Need advice.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Velkov, Jan 17, 2001.

  1. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    I'm a beginner. I've been playing the guitar for 10 years or something like that, but recently I decided to get a bass. I know that I want a Mexican jazz bass and I know I'll have to upgrade the pickups and maybe the bridge.

    I don't know what to do for a good practice amp. These are my options so far:
    1. Trace Elliot Boxer 65 - sounds great, but no line out and no effects loop
    2. Yorkville BM100 - sounds great, not very loud, not as powerful as it should be, but has more features than the Boxer 65.
    3. Fender Bassman 60 - I like the kickback feature, it sounds very good, but is more expensive than any of the above.

    I know there is all kinds of other brands/models but so far these are the ones I've considered. I want something small that I can carry around easily and I don't want to spend over $400. I need it for practice so I want small but powerful. Something that can compete with a drumkit.

    What do you guys think?
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    In my experience nothing under 100 watts can truly stand up to a drum kit. At least in a R&R situation. I own a Peavey combo that I love, it's just kinda big and heavy. I shopped for a more portable amp several times, wound up buying and returning a few because once my drummer started hitting, it was all over. I recently bought an Ampeg BA115 which I thought would be easier to move around (it's not - still fairly heavy). The price was around 3 bills though(I haggled like crazy and they went with it), it's smaller than the Peavey, and it works well for rehearsals. I've taken it on about ten gigs - depending on the room sometimes it's been fine, sometimes I had to really push it to it's limit.

    I've checked out lots of amps and as far as bang for the buck goes, reliability, and the all important volume - I am a huge Peavey fan. A lot of amps sound a lot sweeter in the stores, but when you put them onstage they lose all their sweetness and character when they just can't cut through.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    If you'd fill out your profile, I could give you a better answer. From the amps you listed, it suggests you aren't in the USA.
  4. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    I'm in Toronto, ON. (That's up in Canada, by the way.)

    As I said, these are the amps that I have considered. I know there's more out there and that's my question. What should I get?

    I'm pretty convinced that anything that's sold in the U.S. is also sold here.

    [Edited by Velkov on 01-17-2001 at 03:30 PM]
  5. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Under $400, your best strategy would be to forgo features in favor of power; 100W is the recommended minimum for playing with others. Quite a few manufacturers fudge their power ratings, so it's best to A/B the amps in person with one axe before you buy. If you're looking to play in a band situation, you may have to give up the amp that has the prettiest soloed sound (ie. something without too much midrange), as what sounds good alone will often get buried beneath guitars and drums.

    Try Carvin's PB100 or 200. While Carvin is known to fudge its power ratings, I can personally attest to the fact that the amps are nevertheless well made, full featured and fairly loud. Best of all, they're cheap compared to their competition.
  6. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    "I know I'll have to upgrade the pickups and maybe the bridge." Play it awhile the way it is before you tear into it. These are popular upgrades but not a necessity.
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I'd second Christopher's Carvin reco., (I own 2 of them). For $15 (CAN) more you'll get 100 more watts, a 15" instead of a 12" (I like 15's for bass way more than 12's), and you'll still have a horn but with the Carvin you get an L-pad/tweeter pad for it. I'm talking about their Pro Bass 200.

    As for their power ratings, from the little I understand, the fudge factor has to do with how they rate THD at a particular frequency instead of a range of bass frequencies. Trying to do direct power rating among various manufacturers is tough because there is no set standard and Carvin is hardly the only one accused of hype. Their Cyclops, which is the smaller of my two Carvins, has gobs of juice and actually performs better bridged to another cab because the head is just too much amp for the one it comes with.

    My only concern is the service factor. They are direct mail/trucking only and I don't know how high costs might be from Toronto to California if you had to use your warranty. If they're sky high because it's technically international shipping, then the Yorkville has the advantage there since they're Canadian and their 2 year "even if you break it" warranty sounds good to me.
  8. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Actually that's the good thing about Yorkville. They're 20 miles away from my house and they have that "unlimited" warranty.

    And although Carvin looks like it's great value, and they have all kinds of features, I don't know if I'm comfortable ordering something that I haven't even heard, from the other end of the continent.

    I read very good reviews on both, the PB100 and PB200. And now they have a PB100-15, which is the same as the PB100, but it has a 15" speaker. They all look like a good purchase. But Carvin only has a one year warranty. So, I'm in Toronto, ordering a 50 pound piece of electronics, that I have never physically seen before. The thing is coming from 3000 miles away, and in a year they have no more obligations towards me as a customer.
    I don't know ....

    Do these things break? How reliable are they?
  9. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    I have the Ampeg B100R. Bought it used for $200. Heavy at 65 lbs but great sound. I've tried others with less than 100 watts and they didn't work well once the drummer kicked in.
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Velkov-I read an old Carvin review on the bass gear review page where the reviewer said the delivery trucker seemed all p.o.'d and dropped his 18" cab on the pavement and damaged it. But that liability is on the freight line.

    I've ordered a Carvin stack and last month I got one of their combos that weighed 103 lbs. Both arrived in perfect shape. Guess the driver wasn't p.o.'d. Then again, I'm in the US midwest, not Toronto.

    I've also read a review where Carvin paid for shipping on a repair because they felt the problem was their fault. Their upfront statement about shipping for repairs/returns apparently is to protect them against the hot dogs who see Flea and think they want to play bass and find it's not easy, someone who finds they don't like the Harlequin Primastique finish they ordered when they actually see it, or the clown who doesn't read the instructions and keeps sending his new Carvin amp into "protect mode."

    Still, Yorkville's proximity is reassuring. Sure love your city---nice people on the streets into the night.
  11. Velkov


    Jan 17, 2001
    Lansdowne, Ontario
    Yeah, Toronto's alright. I like Ottawa a lot better.

    And I think I'll get the Yorkville after all. The Carvin PB100 ends up being $100 Canadian more expensive after customs taxes and all that stuff. And the Yorkville will be good enough for now.

    When I get out of university and have more time and money and still have interest, I may buy something bigger/better.

    Thanks to all.
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    You should be very happy. And that's a fine amp to have in or out of school. Ididn't know about those customs taxes, (sheesh!)

    I was playing for $$$ to help finance my way through school, so I had a big joker like an SWR Megoliath. That was a drag hauling around and your Yorkville ought to go wherever you want.

  13. Reliability? Warranty?

    This doesn't make sense to me - weighing up amps based on service and warranty availability.

    Now, apart from tube amps, i've never had an SS amp go down on me (apart from fuses) really should be looking at the amp that gives you the power, features and most importantly SOUND that you're looking for. Settling for less only because the company's service rep is better doesn't sit right in my head. Maybe it's 'cause i'm an antipodean fool... :D

    Count yourself lucky you're just over the border - in NZ, the famous Ampeg 5 year transferrable warranty doesn't even seem to get recognised. Service centres for other brands are (generally) hardly equipped to handle problems - 3rd party techies are quite often our only (timely) way!