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So...I Went on a Search for a SMALL Bass Amp and...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by R Briere, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. R Briere

    R Briere Bass-ically Yours

    Recently I found myself beginning to enjoy sitting in with some acoustic guitar players. If there's one thing that scares the daylights out of them it's seeing an amplifier come through the Door with a Bass Player attached to it. For that Reason I thought that something Small would be in order; something I could Hide under the chair.

    I went to a couple of local stores and hoped to find an old Bassman 60.....an amp I'd once owned and, although Small and Simple, was quite capable of Shaking the Earth when plugged into a 4x10 or 2x12 cabinet. While I didn't find the Amp of Choice I DID make a Discovery that was Interesting.

    Almost Without Exception everything in the Low-End Line of Bass Amps now Comes Equipped with 237 different built in Effects. These included Everything Possible PLUS a "George Foreman Burger Burner", "Seat Warmer" and the Amazing "Bass-o-Matic"...along with the "As Seen on MTV" Hang Tag.

    I also Discovered that there's an Upgrade Model Available at just about EVERY $50 Increment. So, Rather than "Tell You" Anything, I'd Like to ask a Question.

    How Many Amplifiers Do You Think You Should buy before Purchasing All or Part of your "Dream Machine"? aka...Your "Pro Rig?

    And Part Two: Do the Built in Extras Entice You or Push You Away from an Entry Level Amp? After all.....for the most part, someone buying a $150 amp is probably just learning to play.

    Thanks for Taking the Time To Read this and I Look Forward to Your Answers. :)

    Bass-ically Yours,
    Rich Briere~~Geezer Bass Player
  2. IMHO all those extras are worthless for my needs. I find all of those combo's pretty much useless for my wants/needs as a bass player. They may work for others, but they dont do it for me.

    Budget not limiting, my "smallest rig" would be a greenboy fEARless F110 and a Ampeg PF-800.

    Small enough to fit under a chair, very full range, and tonally wonderful for my wants.

    YMMV IMO IME and all those other disclaimers apply.
  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
  4. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I play through solid state equipment that doesn't model anything except itself. So, those settings and computerized whizz bang circuits are a reason for me to avoid an amplifier.

    If the amp is a decent amplifier with the digital stuff turned off (assuming you can do that), and the price is right, I don't see any reason not to use one of those amps. How's that for a non-answer?
  5. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I've never gotten a satisfying sound out of any of the little "bass cube" things that have several 4- or 6-inch speakers. I know in theory they should work, but...eh.

    Here are your tickets.

    GK MB110


    It's got one ten inch speaker and the box is like 12-13 inches on each side. It doesn't get any less imposing. Later you can hook it up to their new powered speaker cabs and have a 5x10 combo with hundreds of watts if desired.

    A DI box


    If they're really scared of amps, just do what guitar players do and plug straight into the PA!
  6. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Someone just learning to play often doesn't know what features they will use, and when shopping may be swayed by the longer feature list. Also, having built in drum beats and a tuner can be handy for a small practice amp. Personally, the 2 features I dig in a small combo are aux in and phones out.

    As far as how many rigs/progression of rigs.....this isn't algebra, so there's no 1 answer. If you can afford it, IMHO the best way to go is 1 small, high quality , light 112 combo to learn. It's small enough to be practical, large enough to sound pretty good on its' own, and will always have a use, even if it's eventually replaced by a larger rig.

    I still have 2 small combos in addition to my larger stuff: 1 is a PJB double 4, 'cause it fits in a carry on bag for air travel, and the other is the little Roland Micro bass Rx, because it works by the pool or fireside with batteries. YMMV.
  7. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    +1 to aux in and headphone out.
    I've noticed some cheaper tuners tend to disagree. Better none than wrong.
  8. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
  9. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    That really depends on the commitment level of the player. If you're committed? 0. A great rig can be found at lots of different price points. I'd rather spend the cash once. I can certainly understand that not everyone can part with more than a couple hundred bucks though.

    On features, I wouldn't say they push me away as I've never owned something like that, but they are basically useless for my needs. I'd rather have an amp with a nice solid tone rather than a bunch of stuff I'd never use. All of my practicing is done through headphones and my iPhone or computer these days.
  10. 3l3phantstomp

    3l3phantstomp Doesn't Welcome Our New Overlords

    Jun 6, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Its all about value! *cough* They see all the money walking away for pedals/PODs and then the leftover cash used on used gear so they gotta hang more ornaments on the tree! And this is just the rigs you see because you went physical. You should see the market for plugging your guitar/bass into your phone/tablet...
    ...but then again kids do their school papers on their phones even so its just le sigh of le times. Convenience is king!

