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I'm about to just give up...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by AndrewClaycomb, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Alright, so I've been playing for several years now and have gone through so many amp/cab/bass changes and still haven't found the right sound I'm looking for. Currently I'm running a MIM deluxe jazz through a Hartke 2000, into a korg 1000 tuner, powered by a furman conditioner. The cabinet I'm using is an SWR workingman's 8x10.

    I've owned-

    SWR workingman's 8x10
    Kustom 1969 3x15 tuck and roll cab
    Peavey standard early 90's 4x10

    Hartke 2000
    Vintage all tube Traynor bass master
    behringer's solid state ultrabass head
    Kustom 1969 200 watt solid state 4 channel head
    Some 70's old Ampeg solid state amp
    A sunn 100 watt solid state amp
    and numerous combos

    mij fender precision
    mim fender deluxe jazz
    Tokai TPB-57
    Washburn T-24 Tauarus
    Epiphone thunderbird
    ESP LTD b-105

    Out of all of these options, I've condensed my basses down to the mexican jazz and am very happy. (Not going to change that.) Out of all the cabinets I like the SWR the most (not a very good spectrum of cabs though.) and out of amps I would have to say the Hartke is the best, although the Traynor came damn close.

    Here's my problem. I can't get that good "round," "full" sound out of my setup. (or any setup in the past) My Hartke just blew out so now would be a good time to change amps and try something new. I want to spend under $400 in the used market. What does everybody suggest? Also if you have any comments on the cabinet or bass, feel free to mention them.

    I'm just starting to get fed up with trying to get that great sound I hear in my anotomical head. (trying hard not to make a pun here.) perhaps the Tech 21 Sans Amp? I'm about to lose hope...

    Thanks for any suggestions,
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    No need to give up... time to get serious about looking at your rig and what you want.

    From the look of the stuff you've been using, a lot of it is catch-all used gear, but nothing much of note...Like, you've had an ampeg, but it was solid state...or that Kusom head (they were never known for their great sound).

    The same goes for the cabs...nothing much of note there, and there HAVE been pretty big advances in cabinet technology in the past 20 years or so.

    I would suggest you might want to look at having several kinds of speakers if you want fuller sound...something like a 15 and 2x10 or some 12's along with 10's...that way you can get a wider range of tones.

    I would also look at some amps that are a bit higher in wattage that have more tonal control. There are a lot of nice heads on the market these days.

    In the end, you get what you pay for, so you might have to front some cash to get what you're looking for.
  3. kringle77

    kringle77 Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2004
    Massena NY
    Burning skies is right. Also, are you playing out alot live with a band or sitting at home in front of the amp? For a big tone in the middle price range you could get an ashdown abm head or preamp which may be more than you want to spend but is worth the investment and will cure you headaches. Match it up with a pair of avatar b210'a or one 2x10 and a 1x15. They are very inexpensive. I use an aguilar head (expensive) and still prefer the avatar cabs. (cheap)
  4. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Good suggestions.
    I would suggest an Ampeg amp, preferably one with tubes (even if the tubes are only in the preamp section-- I have an SVT III Pro, and it's great). Go with a 15" speaker.
    And this might be off track, but have you tried flatwound strings? They might be stylistically wrong for you, but they certainly do warm up the tone. Maybe worth a try...
    Good luck!
  5. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    here is what you go do.

    sell all that stuff.

    buy an ampeg classic TUBE head
    buy an ampeg 8x10

  6. If you have a GC nearby I suggest heading down there, go to the Ampeg wall and
    dial in either a SVT 3 pro or SVT 4 pro in standard settings together with
    the 410 HLF cab, personally think that ought to be the official definition of round and full...

    Thats what I did, having been in your situation with both a Hartke 3500 and a
    GK800, it cost me $1200 for a used SVT 4 pro (Denmark) but it is definately worth it.
  7. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Thunderfunk TFB550.
    Eden WT800B.

    Schroeder 21012.

    You'll kill people with those;)
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Uhh... you're playing a fender mexican jazz bass, and blaming your amp for your thin sound? hmmm. you may want to rethink this one before continuing to throw craploads of money out on new amps.
  9. eldave777


    May 24, 2005
    You my friend have what I call the disease. It's what keeps music stores in business. I don't mean to say anything negative about the gear you own or have owned, however it might be time for you to step your gear up to the next level. A real SWR cab sounds much different than the workingman stuff IMO. You can continue to spend $400 bucks here and there, and probably continue to be dissatisfied with your sound. I suggest going to your nearest "pro" music shop and trying out a few really nice basses and amps till you find exactly what you want. In a year or so you will again be unhappy (thanks to the desease) and want something else. The good thing is that with good gear you will have some trade value. Give Lakland Skyline's a chance, and try to find a Boogie head you can afford. Good luck my fellow sufferer.
  10. permagrin


    May 1, 2003
    San Pedro, CA
    Since the late 80s I've had several Fender amps, an old MM tube head, a GK RB400 and MB, an SWR WM2004, a Trace SM350... a 2x15 Ampeg, a big homemade 15/10, GK 1x15s, a Carvin 410RL, a Genz 112T...

    Eden cured my gas.
  11. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    aguilar db659 preamp with power amp into eden xst cab. oh yeah
  12. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    There you have it Andrew...clear as mud right?!!!

    Is your bass stock? I find that MIM Fender Js and Ps are excellent basses but a simple change of pickups may make a world of difference. I'm no pickup expert, but I believe a set of Bartolinis would warm it up (say away from EMGs as warm they're not...but I love the set I have in my Hoyt/Warmoth J5).

