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Thunderfunk 550-B ... right for me?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by thejumpcat, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat thejumpcat

    Sep 30, 2007
    So, I’ve been wanting an Aguilar DB750 for quite some time to use for both backline for festivals I book and as my gigging rig. I went to pull the trigger on one here yesterday but didn’t have the funds (LONG story).

    I’m on here a lot reading about amps, and a solid, less expensive – although top-shelf -- alternative seems to be a Thunderfunk.

    Tomorrow I’m going to a fellow Detroiter’s crib to check out a 550-B that he’s selling for what seems to be a very fair price with a road case. (He’s actually got two of these and is looking to thin the herd.)

    I play in a jump blues band, both upright and a P (single coil), and I like a lot of basic thump. Often I jam a piece of foam under the flatwounds to enhance that sound. I like the sound of Keith Ferguson (T-Birds).

    Currently, I use an old GK400RB through an LDS 1x15 (8 ohm). It’s a cool sound, but sometimes I’m maxing it out and getting more dirt than I prefer. I want more headroom, which I’m hoping the Thunderfunk will do. I don’t do any slapping on EB, but some on UB for rockabilly-type stuff. I don’t play “modern” by any means. I just want to feel the notes and that whack in the middle of my chest. From what I’ve read, the DB750 will deliver that in spades, but how about the 550-B? I’d like to pick up another 8-ohm 15 down the road for the festivals.

    I see lots of different posts about “gold chips” and “upgrades” to Thunderfunk amps. Beyond if the amp sounds good with my P and cabinet, are there any other things I should be looking for on a 550-B to determine if it’s a solid investment at $700?

    Long-winded, I know.
  2. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    I have an early Thunderfunk 550 that is built on the TF 420 case,and Dave has done about every upgrade possible to it. Owned it since 2006 and never a seconds trouble out of it. About a month ago the power indicator led went out,and I called Dave to buy a replacement. He sent me a blue one at no charge. Thats how he treats his customers. The amp works great,sounds great,and top notch customer service. It's definitely a step up or two from the GK.
  3. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat thejumpcat

    Sep 30, 2007
    Yeah, I've read nothing but rave reviews on Dave's service of his products, and that weighs very favorably on this potential purchase. (That said, I've never had an issue with my GK400s, so I can't speak to GK's service.)
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    It's an excellent amp and should do fine in the situation you described IMO IME.
  5. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    The Thunderfunk 550B is a great investment and at a price of 700.00. You can make the 550b sound similar to the Aguilar DB 750. But its not as powerful and not as heavy either. I have played it with all my cabs and it works fine.
    I love the eq and the low end is very tight.
  6. jastacey

    jastacey Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    I too have a 550-B ..... and have used it with many different cabs and have been happy with the amp .... the amp depending on when it was built, is/can be upgradable, you can't get that kind of service with most other companies

    You will find that the Timber & Enhance controls are the only ones that you'll fiddle with, once you find your tone/voicing ..... as to the difference between the early versions that didn't have "gold chip" ... there are small differences, I had my 550-B upgraded last year

    This is what Dave told me when I did the upgrade:

    "You have a TFB550-“A.” There are many updates including brighter, less compression (more power), much better heat sinking, lower low-end distortion, and a more natural better high end detail."

    I did the upgrades and have been very happy with the results, as a side note they also changed out the small toggle switches to ones that have smaller "bat handles"

    With a good high quality/efficient cabinet, you'l have no problem with volume, granted the 750/800 ThumderFunks will produce more volume, but are you playing that loud?

    The ThunderFunks have huge head room in the preamp stages, which is one of the reasons they sound so good

    All in all ..... it's an amp to have in your arsenal/collection
  7. Great amp at a decent price.
  8. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    I played Thunderfunks (two 420's and a 550-B)for a span of ten years and they always performed flawlessly. Made me sound good in the process! The only time I had one make sounds that I didn't want it to was when my 550 got carpet fibers between the tip connection on the input jack and its grounding tab from me leaving a cable plugged in. Easy fix with a spray of cleaner. $700 with a road case? No brainer IMO...
  9. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat thejumpcat

    Sep 30, 2007
    Just picked it up! Going to be running it through an LDS 1x15 8-ohm on Saturday. Because I’ll be using this for festival backline too, I might add another one of those cabs next spring.

