auth. mfg, Big E (Home Audio only)
    I sometimes have to move speakers that weigh as much as I do, and the hard part is definitely getting them into the vehicle (out and safely on the ground is hard too, especially veneered speakers that I'm delivering to someone's house or taking to an audio show).

    I use a dolly too, but my secret weapon is the "slippy board".

    A slippy board is basically a plywood ramp covered with the slipperiest material you can find at the fabric store. Make the board the longest you can possibly fit in your truck. You may need to engineer a two-piece board that you assemble and disassemble, and you may need to reinforce the underside so that it doesn't bend too much under the weight. The longer the board, the gentler the incline, and the easier to push the cab up and into the back of the truck. Ideally make the end that goes in the truck so that it hooks onto something, so it doesn't fall at the wrong time.

    edit: You just posted as I was typing. Bringing a winch into play would make the ramp/slippy board work even better.
    monsterthompson likes this.
  18. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    The handles on the side mean I can con someone into grabbing the second handle, with only one handle, no such option... But yeah good idea...

    Yeah I am NOT deadlifting jack squat... Not until the doc clears me..
    JimmyM likes this.
  19. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    Good point...

    FWIW, the tailgate top in the lowered position is at 34" and I have a standard 6.5 foot bed truck.

    I thought about using 1/4" ply and 18" tempered hardboard lamination (I can do that myself... the hard part is pressing it but I can rig that...) I figured 3/8" cabinet grade (400 grit sanded) ply should suffice... Maybe oiled & waxed...

    Yeah I would have to figure out the attachment to the gate for sure!
  20. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    That is a big part of my interest in the Fender Rumble 500. 500 watts 2x10 speakers, and all for a measly 35ish lbs...

    Okay specifically...

    • 500 watts
    • Dual 10" Eminence┬« speakers
    • Compression horn with on/off switch
    • Compact and lightweight (36.5 pounds) ported plywood enclosure with removable grille
    • Overdrive circuit (controlled manually or with optional footswitch)
    • Three-button voicing section (bright, contour, vintage)
    • XLR line out with ground lift
    And yes I know it's "only 350 watts" when on the internal speakers alone... Like that is going to be a problem for me at any time in the forseeable future...
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014