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crazydancer

Bass amp advice for a newbie please!!

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Posted (edited)

Hi! Just found the forum as I was hoping to find some info on bass amps, but looking through here, there's too much! 😳

Just to set the scene - I'm still very much a beginner in the world of bass playing, started a year or two back with a Fender Squier short scale, have been learning 'on the job' as it were, in a band, just plugging away with root note stuff and now starting to add a bit more in. We have done some local gigs, very low-key, and up until now they just plugged me into the PA. (Which was rubbish) We have a couple of gigs booked this year and  I'd really like to have an amp, but I have no idea where to start, I don't know the first thing about amps. I just use the one in our rehersal room, but that's too big. I'm no spring chicken, female and a [email protected] So I can't lug anything huge around, and we're not a loud band! 

Are there any key things to look for, I know some amps are aimed at practice rather than performance (and I do have a very old 2nd hand practice amp at home) so is there a minimum wattage you'd recommend, anything else to consider? 

I'm a bit nervous even posting this as I'm aware this is a really basic question, but would appreciate some gentle pointers in the right direction...... 😊

Edited by crazydancer

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So what is your budget?

I can suggest a light, loud, one cab solution but it might be more than you want to pay.

I'd suggest an 8 ohm 112 and 500 watt amp. That gives you the ability to be loud enough with one cab and add a second cab if you want to sound bigger and better.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Chris - so far, no idea on budget as I don't really know what the cost would be for what I need. Already seems I had duff info from our guitarist who told me 30W would be fine..... believe me, I doubt I will need to sound bigger, we are only doing small gigs in pubs, and generally volume levels are such that you could still have a conversation! 

ETA: What are the differences between a combo, and a cab and head, in terms of use and performance? Or it just personal preference?

Edited by crazydancer

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Posted (edited)

I agree with Chris above. 500w ideally but a bare minimum of 300.

A cab and head would possibly be more versatile than a combo - if you have a problem you only need to sort out one component. Its also potentially easier (lighter) to cart about. People say good things about Fender Rumbles and TC combos's if you go down that road as they're nice and light. If you don't mind older and heavier kit then Peavey and Trace Elliott kit is super cheap and good value (but it will weigh much more)

And buy secondhand from the classifieds on this site - its full of good people so probably lower risk than from auction sites or Facebook. If you find it doesn't suit you it can be resold with minimal loss.

You would probably be looking at a minimum of £300 spend but would get something that would cover most scenarios - such as if you get asked to do any outdoor gigs which would need a bit more power. Spend £500+ and you'll have a very good choice. 

Edited by Mudpup
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6 minutes ago, Mudpup said:

I agree with Chris above. 500w ideally but a bare minimum of 300.
A cab and head would possibly be more versatile than a combo - if you have a problem you only need to sort out one component. Its also potentially easier (lighter) to cart about. People say good things about Fender Rumbles and TC combos's if you go down that road.
And buy secondhand from the classifieds on this site - its full of good people so probably lower risk than from auction sites or Facebook. If you find it doesn't suit you it can be resold with minimal loss.

Totally agree with Mudpup,  Personally I would try for a 500W setup as that will also give you some clean headroom.  But good advise from Mudpup and Chris-b.

 

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Posted (edited)

This would do....its not mine bTW. Great price and you can add an extra cab to get the full 500w if the band starts getting bigger gigs.

 

Edited by Mudpup

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Posted (edited)

If you’ll be gigging with any kind of regularity then go for separate head and cab as you may well find there’ll be gigs where there will be the option of a semi share of backline. If so this will often be that you can use the cab but need your own amp. Saves you carting a whole combo to the gig then...

Agree on above also. Min 300w head and as for a cab to get you started 8ohm cab in whatever speaker size and number you want. As said you can then add another later on should you wish.

Also agree on buying through the classifieds on here. 

Edited by mr4stringz

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I'd suggest a Fender Rumble 100 watt combo. Think there's a couple in the For Sale section. Sound fab and are really light. I don't think you'll do better for around £180 and would seem to fit very well with what you describe.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Japhet said:

I'd suggest a Fender Rumble 100 watt combo. Think there's a couple in the For Sale section. Sound fab and are really light. I don't think you'll do better for around £180 and would seem to fit very well with what you describe.

I couldn't do a pub gig with 100w.....

(Actually i just reread the OP and the lady says thye're not a loud band so maybe you would get away with it but i think more watts would be useful so its not cranked too hard)

Edited by Mudpup

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1 minute ago, Mudpup said:

I couldn't do a pub gig with 100w.....