    Also been thinking about a pair of Aguilar GS112 cabinets with this head. Seems like I read a couple of TBers liked that pairing.
  10. T. Alan Smith

    T. Alan Smith Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    I freakin' LOVE the GS112 with the Thunderfunk.
  11. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat thejumpcat

    Sep 30, 2007
    Nice! I thought about the GS212, but I don't think I'm willing to start schlepping that kinda weight again. I like the idea of using one 112 for my gigs and two for festivals.
  12. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    I play electric blues w/ a TF 420 and a Schroeder 1212L and it's killed all my GAS for years! Enjoy!
  13. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    That is my gigging rig, has been for several years. A Thunderfunk head and a couple of GS112 cabs. That combination has been able to handle any gig I've done in the past few years.

    Some of the gigs only require one GS112 cab.

    You will love the Thunderfunk!
  14. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    This amp is no longer the flavor of the week, but it is still a damn fine amp. Better than most (if not virtually all) of the newer offerings out there that I've tried. It's a solid, basic build too. That might not seem like much, but if it breaks, it is a simple matter to find someone to fix it. Also, being a basic build, it is less likely to malfunction to start with. I've had two issues with mine over the many years I've had it.

    One: Had a strange sound when using the EQ. Sounded like wind. Turned out a long wire had come loose and was lying next to some knobs/circuit. Shortened the wire and refastened it, problem solved. Was a bugger to locate, but a simple fix (almost zero $).

    Two: About a month or two ago played a very warm outdoor gig. I played two and a half hours then backlined the next bassist. Somehow the fan switch got turned off. Also I'd not been using the limiter. Since the next bassist (Tom Skinner) had been using a SABDDI and hitting the front end pretty solidly, I had a thermal issue. Replaced the caps and everything is hunky dory. I chalk this one up as user error. Should've left the limiter on and the fan should have NEVER gotten turned off. Lesson learned.

    Given the amount of gigging and touring around I do, most amps would've failed more on me by this point. Solid amp.
  15. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    Congratulations. I am sure it will work out. Great price.I have a friend who used a 550B with two GS12's and got many compliments. I used it with 2 db12 and enjoyed it very much. Pretty much sounds great with most cabinets. As of late I have been using the 550B with the Audiokinesis TC15AF. Love it a lot. I was using the TF750A with it but I didn't need the extra power and it matched the cabinet fine.
  16. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat thejumpcat

    Sep 30, 2007
    So, leave the fan on.

    I just a/b'd it with a vintage gk400rb. That was 15 minutes i'll never get back. This TF is silly cool. Cant wait to gig with it Saturday.

    The parametric eq is going to take me a while to figure out though. I like simple.
  17. jastacey

    jastacey Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    For starters .... keep everything on the parametric's at 12 noon, depending on the cabinet/room, you'll move just a little, your quickest/easiest change is going to be using the enhance & timbre controls
  18. thejumpcat

    thejumpcat thejumpcat

    Sep 30, 2007
    Yes, it was quickly evident that those two knobs can drastically change the sound.
  19. atrapp


    Dec 4, 2006
    Taichung, Taiwan
    Thunderfunks and the Aggie GS112 are a great match, I gigged the TF750 with 1 - 4 GS112s for several years - awesome! Moved up to the DB750 and while it is better in all aspects save weight and tonal flexibility over the TFunk... the weight bit is killer. Glad I still have a 550!
  20. Blue


    Jun 19, 2004
    Central NC
    fwiw I have a 2004 TF-440 and the original and genuine Gibson 440 for sale. PM if interested.