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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. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    What is your dream rig? You seem to already know. Personally I would not buy your "pro rig" now, as by the time you get good enough to make use of it you might want something else. I played for almost a decade before I got into heads and cabs and when I did I bought a used rig with the plans to change parts once I got more bread. Buying used allowed me to not lose any money, if I did it was negligible/cheaper than renting.

    If money is absolutely no issue, then do what you want with it, but for me personally I felt I had to earn better gear. I get a laugh when ****** players show up to gigs with professional gear, I know that one day I can buy their expensive stuff for cheap when they stop playing.

    I personally will avoid an amp with built in stuff, in my mind adding extras is to make up for something it lacks. Plus I come from a small town, business usually don't do one thing well, they do several things poorly, that gets old. I prefer my pedals/amps/everything to do one thing well. That is it.

    If I was in your shoes OP I would look at the Roland MicroCube. Great tone, small package, built in useful features. I love mine, but it is expensive for a practice amp, around $300 after taxes. The modelling in it is pretty decent but the built in tuner and drum machine/metronome are worth the price of admission. It is also the standard amp for buskers in my experience as you can battery power the amp if you choose.
  2. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I have been playing a weekly Monday night gig at a small pub with an acoustic guitarist. He uses a Fender Acoustisonic for his guitar and vocals. I use a Schertler Jam 150 Plus. It is an all around amp for everything from keyboard to guitar to vocals. It is 150 watts with one 8 inch speaker. I have been using this more often than my Roland CB100. I can plug my vocals in. I can play acoustic guitar through it and it sounds wonderful and very warm for my bass. It is not cheap but it is extremely versatile.

    My other small amp is the Roland which is an outstanding amp. I have not used my Markbass or SWR gear in over two years. My gigging needs are satisfied with these two amps.
  3. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
  4. Garyth

    Garyth Now What ..?

    Sep 9, 2013
    Punta Gorda Florida
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Those Roscoes are an unfair judge, they probably sound pretty good through some pretty ****** amps. Just sayin' :smug:
  6. Tim1


    Sep 9, 2005
    New Zealand
    I too recently purchased a Markbass Minimark for exactly this purpose and have been very impressed with it. Got it at a great price as old stock. Small, light and great tone. I do have other rigs but this is gettingplenty of use in the lounge and those small acoustic jams that happen occasionally.
    +1000 to no built in effects.
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Well, they do actually. But I have also used Yamaha, Fender, Lakland and Sadowsky, all of which sounded pretty good through this amp.
  8. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Another vote for the Promethean. Go used if you can. I bought a p5110 a couple years back. It sounds good, can get quite loud if you need it and will drive an extension speaker with very good results, tone and volume wise. The amp detaches if you want to use it with other cabs, and weighs just a few pounds. I've had low volume gigs weekly for about 8 years now and this amp has the goods and is extremely portable. These days there are lots of options, as evidenced in this thread, so shopping should be fun. Happy trails..

    Edit: IME, no overheating problems, but then I'm not pushing very hard either.
  9. OP said under a chair, not on a chair :p
  10. Are you trying stay in the $150 range?

    "Good," small amps are usually going to be more costly.

    If that was your budget and not a number that was just being thrown out, you might look into a used Fender Rumble 50 or 60 ($100?).

    I've been using one left behind by the singer's son for rehearsals. It does an admirable job with a reasonably controlled (but hardly whisper quiet) volume setup, with two guitars and drummer on a coffee-house kit. I have it pretty much cranked, but there's no complaints about it from the amp. Sounds good. It's not as small or light as other 12" combos might be, but it's cheap.

    I agree with others on commitment being one of the keys. With that, let your current needs dictate the lower limit of one side of the equation and your budget dictate the other.

    To me, if features are useful or potentially useful, they can be pluses. Unused features aren't necessarily negatives to me if other aspects of the amp are what I want.

