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Old 02-14-2013, 11:38 AM   #1
willop
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how to pick an amp? What's the most popular?

OK, yes, I know it's 'whatever sounds good to you'....great advice for someone with 20 years experience.

Not worth squat for a newbie.

There must be something that 50% of all players use. I've been watching a lot of bands playing and see most choose a les paul or strat as a guitar, 4 string bass (squier/fender jazz).
Of course there is a wide variety of instruments being played and a wide array of music out there and today there are fewer 'rules' than ever before. For example, I've seen a couple of bands now with no drummer -the lead singer or someone just has a bass kick drum. I see either no keyboards or a setup of half dozen of them. (korg being the brand I see most).

So is there a 'standard' (aka most popular) rig for rock, country, jazz? (assume each has it's own preference).

Or is it a matter of get a modeling amp/pedal and what you choose for gear is unimportant?
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:56 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willop
So is there a 'standard' (aka most popular) rig for rock, country, jazz? (assume each has it's own preference).

The closest thing to a "gold standard" or "holy grail" of bass amplification is an Ampeg SVT on top of a matching 8x10. The SVT is probably the most iconic bass amplifier and it has a legion of fans. However a new SVT CL (Classic) nowadays costs around $1800. A VR (Vintage Reissue) is north of $2000, and the Heritage edition is even pricier still. And that's just for the head. They're big, heavy, 300 watt all-tube monsters with a tone that many bassists lust after and try to simulate.

Remember though that especially nowadays, there are lots of amazing options for amplification, and an Ampeg SVT is by no means the be all end all of bass amps. We're not stuck in a metaphorical rut gear-wise as the guitarist crowd is, there's a lot of really good options out there.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:22 PM   #3
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OK, so what can reasonably emulate sound for less money/heft?

I am still learning and have yet to gig - but would like to. My son and his friends are trying to get something together (there are 5 kids in the class ahead of them as motivation - these 13 year olds are playing for money and have a CD coming out) this summer (son is 12) and if I don't join in (what, dad in OUR band? LOL) they can use my gear) so something that can be heard in a small electric guitar setting w/ drummer yet can be used 'at home' without taking all the decor out (i'm married and don't want to get into TOO much trouble)

The kids will play greeen day/rock type stuff. I like the sound of jazz / blues bass and would like to try country (not much around here in the way of country bands). So if I want to gig it could be anything. One very successful (as in always working) band here plays everything - cee lo green, sinatra, beyonce', bob seger - at the same event (weddings, parties, etc).

Does that narrow it down any? LOL Hence my quest for advice!
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tostitos
The closest thing to a "gold standard" or "holy grail" of bass amplification is an Ampeg SVT on top of a matching 8x10. The SVT is probably the most iconic bass amplifier and it has a legion of fans. However a new SVT CL (Classic) nowadays costs around $1800. A VR (Vintage Reissue) is north of $2000, and the Heritage edition is even pricier still. And that's just for the head. They're big, heavy, 300 watt all-tube monsters with a tone that many bassists lust after and try to simulate.

Remember though that especially nowadays, there are lots of amazing options for amplification, and an Ampeg SVT is by no means the be all end all of bass amps. We're not stuck in a metaphorical rut gear-wise as the guitarist crowd is, there's a lot of really good options out there.

This must be one of the least set ups used by the amateur/semi pro fraternity.
In The UK Ashdown amps are very popular, 4x10s are popular as are 1x15s often coupled with a 2x10, there are many of these speaker configurations around so you don't have to fork out massive amounts just for a fancy nameplate.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:01 PM   #5
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If you're after a classic over-used sound (which isn't as commonplace in the bass world as the guitar world) as Tostitos said, you want an Ampeg SVT (and you want to run a Fender into it). That's going to set you back a fair bit. Your alternative to get that sound in a cheaper/lighter/smaller package is to go down the amp simulation route. Tech 21 make a well-regarded series of pedals that emulate the Ampeg SVT called the VT character series. The basic model is quite affordable and does a damn good job of emulating the sound. The bonus is they work as pre-amps too, so you could buy one of those pedals, a standalone power amp and a fairly transparent speaker cabinet (as the VT pedal has speaker emulation) and you'd have yourself a good replica of the SVT tone in a manageable package.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
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Good alternative, in the past I've used a Line 6 Bass Pod XT Pro into powered cabs that I built myself using power modules from these people http://www.bkelec.com/
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Swift
This must be one of the least set ups used by the amateur/semi pro fraternity.

