I've been playing bass for a little while now and am now looking at upgrading my amp. I currently use a Rascal BA-20, which must be at least 15 years old. It's just a little something to practice with in my room.
I was hoping to upgrade to an amp that I could play small shows such as basements, garages, and small parties with. I don't want to limit myself to certain styles of music by choosing a certain amp as what I play is constantly changing.
I stopped by Guitar Center yesterday and they only recommended a few combos. I was told the Fender 234 5300 010 Bassman 1x12 150w with Piezo Horn was the smallest I should go. (Sorry I'm not sure what was the product number and what was the model number, so I just copied the whole tag down). This was $429. I also looked at the Line 6 (990150405) LD300 1x15 300w-$599. I really did like the amp modeling feature and the built-in effects seemed like they may sometimes be used. The man who helped me at Guitar Center (Who seemed quite knowledgeable) didn't recommend I go the route of the modeler amp, but didn't seem violently against them. I also looked at the Ampeg BA210SP 2x10 200w combo. $699 ($649 on Musicians friend). This amp seemed more traditional than the modeler amp but still included many special effects that could give a variety of sounds.

I've also thought about going modular, as in seperate head and cab. Would I be able to get fully equipped in the 200-300+ watt range for around the $600 range? If necessary and if it would decrease the cost of future upgrades I could increase my price range.

When going for a seperate head and cab, do the heads often have built-in effects? Although they seem somewhat gimmicky, I feel I could probably find a use for them and would reduce the need for a pedal (which would increase the overall cost).

I have heard bad things about Behringer and have tried not to look at them even though their price is so appealing. I had thought that the Line 6 amps were looked upon well, until Incubus_Science told me I may not want to look at them or Crate. Is this the general consencus?

I know buying a bass used is generally considered a good idea, is there anything wrong with buying a combo, head, or cabinet used? Does the longevity truly get reduced so significantly, especially because one can get electronics at cheaper costs.

Anyone have any Head/Cabs I should look at? Again, I'd prefer to stay around $600, though if necessary or highly recommended I could go higher.

Also, if I can get good quality at a cheaper price, that's also always good!
Last edited by Crankymonky at Jan 21, 2007,
Behringer amps break down quickly, Line 6 usually sound bad. I'm not sure what the problem is with Crate, but I know there are better amps out there.

As for buying used, if you find something you like, go for it. Nothing wrong with it.

Are you looking to get a head/cab, or a combo?
Crate are pretty bad: the EQ doesn't change the sound as much as you'd expect, the distortion can't be blended with a clean signal and is unusable on its own (to my ears at least), the octave effect tracks really badly and makes you actually sound quite out of tune.

I know I'm starting to sound like a real Ashdown fanboy around here lately but I really don't think you can do better than a MAG with 210 or 410 in this price range. I also like the Peavey TNT115 because it's got a great EQ and a pretty good modern sound. I don't know about prices in dollars, so you'd have to check MF or whatever to see which of these are within your budget.
If you get the hartke 3500 head and tp410 cab i think that is just over your limit but it is 350 watt so you have plenty of headroom and you won't need a new amp again as soon. Plus it is a good amp overall
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I know I'm starting to sound like a real Ashdown fanboy around here lately but I really don't think you can do better than a MAG with 210 or 410 in this price range.

I would second the Ashdown. I haven't played them, but they have a great reputation.
i like the 2 rli similar threads running atm and i will deffo say get an ashdonw mag on here aswell :P
I think I may have really liked the LD300 and the Ampeg BA210SP because of their effects. After a bit more research, it seems like I can get the same effects from pedals, which seems like I may be able to get a nicer, cleaner sound when desired. I'm thinking of going seperate head and cab, but haven't really decided.

smb, the Mag 410T cabinet is within my price range, any recommendations on heads?

It seems like going seperate head/cab/effects pedal offers more diversity and the ability to upgrade is much easier. I'll post more after I go to guitar center tomorrow and try out a few amps and get some more advice. Thanks a ton already!
I second the Hartke. If you can't afford the TP410 you can look into the VX410 or VX115. (I'd reccommend the 115, so you can just add on a 2x10 or 4x10 later.)

If you get a stack now you won't have to upgrade too soon. And when you do need to upgrade it will be easier since you can just add cabs, get a new head, or whatever. With a combo you'd have to replace the whole thing.

If you do get a combo I'd say make sure it has at least a 1x15 with horn OR 4x10 speakers. a 2x10 or 1x12 combo won't be that great. Also, make sure it has a cab out that doesn't mute the internal speakers.
"You can practice to attain knowledge, but you can't practice to attain wisdom." - Herbie Hancock
For $600 you can get that Ashdown 4x10 cab and the MAG300 head. I have the MAG300 combo and it's an awesome amp. I would not be reluctant to buy more Ashdown products in the future. I will probably buy a stack from them in the future when my band starts to gig.

This site has free shipping... MF wants $70 to ship that cab.

Last edited by SuperSnake2012 at Jan 22, 2007,
One thing I really liked about the Ampeg 210 SP was the built-in effects. If I got for a seperate head and cab, would it be a wise idea to not get built-in effects, so I can change those out and more easily get a clean sound? Also makes the initial purchase easier.

For the multi-effects, such as those included on the Ampeg 210 SP, how much would one be looking at spending?

If I can get an old Crate B200XL head for cheap and some old speakers, will that be enough to be heard over a drummer? Something tells me yes, I just wonder how the sound would be. Harmony-central only has 2 reviews on that head, though they were both decent. But I did hear Crate's amps aren't particularly good! Though 15 year old ones may be better?
Last edited by Crankymonky at Jan 23, 2007,
ampeg BA 115 combo FTW

it;s good stuff, you can get a feesable tone out of it, and it's pretty cheap.
i use a BP80 multipedal for serious fuzz and other stuff.

Ibanez Soundgear 300 DX
Digitech BP 80
Ibanez SW 20 / Ampeg BA 115
Squire Affinity Strat
Line 6 Spider IV 15