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Thoughts on small, inexpensive bass amps...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by curt basner, May 11, 2006.

  1. curt basner

    curt basner

    May 11, 2006
    Las Vegas, NV
    Hi all,

    I'm new here, with a new Fender Jazz bass on the way. I'm new to basses, too.

    I'm looking for opinions on a small amp to play the new bass through. To answer the inevitable questions, no, I probably will NOT be playing with/in a band, will probably use it just for playing by myself at home. Size is not really an issue, but I don't need anything big. I'm just looking for really good tone, and a price, hopefully, in the $500 or less range (though if someone thought there was an absolute killer amp that pushed up to, say $700, I'd consider that). What should I be looking for in a bass amp? Is there a huge difference in 12" vs. 15" speakers?

    I would expect a combo amp would be the way to go. Any help would be appreciated!
  2. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    THough I've never owned one, I would look into Peavey. I've played through them a bit, they sounded just fine to me (though this was in high school, and I'm more of a snob now).

    Look to seeing if you can get a 200-300W amp, at some point, you will probably want to play out and be heard.
  3. BassPulsar


    Oct 16, 2002
    Roland Cube30.
    Good sound and loud enough for home use and small venue.
  4. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'd try the Yorkville Sound XM50C. It's a 50 watt, small 30 lb. combo with nice, easy to use controls and a very good sound that you should be able to get new for $300 or less. Unbeatable warranty and very well built in Canada and reliable.

    It has a CD input for practicing with music, headphone jack so you can practice late at night without annoying anyone and a direct out that you can plug into a PA if you want to take it out to play larger rooms. It puts out a surprising amount of clean volume for such a small amp.

    The Yorkville amps are quite a lot of value for the money. I have one for use at home for practice and teaching and a bigger louder combo that I take out for gigs.
  5. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    One of the most awesome small combos I've ever played was the Trace Elliot BLX-80. They had considerable volume for a small combo and the tone was brutal! I'm not sure if they're still made and the one I played was a pre-Gibson model. It's worth looking for.
  6. snowdan


    Feb 27, 2006
    the roland cube 30 is a super nice device indeed. loud for the size, light, small, should work for less loud band rehearsals and so on. for the price it's hard to beat.

    you could get something louder, bigger for the money but cheap ams designed for maximum volume do usually not sound great for practicing.
  7. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    If you have 700.00 to spend I would look at the Peavey Firebass 700II or the Max700 used they go for about 350 or less and a peavey Tvx 410 or Tvx 412 cab about the same price used. they are built like tanks sound decent and are very reliable. And with either of these cabs this setup will give you 475 watts with a 4 ohm cab. Not a bad rig for 700.00
  8. Fajah


    Apr 30, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    I recently picked up a 2003 Peavey Basic 112 here in Toronto for $200 CDN. It's great for home use and I jam with it too.

  9. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I got one of these a few months ago. It sounds pretty good and gets a decent sound. I use it a practice with a drummer singer and guitarist. It's just loud enough for band practice in my small studio. Any louder and it would crap out. It is also just under 40 lbs.
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    If you're looking at new, something like the Fender Bassman 250 is a good choice. They come with either a 15 or 2-10 speakers. Lots of features, great value for the money, and loud enough to play with a band.

    If you're interested in buying used, then $700 will buy alot of amp. If you fill out your profile, someone in your area may be able to recommend a music store where you can try different amps.
  11. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    I currently use a BLX-80 (here comes some heresy) and can almost, kinda sorta get a portafelxish sound from it. The BLX-80 became my jam and occassional gig amp. Originally it was to be the bedroom amp. My bedroom room amp is a BA-112 and while more than good enough for its inteded use, the tone is compareable to most , what I will call "modern" mildly non descript amps.
    It wasn't that long ago that my answer to any small amp, bedroom amp, practice amp etc. type of question would have been; get a B15N, or F.
    Generally speaking, I am not a modern man.

    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.
  12. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I've played that amp. it is amazing for it's power and size. Recently I heard a 3 piece funk group at a small club and the bassist was playing a 5 string fender through it. It easily filled the club with a fat, good bass sound without any discernible distortion.

    It's too bad that amp isn't made anymore. The secret was in the efficient cabinet design; a version of a bandpass enclosure. It works.

    They were a bit expensive new, but if you can find one used in good condition, it would be worth buying. Just before they were discontinued Trace upgraded it to more power and made an optional matching extension cabinet available.

    I think it would be worthwhile for someone to build a small cab using that design and the same 10" speaker that Trace used.

    The biggest drawback for me with the BLX was the weight. Although small it was too heavy for one handle on top to easily carry. Of course many small combos with any serious power suffer from the same problem.
  13. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    You could check the classifieds section here at TB...you'll probably get a great deal. As a matter of fact, I'm selling my smaller practice amp (peavey TNT 115 combo) down there as well.

    Since you're practicing at home and have no plans to be in a band, I wouldn't go with anything huge or over powered. A lot of the names mentioned here are definitely good buys.
  14. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I have an ampeg BA112 that I just love. Great practice amp but still has ehough umpf for small gigs. It has a single 12" and is the smallest amp I have found with enough bottom end for me to like.
  15. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    Avatar Neo 112 and an AMP BH-420, SM-400, or any other cheapish used 2-rackspace head.
  16. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Roland Cube 100. Very nice little combo. $450 is maybe a bit pricy, but if I were to get a little combo, I think this would be the one.

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