I'm not saying its a setup you'll see in every bedroom, garage band, or bar/pub gig. It's expensive, bulky, heavy, you could even consider it dated. But it's still a classic that people GAS for and try to simulate. I can't think of another bass amp closer to a "gold standard" so to speak.

If you want something like that on a budget on a budget then Ziph's advice is something you'll want to consider. The Tech 21 VT is a good way to go as far as emulating that sound goes.

What is your budget though? You don't by any means have to confine yourself to a box, there's plenty of really solid versatile options out there that aren't too expensive, especially if you can go used.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tostitos
I'm not saying its a setup you'll see in every bedroom, garage band, or bar/pub gig.
Or a band with 13 year olds in.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:28 PM   #9
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I would go for something solid state and 300-500 watts, and add a 4x10 cab.

Should work for almost anything really. Might not be perfect but will work at least.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by John Swift
Good alternative, in the past I've used a Line 6 Bass Pod XT Pro into powered cabs that I built myself using power modules from these people http://www.bkelec.com/


John, have you got a step by step or so somewhere on how to build powered cabs? Very interested in doing it myself.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:38 PM   #11
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John, have you got a step by step or so somewhere on how to build powered cabs? Very interested in doing it myself.

I'll sort out the measurements etc and get back to you on it.
All the fittings such as corners, handles, sockets and socket plates, feet, castors, speaker grilles etc are all available.
Are you in the UK or over the pond?
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by John Swift
I'll sort out the measurements etc and get back to you on it.
All the fittings such as corners, handles, sockets and socket plates, feet, castors, speaker grilles etc are all available.
Are you in the UK or over the pond?


UK. Not too far from your neck of the woods, actually
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:23 PM   #13
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Solid state is preferred.

Seems 4x10 is THE standard...what 'everyone' uses. What about something modular? Markbass makes combos that take add on cabs.

If one can emulate 'any' amp/cab then does it matter what you buy?

I figure there's no easy way to copy someone' sound - besides the person themselves being different, JPJones would wire his axe so that one pickup went to one amp / cab and the other to a different amp brand/size cab.

I'm just after the most versatile option I guess I'd have to say.
Used is fine - or new as it's easier to get what you want.

budget is around $400, but less is always better.

I see a lot of acoustic B450 combos around, used, for $300-330 range. A B200 is second thought.

Played through an acoustic (of some kind..didn't pay attention) at the GC last weekend, priced new at $449 and it sounded good to me....but lots of variables.

The local GC has few bass amps in stock. I stopped in one in dearbon mi wen I was there a month ago and they had a ton of them (and a lot more bass guitars too - our local one over the weekend had just one six string and a low end one at that)


Used stuff shows up on CL from time to time - today is a peavey 700 firebass head, FK 4x10 cab SWR 4x10 cab, $400 for all of it. Overkill I"m sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rageahol
I would go for something solid state and 300-500 watts, and add a 4x10 cab.

Should work for almost anything really. Might not be perfect but will work at least.

Last edited by willop : 02-14-2013 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willop
Solid state is preferred.

Seems 4x10 is THE standard...what 'everyone' uses. What about something modular? Markbass makes combos that take add on cabs.

If one can emulate 'any' amp/cab then does it matter what you buy?

I figure there's no easy way to copy someone' sound - besides the person themselves being different, JPJones would wire his axe so that one pickup went to one amp / cab and the other to a different amp brand/size cab.

I'm just after the most versatile option I guess I'd have to say.
Used is fine - or new as it's easier to get what you want.

budget is around $400, but less is always better.

I see a lot of acoustic B450 combos around, used, for $300-330 range. A B200 is second thought.

Played through an acoustic (of some kind..didn't pay attention) at the GC last weekend, priced new at $449 and it sounded good to me....but lots of variables.

The local GC has few bass amps in stock. I stopped in one in dearbon mi wen I was there a month ago and they had a ton of them (and a lot more bass guitars too - our local one over the weekend had just one six string and a low end one at that)


Used stuff shows up on CL from time to time - today is a peavey 700 firebass head, FK 4x10 cab SWR 4x10 cab, $400 for all of it. Overkill I"m sure.

If you're after versatility, a good transparent solid state with plenty of headroom would be good. Markbass does make some very good stuff, but it's going to be out of your budget. You could get a used Little Mark II or III head for around $400, but you'd still need a cab.

