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moving to Europe, amp decision to make

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pfschim, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I am moving to Europe for the next few years and need to make an amp decision. Perhaps some my fellow TBers can assist.

    I use a Mesa Walkabout 1x12 for most of my gigs and recording (love the Mesa DI). This amp works perfectly for the tone I seek. So, as I see it, I have these options:

    1) Have Mesa re-tap my Walkabout for Euro-voltage, ship it over there, and then undo it when I return (which I expect to do).

    2) store my current Walkabout 1x12, buy a used Walkabout head here in the states, have it redone for Euro-voltage and plan on grabbing a cab locally, then sell the Walkabout amp over there when I get ready to return to the states. (this is starting to sound like the way to go to me)

    3) buy a mini amp here with switchable voltage (i.e. GB, MB or Eden), and just buy a cab over there. (this seems like the worst option because it does not involve the wonderful tube flavor of the Walkabout - I have tried the above mentioned gear and it just does not grab me).

    any other options that I am not considering ?

    sensible advice is always welcome

  2. johnnycat42


    Feb 27, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I may moving to Paris this fall (only for 6 months though) and use a Walkabout Combo as well so subscribing to this thread. I did just buy a GK MB500 though that I may throw in the suit case and store my Walkabout. I thought I would buy a small cab when I get there to use. Where are you going to be in the EU?
  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    A few months ago I applied to graduate school at a university in London, so I've been dealing with this issue as well. Not having a standalone head of choice at this point makes the question somewhat easier for me, as there are multiple directions in which I could go.

    Recently I spoke about this with someone at Euphonic Audio, inquiring whether the iAmp Pro offers the capability to operate on dual voltage - North American & Western European (it does). But the guy also suggested that I choose whichever amp I want, and if it doesn't provide internal voltage switching capability, just buy an external voltage transformer.

    I explained that on previous trips to Britain I'd used small portable voltage transformers for my American personal appliances, but that they didn't work well, i.e. they overheated very quickly, and damaged my appliances.

    The guy at EA assured me that the high-quality transformers used by international touring musicians are a completely different animal, very reliable and very effective. So that was encouraging.

    You might want to look into this option for yourself. Just wait until you get resettled, then buy one over there - so you don't have to ship it. Shipping across the Atlantic can get very expensive... :atoz:

  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Well yeah Europe isn't in the 3rd world, you can actually buy amps around here, even Mesa.
    Expensive they are but less than a conversion.
  5. rpsands


    Jul 6, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Man in europe you can get Barefaced cabs :) Woot. I'd vote #3 for that reason alone.
  6. Bassman 100

    Bassman 100

    Apr 4, 2008
    I would suggest looking at the Phil Jones Range, switchable Power. Light Weight, Combo's or Amp & Cabs, so much to choose from. All professional top quality
  7. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Right. If you don't want to buy a voltage transformer, then just get a Walkabout that's wired for European voltage after you land...

  8. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    My 02:
    If you are picky about your tone get a serious transformer and bring your stuff. The transformer will be useful for other things you may want to bring as well.
  9. uaudio


    Apr 11, 2008
    Buy two used heads here in the US, wire both Euro, then sell one the moment you land. Take advantage of the ridiculous markup Mesa gear has in Europe and offset the cost of the unit you keep. Seriously, new Mesa gear in Europe is nearly double the price as in the US.

    Is my ruthless capitalism showing?
  10. uaudio has the right idea, here in the uk mesa stuff is very rare and very expensive..... if you could get it converted / shipped relatively cheap and easily, then you could make some money.
  11. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    thanks for the replies so far.

    I did not want to get any of our European bass playing brothers all in a snit with my post.:cool:

    Of course I can buy an amp there, but if I want a Walkabout (which is my amp of choice at the moment) it would cost me 2x to buy one there. Not a very appealing option.

    OTOH, I have a no cost way to get a Walkabout re-tapped for Euro-voltage, so that's not an issue in this case.

    I am leery of voltage transformers because of reliability issues that I am aware of from other sources. A local power tapped rig seems like the cleanest approach. I am also not going to be gigging for a living, so I would like to keep the haulage/shippage to a realistic minimum. That's why I would look to buy a cab locally.

    johnnycat42 I will be living in Prague, Czech Republic, and working all over the EU. I wanted very much to live in France (either Toulouse or Lyon) but I just could not make that happen. I am confident that Prague will be great.
  12. if you don't get hit by customs
  13. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    a consideration... a lot of people that do work on both sides of the pond keep an amp in storage on both sides. i don't know if you'll be doing any transatlantic stuff, but it might be a consideration.
  14. Ha Prague, good luck there :)
    I think the way you want to do is the best. I never had a bad luck with Czech customs, neither had the guys I know and my friends brought even basses with them back form the States... so as far as you're not wild-looking and/or drunk... not grabbing attention, you shall be fine.

    Another cheap option is to buy Hartke LH500, which can be get cheap there too and is the second in my list of tubey sounding hybrid heads. You can definitely make a nice profit on selling Walkabout when you'll be leaving, as Mesa is in Czech republic even more expensive than in rest of the Europe. When you buy anything, buy online from Germany (thomann, musik schmidt)... much better prices.

    good luck again and maybe I'll meet you there (I am leaving back in September)
  15. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    ogar thanks for the tips. As an over 50, corporate guy, I have typically not attracted the negative attention of the local customs authorities when I have traveled overseas in the past, so I should be good on that account.

    If the LH500 is available there, that could be a good option too (although a very heavy option). Very Alembic F2-B/Fender tone stack sounding amp that I have used with decent results before. Its not my favorite Walkabout, but it would do in a pinch.

    Perhaps we can meet once I get over there. I'd also like to meet Nemo, another Czech national on TB. Once I get established in my day job, I will be looking for opportunities to play while I am over there.
  16. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Check out the TC Electronics RH450 head. You might be surprised.
  17. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    If you can get it re-tapped free it would make sense to do so and bring it over with you, and sell it before leaving. You'll make some cash out of the deal, absolutely.

    Step-down transformers work great but are another thing to haul around. Doesn't make sense to me, though I use one for my vintage US voltage SVT because it stays at one regular venue mostly.

    I'm looking at the TC head as well. Variable voltage and small and lightweight, sounds huge. Could be a solution?
  18. OldogNewTrick


    Dec 28, 2004
    Germany, EU
    as others have pointed out, buying a Walkabout head at close to 1500 Euros is pretty steep. The Hartke LH500 at 349 Euro is a steal... Another option would be a Fender TB-600 at 798 Euros...
    And get yerself a Compact from Alex Claber... good luck !
  19. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    again, thanks to all for the replies.

    I'm thinking I will plan to store my US Walkabout 12 combo, grab a used Walkabout head over here and have it re-tapped to take over to the Czech Republic, grab a cab locally, and then sell the whole thing when I get ready to come back to the states.

    díky všem
  20. Sten


    Nov 18, 2001
    An excellent plan IMO. Please send me a PM when you will be selling the WA before heading back to the States ;)

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