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Looking for a grab and go amp for blues

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by straightblues, Mar 5, 2013.


  1. straightblues

    straightblues

    Mar 5, 2013
    I am a gigging guitar player. And I get called to play bass occasionally, or when our bass player is sick. So I need an amp that I can play gigs with. Usually restaurants, small bars, but occasionally small clubs.

    I have a 1970 Made In Japan Jazz bass with standard passive pickups. I play traditional blues like BB King and Muddy Waters sort of things. We don't play overly loud. Since this isn't a daily thing for me, I want to spend as little money as possible for a decent bass amp. But I don't want a piece of crap either. I also don't want to be under powered because I want a fairly clean bass tone. I would prefer not to run the bass into the PA.

    I want a combo if possible but I will consider a head and cab. It has to be portable. Doesn't have to be pretty or have a special name on it. Just something to get a job done.

    What do you think I should be looking at? Thanks for your help.
     
  2. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    What do you have for guitar? Maybe try your guitar amp for bass, add a bass cabinet. Or if the PA has subs, then run a DI to the PA to handle the lows.
     
  3. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I'm not a big combo guy...don't like being stuck with an 'all in one' kinda package...the good news is there are some seriously cool, and lightweight rigs out these days...I play a lot of blues myself. Here's a couple amps I quite like;

    Ampeg PF500
    Aguilar Tone Hammer 500
    Genz Benz Streamliner 900
    Genz Benz Shuttle or ShuttleMax 9.2

    These are featherweights and sound really good :)

    Get yourself a nice, sensitive full range 15" based cab and you're off to the races.

    I had a blues gig today and another one tonight...

    Day gig- Fender Pbass, Genz ShuttleMax 9.2, FEARLESS 112 cab

    Tonights gig will be- Blast Cult upright bass, Genz SM9.2, and FEARLESS 112

    My amp and cab combined is about 42lbs...works great :)

    Best of luck!
     
  4. straightblues

    straightblues

    Mar 5, 2013
    I don't think I have anything with enough power on the guitar side. My biggest amp is 50 watts fender style amp.

    I do have an old 15" JBL K145 bass speaker and an empty open back cabinet. Would an open back cabinet work for bass in a blues context? That is a heavy and expensive speaker, so maybe I should just get rid of it and help finance a better amp.

    I am not opposed to a seperate head and cabinet but I do want it to be as easy as possible to grab and go.
     
  5. dukeorock

    dukeorock Owner BNA Audio Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    Authorized greenboy designs builder/Owner of BNA Audio
    I wouldn't use an open back cab for bass...alot of these newer class D amps will fit into a pretty small shoulder bag...I'm doing a one trip load in tonight...on an upright gig :)
     
  6. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    if that guitar amp is a head, it might work fine with a good cab. you said your situations don't get too loud, so maybe.

    what exactly is "not too expensive" for you? the amps mentioned by dukeorock are sweeeeet, but i would consider them a little on the higher side of MY budget. they may be in yours, though.

    i haven't played one, but GK has a 1x12 combo that has been spoken kindly of here. IMHO an old peavey tnt is a great (although not very light or small) combo for a bass player on a budget. you can find those puppies for 100 bucks on cl just about every day. 150(?) watt, 1x15. like a 7 band eq, and di. add casters and off you go.
     
  7. straightblues

    straightblues

    Mar 5, 2013
    I was just looking at a few of those small heads you have recommended. That is crazy that they get that much power in those small heads. Those look cool. Could I get by with one of the smaller Genz Benz heads? I think I saw 175/300 watt version.

    If I get a cabinet, should it be a single 15 or 2x10?
     
  8. straightblues

    straightblues

    Mar 5, 2013
    As little as I can get by with and still sound good and be easily portable. Easily portable is very high on the list. I am 50 and I like to make thing easy when I can.

    I would for sure like to keep it under $700 on the used market. The Peavey TNT is maybe one I will look at. If I could get by with only spending $100, that would be killer. Are there others that come to mind on that level?

    I was planning to sell a guitar to buy the bass amp. If it is only $100 or so, I won't have to.
     