Acoustic is a good bet. They're budget amps, but they're pretty solid and dependable, and you're unlikely to find better bang for your buck. A B200 or B450 would be a solid bet.

Maybe someone else can chime in on the Firebass, I don't remember if that's the head that people have had issues with or not, but in general old Peaveys are rock solid. That's a not a bad deal if everything is in good condition.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:50 PM   #15
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To my knowledge the Peavey Firebass series are quite highly rated... the ones with the white faces are particularly sought after. Assuming I'm thinking of the right amp anyway.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:58 PM   #16
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As others have said, there is no one amplifier that 50% of bassists use. Bassists are not as bound by tradition and lust for all things "vintage" as are our six-string brothers and sisters. Bassists are constantly experimenting, and are willing to give new things a try. That's what makes us better people!

As others have said (again), the Ampeg SVT on top of the classic 8x10 "refrigerator" cabinet is the classic standard for bass. It was built to compete with the (then new) Marshall 100-watt stack amplifier. It is still highly sought after, particularly because the SVT is one of the few tube amps made for bass. But consider this: The SVT amplifier head alone weighs a whopping 85 pounds! The cabinet weighs slightly more than 100 pounds. Hoisting that rig will give you the workout of your life. And when it comes time for new tubes, the SVT uses a gaggle of very expensive 6550 tubes. It is an investment, to be sure.

Most bassists go with solid-state amplifiers. They are smaller, lighter, more reliable and bassists aren't as dependent on the sound of overdriven tubes to get the tones they want. Class "D" micro-amps have become quite popular, with 500-watt amps that are no bigger than an old car stereo and weigh next to nothing. The good ones (GK, SWR, Markbass) are definitely worth investigating.

Most bassists go for 10" speakers these days. Some traditionalists still prefer the "woof" of a big 15" or even an 18" speaker, but 10" speakers deliver more punch and articulate the sound better (well; most of them do). A great many working bassists now use a 2x10 cabinet and mic it if they need more "oomph" for a gig. At any rate, a 300 to 500-watt amp with a 4x10 cabinet will serve you well in practically any situation short of sitting in with Motley Crue on a world tour.

Neodymium speakers have come of age in the bass world. They are considerably lighter, and they sound great. If you have your eyes set on a particular cabinet, see if it is offered with Neo speakers. Your back muscles will thank you for it.

Most solid-state bass amps have very flexible and capable EQ sections, so they are capable of a great many tones. There are also a number of preamps, pedals and graphic EQ pedals to help you shape your tone in more ways than you ever thought possible.

Look around for a good solid-state amp in the 300-500 watt range. Try them out and see if one jumps out at you. You really can't go wrong with the offerings from the major manufacturers. The only way for you to be sure is to plug in and play. Remember: it's your money, your sound and your ears. What sounds great to you?

Good luck with your amplifier search!
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:03 PM   #17
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Played a short bit tonite at a store with a guitar like mine on a GK, peavey 112 and ampeg.
The GK sounded nice but not loud enough (not sure the model, $250-300 price range new). The 112 was the volume I'd like to have. The ampeg was in between but didn't sound as good as either.

Not sure if its the amps or the new guitars but everything sounds better in the store than what I have at home. Came home with a set of rotosounds for my RBX as i've no idea what's on it now (mixed strings, unknown brand/model/age). They had some DRs but not the ones I wanted in stock. At $25 I figured i'd try the rotos.

A peavey 115 (300w 1x15) is $300...not huge, sounds good to me. I'll have to compare something with a pair of 10s in it, but anything with a pair of 10s is mo money. Acoustic 450's are around (nothing local, GC has them used for r $330ish.

A peavey TNT 115 - how are they? Seems a 'pro' version of a 'regular' 115 and there's used one locally for about $200.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:22 AM   #18
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My GC likes to recommend the Acoustic Bass Amp, but thats if your wanting to play guitar on it also.
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:48 AM   #19
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I'd go with Markbass amps, and just use pedals to achieve the multiple sounds you might be after. Say Markbass because they sound very neutral in their tone to me. Also Eden amps aswell, but Markbass has more options.
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:05 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rageahol
I would go for something solid state and 300-500 watts, and add a 4x10 cab.

Should work for almost anything really. Might not be perfect but will work at least.

I've tried Laney RB7 (300W, Solid state). This amp kills!!! With a Laney RB410 cabinet, it will generate an earthquake!!!!!
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