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I'm not a gear head, need amp recommendation

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bunny McB, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. All I have right now is a practice amp. I need something for small to medium-sized gigs, and I am pretty much a techno-stooge, so whenever I read amp reviews that refer to "cones" and whatnot, I'm lost. What's a good amp range, do you think? I will be doing some alt-country but hopefully some hard rock too. Also, since I'm not a gear head, simplicity will be important.
    I've heard good things about MarkBass and also Hartke Kickback amps. Can anyone recommend these, and which models? Other suggestions?
    Oh- also, I am not a large person, so portability is good. And I'm willing to spend some bucks on a quality amp that does the job well and will last for a while.
    And lastly, can anyone recommend an "Electric Bass for Idiots" book or website so I can overcome my ignorance?

    Thanks mucho!
  2. There are a lot of good bass amps out there - personally I like the sound of Gallien Krueger amps. PS: if you post your question on the amp forum you’ll get more responses (to many). Oh, and I like Fender P and J basses - maybe hit the music stores to find what you like best. Have fun and best wishes. :)
  3. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    The Markbass Little Mark III is worth consideration as is my current favorite (and seemingly a current GAS inducing item on TB), the Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 (or 350). GK is also nice and most certainly worth a look but I don't have any experience with their current offerings, just the 1001RB-II I had for several years.

    With the Markbass, the flat and simplistic settings sound best to my ears. Minimal use of the two filters - VPF and VLE - sound best as well IMO.

    The Tone Hammer 500 sounds good set flat as well but the Drive and Gain knobs can add a bit more options and therefore not quite as simple as the MB. However, I find that I really like the sound of this amp. Not as much top end (zing and sparkle?) as you'd find in the GK offerings and slightly less than Markbass but this amp sounds great.

    I understand that this stuff is all subjective but I hope this helps. TB Member KJung is a wealth of knowledge regarding amps and is great at describing the nuances between the ones he has tried out. Maybe he'll chime in or you can PM him for more info.
  4. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    Ask 3 bass players, and you'll get 5 opinions.
  5. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    There is a lot of talk about the various sounds of different amps, and it's true there are differences, but in my opinion the differences are not that great in practical situations. First, you can get a lot of different sounds out of any amp just by playing with the controls. Next, modern amps from quality manufacturers all sound good. Next, once you get jamming with a bunch of other players all those nuances get lost in the mix anyway. To sound good with a band you just need something with nice punchy low mids in the 100 to 250 Hz range.

    A cone is the paper part of a speaker. The word is often used to refer to the whole speaker. Likewise, a driver is the magnet & coils of a speaker, and the term is also often used to refer to the whole speaker.

    To play in a band I think you should aim for something around 500 watts in to 4 ohms. You gotta look at both watts and ohms because speaker cabinets come in various impedances (measured in ohms) and the amp will put out more power if the cabinet's impedance ("ohm rating") is lower. Combos tend to not have enough power to keep up with a hard rock band but I'm sure there are exceptions, and some bands don't play super loud so... maybe.

    For lightweight stuff the Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 gets good reviews, is said to have an aggressive rock voice, and is lightweight at 4 pounds. If I had it to do over again I'd probably get this.

    For lightweight speakers you can't beat the new lightweight neo stuff. These have magnets made from Neodymium which is much more powerful than traditional magnets, which means much less weight to get the same job done.

    Genz Benz Uber series and Gallien Krueger Neo and MBE series are popular lightweight cabinets. I like the Markbass Traveler 102Ps myself though they don't get much love on Talkbass. They are really light and they sound fine in a mix.

    As far as educational books and things, you can't go wrong with anything by Ed Friedland. His "Bass Whisperer" videos on YouTube are where he reviews different kinds of basses are very informative.
  6. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    lol,... first real laugh of my day!
    thanks, Steve ;)
  7. iSomeKindaNinja


    Feb 24, 2013
    I picked up the MarkBass cmd 121 about two years ago. It's a loud 300w and the tone control is amazing, once my band started playing bigger shows outdoors I picked up the new York 121 MarkBass cab and now it's a mean 500w that is very light and looks awesome too, can't recommend MarkBass highly enough, love it.

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