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How would you split this meager budget?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by FourBanger, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    My second used RBX170 is wearing out and I am going to replace it. Over the years I have survived happily, albeit not without GAS, on a series of inexpensive basses; this beat up RBX, a nicer used RBX170, a MIK Dean, and the shorty Gremlin I could not kill.

    I don't play with a band and don't have plans to, I play to chill. I have been also getting by without an amp, using various methods to drive some headphones.

    I will probably be able to pull together around $300 to upgrade and I would like to stick to new for sake of eliminating the variables of what wear and tear the bass has been through before I get a hold of it. It sounds funny but $300 is five times as much money as I spent on my last bass, no surprise it turned out to have some issues.

    My question is this: Would each of you rather have a $200 bass and a $100 amp to practice or a $300 bass and headphones?

    I pretty much know which basses I would look at and the amp would either be a Rumble 15 or BA108, If I go that route, so I don't necessarily need recommendations about which instrument. I am just fishing for opinions on whether you all think splitting the budget as such is a better or worse idea.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    If you like your bass, spend $300 on a amp. You can get one big enough for gigging one day.
  3. gard0300


    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    Well I bought my little ampeg b08 practice amp for 100.00 brand new. It's fine, plenty loud enough without a drummer. Leaves you 200.00 for a decent used bass or an entry level new bass.
  4. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    I should extrapolate on my current bass. The neck has a slight backbow the trussrod won't correct, two of the tuners are replacements for already cheap tuners, and the nut slots are far too deep on the D and the G. This means a playable setup is only achieved by leaving everything buzzing just a little and causing one or two dead frets as well as all but requiring only ever using 45-105 or heavier strings.

    This is not a bass that is long for this world and not worth enough to put money into. I have been given the opportunity to replace it with something new, and I will.

    As to the amp situation, my gigging days are behind me, and when that happened I was a guitarist. Now I am a stay at home father and my wife is doing a five year Masters and Law joint program, during which I won't be gigging, after which we will be relocating cross country and she'll be earning six figures. At that point it won't be as much of an issue getting a gig rig if I need one.

    If I had an amp now it would purely be for home noodling.
  5. rfslick


    Dec 31, 2008
    Benicia, CA. USA
    If you like a J or P style bass, for $130, you can get a new bass with amazing quality. Check Rondomusic.com. That leaves you quite a bit for a used amp. I recently bought an SX Jazz and it's terrific! $155.60 to the SF bay area.
  6. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I like a man who plans ahead! I wish I had that much faith in others and their commitments to me.

    There are few things on earth as awful as $100 bass amps.

    All I can say is shop hard. The deals turn up. I once got (and still have) a brand-new US Ampeg BA-112, which is a great small amp, for $158 at GC, and I've bagged very nice basses for under $200, new as well -- though prices have gone up a lot in the past year or so.

    I know you don't want to buy used and I agree with your reasons, but you might consider re-thinking that with a retailer that has a pretty good warranty, like GC's usual 45-day one. GC gets a lot of used gear in trade and they want to get rid of it. You could probably get a used practice amp cheap, and my experience with small amps of decent original quality is that if they don't blow up right away, they're usually good for the long haul. GC here typically sells used gear cheaper than Craigslist and you're reasonably protected.

    It's something I'd consider.
  7. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Given all the advice about amps so far dose this mean you gentleman would lean towards splitting the $300 between bass and amp rather than forgoing the amp and looking at putting all $300 towards the bass?
  8. gard0300


    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    Check around your area for old US Peaveys. Nice basses and are a great value. I've picked up several under 200.00 each.
  9. First off, I would never limit myself to buying new. Almost everything I've bought in the last 10 years has been used because I think it's pretty ridiculous to pay new prices for things that, when treated well, don't degrade much over time. If you know what to look for you'll be much better off buying used.

    That said, I don't think you can really get a quality amp or bass for $300 new. Squier VM is probably the best you could do on the bass front and maybe an Ampeg BA 112 is the best you could do on the amp front. Folks will say both of these are quality, but the Ampeg is probably not enough for a band situation (sans PA support) and it's not something I want to be dropping in front of the sound guy at a gig either. Same for the bass. Many people gig with a Squier and that's fine. I gigged w/ a Squier for a long time but I wouldn't anymore. There are much better used options out there for the money.

