Tips for a beginner's purchase

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Raskolnikov, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Raskolnikov


    Apr 20, 2005

    I am looking to buy an amp for rehearsals and perhaps even live shows. I really have no idea what is 'good' and what is not and I don't even know what kind of amp I should get. I've been using a 15 watts amp for the last 5 years (I was just playing on my own, not in a band), but now that I will play in a Metal band, so I need a better amp (obviously). I was told that a 80 Watts or 100 Watts amp would be enough, but some other people told me otherwise. I'd like to pay max. $350 for one. Any brands to consider and some to avoid?

    Thanks alot!

  2. hetsscaryguy


    May 22, 2004
    whats amps are your guitarists using? and what power are they puttingout? and how loud is your drummer?
  3. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Play a lot of amps. Pick one you really click with. $350 will not get much new, you will do better in the used market. Do not expect to be able to do much even there volume wise. 80 to 100 watts is nothing in the world of bass, a 100 watt bass amp will get drowned out by a 20 watt guitar amp. It just takes a lot more power to push out low end. For a metal band I would say 500 watts is the minimum and that will get you an amp suitable only for jamming with the rare guitarist and drummer who play only as loud as they absolutly must. With your standard issu "mesa cranked to 11" metal guitarists you'll need closer to 1000 to practice and still will likely need PA support at gigs.
  4. that's not true, i see this metal band that's loud as hell called "undercut" and they use mesa dual rectifiers, and the bassist uses an swr 750x and it's fine.
  5. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    And he probably has a PA behind him. PA support changes everything. There are some rigs out there that can go watt for watt with a raging mesa, but its pretty rare.
  6. Raskolnikov


    Apr 20, 2005
    Marshall amp, 50 Watt. Drummer is relatively loud, don't know how to put it on a scale though.

    Yeah, I'm not looking much into new gear at all. 80 to 100 watts is nothing? Then what is the point of them even to exist? lol. No but I mean... If you play alone, all you need is maybe 30 watts (I was satisfied with my 15 watts) and if, according to what you say, 500 is the minimum, who uses the 100 W? jazz players?

    1000 watts? Ok... I think the question now is whether I will even be able to hear following practices and not what I should get heh.

    Well... I could go up to $500 for the price. Anything decent I can find for that price by any chance? I saw an Ampeg 150 w on ebay recently, but I guess that isn't enough.

    Thanks for the help guys,

  7. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Smaller amps are fine for low volume applications: practicing by yourself, playing acoustic based gigs, etc.

    You said you play metal, metal guitars have a lot of crunchy mid and high end, and metal guitarists tend to really like to hear themselves. Naturally this means you'll need more power for those applications, especially since bass amps need lots of headroom to sound good AND loud at the same time.

    I used a 100 watt Peavey combo for many years as my main practice amp. It worked fine, but only because the people I played with were cool about keeping their volume down. This is the ideal situation anyway, there is really no reason to play loud when practicing. Sadly this happens less often, and most bassists I know find themselves constantly fighting for volume.

    In the price range you cited I think a Peavey TNT115 (same model I had, they run around $400 new) is a very good buy. They have a very versitile tone, can get loud enough for small practice and most importantly are incredibly reliable. I dropped mine down a flight of stairs TWICE and the only damage was the logo. Eventually I blew the speaker, but only after 7 years of near constant abuse.

    I even gigged with it going direct into the board and letting the house PA do the work. I'm actually considering getting another one now as a "home amp" so I don't have to a stack to practice.
  8. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Clarification: there really is no cut and dry "this is enough" when you are talking about bass amps. Our equipment is very situation due to the way low frequency sounds propagate and interact with the environment. I've played in situations where a 1200 watt SVT4 Pro was barely audible over a 30 watt guitar amp. There are tons of variables such as EQ, environment, cab and speaker efficiency, etc. The 500 watt figure came out of what I feel would be a reliable number for most metal band practice situations. However you can get by with less if you tailor the other things to your situation correctly.

    Also you cannot go entirely by raw numbers. 500 watts from one amp will sound like 2000 from another. That's why its very important for you to play as many amps as you can, even ones you can't afford or probably would never consider buying, so you can at least get a good idea of what works and what doesn't for the way you play.

    Just wanted to clear that up because I realized my first post was a little misleading.
  9. konfishily


    Jan 24, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    As a general rule if a bass plays with a guitar and band, the bass wattage should be 4-5 times as much (thats with some head room). And especially if its heavy metal stuff. You are going to get drowned out and might blow your speaker trying to keep up. I would suggest getting something at around 200 watts, definately more than 100 though.
  10. Boozy


    Apr 29, 2002
    Kelowna BC, Canada
    ive rocked with a fender bxr300c combo.. its a 15" 8 ohm speaker and 200 watts at 8 ohms head and it was alright against a loud guitarist (alright, not great) but with an 8 ohm extension cab it puts out 300 or 350 watts (4 ohms) and it was plenty loud... it was good with 2 loud ass guitaists playing marshall half stacks too...

    if i were you i would look for something along these lines... a combo that does 200 watts at 8 ohms or 300 watts at 4 ohms... get a used one and then you can get a cheap 8 ohm extention cab without haning to save too much cash... actually you can probably get a combo and a cab for 500$...

    if you dont go that route (combo) and you end up buying a head and cab, you might want to consider a 4 ohm 4x10 cabinet and a head with around 300 watts at 4 ohms...

    i always look in pawn shops and used music gear stores.

    where are you located?
  11. I am almost in the same position... I have been playing for two years with my 15 watt amp and a drummer... we almost make it work... I can hear it... but he can't... So I was looking for a nice 100 Watter. I was going to buy the Fender Bassman 100. It's 100 Watts and it's 350. It is also 25 pounds, which is a plus and has a lot of nice features... you should check it out.

