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Bass reawakening - small amp advice pls

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Ronetele, May 4, 2004.

  1. Ronetele

    Ronetele TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Dec 2, 2003
    Mountain View, CA
    Years ago I played bass, mostly rock, but then turned exclusively to guitar. At many jams I'd offer to play bass but never really stayed with it for more than 10 minutes. Then the other night there was one too many guitar player so I stayed on bass all night and had a blast! The amp and bass were house instruments.

    So now, I'm thinking to get a small bass amp so that I can practice a bit and so that I can play bass at small jams. I like a deep (of course) mostly clean sound that can hold its own all the way down to the low E. My grooves are motown-like rather than popping or high G melody stuff. I read the review of the Traynor, that sounds interesting. Any other opinions?

    BTW, I had a TNT when I was starting out and they were new. Too heavy and the sound of mine never really did it for me. I seem to remember it as too muddy.

    The TNT is long gone, replaced by an Acoustic head and folded cab setup, that was monster, but also long gone. However I've kept THE bass an early 60s (I think) EBO type Epi thingy with the original pickup, which is simply fantastic for a deep almost acoustic bass sound. And I added a Lawerence double blade pickup near the bridge which is simply killer for agressive sound. Modified the circutry so that one knob is volume and the other a blend for the two pickups.

    Probably more than you wanted to know, but I'm just realizing, again, how much fun a bass groove is....
  2. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    Back in the 60's I was the "designated bass player" 'cause everyone wanted to be a lead guitar star. My rig was a P-Bass into a Ampeg B15N Portaflex ... great little rig, very toneful, not particularly loud. I've always had the urge to get back to bass-ics - at least it'd be nice to have a bass amp in the shop for customers to plug into when I've completed their bass guitar repairs, mods and assemblies.

    First off I bought a Squier P-J bass on sale for $195/delivered - wow, what a fine bass! I did a few mods (new CTS pots, Switchcraft jack, vintage bone nut, Rio Grande "Muy Grande" P-bass pup), but even stock as-is it was a really fine player with great tone. Oh yeah, HAD to switch to flatwounds, too!

    I researched small combo bass amps and decided I didn't need anything more than a small combo so I bought a Carvin PB100-10 - 100 watts into a 10" driver. This proved to be a really fine amp, but quite lacking in volume for jams with a drummer and guitar players at small venue volumes.

    Finally, I returned the Carvin and bought a Behringer BX3000T amp head (300 watts - $199/delivered) and an Avatar B210 cab (twin Delta 10's - $258/delivered). In one decisive word - "SMOKIN'!" ...

  3. tom grossheider

    tom grossheider Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Mokena, IL
    Nice rig Rob! Very similar to the one I use, an SWR WM 2004 head into an Ampeg 2x10 8 ohm cabinet. Its about 200 watts, and plenty for what I need. Light weight and very toneful.
  4. Admin

    Admin Tele-Holic

    Mar 2, 2003
    Bass today

    I took up bass as a backup instrument in the early 70s, and it's been nothing but good to me year after year. Since then, bass technology has undergone a quantum change, which started in the mid-80s as amp manufacturers began designing amps specifically for bass, and bass manufacturers started refining the instruments themselves.

    One of the companies spearheading the change was SWR, and they still make some of the best stuff available. Not cheap, usually, but generally very high quality and superior sound. About half the bassists I see with big-name touring acts live or on TV seem to be using SWR gear, and all my own stuff has migrated that way over the last 10 years or so.

    Anyway, for a really small practice combo, the SWR Workingman's 10 is a great tool. Surprisingly good sound out of a tiny package. The 12" version is also very good, and by the time you get to the Workingman's 15 you've got a combo that can handle just about any gig short of a big hall.

    I should mention that Eden makes great stuff as well. And I hear lots of good things about the current Ampeg gear (but being a geezer, I'm only familiar with their old stuff...) ;-)

    There are lots of good choices out there, but you could a lot worse than SWR. Also, stop by www.talkbass.com and do a little research/searching on small amps. There are some very knowledgeable folks over there (even if they are bass players... hehe.) ;-) Best of luck, CS
  5. Oster

    Oster Friend of Leo's

    May 18, 2003
    Muddy York
    Small(er) Amp Advice

    I fairly recently bought a used Roland Bass Super Cube 100 for $450-. It fits into the trunk of my car (just barely) and is totally gig-worthy. It has a 15" speaker and is 100 Watts. It's simple but has all the right features: XLR out, High-Low inputs, Middle Frequency/Level controls, stack jacks, external speaker jack and a headphone jack too.

    I play fingerstyle, more 'Motown' inspired stuff too - usually with a P/J style bass (although I've recently switched to a Rick). The amp is loud, defined and clean.
    Definately worth checking out if you're browsing the used shops.
  6. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    Blacksburg, VA
    This is probably not what you are looking for, but I've been using a Bass POD through the PA exclusively, so that if I had to bring a standalone rig somewhere, I'd bring the POD and a JBL Eon G2 15. That's not much more to carry than some of the combos mentioned here and it packs a lot of power. There are a couple of good POD models for a Motown-type sound, and I hear that the Bass PODXT has even better sounds in that department.

    Good luck.
  7. Marc H.

    Marc H. Tele-Meister

    Mar 16, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    hartke kickback 10

    For small jams, I use a Hartke kickback 10. It's got an xlr out, so if the jam gets to loud, just patch right into the PA...

    120 watts into a 10 inch speaker, with fairly flexible tone shaping...
  8. Chief Brown

    Chief Brown TDPRI Member

    Apr 25, 2003
    Small Amp

    Just some advice, always buy a lot more amp for bass than you think you'll need. You might want a practice amp, but if you decide to use it for jams, gigs, etc. (which is pretty likely since a lot of players seem to be looking for bassists and drummers), you'll find a practice amp wanting. Also, in my opinion, you need about a 200 to 400 watt amp to keep up with most guitar players. For gigs that need more power than 400 watts, you should be going through the PA, and you'll be using your amp for monitoring only.
    So, with all that in mind, I have an wholeheartedly recommend a Nemesis (made by Eden) 210. Two hundred watts, sounds great, transportable (47 lbs.), has a built in compressor and DI out to the board. I love mine, and use it for the type of playing that you describe, fingers mostly, pretty much R&B type of playing.
    As alway, YMMV, no affiliation, IMHO only.
  9. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

    Mar 5, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    I've gigged for the last year with a Genz Benz ML-200 tilt-back combo amp. They have a single 12 version (like mine), a single 15 version, and a 2x10 version. 200 watts bridged, or 100 watts to the integral speaker and 100 watts to a speaker cab. I upgraded the speaker in mine from the stock 150-watt Eminence to a 400-watt model. Like many similar amps, it has a low impedance line out. It also has a tuner out, which is handy...

    Nice amp. I like my Traynor rig a lot better, but for a portable yet giggable setup, you could certainly do worse!

    Cheers, Tim
  10. bongo

    bongo Tele-Meister

    Jan 28, 2004
    hamden, ct
    I've had geat luck with a Fender BXR300 combo - it has a bottom ported 15 and is plenty loud & toneful AND it fits into the trunk of my 95' Passat easily. when I played an outdoor gig, I added an extension 15 and the sound was very solid and plenty loud. 8)
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