Other Amps

Recommendations for a Bass Amp

1

Hi, TGP (it's been a while). This is not a Gretsch-specific question, but I trust your expertise.

My daughter has begun to play bass, in addition to guitar. She's recently formed a band at college and is playing (very) small rooms. It's a 3 piece band (guitar, bass & vocals) with no drummer. Style-wise they play indie rock. Typical room size might be to play in front of 20-30 people.

She needs a small bass amp for practice and these small gigs. She'd like to pick up something relatively compact, light and cheap (under 200 used). Normally, I think bass amps need to be at least 100W to play over the drums, but they don't plan to have a drummer. If that changes, she can upgrade.

So, thinking of a simple combo amp. Would a Fender Rumble 40W (1x10) be enough for her needs? Or would she need 100W and a 1x12? The old Bassman amps are great, but they're pretty heavy.

Any other suggestions? Peavey or Ampeg maybe? Thanks!

2

Good luck finding an old Ampeg flip top. One of the best tried and true bass amps ever built. For the money, however, just look for a G-K combo. Plenty of power, small and easy to tote. Price should be good as well.

3

IMO you need a 12" speaker for bass at least...i don't think 10s kick it out enough in the deep lows at musician levels even in acoustic format. you probably don't need 100 watts, but the obvious question is will they want to play with a drummer in the future? if she's on a $200 budget at this point she probably won't want to be in a position where she has to get a different amp in 6 months. for this application i would look for some kind of solid-state amp since they're so much lighter/smaller/more portable; the lighter chassis etc. can help make up for the weight of a larger speaker. there are bass heads nowadays smaller than a trade paperback that you can tote around like a college textbook.

4

Huh. I've always preferred 10's for bass - to me they stay tighter and 12's get flabby sounding. Guess that's what makes a horse race. In any event, I'd prolly go with a TC Electronics BAM200 and whatever cabinet you like. Cheap ($150) and ultra portable, just introduced but there are already used ones around.

Link

5

10s can work if your bass sound is as mid/highs-centric as it is deep (as is the case for much modern music), but i think 12s are preferable for older-school stuff where the bass really needs to thump. i had an acoustic ensemble in the 70s where the bassist played fretless through a Magnatone M8 that worked great, and that's only 25W through a 12.

6

I just bought my first bass amp a couple of weeks ago. It is a used GK MB115 that I found on Craig's List. It is light weight with a 15" speaker and has that amazing GK tone. There is a chain function that allows you to add an extension speaker that also increases the watts from 200 to 400. I played a rehearsal with it last Thursday with powerful players and it was plenty loud and filled out the bass frequencies beautifully. It is the first and last bass amp I ever intend to buy. It sounds perfect. I honestly think every bass player should own one.

7

I as much as I like the tube scene, I think this situation calls for a GK MB 150 -- 26 pounds 1-12. You can get a nice carry bag for these. But these are always $400 used.

Fender Rumble (so many models would do a good job for less)

8

I as much as I like the tube scene, I think this situation calls for a GK MB 150 -- 26 pounds 1-12. You can get a nice carry bag for these. But these are always $400 used.

Fender Rumble (so many models would do a good job for less)

– DCBirdMan

Great ideas. I will take her to GC to play a few tonight. A used GK would be great; but if she starts with a Rumble and wants to replace it in a year, that's fine too. I'm just happy she's playing in front of people. And that she finally took my advice which I shared when she first started to play guitar when she was 13 -- "guitar's great, but if you want to consistently play in bands, learn to play bass. A female bass player who can sing will never struggle to find bands who need her"

9

Congrats on having a bass player! All my musical kids are drummers. I love the idea of a bass playing frontwoman (big Concrete Blonde fan).

Some guys turn their nose up at this amp, but I love my Bassman 60. 60 watts, 12” speaker, wedge shaped cab for tilt back action. Plenty of bass for small venues. And it has a tweeter, so you can roll off the bass a little and use it for acoustic guitars. I think I paid less than $100 for it.

There is also a smaller 25 watt version with a 10” speaker.

10

By the way, the vaunted Ampeg SVT has 8X10" speakers, and 300 watts of tube power (17 of 'em---the most expensive amp to retube). Each pair of 10"s are in their own separate enclosure. Even their mini SVT has a pair of 10"s. 10"s will work, tho I'm a fan of 12" and 15" cabs myself. You can also use a large powered PA monitor. My Mackie TH-15s have built in preamps and EQ and can handle my keyboards with ease. They'd work for bass as well. I've run plenty of bass instruments thru PA using Sansamp type preamps/pedals. I've seen/heard an upright jazz guy play thru a G-K head into a Bose 801 mid cab, with 8-4" speakers, and it didn't sound too bad.

11

Why an amp? Look into a Tech21 SansAmp. I used one for my bass duties. It's not a modeling unit. It's a pre-amp and bass DI interface. The SansAmp sounds great and is portable. All you need is a PA to plug into.

