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What should be my first amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BrandoFlex, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. BrandoFlex


    Jan 15, 2013
    New to the bass but committed. I have practiced three hours a day for six months now on an old guitar amp.

    Ready to invest and am debating a 50watt or 100watt. I do not want to buy something that I will outgrow and can not afford two amps.

    I do not suspect to be gigging but will be playing with other novices soon.

    Any suggestions?
  2. mournblade


    Nov 19, 2006
    Roanoke, TX
    Without any specific's, buy the highest quality amp you can afford. Play as many as you can find and begin to narrow down the list. Once you have identified some potential candidates, search for reviews and info.

    In general buy as much quality amp as you can afford, so 100 over 50, IMO.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Just find the most bang for your buck USED locally. If you have questions about a specific amp you find, please come back and ask. But "50 or 100 watts" is not enough information to help you out. We at least need to know your budget.

    Edit to add: Oh, and WELCOME to TalkBass!
  4. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    If you want something you can jam with and not outgrow, you're gonna need more than 100 watts. Look for something that is:
    -around 300 watts or higher
    -at least 1x15 or 2x10.

    Markbass makes some cool combos, you may be able to find a good deal on an older model. There are a lot of other companies that make good combos too, keep your eyes open and if you need to post a picture of a prospect in this thread for us to evaluate. Oh, and :bassist:
  5. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Gigging or not at some point you will be playing with others, and you will have to keep up with a drum set and one or two guitar amps.

    I would not go less than 300 watts into 8 ohms.
    I play an Eden WT550 which is 300 watts into 8 ohms and 500 watts into 4 ohms.
    The impedance (ohm-age) of your speakers determines how much power they draw from your amp. The less the ohms, the more power they pull from your amp.
    I take one speaker cab (8 ohms) for rehearsal and small situations, and two matching speaker cabs (together they are 4 ohms, actually) for larger situations.

    Their WTX-500 is also nice and the same power output but lighter and a lot cheaper.

    There are lots of choices at that power level including some combos. Genz-Benz are very popular around here. There is a poll going around right now showing which amp brands are popular among TalkBass members.
    TalkBass Amp Poll Thread

    Different amps have pros and cons. Do your homework. The search function on TalkBass is your friend. Consider the maker's reputation for customer service, the amp's reputation for reliability, accuracy of the wattage ratings, weight and the tonal character of the amp.

    If you are within driving distance of a superstore where you can try out several different major brands, it's worth the trip. You can get an education and a nice amp that way. Be careful of stores' return policies. Some are very generous, some are very restrictive.

    If you buy from e-bay you are taking risks. Some sellers won't deliver as promised, and sometimes the goods are not as promised. If you have a dispute you can win but it's a big hassle.

    I try not to buy anything unless I can try it out in person. I would buy a bass used because almost any defect is visible or cheaply fixable. I would not buy an amp used because some amps are lemons and people will get tired of having them repaired, so they'll fix them one more time and dump them on Craigslist. No way to tell unless you're an electronics whiz (which I am not). So for amps I would buy new with warranty.

    Hope this helps, good luck and most of all have fun!
  6. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Well said, Mike!
  7. MyMusic


    Jun 1, 2010
    Dover, De
    As far as the head, approx. 300-500 watts. But the cab would probably be determined by the type of music and size of venue you might play if you play out. Some situations a 1x12 might be fine, for others you might need an 8x10 or 4x12.
  8. TDP333


    Jan 10, 2013
    I have a Gallien Krueger MB200 and love it, admittedly I use it in conjunction with an MBFusion but it sounds great on its own and could handle a small gig, if pared with a decent cab. Its also US made and a conservatively rated 200w @ 4ohms in my opinion. :)
  9. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    If you do go the combo amp route, (and most here would advise against it), make absolutely sure it has an ext spkr jack on the back. You'll want as much wattage as you can afford, and big spkrs, like a 1x15 or 2x10, but most importantly, you'll want the ability to "double-up" on the spkr count, so an ext jack is mandatory. This is how you get a bass amp up to band levels. A much better plan is to buy a used head withy 300-500 watts of power, and start with a 1x15 cab. Later, when you start jamming, add another 1x15.
  10. mystic38


    Dec 4, 2012
    Mystic CT
    a guitarist can jam and play small gigs with a 15W blues junior.