    Q1: 3. The first POS amp to see if the spark caught, the second amp for your first gigging, and the third should be building as the gigs or life lessons inform.

    Q2: For me, pushes away. Which means I'm an old dude these days. "Get yer Sansamp off mah lawn!"

    Also, you should check out a smaller Peavey amp. I got a single 10 combo (previous version to the current "max"). Its bare bones, sounds great, and perfect for acoustic acompanyment and campfire jams.
  11. Bowe


    Apr 1, 2013

    I've been using one for a lot of acoustic jams, even had Pete Wernick complain that there was too much bass coming out of it! A big plus is the battery operation (I use rechargeable batteries) so it is 'less electric'.

    But a 110 with my PF500 sounds like a good mid-level upgrade for lite acoustic stage work.
  12. I find most of the built in extras to be of little use, other than a built in tuner. I use very few effects so I don't want a bunch of stuff I will never need.

    I don't think there is a set number of amps you should buy before getting your dream rig. For some people like me it took several years and buying and selling more amps than I can remember to get to the rig I have now. For others they may be able to go right out and find the perfect rig the first time. You just need to play through as many as possible to find what you really love.

    As far as a good small amp that won't scare away the acoustic folks, check out the Carvin MB series. They are very small and have a good basic set of features without too many bells and whistles!

  13. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    It's never the wrong time to think down the road with any gear purchase. IDK what sorts of gear you have now, so I haven't got rec's for your situation, but this sounds like a job for some micro stuff.
    Having all kinds of preset sounds is a personal preference for an amp feature, but I don't go that way. I haven't gone looking for what you're after for a long time, but I have seen the budget offerings, and agree it's pretty bleak and sparse.
    You did give a $150 budget price, how flexible is that? Get up over $250 or so and you can make some really nice gear happen in the used market. More specifically, some modestly powered micros, and the more modern designs of light and small 1x12 and 1x10 cabs. You may find the dream rig turns out to be the little 1x12 micro half stack you picked up cheap that covers all of your needs, and is no trouble to move around. So what gear do you currently have, and how firm is that budget?
  14. I highly recommend the Line 6 Studio 110. 12" cube, 20lbs., 75 watts. I've owned a lot of gear in my 45 years as a pro and factoring in portability, sound and price, this one does it for me.
  15. Interceptor


    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    The OP's post is seriously funny and accurate.

    I've done (and still do) a fair amount of work with acoustic guitar players over the years. It doesn't take much to make them jumpy. It is part of my own logic to have a really little rig for using in that context, it keeps them from judging with their eyes.

    I rooted around pretty hard trying to find a little combo that would fit in the acoustic genre. I gave up, and for all the reasons mentioned. I really could care less about emulating a full bore, full of character stage amp. All I wanted was something small enough to not spook an acoustic guitar player, sounds darn good and will be something I won't loose much money on.

    I ended up with a used rig based on a Gallien Krueger MB 500 and an Ampeg SVT210AV. It fits the bill. The only combo that I found that might have worked was a MarkBass 121. They show up used once in a while.
  16. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    Another vote for the Promethean, or, if you can find one, a Fender RAD Bass combo. I've had my RAD for years and it's just a solid, useful, piece of gear. RCA ins and headphone outs. It's the perfect practice amp and does yeoman duty in acoustic settings.
  17. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I have a Genz-Benz Shuttle 3.0-10t that's not much more than a foot on each dimension, and weighs 18 lb. I pull it out for visiting acoustic guitarists. My Fender 51 P reissue is a perfect match in the living room situation: warm and present at low volumes.

    When I gig I take a Mesa/Boogie Walkabout head and a pair of G-B 10t speakers and that will fill a theatre.

    On the subject of effects and models, I have never used any for bass, and only rarely on guitar. A friend has an Ibanez amp with all those "features" and my impression after having played a number of times through it is that it's a crappy sounding device that I wouldn't buy, features or no features.:D
  18. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I use a Markbass Minimark. Nice and small, lightweight, unassuming looking, minimal controls...GREAT TONE. :bassist:

    But we all know Rich, nothing can replace a SUNN 2000S with two cabinets, right? :D
  19. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Although I play a once a month " low volume " gig, I still bring a 115 and bass head to it. The master volume is your friend. ;) OTOH, I have been getting gigs with other bands, and have to schlepp a rehearsal rig, sometimes to three different places. That's where a little combo amp comes in handy for an easy grab and go, and the Ibanez rig has enough oomph , no bells and whistles you really don't need, and is light as a feather, headphone out, Aux in. I ordered one from MF for $299. As far as the " dream rig " goes, I'm always searching for that illusive butterfly.

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