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Jamming with Acoustic Instruments

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rlgph, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. rlgph


    Oct 10, 2013
    Hi all. I asked this question a few days ago and got a couple of answers, but i've broadened it a bit and am throwing it out again to see if anyone else has some relevant comments for this newbie.

    I jam with a group of late beginner / early intermediate, totally acoustic musicians -- 3 guitars (me being one) & 2 (bluegrass) banjos. We play almost exclusively for ourselves -- no gigging.

    We occasionally have trouble hearing the beat with this mix, so i volunteered to learn to play bass guitar to provide a clear beat and to provide some bottom to our mix. I bought an Ibanez Mikro bass and an Ampeg BA-108 after reading a variety of comments on this list. Although i know this combination will serve my needs, i'm frankly somewhat intimidated by the size and weight of the 108.

    I'm wondering whether a 10 watt amp such as the Peavy MAX 126 or the Ibanez 10B has sufficient power for my fellow jammers to hear the bass clearly over their own instruments. Remember, the bass will be the only amplified instrument.

    Thanks for any experience you can share.
  2. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    Why are you intimidated by the amp? You can always turn it down. But the little 10 watt thing will be mostly inaudible. My brother plays banjo, so I do know how loud they are.
  3. macrocheesium


    Sep 12, 2012
    Even with just 2 loud guitarists a 10W amp wouldn't cut it in my experience. You might be able to push it that far but sound quality will suffer. You'll definitely want something louder to play along with all four of them.
  4. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Have the banjo players step outside.

    lock the door. It improves the mix tremendously.
  5. metalhead398


    Jul 23, 2013
    + 10
  6. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    Forget the small amp.

    If you are having trouble hearing the beat with the mix,

    Try this,

  7. rlgph


    Oct 10, 2013
    It's not the power that intimidates me; it's the weight. Remember, i'm an acoustic guitarist -- not used to carrying amps of any sort aroud.

    However, you've convinced me. Unless we can lose the banjo players, i'll adapt to lugging the extra 30 pounds around. :rolleyes:

    Thanks for your help.
  8. sowilson


    Jul 5, 2013
    10 watt won't overpower a banjo. My banjo can slice your flesh off (it's a Zombie killer). I use to play in a band with guitar / autoharp, banjo/ mandolin/ cittern/ hammered dulcimer, violin/ viola, and myself on bass/ guitar/ cittern and my GK200MB was perfect and never too loud.
  9. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Intimidated by the weight of what is essentially a glorified bedroom/back porch practice amp?....really?

    Good thing they don't want you to play an actual bass (ya know those things that look like a giant fiddle?).
  10. rlgph


    Oct 10, 2013
    I wasn't concerned about overpowering a banjo. I just want to be heard clearly by the other players, none of whom are amped.
  11. rlgph


    Oct 10, 2013
    Indeed! We acoustic guitarists are wimps.
  12. If I were in your shoes I'd buy a Phil Jone Double Four. They're about $400 new though but an amazing little amp all around. Small, 75 Watts, nice low end you can really hear due to a passive radiator on the back and only 10 lbs.

    I use one on campfire Jams with multiple acoustics with vocals adn even on occasion a drummer. It works and sounds great. I did a detailed review with plenty of pics here on TB. Just search my user name and double four in google.
  13. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Maybe a battery powered Roland Cube Street might be more to your taste. There isn't really a smaller amp around.

    It is not ideal for bass though and would probably still get it's can kicked by your banjo players.
  14. A gentleman is one who plays banjo but prefers not to. :D
  15. will33


    May 22, 2006
    In all seriousness, I wouldn't want to go smaller than the bt108 if you've got banjos and vocalists who can really belt it out. Those are nice little amps. Something even smaller with a single 6" speaker would be hard pressed to give the needed "thump". It would end up sounding more like a fart.
  16. will33


    May 22, 2006
    And that'll be enough of this banjo bashing....banjos are cool.
  17. rlgph


    Oct 10, 2013
    Thanks for the heads up, MuthaFunk. If i really get into bass i could well go that route.

    And thanks to all of you for your help.
  18. wave rider

    wave rider

    Jan 5, 2005
    That's a sweet video!

  19. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    I'm sometimes in a similar situation with acoustic musicians, finding that I want to provide pulse/thump, but also some fat pillow underneath everyone - especially if the singers are primarily women, so the overall tessatura is on the high side of things. You are better off with the bigger amp, so that you can throw a lot of projection without being loud. That may sound weird, but if you have to push the volume on a small amp, with a relatively directional small speaker, you're not going to have the same effect for driving the time and fattening things up as if you have a larger rig, that fills the space without having to turn up the volume a whole lot. Think bass drum - a warm thump with some purr - and you'll be in a good space.

    I have no personal experience with the Phil Jones stuff, which is likely quite good, but I am a big fan of the Genz-Benz 3.0/10T rig for stuff like this. Less than 20 pounds, 175 watts into a 10" 8-ohm cabinet with a rear port, that generates a surprising amount of coverage for its size.
  20. rok51


    Sep 2, 2002
    Crawfordville, FL
    Thanks!...that was hilarious!!

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