I need to buy gear for gigs, please help

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MusicMan01, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. MusicMan01


    Jun 27, 2008
    I have been playing bass for fun at home with another guitar player, but now we found other musicians as well. (None of them with gigging experience whatsoever)

    I would like to see at least from my part what I need to get to play small bars. I only have a 30 watts practice amp and obviously that wont do the trick.

    My budget is less than $500 USD.

    I was browsing around but the info is pretty mixed. I just need to get something soon but I have to be sure and not waste my money.

    - Do I need a preamp and cabinets or
    - A larger combo amp or
    - Fender Passport deluxe? I saw a video of this and I thought it was cool since they show is so easy to put together.

    Please let me know your feedback. Thanks
  2. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    with that kind of budget, i would say you should look for a used combo amp. but im sure you could find decent head and cab for below 500.
    The first thing you should do is go try out as many as you can at your nearest music stores. find one that has the tone you like for a price you can afford. then you'll have a better idea of what to look for. I've seen some love for Acoustic, which is now a GC house brand, and they make some low-cost rigs. Avatar is another minimal cost/good quality company for cabs. But first decide what you want, then find a way to make it happen. It's largely a matter of personal taste. But buying used can save you tons of money, and people around here seem to take decent care of their stuff.
    i kind of doubt that the passport would be that great, but maybe someone with actual experience with it could give you more insight.
  3. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I would recommend against buying a used amp unless from a very reputable source. it is simply too easy to damage speaker cones if you don't know what you're doing.

    A preamp & cab(s) will give you a lot more options down the road, but for <$500 budget, I'd stick with a combo.

    I highly recommend Carvins in that price range.

    This one is $570 + shipping but will definitely last you awhile for playing live:


    Also recommended:


    You might also check out Fender's Rumble series. I have a 100-watt 2x10 as a backup amp, and I'm very happy with it. It was about $400 with an extended warranty (can be had for $350~ without).


    Hope this helps,
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    For brand new, and about what you got, you could have the new Acoustic B200 head, with a matching 4x10 cabinet. Killer rig for next to nothing. Heard a guy wailing on one at GC just the other day, very impressive tone and volume for so little $$$.
  5. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I'll second Dave's Carvin reccomendation. My Carvin rig has been gigging steady since the early '90's and I've never had to do so much as change a fuse.
  6. MusicMan01


    Jun 27, 2008
    I am looking at the BR610, but Im not too familiar with the language
    - What are they talking about as of "225w at 8 ohms, 400w at 4ohms and 600w at 2ohms"
    - It says free footswitch. What would I need this for?

    Next time I go to a bar I will pay attention where the sound comes from, cause I read that for gigs they use:
    - Some little cabinets, that I think they call them monitors
    - That you need to hook up your amp to whatever sound system they have in a bar.

    Could you give some extra info on this?

    If I would buy something, would be new. I am kind of suspicious of buying something used and I would not really know how to make sure they are not cheating me.

    As a side note, I played in a rehearsal room for the 1st time. I hooked up to a big cabinet rig. I guess it was a fight with the guitar cause he kept cranking up his amp and then I could not hear my own playing, and so I followed. And at the end there was so much noise it was a waste of time.
  7. Easy8


    Sep 5, 2007
    Austin, Tx
    +1 Great value and pretty decent sound for a very giggable "entry level" rig.
  8. JonathanD


    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Look in the classifieds here.
    A GK 400RB just sold, or is for sale for $175 and you can easily find a hartke, or avatar cab to go with it for cheap.

    Things to look for
    GK, Hartke, Avatar,

  9. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Haha, welcome to the world of playing with other people ;)

    The number of watts an amp puts out is, in simple terms, how powerful an amp is. This is roughly related to how loud an amp can get, but it's better described as how loud the amp can get without the tone getting bad. The more wattage you have, the louder you can get and still have a clean, thumping low-end, without distortion (the bad kind). The number of ohms is, in a way, how a cab handles watts. The more ohms a cab has, the more resistant to power it is, so the more watts it needs to put out the same clean volume. Some cabs are rated at 2 ohms, most at 4 ohms, and some at 8 ohms. You really don't need to worry too much about this as long as you're using a combo amp. If you start mixing & matching heads & cabs, you'll need to make sure that these are matched appropriately, especially if you're using multiple cabs, but for a combo, the manufacturer takes care of it.

    The footswitch lets you turn on & off the graphic EQ, if you want to get a different tone. It also lets you bypass the effects loop, if you use pedals, and takes you straight to a clean sound from the amp alone.

    The Carvins have a line-out (a signal from the preamp, that you send to the mixing board), so you can use your amp as more-or-less a way for you to hear yourself on stage, and for your band to hear you. The audience will hear you through the PA system, using the signal from the line-out on your amp. Another way to do it is to put a microphone in front of your amp, and use that signal. There are pros & cons to doing it either way, but usually the sound-guy will take care of that.

