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Looking for my first bass rig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jane87, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. jane87


    Dec 7, 2006
    Waterloo, On
    I'm interested in learning to play bass. I currently play guitar, piano & flute, so I'm hoping that will help. I'm trying to put together a bass rig, and after reading countless (almost) threads on the subject and going to the music store, I think I'm getting somewhere.

    I have my eye on a couple of Fender/Squier Precision or Jazz basses on eBay. I want to play rock and maybe some metal, so I figured that either of those would offer me enough versatility.

    I thought of just getting a practice amp (~65 watts) but from what I gather, since I'll likely be going for a SS head, volume won't be an issue (I live in an apartment). Thus, since I'm eventually going to want to upgrade to around ~300 watts anyhow, I might as well just go for that immediately. Does this make sense? So, for a head, I'm considering:

    Gallien-Krueger Backline 600
    Ashdown MAG 300H

    Is there anything else I should be looking at around that price range? Or should I be looking for something smaller? What's the difference between a head and a rackmount one? Does it matter?

    What's the difference between a 1x10 and 1x12 cab? What's preferable? Recommendations for a cab? I was going to grab one of the Yorkville/Traynor ones.

    Last question... can I run a guitar through a bass setup? Reason I'm asking is because I'll be moving to another city for 8 months on a work term... and the less I have to drag around, the better.

  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    The 2 heads you picked out are both good. I prefer the Ashdown, and I owned one for over a year and a half. The GK will have a more aggressive, clean tone. Whereas the ashdown will have a warmer, slightly more vintage tone.

    The only difference between a head and a rackmount head are that the head has a wood casing around it and the rackmount one doesnt. The rackmount is meant to be used in a rack case.

    Yes you can run a guitar through a bass amp, but I would be gentle. I wouldnt go screaming tons of distortion through it or anything.
  3. Bah! I used a bass amp as my primary guitar amp for years without issue - with lots of distortion too. No reason why you can't except that most bass amps are pretty bare bones and don't include any effects.

    FWIW, since you're looking at Fender/Squier, I'd recommend going with a used MIM Fender. You can pick them up cheap and the quality is excellent for the price.

    As for cheaper amps, Peavey makes some wonderful solid state stuff at very affordable prices. They have an excellent reputation for reliability (my Peavey is currently 30+ years old).
  4. wolfs


    Jan 18, 2006
    I think the separate head / cab idea is a good one especially if you know you are going to want to upgrade down the line.

    And it's good that you get yourself out to the shops and try stuff out.

    That said, I'm going to say that if you're on a budget, go used. The Ashdown and GK Backline are fine, but you can probably get more amp for the same price if you look around on the used market. Brands that pop up for really good prices include GK (the RB line stuff which is very good), Peavey (probably the best all around value for what you pay for, their stuff is seriously undervalued on the used market), Hartke (I really like the older 3500 head, not a huge fan of their cabs though) to name a few...

    I'm sure others can chime in with other brands to keep an eye open for. But definitely, go used... and search around on the classified listings here on TB, good values pop up all the time.

    Best of luck and welcome to playing bass :)
  5. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I'd be looking at Peavey, and the newer Carvin stuff.
  6. wolfs


    Jan 18, 2006
    btw, 300 watts I think is good. I have a 400 watt SS head in my apartment that I turn down for practicing, but can easily crank for jamming with friends.

    Unless you want to do a whole rack setup, don't bother with the rackmount head... the only upside is maybe throwing the head in a rackbag for toting around. Most of these heads are sturdy enough without needing to be racked up.

    Cab configuration is something that you're going to want to think long and hard about. The cab probably has more overall effect on your final sound than the amp. Volume in terms of a cab is mostly about surface area... the more surface area, generally the more volume you'll get. A 1x10 isn't going to get you much at all... I'd say at least a 1x12 though you'll probably need 2 12's if you want to compete against a drummer and a guitarist. So I'd recommend a 2x10 or a 1x12 with the idea of getting another 1x12 down the road...

    Some good cabs that are fairly lightweight and not too expensive are Avatar (avatarspeakers.com) Dr. Bass Cabs, Bag End (especially the 1x15)... again, look used, but it's a little harder to find used smaller cabs in a music shop (might be fairly easy in the classifieds here). And I'm sure others can pass on cab recommendations to you as well.
  7. jane87


    Dec 7, 2006
    Waterloo, On
    I'm definitely trying to go used, but it's a little harder because I don't exactly live downtown anywhere and don't have a car. Unless I can find used avatars... they only ship within the States & I'm in Canada... getting a 112 w/ the idea of getting another one later seems like a good plan.
  8. jane87


    Dec 7, 2006
    Waterloo, On
    Sweet thanks!

    I see a Peavey MegaBass, 400BH as well as a Hartke 3500 and a GK BL 600... seem to be reasonable prices too. Thoughts?
  9. i've tried out the hartke 3500 and the backline 600, and ithink i lioke the hartke mostly because of the fact that it has a graphic eq and you can mold the sound to whatever you want i found out about music go round today also haha
  10. yeah im ordering a 800RB head from them soon too
  11. jane87


    Dec 7, 2006
    Waterloo, On
    Unfortunately, factoring in likely shipping costs and customs... it might just work out cheaper buying new in canada... haha.
  12. jane87


    Dec 7, 2006
    Waterloo, On
    Hey BassSurfer, I saw that about 11 pages back (yeah, I know... I have too much time), you had a thread about the GK Backline vs. Ashdown MAG 300... what made you decide on the GK 800RB in the end?

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