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Looking for an amp suitable for bass and guitar

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by suicas, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. suicas


    Mar 12, 2004
    I've been playing guitar for a couple of years, and the only amp I've had is a 10W practice amp.

    I've recently started playing bass guitar, and really could do with a new amp for it (I have to crank up the 10W more than I'm happy with to get much sound out of my bass, not sure whether this could damage it or not).

    I'm hoping to play some small gigs in the not too distant future, so I'd be looking for something in the 50-100W range (I think that's a suitable size, unless anyone wants to correct me..).

    Since I also play electric guitar, I'd ideally like to find a nice amp suitable for both instruments, rather than having to get a dedicated one for each.

    Do such amps exist? any recommendations?


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Bass amps are also suitable for guitar, and can give you a really nice tone too. What styles of music are you playing? What is your budget?
  3. suicas


    Mar 12, 2004
    I guess my budget is £250-350ish, so that works out around $450 to $650 or so I think.

    As for styles, I usually play rock/electro/industrial type things I'd say. Fairly melodic and slow (and occasionally funky) basslines, I don't often play anything very fast or heavy.

    All advice appreciated!
  4. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Check out the SWR Strawberry Blonde or the Carvin AG100. These are basically portable PAs that work well with bass guitars. They're really clean and don't overdrive at all; then again, I haven't come across any guitar amp that's reknowned for its overdriven tone that sounds good with a bass.
  5. Whilst I don't like Marshall Bass amps, they do some pretty good solid state amps that have a Marshall tone when used with guitar. Only consider 12" or 10" amps, 15" won't be responsive enough for guitar.
  6. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    Yep, 10" or 12" is the way to go. I prefer a bass amp for my hollow-body electric. I've yet to find a suitable guitar amp that pleases me as much as a bass amp.

    You may want a seperate reverb pedal. Reverb is the one effect that you'll miss using a bass amp. I'd recommend the Boss RV-3 - it also provides delay. It has many fine reverbs to choose from.

    I like the direction your ears are leading you.
  7. Most bass amps will more than serve as a guitar amp. I'd get something like a Peavey Basic 112. That should work for both. However, an amp designed for guitar usually does poorly when used for bass.
  8. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    You may want to consider a keyboard amp (I would recommend Roland). Then use outboard preamps like the Sansamp Bass driver for bass, and maybe a Sansamp GT2 for guitar to sculpt your tone. Most keyboard amps have multiple channels, so you could "set-and-forget" both your bass and guitar settings. Keyboard amps are designed to handle the wide frequency range of keyboards (obviously), so they should handle both bass and guitar duties.

    This is just another idea to help add to your confusion :D
  9. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    Check out the swr california blond. It has two seperate chanels, 120 watts, 160 with ext cab. Works great for vocals as well. I have one and like it.
  10. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I'd recommend checking into a vintage Fender Bassman, perhaps a Bassman 100 if you need lots of power. These come in a "head" version that you can get for about 300 or 350 USD (check eBay, they're pretty common up there), and there's also an "export version" that already has wiring for 220/230. While originally intended for bass (and suitable for this purpose at low to medium volumes), they've become quite popular in the guitar community. There's all kinds of Bassmen, including the newer solid state models, which are unsuitable for guitar. But the older tube amps (1967 through about 1985 or so) are suitable for both. Don't expect to get much clean headroom for bass though, part of the deal is that these tube amps tend to crunch up at medium volumes. They can be excellent for recording in the studio, where high volumes aren't required, but for live work (like classic rock for instance) it's hard to get heard with a hundred watts. Another thought would be a Marshall Major, that will definitely get you heard, and it's entirely suitable for guitar and for bass, but they generally run around 1000 USD, or 1500 if they're in superb condition. I'd suggest that something along the lines of one of these vintage tube amps would be your best bet. Then you can use whatever cab you want for your application, maybe a 12" EV for guitar, and a mondo 15" woofer for bass, something like that.
  11. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Rather than a Bassman, which is barely passable as a bass amp, seek out a Musicman HD-130. Very loud, can handle bass and guitar equally well and can usually be had for $350 in decent condition.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I second the older Bassman idea. Great sounding for both guitar and bass.
  13. kevinsk


    Mar 7, 2004
    I just started playing basss and have been playing guitar for awhile but had never really upgraded from my mid eighties crate G40C guitar amp. So I was in the same boat, looking for a bass amp that would also work for guitar. I ended up with the Behringer BX3000T with an Avatar B210. I'm very happy with the results so far. It sounds great with my SX P Bass copy and surprisingly sounds really nice with a guitar as well. It has a nice meaty round clean tone that I like alot. No distortion though, so if you are looking for distortion from the amp itself, I'd look elsewhere. I've also used this setup with my j-station as a preamp going directly into the power amp through the effects return. With the cabinet modelling turned off and the horn on the cabinet turned up a bit it sounds surprisingly good. Overall I think this is a pretty versatile setup that I'll be happy with for a while.

    Of course, individual mileage may vary, depending to a large extent on what kind of tones you are looking for and whether something like the POD, J-Station, or V-amp suits your needs as a guitarist.

    One more point to note about the Behringer BX3000T. I didn't realize how sleazy Behringer was until after I bought the amp and started looking for more info on it. If I had it to do over I would probably look at one of the Ashdown heads the BX seems to be copied from, like the Electric Blue or the MAG300. I would expect the results to be even better than what I have now.
  14. sunburstbasser


    Oct 18, 2003
    Gallien Krueger amps actually make pretty good guitar amps too. My friend plugged his SG in my head and his Marshall 1x10 cabs, and it sounded really good. I'd suggest getting a GK combo and when you get some more money, buy a small guitar cab to switch too. GK 400RBs usually run for about $400 US on Ebay, around $500-600 for the combo models.

    The only real difference (tones/controls aside) between guitar and bass amps is the speakers. Guitar amps can take the frequencies, but the speakers can't. Bass speakers are good clean, but don't sound too good distorted usually. So getting a good head and two cabs would be my choice.
  15. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    Try an old Sunn Model T. Built for guitar but gets just as much if not more use for bass. Works well in either application. Has Fender tone stack.
  16. 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
    I'd suggest the SWR Workingman's 12. You'll need some pedals for the guitar to get overdrive or other effects, but it sounds great.

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