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which side are you on?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by barroso, Jan 21, 2001.

  1. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    reading another thread i've seen that there are guys who prefer to have a good bass than a good amp. otherwise guys who says that the most important thing is the amp.
    i think that the amp is really important, even more that the bass.
    which side are you on?
  2. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Hmn...I guess I'm on the bass side, but, that's just because I have some serious GAS for a new bass...but overall? I'd say the amp.
  3. It is wothless to have a cruddy piece of gear whether it's the bass or amp. With that in mind, here's my comparison of one being top notch and the other being MEDIOCRE. I've played my Spector basses into mediocre rigs and the tone was much better than mediocre basses played through my Eden amp. Don't get me wrong, my bass sounds better through the Eden. That is because the tone comes from the bass and the amp's job is to compliment the bass tone.
    Believe it or not, I find the opposite true for guitars...go figure???
  4. I'm on both sides.Even though gear can get expensive,it's worth it to make sure there is no weak link in your set up.I have played several basses/rigs over the years and find it to be true.There must be a balance between the two.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...amps are a dime a dozen; a good instrument is a more difficult find.
  6. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    You need a good bass AND a good amp. You will only sound as good as your weakest element.
  7. virtual.ray


    Oct 25, 2000
    I think that if your instrument is of high enough quality so that it is comfortable to wear and easy to play,you will naturally play better on it even if through a less than wonderful amp,although there is a certain bar below which the amp will hurt more than help,i.e. not loud enough,not enough bottom for 5th string,too much distortion.Personally,if it came down to it,I'd prioritize the bass over the amp.
  8. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Personally, I'd rather have a quality bass than a good amp. After saying that though, I've found that there isn't a great deal of difference in the sound when I play my £120 Westfield or £700 P-Bass through the carboard box I call an amp - at least, not £580's worth of difference, anyway. My band's Rickenbacker owning guitarist also has the same problem with his amp.

    I'd say that on balance a good bass is more important because it allows you to play easier and faster, and for longer, than a cheap one - which I think is an advantage however it sounds.
  9. oo0o00o0oo


    Apr 30, 2000
    I would much rather have a good bass. I play bass not amp, but it would be a shame to have a good bass crapified by some Rogue amp.
  10. I'm content with my basses, so if I could get a better amp I would. But here, well, a better amp would be nothing short of a Marshall cab, so...right now I'd be going for better basses. :D
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I think there's no argument, it has to be the bass. As others have said, we play bass and my experience is that a really good bass can make you play so much better, by feeling right and inspiring you to practice and try things, that you wouldn't on a bass that doesn't feel so good. I go along to shops regularly and try as many basses as I can and it makes a huge difference when you find a bass that really feels right.

    The other thing of course is that if you are recording, 9 times out of 10, the bass part will be direct into the desk - it always sounds better to me and even when I've recorded the amp miked as well, we have gone with just the DI in the end. In this case it is just down to how the bass sounds and while you might be able to "disguise" inadequacies in your bass live and people don't notice so much; when you record, that part is going to be listened to over and over again, so you'd better like the sound of your bass or be eternally annoyed!

    There are also situations where playing festivals or similar, where there is very little time for changeovers between bands and you may have to go with the setup that's there - like a DI into the PA. I did some TV once and they also wanted to DI into the system and give you foldback. So there are a large number of situations - if you're taking this seriously - where it will just be down to you and your bass and it better be up to it!
  12. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    I agree with Bruce. Though I'm far to be as experienced, concert conditions with a big PA won't left much place for your amp to express itself. If you wire by a DI or DI output from your amp (mostly Pre EQ), the overall "sound" of your bass will be much more important than your amp (if you have the luck to be able to play on it ;). Anyway, the console guy "controls" you (your sound) more than you do, so ... ;)
    And the most important thing to me on the bass is your playing comfort. On a good bass (at least one that fits your needs), you can play without excessive fatigue, less technical difficulties, less anxieties in facts, so you'll play better => you'll sound better, IMHO.
  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I have to say I'm on the Bass side simply because there are profesional music situations in which having an amp is not a necessity (studio recording, etc), whereas, I've never heard of a bass player going to a gig with nothing but an amp. It seems silly just to think about it.

