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Lookin' for THE amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by steve21, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    I've been GAS'ing for a Gallien-Krueger 700RB-II (Or the 1001, but the 700 is in thea lead) for a long time, and just love the tone these amps put out, thru the GK 115-SBX OR the GK 115-BLX.

    But, alas, I only have 217 dollars. And fifty-two cents.

    And these guys retail for roughly 600-750 for the head, and more for the amp, which'd put it to 900-1100 for me depending on which models.

    So, I'm lookin' towards other amps. Quite frankly, I don't care if it's a head or a combo, just as long as it's got at least one 15 inch speaker (horn good too), and has TONE that is killer (Freak about my tone).

    I've already tried out various Ampegs (B-100R and BA115, B-100R was toneless, BA-115 didn't make my sound), and some SWRs (lower end ones, LA-15) and Hartkes (Lower-end ones with 12 inch cabs) none of which passed my tonequirements.

    So basically, anyone have any suggestions for me?

    The tone I want is basically something with lots of low end, really in your face mids, and highs just good enough to make tapping clear. Most important is clarity, especially w/ fingerstyle. A good attacky tone is helpful w/ picking. As stated, tapping = the best combo possible w/ a 15 inch speaker, which is why a horn's preferred. Slap isn't important at all tonewise (Weird, since Flea plays the GKs I love so much, but eat me.)

    Any suggestions you guys have would be greatly appreciated, please try to keep it under 700 dollars, less is better. And in case it helps, I live in LA, California, and have two Guitar Centers (Hollywood, Sherman Oaks), a Sam Ash (Hollywood), Carvin (Hollywood) and Mesa Boogie (Hollywood) store near me, although I kinda doubt i'll get much from the last store for quite a while. :p:

    Another last thing, I see lots of Peavey Mark III (and to a lesser extent Mark IV) amps on eBay and very rarely on Craigslist, how are these guys? Would they do tone for me well? Do they hold up well? There are a few on eBay right now, that kinda interest me, but I dunno how these sound, and if they'll be good for me. If anyone with a Mark III amp (preferably w/ a stock MIM Fender jazz, but anything's good) could record some sound bites for me, I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks a ton,
  2. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Do you have an amp right now? If so, its probabally a good idea to just save...
  3. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    My amp is a Fender Frontman 15B that came in the Squier Pack, it's messed up in the insides somehow that causes eternal and annoying buzzing, and the speaker booms and sounds on the verge of finally popping everytime I play my defretted Squer P. On volume 3.
  4. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Crappy as it sounds, I think you need to stick with this for a while until you can afford something better. Are you in a band? If you need something for band practice, check out the Alesis combo on music123.com. But if you are just practicing by yourself, stick with what you have.
  5. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    "Another last thing, I see lots of Peavey Mark III (and to a lesser extent Mark IV) amps on eBay and very rarely on Craigslist, how are these guys?"

    I played a Mark III, VI, and am currently playing a Mark VIII - all 3 gave me a wide tonal variety, plenty of volume, and were stone reliable - and in my area, used Mark IIIs can be had for around $100... Of course you'll need a cab to go with that - good cheap used cabs can include Peavey's 115 bx BW, or their 410TXFs or 410TXs - and can be had for $100 to $250, depending on what you run into... IMO, a very good value for someone starting out is a Peavey Combo 300 - 210 watts @ 4 ohms, or 300 watts @ 2 ohms, and come with a 15" Black Widow - I gigged with one for years with a 2nd cab(although I didn't usually need the 2nd cab), and it never let me down - they can be had for around $200...

    I know some people turn their nose up at Peavey gear, but it's served me well over the span of about 15 years - for someone on a budget, Peavey can't be beat, IMO...

    - georgestrings
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    THE amp costs more than $217.52. Sorry.
  7. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    LOL, sad but true... If you're expecting to get "TONE that is killer ", you better start saving, or lower your expectations.
  8. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    Perhaps a store close to you will do a rent to own deal.
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I think THE amp is a myth. Like the elusive Unicorn, we chase after it, but can never capture it. I have tried. I decided to go with a fairly good representation of many of them.

    Good luck in your quest. If you don't have a job, get one. As was said before, if it exists, THE amp will cost a lot of money.
  10. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I can't even get "THE" bedroom practice amp for $217.50.

    . . . but I DID save a lot of money on my car insurance by switching to . . . oh wait . . . no . . . I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night . .
  11. BassNoob?


    Sep 18, 2005
    Redding, CT
  12. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    Yeah, I'm already planning on saving and getting a job once I turn 16, but considering how much I have now and how much the GK's cost, I'm looking into any other options right now that would be more attainable sooner for good tone. I said any suggestions below about 700 I could look into.

    Yeah, I've heard of that place a lot... glad to see they're reputable here too, at least. Do you know if GC price matches w/ these guys?