12

Why an amp? Look into a Tech21 SansAmp. I used one for my bass duties. It's not a modeling unit. It's a pre-amp and bass DI interface. The SansAmp sounds great and is portable. All you need is a PA to plug into.

– AndyJ

I love the Tech21 stuff - I actually have one of their little Trademark 10 combo amps which gives Marshall tones at bedroom volumes. But where she is playing (house shows, on-campus venues) they don't even have a PA in most cases. So, she needs a small grab-and-go amp.

13

A small 12" cabinet and a class D amp head, which are really small.

14

I love the Tech21 stuff - I actually have one of their little Trademark 10 combo amps which gives Marshall tones at bedroom volumes. But where she is playing (house shows, on-campus venues) they don't even have a PA in most cases. So, she needs a small grab-and-go amp.

– barryg_nyc

I was wondering about that. Sans PA, no SansAmp.

15

I recently picked up an Acoustic B100C for just pennies over $200 at Musicians Friend. I used one of their common 15% or 20% deals that they offer on a regular basis.

I only play at home now, and after getting this, my bass guitars finally sound like bass guitars again! (I had just been plugging into one of my guitar amps and playing at low volume.)

I used to play gigs back in the '70's as a bass guitarist, and while I would not use this in a rock band with drummer situation, I am confident that it would be more than adequate for a small drummerless combo!....plus, with musicians friend, you can return it if it doesn't work out for her.

16

I recently picked up an Acoustic B100C for just pennies over $200 at Musicians Friend. I used one of their common 15% or 20% deals that they offer on a regular basis.

I only play at home now, and after getting this, my bass guitars finally sound like bass guitars again! (I had just been plugging into one of my guitar amps and playing at low volume.)

I used to play gigs back in the '70's as a bass guitarist, and while I would not use this in a rock band with drummer situation, I am confident that it would be more than adequate for a small drummerless combo!....plus, with musicians friend, you can return it if it doesn't work out for her.

– Toddfan

So, tonight we tested a few bass amps at GC. The Fender Rumble 40W felt small and muffled. We liked one of the big Ampegs, but it was pretty heavy and bulky for her. But the amp we both thought sounded the best was... the Acoustic B100C. 100 Watts, 1x12 speaker and could definitely handle the small gigs she is looking at. We'll watch for a price dip or sale, but that's the lead contender right now. Thanks!

18

Barry- You mentioned the Fender Rumble series. I really like the Rumble 200 I purchased a few years back. In fact, I took it out to a local jam and the house bass player liked it so much, he bought one too. Thing only weighs 34 pounds- very attractive to some of us older guys tired of hauling heavy gear.
The 200 may be larger, and at a higher price point, than she would want, so you might be right on track looking at the Rumble 100. These should be fairly available used as well.

19

I think SuprDave is right. A tiny class D amp and a 10" or 12" cab sounds like a nice setup, especially if you loaded the cab with a neo speaker. Super light, more than enough power for future needs, and easy to lug around the city.

20

For her purposes a Fender Rumble 25 should do. My folky, indie band uses it and it’s fine. Save her money for the eventual upgrade and save her back. (It’s 21 lbs.) Sounds fine.

21

Gary, the Roadjunkie, brought one to one of the Nashville Roundups. The amp head was about the size of one of those Rockmans from the 80's. It was more loud than I could imagine. It kept up with any 100w tube amps running along side of it.

You still out there Gary? Chime in, bud.

22

Whatever you do don't get one of those MarkBass cubes. They sound great when they're working but they have a factory defect.

23

Gary, the Roadjunkie, brought one to one of the Nashville Roundups. The amp head was about the size of one of those Rockmans from the 80's. It was more loud than I could imagine. It kept up with any 100w tube amps running along side of it.

You still out there Gary? Chime in, bud.

– Suprdave

Ummmm... That was a Genz-Benz Shuttle 3.0. It belongs to me now. I had it in the cabin parlor at the last Nashville Roundup.

Sadly, no longer made, as Fender bought the company and mothballed production.

But yes, it is an awesome amp with a Klipsch-style folded porting in the cabinet and 175 watts... 13.5 lbs with a footprint just under 1 sq. foot. I gig with it regularly and it's plenty loud AND deep, thanks to the special cabinet porting and a fantastic EQ circuit. You'd have to find a pre-loved one, but they are killer amps-- seriously, skeptics are frequently silenced by this thing...mine's a keeper.

(Stock photo)

24

I think SuprDave is right. A tiny class D amp and a 10" or 12" cab sounds like a nice setup, especially if you loaded the cab with a neo speaker. Super light, more than enough power for future needs, and easy to lug around the city.

– Baxter

Thats exactly what I was referring to with the TC Electronics BAM200.

25

Oh heck, just get her a rig like this..


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