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what amp to take to camp?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by fovea1959, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. fovea1959


    Feb 10, 2009
    going to Louisville for jazz camp this summer (had the URB for a year, been doing arco, no jazz experience *yet*)...

    my current plan is to take my slab amp to camp (late 90s SWR Workingman's 15) to amplify my Engelhardt M1 (Helicore hybrids, Realist), rather than have them provide an amp. I figger that the SWR is what I'll have to live with for a while, so I may as well lug it to camp and get help in trying get the best tone I can out of my setup...

    Am I thinking straight here? is SWR going to be totally unsuitable? I tried it out, and the tone isn't great, but I don't know if that's the combo, or just the way my bass/pickup is right now... hoping to have a chance to borrow my teacher's AI Coda and try it with my bass....

    (ultimately, I'd like to sell the SWR and the Marshall AS50R that I use for my acoustic 6-string, replace them both with an AI Coda, and give my wife part of the music room back)...
  2. mpm32


    Jan 23, 2009
    "One time, at band camp"

    Sorry I had nothing else to offer
  3. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I've played through that amp a few times and think it works well enough, but it is a mother to move. I'm way too old to deal with it. Might really aggravate my hernia.:help:
    Other amps are much better for DB. I'd look into a GK 150 or another amp more suitable if they could provide that for you.

    Not that the SWR isn't a good amp, it is. It just doesn't have the best tone per pound ratio available.:D
  4. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    I used an SWR WM12 for several years...a great amp with electric bass for small gigs and rehearsals. I never did like the tone on upright...seems too scooped sounding. And the weight to sound ratio isn't the best.

    Consider picking up a used GK MB150 combo...I really like mine for upright and they aren't that expensive or heavy.

    The WM15 might be too boomy for upright and you have all that weight to haul around.
  5. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Are you sure you need one? Email or PM Chris Fitzgerald. He's one of the heavies on that gig. He'd know.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The only way I could be considered one of the "heavies" at camp would be to wear 6 layers of wet clothing and a lead x-ray vest. That said, it's cool if people want to bring their own amps. if you audition into a combo (most people do), the amp will stay in the same place all week, so moving it isn't an issue. And I'm sure you can get some good advice about how to get the best sound out of it from multiple faculty members. If you decide you don't want to mess with bringing the amp, there will be one provided in your combo room - usually a Yorkville, which I can manage to find a sound on pretty quickly.

    The really important thing to do before you come at your experience level, IMO, is to build up your calluses and stamina as much as possible in the few weeks before the camp. If you're in a combo, you'll be playing 2 1/2 hours a day there, then sometimes in master classes and sometimes in jam sessions. I've seen a *lot* of gross blisters at the camp on folks who are not used to playing that much. Have a plan for what you would do if you started to get blisters, and bring your tape of choice that you can use to cover them and still play.
  7. I use one. The tone isn't great but it is usable. Turn the aural enhancer all the way off, turn off the tweeter, volume on max and set gain as high as you need. Never used it but a high pass filter might help as well if you can get one. Impedance might as well be an issue, depends on the pickup. I use a rev solo II and it is usable without the pre.

    David Santos
  8. You won't need to do this cause you won't play that loud. I just do it cause I get a cleaner sound playing rock with two guitars and drums plus vocals.

    David Santos
  9. fovea1959


    Feb 10, 2009
    I realize the WM15 is not ideal for DB, and certainly agree that the tone/weight ratio is not optimum. but...

    • the tone/weight ratio is a moot point at camp.
    • it is paid for.
    • I'm a long way from the amp being the weak link in the chain between my brain and good-sounding jazz.

    If I ever get good enough that it *is* the weak link, or if I have any toy money to spend after getting these pesky kids through college, I'll be shopping! I definitely have a case of GAS, especially after going to a recital yesterday and hearing an AI Coda Series III. The bassist played both amplified and unamplified, and the only difference was volume. *very* natural tone...

    David: thanks for the advice for setup; I'll give that a try.

    Chris: thanks for the feedback; I was looking forward to getting a little help in getting the mostest out of what I've got... and thanks for the reminder about the calluses... right now all my DB work is arco (church, Easter, forthcoming recital), and I've been putting off making time to do *any* jazz practice.
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    The bow is great for general left hand strength as well and it's where you get great intonation and chops from in the first place. The players (and this includes Chris) at Jamie's camp can get you started on the "Jazz Cops" but there's no substitute for the bow. Something that I learned during ny one meeting with Rufus Reid is that once the calluses are formed you need to use a little lotion on them now and then to keep them from drying out, especially when you are playing for 2 1/2 hours every day at camp. I know this sounds a little prissy, but you can take it from me it works. In the 60's before I knew this and before amplifiers I used to have blisters form under calluses because the skin was to soft. D....! did that hurt! So take some lotion along.


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