    You can get a good, quality gigging bass for $300 on the used market. You can get a good, quality head/cab rig for $300 on the used market... If you're patient and wait for the right deal.
  10. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    But again, not looking for gigging quality, looking to better enjoy my private playing at home. An amp is not a requirement for me.

    An amp would probably increase my enjoyment, but on the other hand I would probably enjoy owning and playing a $300 bass more than a $200 bass, new or used,
  11. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I would suggest a Tobias Toby IV - goes for $199 brand new(inclusive of shipping) - This plays better than a Yamaha or a Squier imo..(I've had both before too, so yes, this is from experience). I picked up a new Toby IV Deluxe for $169 on ebay- had a little nick on the headstock that I can't even see to be honest with you so it sold cheaper than usual.
    Another option would be to get a used bass from Guitar Center (I've had good luck with the quality of used basses there so far - plus get a warranty for $20 should something go wrong if ever). I picked up a Spector Performer for $149 that was in brand new shape with no scratches whatsoever and plays great.
    You can look at Craigslist or a pawn shop for an amp and get a pretty decent one for $100 or less. I think a used amp is not a bad option as they generally don't get the abuse the instrument normally does. I picked up a pretty decent 100 watt amp for $60.
    So to answer your question- $200-$250 bass/$50-100 amp. would be the split I would go with. Nix the headphones, you can plug the headphones in the amp but not the other way around.
  12. Miskatonic


    Sep 15, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Just off the top of my head; you could grab a used Fender Rumble 75 for around $150-$175 (at least that is what I see around my area for used ones) and snag an SX bass or if you get lucky you might find a used Squier Vintage Modified bass to snag with the rest. That would not be a bad at home, noodling around pair.
  13. rfslick


    Dec 31, 2008
    Benicia, CA. USA
    +1 and that SX bass is an incredible value for a brand new bass, and very playable.
  14. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Since I'm still learning I'm not in any playing-live situation either. I would like to have an amp, since I really like to feel the vibes, but my home situation demands I play through headphones. So far, I've been doing just fine with a Pocket Rock-It. I can play as "loud" as I want without disturbing my girlfriend who works from home (and is very A.D.D. and prone to migraines…yikes!).

    Then there's other practical considerations in your situation. How forgiving will your wife to be if you're jammin' while she's studying for her Master's? Are you going to be able to play through an amp when the kids are home? If not, when would you have the house to yourself to take advantage of your amp?

    If it were my call, I'd stick to the headphones and put the resources into either a new bass at that price point or seek out a slick used bass that makes me want to play it all the more.

    On the topic of "what bass?", I've heard anywhere from good to great things about certain Squiers (I have three myself) and SX's (I can't weigh in personally on that one…I bought a used one really cheap and immediately loaned it to a protege).
  15. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I know some disagree, but for a world class bass on the cheap, nothing beats US made Peaveys, especially the 80's ones.

    Foundations in particular are an absolute steal
  16. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    My #1,501 post will go like this:
    go get a new Ampeg Ba108 for around $. 100.00 and a new Peavey Millennium Bxp for around $. 200.00 you'll be happy:)

  17. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    On the Peavey front llocally I can find a Foundation with Bartolinis for a little over $200, a Fury IV for a little less than $200, and a plain Fury for $120 but none of them really turn me on. Good deals, maybe, but nothing is a good deal if it isn't what you wanted.
  18. gard0300


    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    If a US made peavey neck doesn't turn you on....... Nothing will. :)
  19. ryrich22


    Nov 23, 2012
    I too am a father who now plays at home for fun. I got a gsr200 for 200 with a rumble 15 for 100. Both were new at GC a year ago and I could not be happier. You can get 2 new, good quality pieces of equipment that will suit your needs fine. Used you can easily find the bass for 100 and the amps are pretty cheap as well. I think that you will be very happy and be able to have both of these for a while. The majority of people have great things to say about the gsr. Good luck!
  20. Skygoneblue


    Nov 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Well, if you play entirely to chill, I don't really see the need for an amp at all. In my experience, what I hear through headphones always sounds a hundred times better than what I hear out of a [cheap] amp anyway.

    If you like Yamaha, I just got an RBX375 for $295 from Musicians Friend with one of their online deals. If you are used to Yamaha, an RBX374 might be up your alley if you can find a store with a deal going on.


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