    A bassist jamming with friends and mebbe playing small gigs will need at least 10x that.

    My suggestion is one of the lightweight single 15" combos.. GK and TC are in the $400 range...200W ish in an efficient lightweight package.

    I cannot support the "minimum 300W into 8 Ohms" statement in some posts... that eliminates a huge number of amps..including Aguilar Tone Hammer 500, TC RH450, Ashdown MAG300 and other expensive and definitely giggable amps..

  11. Waldo19


    Jul 9, 2011

    Seriously, 300-550 watts for someone who has been playing bass for six months? Someone whose needs appear to be a practice amp that can keep up with others in a jam setting. Really? Seems like total overkill.

    IMO, OP should try and score a head in the 150-300 watt range not the 300-550 watt range.

    Furthermore, the head would ideally come with a headphone jack and aux input for quite practice at home (line out would be great but not necessary) with a 210 or 115 cab. A combo amp with similar capabilities would be fine too. I think those features are very desirable for new players.

    With a set up like this OP would then be able to: (1) play at home without rattling the foundation, (2) have the option for quite practice and playing along to tracks (3) the ability to jam with others without being drowned out (4) play small gigs without FOH support.

    Seriously, if you need 300 watts to be heard at practice your doing it wrong.
  12. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    Very simple, the TCBG250- As a bassist who has played ALL types of amps, both heads/cabs, and combos, I can tell you 100% the value of this amp can't be touched.

    AT every medium gig, I have to turn this thing down, it is that punchy and loud, and with the ability to change up one effect to whatever you want for free, you can't lose.

    This combo has no trouble keeping up with a fairly loud drummer and two guitarists.
  13. iualum


    Apr 9, 2004
    Yes, used. And, yes, as much as you can realistically afford.

    I think an 8-ohm 115 or 210 is the best idea if you can swing it. This gives you the option of adding another 8-ohm 115 or 210 at some possible future date.

    And the T.C. Electronics combo is very nice.
  14. tsunami1052

    tsunami1052 What the Funk?

    Sep 13, 2005
    All very good advice!

    How about a list of good quality affordable options.

    Combo Amps Under $500.00 & 100 - 300watts:

    Fender Rumble
    TC BG250
    Ibanez Promethean p3115
    GK MB
    Peavey Tour or Max
    Cavin MB
    Ampeg Micro-cl (not a combo)
    Ashdown EB
  15. Blackjax


    Aug 10, 2012
    North Idaho
    One of the cool things about the GK combos is that you can expand them later easily with the MBP powered cabs. That way you don't have to really know what you will want or need down the road. You can figure that out when/if the time comes.

    That was the route I was going until I scored a deal on an MB200.
  16. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    It all depends on budget. There are 2 options here. 1 is to begin to build a giggable rig (I agree with the ideal being 300 watts into 8 Ohms and at least a 115 or 210 cab, avoiding a combo if budget permits) and the 2nd is to get a good, cheap 112 combo for practice knowing you'll need something larger later. Any half decent 112 bass combo will sound a lot better and louder than a guitar combo.
  17. Blackjax


    Aug 10, 2012
    North Idaho
    In the end it's like with everything else, lots of viable options, the choice is up to you. My suggestion is to wait until you hear or see something that grabs you in some way. Then you will know what path to take before you spend money on things you don't want.
  18. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    There are plenty of 115 combos, (used and new) for under or right around $400.
  19. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    You should be able to find a good used GK, SWR or Ampeg 210 combo in the $350 to $450 range.
  20. Check out the Fender Rumble 350 head and a decent 115 or 212 cab.

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