    Can you describe how the tone of 'em is? Close to waht I want?
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    THE amp will cost about $1,500 to $2,300. It could be a WT-800, DB750, EBS something-or-other, Glockenklang, or perhaps even a Thunderfunk.
  14. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Sometimes not even $2,300 will get you THE amp. Take a Trace V8 for instance, or the Sadowsky, or the Jackson amp that is going to come out. And those are just amps, you still need cabs. And of course, you could go for a tube rack rig (pre-power, not rack head) that can cost you upwards of $3000 without a cab.
  15. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    "Can you describe how the tone of 'em is? Close to waht I want?"

    Personally, I go for a tone that's got lots of bottom end, yet with highs that are punchy and clear - and not too much mids... Then, when playing with the rest of the band, I end up adding a bit more mid 'til I can hear myself really well in the mix... One thing to remember is, that you'll sound TOTALLY different in the mix than you will by yourself... The best way I can describe the tone I go for, would be the bass sound of Pantera or Suicidal Tendancies...

    Another thing to consider is that cabs are a HUGE part of your sound - I tend to gravitate towards two 15s, particularly Black Widows - although I'm getting ready to add a 410 to my rig, and will either keep both 15s, or just use one with the 410 - we'll see... At any rate, with a P bass, I was able to obtain "my" tone with the aforementioned rigs - and quite affordably at that...

    - georgestrings
  16. Groovatism


    Dec 14, 2005
    I understand the plight of the teen musician, trying to scrape acceptable gear together to be able to be band-worthy. You just need to be realistic in your expectations, and strive for best-bang-for-the-buck.

    For $217, you are very limited. If you buy used gear, you don't know what the gear has been through, and you get no guarantee, but buying new can be costly ... unless you shop wisely. BTW, I commend you for having saved that cash!!!

    If I were in the same situation, I would buy the head and cab separately. True, you'll have to wait and save to complete the rig, but at least you'll be on your way there.

    You have enough money to buy an acceptable, entry-level head, such as this:


    or save a little more cash and you could have this:


    Once you've bought the head, perhaps your parents will see that you're serious and help you with a little cash for a cab...

    If you and your dad have any woodworking skills at all, you could do a father-and-son cabinet making project. An ideal cabinet for your situation is here:


    This would be a rig that will be more than adequate for typical teen bands, and in fact, better than most.
  17. BassNoob?


    Sep 18, 2005
    Redding, CT
    GC will match the price... that is... if your sales man is nice. I didn't buy it from RMC. I had the guy at GC match the price. He said "Technically, it's not an advertised price, so I can't do this". Then he went on and said "But we will ship it back for you if it breaks!". I go "But will that cost $150???" He said "How about I reserve the amp for you and you come pick it up within a week for $600". So, it takes a little bit of arguing.
  18. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    One way to save money is to build cabs.
    The dpends on whether you or someone in the family is
    handy with tools.

    There are some nice ready made kits available as well.
    Some people on a budget have done well with Steelsound
    parts, there is a complete thread on that in this forum.
    Read it through. Perhaps you could score some parts
    or kits for the Holidays.

    Also, there are many nice used amps in the 400 dollar range.
    I picked up a great Eden WT-300 for $425 and it was in
    excellent condition. Perfect for my needs.

    On this kind of budget, you need to shop hard.
  19. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    ^ (To Thor) I can't make Cabs... never have, and even if I did I coudln't sell them... my original plan for money was to defret basses for local bass players (Advertising through CL) and I got a few people wiling to let me do it (For 30 bucks a neck) but my parents said no to that.

    Cool... Pantera tone rules... Anyways, I'm giving these these some serious consideration... I'll defiantely be looking around to see if I can try some.

    Is the Mark III not in production anymore?

    Can't do the cab thing, as my dad isn't really too supportive of my musical aspirations (which is why they won't give me any money towards it either, other than the obligatory Xmas/Birthday money that they hope goes towards anything else, but whatever).

    As for the heads, I've heard low-end Ashdowns and most/all Behringers are really bad?

    Another thing, in the search for good cabs, how are those Avatars? Since the main-runner in this so far is currently 700 RB-II > GK 115BLX, I'm looking for a cab that is 15 inches that can do okay in the highs too (The only thing I didn't love about the Backline 115, the SBX 115 seemed to do the highs a LOT better than the Backline, I think the SBX has a horn). Anyways, a friend recommended Avatar amps, but keeping in that I want a 15 inch speaker that first and formost will handle lows well and loud, yet still hopefully articulate highs pretty well, is the Avatar B115H Neo better than the GK 115BLX?

    Thanks again.
  20. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Good sound. Great price. I'm running an Avatar 210 and 115 with a GK Backline 600 head, and I really like the sound I'm getting.

    Check eBay for used GK heads. Also, the Backline head has a lot of the same internal components as the RB series, so it might be a good option for you.

    You're young. Be patient. Better gear will come. There's this story about old bulls and young bulls...oh, nevermind...