#1
Hey UG'ers,

Been learning the bass about half a year now, my Rockschool exam is coming up this August and I'm pumped.

So now, I need some enlightenment, for the farther reaches of the bass universe. I just need some defintions, you could say, for certain things that have been mentioned here. Before you start moaning, yes, I could've just googled these terms, but they would all be riddled with crazy bass jargon. So I decided to ask you guys. Please hear me out.

Okay ..

What is a head?
What is a cabinet?
^^ How do they work? (Like do you plug them into an amp or something )
How do effect pedals work? <-- Where do you plug them?? and how come some don't have a pedal??

I think thats it .. For the moment anyway.
Thanks in advance.
There was once a wise Chinese man who said:

"All you can eat, $12.50"
#2
Ok a head is the actual amplifier in an amp. It contains the Pre amp, Power amp, tubes (if it is a tube amp), this is also where you plug your bass into.

A cab is the speakers of the amplifier. You plug the head into the cab(s) and the sound will play through the speakers. There are many arrangements of speakers like 4x10" (which is 4 10 inch speakers) or 1x15" (1 15 in speaker). There are many combinations of heads and cabs. Together a head and a cab form a stack.

Effects pedals I don't know as much about, however I do know that when the bass's signal goes through it changes the sound depending on the pedal. You either plug you bass into the pedal and then have another cable from the pedal to the amp. Or you can put pedals into the effects loop on your amp which will put the effects after the EQ. This will change the sound of the pedal.
So that with good courage we say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

-Hebrews 13:6
#3
To simplify what Traben said, Head + Cab = Amp.

Many different combinations can be used to achieve many different sounds.

Effects pedals change the sound of the bass. A fuzz pedal adds fuzz. A chorus pedal adds chorus. A setup can go Bass -> Effects pedals -> Amp -> Speaker, or it can go Bass -> Amp -> Effects -> Speaker.
Gear:

Fender Jazz
Spector Legend Custom 5
Yamaha BB415

Fender Bassman 400 Pro
#4
I was trying to make a simpler explanation but couldn't, thanks for clearing it up ^
So that with good courage we say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

-Hebrews 13:6
#5
Hehe, I just remember how confusing it was learning this stuff at first. All your info was great, it just looks like Chinese to the unlearned. ^.^

I hope this info helps!
Gear:

Fender Jazz
Spector Legend Custom 5
Yamaha BB415

Fender Bassman 400 Pro
#6
Thanks .. So let me get this straight, you can, instead of buying an amp.. Buy a head and a cabinet?

Oh yeah, what are combos?
There was once a wise Chinese man who said:

"All you can eat, $12.50"
#7
^ there are two configurations for an amplifier. A form of a stack (head+cab(s)), or a combo. As mentioned before, a head is the amplifier itself, and the cabinet is the speaker cabinet (the speakers and their housing). You can buy a head and cabinet separately, which allows you to mix and match different heads and cabs.

A combo is a combination of head and cabinet (that's the easiest way to put it). It contains all of the components of a head, and the speaker(s) in one housing. The advantage of a combo is that they are usually cheaper then their equivalent in head+cab form, and they are much more portable and easier to transport.
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
#8
so a head is a tiny box that changes the tone of your bass and makes the sound louder. the signal then goes to the cab which puts the signal through speaks so it can be heard.

a combo is where you tqake the head and cab and build them into one unit.
no sir away a papaya war is on
#9
You plug effect pedals like this:

Bass-->Pedal-->Another Pedal (if you have more)-->Amp/Head.

Thats a basic explaination I suppose, it can get much more complex. In the way I explained it the pedals can be turned on and off so that they will only change the sound of your bass if they're switched on. Again trying to keep this in Layman's Terms.

EDIT: You can also buy multi-effect units, which are like lots of different pedals all in one machine. They are generally used as a cheap way to get lots of different sounds and also to save space because you have one unit instead of loads of different pedals.

Ibanez K5
Warwick Rockbass Vampyre 4

Line 6 Bass Pod XT Live
Epiphone Les Paul Custom
Last edited by Bassist Rising at Jul 20, 2010,