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I need tubes!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Reace George, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. Hello Talkbass, I request your aid again.

    I need a new live rig, and I'm strongly looking for tubes. I've been playing bass in a new band for a while now, and I've just quit my other band where my previous rig was planted, and now I'm looking for a new rig and a new sound.

    This is our first single right here, to give you an idea of the sound I'm looking for live. The rig here is a '61 P-bass into an old Civil War Muff, into a HiWatt Lead 100 in a Marshall 412 bass cab.

    The rig I've got now is an Ampeg PF-500 into a Fender Rumble 410, a stack of 500 watts. The rig I rehearse with is mostly an Ampeg B2 or an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro, and I can get them to sound similar to this by turning the gain all the way and the EQ to 2:30, 3:30 and 2:30 for bass, mid, treble (clockwise) and putting my LPB-1 in front of it (around 1:00). The preamp of the amps is enough to get the drive I need. However, my PF-500 is not capable of getting that drive, whenever I turn the gain past 1:30 it just gives me a terrible cracking, like ripping paper apart (and not in the good fuzz way). Oh, and I'm using a Squier CV 60's P-bass in fiesta red.

    So I'm looking for a new rig, one that can actually match the drive of a Hiwatt or Ampeg SVT-3/B2. I was looking online at the vintage and secondhand market, and became interested in London City amplifiers; cheap Marshall clones from the 1970's, made here in Holland. They come as cheap as €300-450 for a all-tube 100 watts head. To quote Dr. Tube:
    That struck me as a pretty good option for a bass head, listen to one right here. Oh, and they are SO BEAUTIFULLY TURQUOISE (this is the head I want to buy). I found some nice speakers from the same brand as well, they are equipped with JBL K130; even though they are PA speakers and come with a RCF horn as well, but I don't need that. Here is a pic of the cabs, would it be hard to mod them to be 115's each? The seller wants €200 for these, if those JBL K130's still sound good then I think I want them :)

    SO my question is: is it worth it to sell the Fender Rumble 410 and PF-500 for around €400-500 and get the London City head and cabs with that money? Would I get a sound similar to what I mentioned with them (with or without my LPB-1)? I'm also thinking of modding them with either a mastervolume or cutting the power to 50 watts to not piss off the soundguys with loudness.

    I'm looking forward to your answer, thanks in advance!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  2. KablesP


    Oct 29, 2013
    Before you do all that, try the Tech 21 Leeds pedal through your rig. You might be surprised, or you might not. But at least you will still have your rig to keep or sell for a tube head.

    To be honest, that head in the video vs the Orange sounded very thin. It may have been the controls though.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  3. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    I have several tube heads, including a JMP 100 watt Superbass, and the sound from the video reminded me quite a bit of this head. Not a tone of deep low end, good mids and great overdrive when pushed. I would play it for a while as is before modding, as you can control your volume quite a bit by the cabinets you use. Given a lot of efficient speakers the Superbass is a beast, but it can be tamed running through a 1x15 cab of average efficiency.
    The K130's are the guitar 15" speaker from JBL - I have heard they are not the best for bass, and my guess is that they would not mate really well with an overdriven bass head. K140 is a better choice IMO. But those cabs look cool. Maybe you could buy them without drivers and find some that speakers would work for you.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Since you're looking for an amp that can get a similar sound to an Ampeg SVT-3, why not just get an Ampeg SVT-3?

    If you want an all tube amp with an Ampeg sound, how about an Ampeg SVT-CL, SVT-VR, SVT-II, SVT-II Pro, or SVT.
  5. Budget! I wish I could afford one of those, but they are too expensive. I either need to sell/trade my current equipment or make the best out of what I have.
  6. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    I think the Orange sounded much better in that clip!
  7. Listening back, so do I actually, hahaha

    However, a friend of mine has a similar amp (super city), and he gets a much nicer sound of it, very warm.
  8. Maybe try out an Orange Terror head. They distort when you crank up the gain.
  9. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    Get a used SVT-3 Pro. I see them pop up on craigslist all the time for $3-400. I have one that i traded for a beat up Jazz bass and I'm in love.
  10. nonorio@


    Mar 26, 2006
    Go with used plush royal 1060S
  11. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Which? The SVT-3 or all of the other options?
  12. Looking at the ads, I could barely purchase a B2 at €350, but the sellers are pretty far away. SVTs go from €800 and up, with the cheapest being a 7 Pro at €650. If I wanted to keep the cab, I'd need to sell my PF 500 for €300-350.
  13. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    You definitely need to be looking at used gear. All tube amps aren't cheap by any means. If you can big up a Peavey VB-2 or a Traynor YBA-2 or YBA-3 you might luck out as they are usually less expensive, but I don't know how difficult it would be to find something like that near you.

    I have no idea about the London City stuff you mentioned, it's not a manufacturer that I'm familiar with.
  14. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    I got snippets from the file in your post as it would just stop and no sound at all from the linked video. i'm using a Mac.
  15. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    I have a Super City, its kind of interesting as a design, runs dual HT at high voltage, awaiting some testing, see if its squeezing the 200w 4 EL34 will do run like that. Thing is, its not a very high quality amp, construction wise, suspect the London city ones are similar. Can get better quality for the money, just means shopping for quality rather than brand.
  16. I'm planning to do a serious checkup in terms of reliability anyway, I wouldn't want it to crap out before a gig.
  17. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    Hm...thought about this for a bit and wondered about a bass that sounds like that right out of the box, rather than an amp. The sound in the clip has Gibson EB-3 written all over it (to my ears, anyway), regardless of amp or signal chain.

    Rather than looking for an amp with an EB-3 kind of sound, why not just get the EB-3?

    Kind of a backwards approach to your original question, but hey -- maybe that's the better answer.
  18. Mr. Foxen

    Mr. Foxen Commercial User

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, UK
    Amp tinkerer at Ampstack
    I get some gutshots before buying. Unless its super cheap.
  19. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Sounds like a P bass to me.
  20. gary m

    gary m

    Jan 17, 2011
    Mid -Atlantic
    I say EB-3/Marshall Super Bass. But that's just me and my computer speakers talking. ;)