    Hope this helps,
  10. LowEndJazz4Life


    May 27, 2008
    Tampa FL
    a hartke combo amp is great for small bars. they pack alot of punch and are not that expensive versus sacrificing getting a cheap half stack just for the sake of having a half stack
  11. Yes, get a used Hartke head, or GK, or something similar, and a new cab from Avatar. The reason I recommend a new cab is that it's usually risky to purchase used cabs, don't know their condition unless the earlier user has been good with the equipment.

    You could get a new Avatar 2x12 really cheap and a head for $200+ and you are set with your first system. Then upgrade along the way.
  12. JonathanD


    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA

    A. Ohms, I am too lazy to answer that. Its a long answer. Not to be rude, but do an "Advanced Search" for threads explaining Ohms.

    B. The footswitch is free. It helps you control the amp. It does not need anything to operate that is not included. You do not need the footswitch either.

    C. Monitors are part of the P.A. Most clubs have them. They help you hear the vocals. Sometimes your bass will go through them, but don;t count on it. If the club is large, your bass will go through the mains. The mains are the speakers that face the audience.

    D. A "line out" is how you hook your bass rig to the bas rig. Depending on the rig you get you will need a 1/4" cable(quarter Inch), a Stereo 1/4" cable, or a XLR cable. A 1/4" cable is the same thing you use for bass. A Stereo 1/4" cable is what you see on headphones sometimes. There are 3 parts to the connector. An XLR cable is what is used for Microphones most often.

    E. Volume Wars: how to avoid them.

    Everyone in the band wants to hear themselves. However, we often stand with the speakers aimed at our knees. Ask the guitarist to tilt his speakers back(use a 2X4 under, or something) or put it on a chair, table, or amp stand. This will make it so he hears himself better, and if he turns up too loud he will hurt himself before he hurts your hearing!
    You should do the same thing. Tilt your rig back or get it closer to ear level.

    If you are standing 20 feet from your speakers then this is no an issue. If you are standing 10 feet or less then it is hard to hear yourself.

    Buying used is easy. I will help you find used gear, PM me. let me know where you are in the US. I have nothing to gain besides your happiness in this. If you really want New gear. I can;t help with that until about 3 months from now. You can check my feedback rating. I have bought and sold 43 times on talkbass. Its easy adn most of the guys here are great to deal with.

    If you have any questions Send me a private message, because I will not come back to this thread.
  13. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    I may or may not be correct in this, but a line out is what I use for recording - not hooking up a bass rig to a bass rig. There should be an output on the back of the amp where you use a SPEAKER CABLE to conenct the head to the speaker. Don't use an instrument cable, did that once and my amp blew.

    To connect to the PA, most places have a DI box which you plug inot and the sound goes to both your amp and the PA.
  14. https://www.carvinguitars.com/products/single.php?product=BR610
    with this http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ashdown-MAG-600H-Bass-Amp-Head-?sku=480429

    These are some suggestions. I've had experience with the Traynor stuff and it is rock sollid. I also own some Carvin gear as well. good stuff for the money. A lot of people on the forum like Ashdown but I have no experience with it. Behringer can get you playing for that money. Some people like it and some hate it I've never owned any of their amps but their rack gear and mixers are fine. Avatar (http://avatarspeakers.com/) makes really nice cabs at reasonable prices. You could pr one of their 2x10 or 2x12 cabs with an Ashdown head and stay within your budget.

    hope this helps and good luck.
  15. Bluesbob


    Mar 13, 2000
    Springfield, TN
    Musician's Friend has a 575 watts @ 4 ohms Ashdown head for $300.00. With that and an Avatar 4-ohm 4X10, for a total of $760.00 (delivered), there aren't many places you couldn't play for the next few years.
  16. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Original poster said under $500, just FYI.

    The Carvin actually has a direct out on the back - no DI needed. It uses an XLR (a mic cable) to go straight to the snake or mixing board. It also has a separate level control for the direct out (independent of the volume going to the cabs).
  17. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    If your looking at the ampeg ba115 dont get it. Its the worst combo amp ever. Ashdown makes some great stuff. I would look into them. I had an ampeg mag 300 watt head and an ampeg mag 4x10 cab. I paid alittle over 600 after shipping. And then at practice some one messed with it and it never worked after that. The tone was great for a solid state amp. Look around for a used ashdown cab and buy the head new.
  18. brisonic


    Jan 1, 2006
    san diego
    With that kind of budget I'd look for a few hundred watt combo that can handle an extension cab, that you'd add later with more moulah.
  19. brisonic


    Jan 1, 2006
    san diego
    You could grab this head with a 1x12 avatar, 559 + whatever tax/shipping you incur.
  20. Bluesbob


    Mar 13, 2000
    Springfield, TN
    Or the Avatar 2X12. You just have to come up with more money. Borrow from the guitar player.