    Addition: I don't think there would be much in the way of $150 amps in the new market that would move me. That's a fairly limiting figure in the used market, but it will going ridiculously farther.
  11. hazmatt


    Jun 3, 2012
    san diego
    +1 for the roland microcube. I've used this for many a session with acoustic folk. Is tiny enough not to raise eyebrows, and the battery operation is a huge plus. I am not excited by all the modeling and effects, though they do make this into a more appealing cross-training practice amp with my regular guitar. These things won't churn out crazy bottom end, but then again how you shape your tone and approach the strings with your fingers can affect the perception greatly. Thumping my jazz bass with the side of my thumb & muting the strings with my palm played the 'bass 360' model comes out sounding really warm and fat, one person even commented it sounded like an upright...

    I use the markbass 121 mentioned above, but i couldn't recommend this for the same purpose - is too large & loud when playing with the acoustic folk, unless they are getting decent PA support. but i love the vpf and vle filters & a flat EQ for getting the tone mentioned above playing with my thumb. To roll with acoustic folk I wouldn't think you need to go larger than an 8 or 10" speaker.
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    @ $150.....I would peruse the local Craigslist ads and wait for something to show up. I just grabbed a Polysonics M-8 Cricket speaker cab for $45. I already have a Markbass LMIII but I want to match it to a smaller, lower wattage amp. Really, really small footprint.
  13. R Briere

    R Briere Bass-ically Yours

    What an Amazingly Cool, Kind and Informative Thread. I KNEW there Were Folks Like You in Here. :)

    Bass-ically Yours,
  14. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Those Ibanez Promethean combos have me intrigued. Small, light and powerful for their size and not very expensive. It seems like a good grab'n'go amp for lower volume situations.
  15. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I think the combo alone might fit under a chair. ;)

    I missed the $150 part, too.
  16. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I've found the vast majority of small inexpensive bass combo's tend to sound like poo. And while some of them may be useful to someone, I would rather spend the money and have an amp that actually provides a pleasing tone, without any "extra features". The Mesa Walkabout Scout 12 is such an amp. Amazingly good tone, relatively small package, and the added bonus that the amp head is removable, and sounds huge on top of a larger bass cab. Short of that, there are many less expensive combo's that sound good, like the Ampeg BA112, Markbass CMD121, and any of the Phil Jones combo's. Good tone trumps a low price, imo, ymmv.
  17. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    I regularly gig the aforementioned Fearless 110 and it's a fantastic cab that sound great in a small acoustic setting. However, it is 31lbs and might appear too big for a really quiet setting.

    That's when I whip out the Greenboy Audio Crazy8. This cab sounds amazing with my acoustic bass and does a dandy job with electric. Use the small micro amp of your choice. The 8ohm cab weighs 16 pounds and has a kickstand. I also use two Crazy8s as the mains in my home studio PA, and another Crazy8 w/kickstand as the floor monitor. Crystal clear tone that takes EQ very well. With its high-excursion driver, the Crazy8 can get as loud as a good 110, but the OP doesn't need volume in an acoustic setting, just quality in a form factor that "fits under a chair." The crossover does an amazing job at integrating the tweeter - such that the overall response is one of the smoothest I've every heard.


  18. R Briere

    R Briere Bass-ically Yours

    For Those Who've already Figured this Post out, My Question Serves Two Purposes.

    A: When Looking for a Small amp as a "Beginner" (December 25th is Knocking) that, once purchased, can be kept for a LifeTime and Serve a Plethora of Purposes....Think Down the Road. Almost to the player You've all said that. :)

    B: To any other "Beginners" Following this Post, the Lesson that I'm Learning is.......tis FARRRRRR better to INVEST a little bit more money and be VERY Happy and Look Forward to Practicing Every Day than to Buy a Floating MooseTurd with 1,000 Bells, Buzzers and Whistles that you get Bored with in about 20 minutes and your Bass Gets Tucked Under Your Bed for all Eternity. These Guys Know what they're TalkBassin' About......and I, for one, am listening. :)

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