    Also, no amp can be good for all musical situations. Some will work better in one type of room than another. Economically, it's better to have a bass that has enough tonal versatility to make any amp sound good, whether it's your amp or someone else's.

    Will C.:cool:
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I fall on the side of having good equipment, period. That does not mean expensive equipment, which is a mistake far too many players make. The key piece of gear would be that thing between your ears (no... not your nose). You can't buy that.

    Actual hardware:

    With today's new and used gear it is very easy to have a very good amp and a very good bass for waaay under $1000. I know I could gig with my $275 G&L and my $250 Ampeg combo... I've done it.

    Which do you need first? It depends on what you have and what you need to do, which goes back to piece of gear #1 that I mentioned before.

    You can have an Alembic Series 2 playing through a Kern/QSC/Euphonic Audio rig and still sound like crap. By the same token you could also play a Dean through a Crate and sound great.

    "Crap" has always been an interesting concept to me. I truly feel that there is very little crap out here, just players who have issues with gear. If another bassist could use your gear and sound great...is it still crap? I think the majority of crap is generated in the first piece of gear I mentioned earlier. BTW I don't consider broken equipment "crap"...it's "broken";)
  15. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    To me, I just don't see how even a really high end amp and speakers and high end rack with every musician's dream of effects and EQs, etc., could overcome the disadvantage of a bass with bad electronics, bad set up, dead strings, bowed neck and every manner of bass disability or even a few of these bass illnesses.

    A good bass has to come first...or at least an adequate bass. Still, the ideal would be to have the best of both worlds, a splendid bass and a splendid sound rig to do it justice.

    BTW, I love what someone said above, "I play bass, not sound rig" or something to that effect. That sums up the debate pretty darned well.

    jason oldsted
  16. noise

    noise Guest

    Oct 23, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    While I completely understand Bruce's point of view, for me, its all about a well-matched bass and amp. My setup consists of a piece-o-crap bass and a piece-o-crap amp; perfectly matched! :D

  17. Gard


    Mar 31, 2000
    WInter Garden, FL
    In order of increasing importance to your tone:

    #3: Your amplifier, it's important, but not an absolute necessity to have a good one.

    #2: Your bass, as has been pointed out there are many situations when the amp has no great effect on your tone (or none at all). Also, the easier it is to play, the more you'll practice, which leads us to...

    #1: YOU. Your tone starts in your hands. A great amp and bass in the hands of someone that doesn't work on their abilities will sound like Mike Anthony's "well executed fart", whereas the cheesiest P-bass copy through the worst Gorilla practice amp could sound like heaven in the hands of a player that works on HIS (or her) tone. You know, the one in your hands. :D
  18. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Well said Gard. I will get compliments like, "Boy that amp sounds good" or "that bass sounds good". I crack a little smile, knowing that "I" sound good! :D
  19. dytakeda


    Jul 18, 2000
    I like to think of this question this way. Consider the "chain". The music is made this way: Player - instrument - amp. The earlier one of these components is in the chain, the more important it is because it can make the later components sound better. A good player can make a good music on a cheap bass. The reverse doesn't work, however. A $3000 amp isn't going to make a cheap bass sound any better that it is. In fact, if the $3000 amp is doing it's job, it'll make the cheap bass sound exactly like the bass that it is.

    Therefore, the amp is the least important thing in the chain. It's not unimportant, just not as important as the instrument or player. Great tone won't make up for poor time or unimaginitive playing.

  20. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    A good amp will bring out more of the bass's character. That way, it's only then you know if the bass sounds good or not.

    On a bad amp, all basses will sound bad. Maybe an ounce different, depending on whether it's a Samick or Ken Smith, but still bad.

    No way I can make a bad Samick sound good through my EBS. No way I can make my Yamaha sound good through my blown 40W keyboard amp (I have tried).

    If a good bass is played through a good amp by a crappy player, it will most probably sound like s**t.

    I totally agree with brewer9 - the chain isn't stronger than its weakest link, be that bass, amp or... you?

    [Edited by Oysterman on 01-22-2001 at 01:02 PM]

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