  9. Combos don't get much love but this ones a keeper, add the MBP and have 2x12 400watts that will fill a small to mid size room for just under $600 from RMC. Plus you can add more MBPs at 200 watts apiece for bigger rooms. Trust me on this one.:D
     
  10. IPYF

    IPYF

    Mar 31, 2011
    Yes it is. But they're not tube watts. A loud tube amp would bury a 300w class D without a goodly amount of speakers.

    I think the Genz would be a marvelous choice and I would personally recommend going the 210 over the 15. There's no reason for that other than my own preference.
     
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Ampeg PF350 + SVT 210av. Normally you'd pair the cab with a Micro VR but the PF350 has 150 more watts than the Micro VR and fits in a laptop bag. And the cab is 25 lbs. Sounds very much like a small SVT. I use it for stuff like you're doing all the time, although we only play a handful of blues tunes during a night. Not the loudest rig you'll ever hear, but has a great tone IMHO.
     
  12. straightblues

    straightblues

    Mar 5, 2013
    Thanks, you guys are giving me lots of great info. Much appreciated.

    Jimmy, what do you give up, if anything, by going with the SVT 210av over the PF 210HE cab?
     
  13. Bearded Wizard

    Bearded Wizard

    Oct 26, 2012
    Those newer little Ampeg Portaflex amps are pretty cool. I would be happy going with the 350, I know some guys would prefer the 500 watt though. Lot of bang for the buck if you're looking for something easy to do some sideman stuff.

    I've also thought of this for myself for travel gigs:

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BH250/

    The price is certainly right, and the EQ on it seems very well thought out. But I would get some mileage out of the effects on it being that I play some stuff that requires a basic distortion sound on my sideman gigs. But with a built in tuner and all, it seems like good bang for the buck (not sure what others think about them).
     
  14. ampeg ba115....cheap,small and sounds great
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You give up more bottom end and power handling. The 210av is slightly higher tuned than the 810e and 410he. For me, I can just boost the low end on the amp and get it back to where I need it with the 210av, but the PF210he is bigger and tuned much lower, even a little lower than the 810e. Plus it uses heavier duty speakers.
     
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Look for a Genz-Benz Shuttle 3.0 on a 10" speaker. Nice little combo with a lot of power and extremely light and portable. Buy used. If you want more oomph, get the Shuttle 6.0 on a single T12 speaker. You will be amazed at the bottom end and volume for 36 total pounds.
     
  17. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    Would these gig always have a PA handy? If so there's nothing wrong with a good DI (sansamp, etc) if it were me I would do this or get an inexpensive combo (like the gk mentioned earlier) that you could also send into the board if it was a big show.

    One last thought, get a cheap cab and a crate powerBlock. The powerblock could also double as a backup guitar head in an emergency.
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I've got a Powerblock. An amazing little guitar amp for the money. Totally lacks for bass. The only way I could use it for bass was to defeat its preamp and use another one in the fx return. Used it that way for a little while with a VT pedal as a rainy-day rig. Not bad, not especially great. Always has a little undercurrent of dirt in the signal.
     
  19. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    i've got the genz benz 3.0-10t. i also got the second 10t cab to go with it.(neither 10t is pictured) i love it. i also have a crate powerblock, and 100% agree with jimmym about it. it CAN be used for a bass amp, if you have to, but it's "meh" at best. notice in the pic where the genz is and where the powerblock is. the genz is a bass amp, the powerblock is a guitar amp. do i use the powerblock fairly regularly for bass? well, ya. do i love it? na. the gb shuttle series are really nice, and on the used market...if you find them, are not expensive at all. the first run of shuttles will become a bit easier to find, with the ".2's" out.


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  20. Bass is heavy or very expensive. That's just how it is.

    The old JBL is quite a sensitive speaker. It might get quite loud enough for you with the 50W amp if you put it in a bass cab. You could build a braced 12mm ply design. It wouldn't be a light solution but it would sound very authentic for blues and only cost you for the plywood and a jack plate.

    A 150W TNT would do the job. Much heavier than a 12mm cab though.

    To get into real grab and go territory you have to go to neo and drop the cash.
     

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