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Suggestions for an amp to buy

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by jarichards, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. I'll be starting my freshman year at college next year and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what amp I should buy. I play jazz, mostly on upright, but I'd like an amp that could do either upright or electric. But what I'm really looking for is an amp that's small enough that it's easier to carry around than the one I have now. I've checked out acoustic image's amps, and they're nice, but they're out of my price range at the moment. Plus, I don't know how it'd sound if I played electric on it. So, suggestions?
  2. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    The Gallien Krueger Micro bass combo. Excellent for upright AND electric. New about $800, tons of used ones starting @$400. 100W into it's 12", 150W using and ext. cab. It's TINY.
  3. i haven't been able to find a used one recently. what a shame. i'm hunting around for a gkmb150 too...
    the last one on ebay sound for about 440
    what a deal
    dave holland uses it and sounds great on it

    heard the older ones sound better:bassist:
  4. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Ok-i highly advise you to fill out your profile.

    Actual answer: I've finished 2 years at College as music [jazz bass] major. The amp that i've used thus far is an SWR WorkingMan 12. I bought this amp based off of the recommendation of my teacher-Scott Mason. I asked him about amps prior to the start of my first year and he said most guys there had SWR WM12s & the GK Micro Bass.

    The acoustic image stuff-i've played my Ray5 through one at Scott Pazera's shop. I liked it, but i'd want to hear what it sounds like in a gig situation first.

    The amp has served me well thus far, it's a bit heavier than i'd like it to be, but it's still small enough that i can take it on the subway without much of an issue. You learn where the handicap/elevator stations are really quick.

    Questions to get better answers out of the rest of us:

    How much are you looking to spend? You said the Acoustic Image amps are too expensive, so are you looking for less than $800? For the head, combo, cab?

    Where are you located? The US, UK, Europe? If you're in the US, there's a good chance that someone on here is closer to you & could give some nice local suggestions. Heck, someone might go to the same school as you. This will also influence the $$$$.

    Take it easy and enjoy studying music!! I've had a blast the past few years despite struggling in some of the academic areas [music history namely].
    Do you have a preference for a combo or head+cab?
  5. thanks, I'll check out the GK micro. I'm looking to spend less than $800--actually, just the smallest amount i can spend on a high quality amp. I'd prefer a combo, but then, that's all I've ever used. I'm going to Western Michigan University next year, so hopefully I'll be getting plenty of gigs.
  6. i've been doing some research on amps for a while. if you want a decent combo amp that sounds good for upright and is portable (meaning you can walk around with it with your upright and the amp strapped to your back). be looking to spend around 800 or at least 400 for a used one.

    i'm going to columbia for college as a bass player next year, gonna be a freshman. i'm in your same shoes.
    i'm also looking for something under one grand and comes with a backpack that i can transport along with my bass... in the subway
    maybe the new wizzy cab (450) with a LMII (650)? (hooked up to a fishman pro eq and a underwood)

    beats me
    i'm interested to see what the other TBers recommend
  7. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    The GK micro has treated me well on both electric and upright. One thing is, decide how badly you really need the effects of the "E" version, because the "S" version is cheaper.

    If you have the resources to build something before you go to school, my little 12" neo cab design is nice and portable. And its frequency response curve is modeled after the GK micro. Put it under one of those new EA Micro 300 heads, as I will probably do sooner or later when my GAS moratorium expires.

    You are wise beyond your years to consider portability. Colleges and college towns are a pain to get around if you are condemned to driving a car. Especially when in learning mode, just getting together with other musicians and playing is crucial. You will find yourself motivated to play more often, without worrying quite so much about the pay, and have more fun, if transportation is less of an issue.
  8. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I built one of these and am telling you it is an amazing little cab for both slab and DB. Efficient, punchy and it has a rise in the mids that cuts through. It also weighs under 20lbs. I'm making another one soon and would be glad to make two.:D