    Speaker-wise, I've found SWR Workingman's series cabinets to be warmer than the Goliaths...more mids, less harsh highs...more warmth.

    Consider 12s or just a single 15 or a pair of single 15s.

    I'd stay away from SWR amps too...very modern sounding to my ear.

    Since the Behringer head that you owned is supposedly inspired by Ashdown, I don't know if an Ashdown would be for you. I owned a Behringer briefly...loved it at the store through a Workingman's 1x15...absolutely hated it at home through my Avatar 2x10 /EVM 1x15 cabinets.

    How close did the Kustom rig come to giving you what you want?

    Also, where do you live?
  13. Thanks for all the suggestions. I used to work in a local music shop, so I got to try out a lot of gear. The problem is I didn't get to try out anything at a stage level. Anything I buy will be 95% Live and 5% practice. All my stuff has to be tough enough to tour as well. (That was the big problem with the tube head, and the Hartke is the first rackable amp I've owned. Since then I need rackmountable) I played so many different high end basses with no luck either. At this point I just play what feels good and what looks good. I realize that my 8x10 isn't a high end SWR (and I do know that their American stuff blows away my cabinet. When I bought my 8x10, there was an american 4x10 next to it for the same price. I was going for stage presence I suppose. Again, my 8x10 has seen lots of road miles) but it does sound better than the other cabinets I've owned. From what it sounds like I think I might try some new Ampeg stuff and look at the Ashdown stuff (I've only played through the MAG series.) I was also thinking about Trace Elliot, but know absolutely nothing about them. By the way, because it seems like I'm being treated like "an old man set in his ways," I'm only 20 and am very open to new suggestions. What can I do to make my bass sound fuller? I just bought a badass II that is waiting to be installed. Is that really going to help much? I know you're going to tell me to switch out the preamp/pups but which ones have been successfull? Sorry to be a total newb on this board, but it seems like you people are all friendly and happy to give your .02 ;)
  14. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i think burning skies was on the right track.

    nothing wrong with the MIM jazz (if it's a good one) and really nothing wrong with the stuff you've owned. However, taking it as a given that you're happy with your bass, it might be time to take a look at the next level of amplification.

    I can fully understand tight finances. However, you might want to scroll up to the FAQ stciky at the top of the amps forum and click on the link within titled "reality check". It's a ditty i wrote re: getting what you pay for and unrealistic expectations from gear. There are a lot of fantastic bargains out there, and one of them might be your holy grail. However, more often than not, the sound you're hearing in your head may only be available from items that carry a bigger price tag, have more power, and might weigh more.

    Every link in the signal chain is important, but IMO, the speakers and the amount of power you'rte using can play a bit of a bigger role. Speaker cabinets are all going to have limitations in terms of tone, power handling, and sensitivity (how loud they are powered by a given # of watts compared to another speaker). They're also the last link in the chain and are what's actually producing the sound. The amount of power you're hitting the speakers with also becomes important as it determines just how loud you can get (when factored in with the voicing and sensitivity of the speakers), and many times the amount of watts used can have an impact on tone. Often using more wattage can result in a fuller tone, depending upon the speakers and your playing style. Sure, preamp voicing in an amp is also important, but a warm preamp played thru a speaker that won't reproduce that gets you nowhere.

    Unfortunately, none of us have your ears or your idea of the "ultimate tone", so all of our brand specific suggestions should be taken with a grain of salt. Ultimately you have to try out a whole bunch of stuff (with your bass), to find what you like. It's out there, you just may have to search quite a bit to find it. ;)
  15. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I think Joe Nerve hit it on the head.
  16. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    It's been said before, i'll just repeat it again:

  17. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    If you're looking for 'round'
    1. Lose the SWR workingman's cab. See the hifi vs sterile thread...
    2. Lose the Hartke, see note above ...
    3. Think about a 1x15 and 2x10 setup
    4. HA 3500 Hartke head will go round if you want to stay with them. GK will as well, so will Ampeg & Ashdown. I had great luck with my 90's HA 3500. Great amp if you treat them nicely. On the other hand the new GK is a sweet amp.

    The ultimate in roundd & rotsy ids the ender Showman but they are big dinero and not very loud. ' Round and sweet they are' says Yoda...

    5. New pickups for the J. MIM J's are well built and pay nicely. The pup's are a real weak link. Lot's of choices out there. If by round you are thinking 'vintage' soiunding. Aero Type 1's or Duncan SJB1's or Antiquities will work. Another set to try is the J45 ffrom Bill Lawrence. A hassle as they have around a 4 week wait. The pickups are well worth the weight though. Very round, 0 mud and an extended high end. Round but articulate and DEAD quiet. I hear good things about the Ultra Jazz but I mess every set that pop's up.

    My current rig goes round and full and has punch to spare. Cut's through in a band context. GK head, Bag End cab (2x10) and 1x15 JBL.

    For reference. I play a mix of J basses in a blues/r&b, light jam jazz, surf, rock'a'billy trio. I really need to support the whole low end except for kick so I need it deep and round without muddying things up. I need it punchy as well as a lot of the music I'm playing was meant for upright. I do a lot of left hand muting to get that quick decay thing going. Everything we do is pretty much roots music oriented so a vey traditional tone is a requirement for me.
  18. mwm70


    Oct 27, 2004
  19. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    You're amp is what gives you your tone more than any other piece of gear. If you can find a good used preamp on ebay for $400, that could be your ticket. You'd be looking for an Alembic F-1X or F-2B.