Recommend a lightweight bass amp for a retiree

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ralph124C41, Jan 19, 2022.

  1. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    Hi, I haven't been here for a few years as I haven't been playing in a band for a few years before the Covid madness.

    I'm 73 and I'm down to two basses. I have two amps, a Hartke Tiltback 10 and the first-generation TC Electronics BG 250, but for the moment I don't have access to them due to a conflict with the owner of the space I've been keeping them in for several years.

    So I have no amp now and don't know when ... or if ... I will get access to those amps again.

    However I do have the chance to do some jamming and attend some open mics. There is a tiny chance of getting back into a band and I've got feelers out, but who knows?

    So what would you folks recommend?

    I know one question is about power. For several years I played in your typical local cover band just using an Ampeg BA-115 with its 100 watts. However there were a couple of larger bars that the Ampeg just couldn't cut it. And I was generally playing at full volume so I assume the sound wasn't great but I did play gigs and didn't get much criticism.

    One good thing about the BG250 is it weighed about 35 pounds and had that power. However I never liked its sound. I much preferred the sound of the Ampeg unit. (Which I still have but it doesn't work; I assume the power unit is blown. But like my other two amps I no longer have access to it.)

    So any thoughts? I need an amp that is lightweight, with at least power for jams (I have no idea if the drummer will be loud or not) and maybe, just maybe, enough for a gig or seven. I like the cost, new or used, to be around $500 to $600.

    I wouldn't be amiss at getting a head and a cab, too ... as long as I can afford them.

    Sorry for being so wordy, folks.
    _Obra_, EatS1stBassist, BOOG and 2 others like this.
  2. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    If you are looking new, A Rumble 200 weighs about 35 lbs., about $580, and is loud enough to keep up with a drummer. The Ampeg Rocket Bass RB115 is similar but I've never played one yet.
    LBS-bass, Bassist30, pcake and 17 others like this.
  3. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    I played the first-generation Rumble but wasn't impressed with the sound. But I played the next version and I was shocked how good it sounded for such a low price. So I've got Rumbles on my list. The Ampeg is about $550 and also offers 200 watts and as I said I really liked the sound that my old BA115 offered. It doesn't have a tweeter, as does the Rumble 200, but I don't think I will miss it that much .... but I might.

    I didn't know about this Ampeg so thanks.
  4. Gregc57

    Gregc57 Supporting Member

    May 28, 2021
    Long Island, NY, USA
  5. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    Amp is 7 lbs, 15" cab is 37 lbs. I'm 75. nuf said. ;)

  6. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    Both of these amps suggestions are way out of my price range. Thanks anyway.
    eric_B, steamthief and dkelley like this.
  7. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Haven’t tried an Ampeg Rocket bass yet, but in your shoes I’d be inclined to buy one blind. They’re getting rave reviews! Looks like the 115 should meet your budget, weight and volume criteria. Extension cabinet out would give you a little room to grow in those situations the BA115 wasn’t enough.

    I have a Rumble 100 and an Ampeg PF 350, much prefer the Ampeg sound over my Rumble.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
  8. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    At the risk of coming across as contentious or argumentative: You're retired and planning to use it for jams and open mic nights, who gives a crap how it sounds?


    ...okay, I'm only half kidding. Nothing worse than having to suffer with lousy tone. But y'know what's second worst? Having to lug 100lbs of gear to a gig just to be able to get your tone. If you can get semi-close to your minimum acceptable tone standard with a BG250, I would just throw another $100 at it for some kind of stompbox graphic equalizer or SansAmp widget and call it done. Nobody at a jam session or an open mic night is gonna say "he played great but his tone sucked, let's never call him again!" least, not about a bass player. :)
  9. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Err, his budget is $500-600.
  10. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    That's my choice also.
    Bassist30 likes this.
  11. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    So should he buy a gun for 600 so he can rob somebody of that 1500 bucks worth of amp?
  12. Ronky


    Jan 12, 2020
    El Centro CA USA
  13. SixtyCycleHum

    SixtyCycleHum Suspended

    Oct 16, 2021
    Melbourne, Australia
    Ralph! Get ya dang gear back, my guy. You do have a right to it. If you can't communicate with the owner, there is always litigation.

    However - I know for a fact that both the TC stuff and the Fender Rumble stuff is light and amazing. I've heard great things about the Class D gear from Trace Elliott, Markbass and Gallien Krueger too.

    Choose your own adventure. Class D edition.
    Ggaa likes this.
  14. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    So you are suggesting an amp and cabinet that is over three times the OP's price range and the cabinet is on back order until April or July?

    Good gawd at $2,000 for that pair I would hope it would sound good.

    37 pounds is actually kinda heavy these days but they say those cabinets do sound good. But yeah at $949 they should sound good, but of course you cannot buy one right now so you do have that.

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2022
  15. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    TWO THOUSAND Dollars worth, and I looked it up.

    Plus wait until April, possibly July for the cabinet to be available.

    Seems to be a lotta Mesa flexin around here :)

  16. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    If you liked your Kickback 10 you might take a look at the new KB12. Those run $450 and weigh 28 pounds.

    The KB15 version costs more, like $540 and weighs about 35 pounds.

    The downside of these compared to the 200 watt plus Ampeg and Fender Rumbles is no way to add an extension cabinet but that sounds like something you probably wouldn't do with the Ampeg or Fender anyway, since the budget is $600.

    The model number says it's a 500 watt amp (both versions) but those are marketing watts; it's really a 250 watt amp, so in base form with no extension cab somewhat close to the Ampeg and Rumble.

    The Bugera BDX line seems to get a lot of positive reviews from people who buy them, $329 for the 12" version, $369 for the 15" version. Again marketing watts, these are not 1,000 watt amps.

    The downside is they don't use neo drivers (and I am thinking the cabinets might be MDF) so they are pig heavy for the size, 45 pounds for the 12" version, 48 pounds for the 15" version.

    The 200 watt version of the Rocketbass is below your price threshold and if you like the Ampeg sound it would have that of course.

    mikewalker likes this.
  17. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    I guessed on the low side to be safe. Great amp though, although with that head I would buy two of those cabs so yada yada, pretty penny.
  18. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    As for a lawsuit I may have trouble proving I own the amps as I don't think I recorded the serial number to the BG250 and I know I didn't for the small Hartke amp. I don't know if the new landlord can evoke the "possession is 9/10ths of the law" but I don't have anything in writing allowing me to store my stuff."
  19. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    Btw folks I am amazed and delighted by your responses. You have listed several very good amps all within my price range. I would, of course, like to test drive some of them but where I live there are two retailers and very little supply.

    Oh, btw, my first two bass amps were (you guessed it), Peavys. But HEAVY ... I hurt my back once trying to lift one. Does Peavey make any lightweight amps you could recommend?
  20. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass Inactive

    Apr 9, 2009
    Definitely compare the Fender 200 to the Ampeg Rocket Bass RB-115. Should be able to do that at any GC, if there's one around you.
    SJan3 likes this.
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