    Coupled with a small head it is also more portable than the GK.
    The thing about the GK that hurts portability is that the strap cuts into my shoulder and it doesn't want to stay behind me. Nothing like opening a door and having it swing around under my arm. It is just a bit awkward.
  9. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    Another thought. Two in one day?:confused:
    When using the GK on electric, you really can't gig with a big band without adding another cab. It won't go very loud. With a band I've joined recently it isn't even enough power for a rehearsal.
    It has always been more than enough for DB.
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Look at the Yorkville XM100 (just noticed that the xm100 has been discontinued). Others on here have used the XM50 with good results. Do a quick search for Yorkville on here.
  11. You could also look into a GK backline head and a GK MB cabinet. The heard has a nice tone for DB and electric and can be had for around $300.00. The cab is the MB 150 extension cabinet, it's made in the same style as the combo and is also around $300.00. Each component weighs in at 12 lbs so your rig would weigh a whopping total weight of 24 lbs. It's a good rig for a budget price.
  12. I own a Backline 600 and currently use it with a SWR Goliath III. Totally rules out the portability thing but it's the only cabinet I have. Luckily there's an amp at the rehearsal site usually. I like the amp a lot, it's a very flat and clean sounding amp. (There's also a distortion button.. which is completely useless for what I do). Coincidentally i'm trying to get rid of mine to fund a LMII so if you're interested let me know.
  13. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    There are good reasons the GK 150 series has been around as long as it has. They're very portable, they sound good with EBGs and uprights, the DI is excellent, they're durable and simple to use, they aren't ridiculously expensive for what you get and they hold their value. If there's a single amp that upright players in general have been more happy with over the years than these I sure can't think what it is.
  14. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    I am thinking about changing my set up. I have a Genz Benz GBE600 with the Tube and FET preamp in a Kaces 2-Rack space gig bag I may sell for $500 + shipping. I am still debating, going through the typical should I or shouldn't I sell, but it could possibly be listed tomorrow night in the amp classified section.
  15. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I have the GK MB150s and the SWR WM12. I use the GK for almost everything. It gets pretty loud and, as folks have said, is extremely portable. The SWR is louder and tolerates being pushed a bit more. That's why I keep it around.

    I have two GKs if you are interested in one. The one I use for rehearsal (at my studio) has the infamous, BUZZ, that the GKs can develop (I've heard). I've pulled that thing apart and caulked the **** out of everything and it is still there. If you want to take it someplace or mess with it yourself I'd sell it to you. PM or email if you are interested. That said I love the sound of that amp so I just bought a new one.
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Clink, thanks for the kind words about the cab. What materials and finish did you use? How did you do the port, slot or tube?

    Interestingly, the GK BL600 head with my little cab is exactly what I am presently using for my "big rig" with the GK micro combo being my little rig. The weight of the BL600 is tolerable until my present GAS moratorium ends and I decide which Class-D head to buy. Knowing myself, that could be tomorrow or ten years from now. Meanwhile (noting the magic EQ settings in my review), the BL600 is a fine amp.

    I found in a used computer store a padded bag originally made for the original Apple Macintosh computer. It was $20, and holds the GK combo nicely with space for cords and extras. At one gig, I bumped into the guitarist while loading in, and we were carrying our respective amps in identical bags!

    For my use, wheels still help, and I am not trying to use public transit. One of those "pack n roll" thingies from the office supply store nicely holds either my DIY speaker or the GK combo.
  17. bribass


    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
    The XM50 is a great little amp and it's under $300! There stuff is very rugged and sounds great.

  18. clothsnake


    Apr 3, 2004
    i have recently picked up the GK Backline 112, and love it..! its right at the bottom end of their range, but for the money i don't think i could get better.
    i looked at the MB150, but its pricey new, and there are none available used round here.

    112 sounds great with both my upright (using the shadow 965nfx with its little versatile preamp) and electric (handles the bottom B of my schecter elite-5 no problem at all)
    does have a bit of a buzz on it, but this may well be the grounding in my (ancient) house... this can disappear depending on where its plugged in.

    a lot of people (mostly EBGers) have reviewed this amp poorly, but to be honest i don't know why... :eyebrow: i guess you should really try it, as you too might think its crap..?
  19. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    The exterior dimensions are identical to yours with the port being I think 8 1/2" inches deep.


    All parts sourced from:http://www.bltsound.com/index.php?crn=143&rn=201&action=show_detail
    other than the 1/2" birch ply that I got at Home Depot. Two of the quarter sheets were maybe $25?

    Finished off with black spray paint.
    Total cost well under $150.

    Although the footprint is larger than the GK combo, it is much lighter and easier to tote around. IMO, the only weakness is the 1/2" ply resonating a bit at high volumes. This gives the cabinet a 'woody' character.:bag: 3/4" would make this an absolutely killer cab, but increase the weight. The internal surfaces could also be coated with sound deadening panels available for car audio use. I'm making another out of 1/2" and may explore some type of spray on 'bed liner' type of finish.

    As an endorsement for the cabinet, wherever I take it, musicians often give it high praise. A couple of bassists who have seen it not only think it sounds good, but are amazed that it is so lightweight.:D

    One note about the low end response. There isn't much low end, with more of a midrange character. IMO, this is a good thing, as it is forgiving rooms with weird low end issues. Using this driver, gaining that lower octave would necessitate tripling the size which is no benefit. There is ample warmth for slab.
  20. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Clink, before adding the deadening panels, I would try bracing. My version of the box has one brace running up the back, as I assumed that the relatively small dimensions of the sides made bracing unnecessary there. A brace could be as simple as a 2" wide piece of that 1/2" plywood, glued in. Like a bass bar, but not tapered at the ends. The experts on the DB forum think that bracing is quite effective.

    Also, some polyester wool to kill the internal reflections would smooth out the midrange a bit.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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