    No! Don't click me! Ahhh! Get away! (I like to make my links fun...)

    You can also find it on, that's where I would buy it from... free shipping.

    I don't know about the whole getting drowned out by the 20 watt guitar amp... but 100 watts shouldn't be used to play at a packed stadium... but at a coffee house... Yea it'll work... They should have a PA that you can hook up to.
  12. standalone rig. no pa support whatsoever. just two mesa cabs, a 15 and a 4x10 and a compressor and a five string stingray
  13. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    OK... Some questions:
    What cab does the Marshall 50 watter have? Or is it a combo? Is it all tube? How loud is your drummer? How many strings do you have? In your price range based on what I've read on the thread, you should look used for a good 410 and a decent head. You might be able to find one locally. I'd say go for at least 300 or 400 watts minimum, but keep in mind that it takes 10X as many watts to be 2X as loud. The volume depends more on the cabs.
  14. hetsscaryguy


    May 22, 2004
    for $500 behringer 300w head and behringer 4x10. that will do for te moment and practicing, then upgrade the head when you can and then upgrade the cabs after that

    that amp wil give you about 200w at 8ohms so that should be plenty to take on a 50w marshall and your drummer.
  15. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hey look,

    i wrote a handy little guide! :p :D ;) :hyper:

  16. Raskolnikov


    Apr 20, 2005
    I am located in Quebec, Canada.

    The guy has a combo amp. The drummer is pretty loud, but not excessively. I have a 4-string bass.Yeah, I think I will look into a 300 watts...I was looking at 123music and ebay but with that kind of equipment, the shipping price will be ridiculous.

    Any brands that are more to recommend than others? I heard that Peavy is a good amp for Metal.
  17. That's actually a good question. For playing in a rock band anything less than 100 watts is just a practice amp, but not everybody plays in rock bands. If you're doing a coffee house gig or something 100 watts is more than plenty, but there's no way a 100 watt amp with a pair of 10's or a single 15 is going to fill a nightclub (of any size) with rock and roll unless you have PA support.
  18. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    Any brands that are more to recommend than others? I heard that Peavy is a good amp for Metal.

    Brands are so subjective, they are for the most part all good, but noticing different nuances in tone and what you like takes a bit of experience with different models in different settings. Sorry, thats not useful to your question, but its true. As far as Peavey? They are great amps albeit somewhat sterile tonewise. But in a band situation you lose some of these subtle nuances in tone anyway with everyone else playing and don't hear things as well as practicing on your own. I've found nice EQ settings that sound terrific while practicing only to reajust when playing with the others because it didn't work as well in that environment.

    Back to Peavey. The TNT combo box is one of those "good value for the buck" units because they are simple, amazingly rugged and put out surprisingly good volume. More than their power rating would suggest in my experience. They are easy to find, and very affordable.
  19. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Go for something used. Look local for the cab, but you can probabally have a head shipped as it is not too big. Go for at least about 300 watts, probabally through a 212, 410, or 215 (or 2 210s if thats what you find). I find that most Berhinger cabs aren't up to par, but I've never really tried out their head. Peavey gear is decent, and in your budget if you can find some loud Peavey gear go for it. Here are some helpful classifieds:
    Good luck!
  20. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    was joining /forming a metal band. $ was tight so some compromise neede to be made, but it worked in the end.
    First he had enough for a low priced pre-amp, we found a Yamaha for $100, which is older but still functional by most standards. Next came a power amp, one of the dads dusted off an old CS800, now they are not the worlds finest sonically,and are way too heavy by current standards, and pros do not use them, but they do produce power and are stone cold reliable. the transistors are available everyplace. The dad sold this for about $200, I help the kid build a rack cabinet out of scrap wood and some pre drilled iron.

    We helped do a role your own 4x12 cab that ended up looking so cool, it was decided another was needed and you guessed it we did a slant top, no piping or anything fancy. A quick search of the local recone shops and an Ebay purchase and bingo a 4x12 (the speakers were no dream, a couple of pyles and two other non matching 12's. The slant was left empty for a while and just hauled around for looks. Aaahhhh youth, I remember when we used B25B heads for barbells.

    I do think that to do a cab well and with fairly decent speakers is probably close to the Avatar costs and maybe even more, goof a couple of cuts and the wood starts to get pricey.

    Last I heard he did have matching 12's in all eight spots. and was saving for a new or close to new, better, lighter power amp.

    Now granted I wouldn't have wanted to move the rig, but it worked and all is upgradeable as funding allows. The way that he pounds the heck out the bass I am not sure ulra high fi gear would have been much better.