OP said she couldn't lug anything big around and that they're not a loud band. Rumble 100 would seem to be on the money to me.

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Guys, thanks so much for the advice! I feel a bit of a fake in here asking questions,  I'm such a basic player, and have never bothered to find out anything about kit. I do know the amp in our rehearsal room is a TC head and cab. The local shop has the Fender Rumble, and I know a friend uses that in his rehearsal room. Now you've thrown a few prices in there, then I'd say up to £400 is do-able, if I can get 2nd hand for less then even better. I had ~£300 as an idea, give or take.

I can't stress enough though that your idea of a gig, and our reality, are probably worlds apart!! 😂 We'd probably be the only band who'd be asked to turn it up..... having said that, one of our charity gigs will be an open-air, so may need a bit extra in the bag for that.

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What TC amp are you using in the rehearsals? Where is the volume control when you are playing?

If your guitarist is anywhere near right with his 30w estimate, then you're playing at a much lower volume level than I expected or I have experience of!

My thinking is - a 500 watt amp will be putting 250 watts into an 8 ohm cab and you don't want to be pushing an amp hard, maybe no more than half way on the master volume control, so that means you are using about 100-150 watts of clean power. Holding a lot of the amp's power in reserve will give you a thing called "headroom" which gives you a cleaner and clearer sound. depending on the soujnd you are after that can give you a "better " tone. IMO while combos have a level of convenience, they will be a heavier lift than separates and they have the disadvantage that you have to sell the whole lot when you want to upgrade.

There are no stupid questions. Keep asking and you will build up your knowledge.

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Thanks Chris. 😊 Having browsed the site a bit more and found posts by people who seem close to my level, I'm feeling a little less intimidated!! 

So from memory, I have the gain set around 4 - 5 and volume around 7 - 8. Any more on the gain just seems to give a buzz, and also sets the drum snare resonating. I keep the volume on my bass about at an 8 (if it was calibrated) so I have a bit to turn up quickly for a couple of the tunes that need a bit extra. The 4 dials for bass/mid-low/mid-high/treble I have tended to keep central/neutral, but had a friend drop in last week who cranked the bass right up and we decided that sounded good, and took a bit off the volume in that case. I've been very tentative in the past as I'm very much the inexperienced member in the band and didn't want any errors really standing out. I'm a lot more confident now, so starting to play around with things. Without having people to ask, it is just trial and error!

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A lot will depend on what you want to use your amp for.

If it's just for home use, then a 300-500w amp might be that little bit too much, where a 50-150w amp might be more suited.

However, if you want to take it to a band situation, then something like a 250-500w amp might be a better investment down the line.

If you have a look at the Thomann website, they do an Ashdown "Toneman" 300w 1x15 combo for a very reasonable amount (about £300-ish), and if you look at Musik Produktiv's website, they do the same amp (but badged "AMP 300") as a 2x10 combo for about £350. I have the 2x10, and it's great. Not the lightest out there, but sounds really good.

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Posted (edited)

I'd go to see other bands and see what they're using.  Good fun, educational and a helpful steer. That's what I did and I learned loads. By looking and listening and talking to the bassist at the interval. 

I'd avoid 15 inch cabs.  For most purposes a 2x10inch or 1x12 inch is fine.  Even a top quality 1x10 inch will be fine and weigh next to nothing. 

To be heard in even small band context you're going to have to crank up a 50-100w amp a lot and in cheaper gear that's where the rot sets in.  Far better to have a 300-500w setup where you've power to spare.  It's like the difference between touring Europe with a mini and a Bentley... one will make a fuss, the other won't.

Probably your other best idea is to go to a seriously knowledgeable shop like Bass Direct or the Camden Gallery and ask their advice.      

Edited by lownote12
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Just an update to this post - I bought a Fender Rumble, only 100w but really portable. The band liked the sound in the rehearsal room, and the final test was at the weekend when we had a gig. Typical set up for us, birthday party, and I was really happy with it, plenty enough power to be honest. I can see it would have limitations if we were a rock band in a bigger venue, but for what I need it for, it's perfect. :) 

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4 hours ago, cattytown said:

One think I may have missed - what sort of musical style is your band?

Paul.

We're a really relaxed 'just for fun and charity' band, cover stuff, our style is just whatever we like doing!  Female singer does a nice line in stuff like Summertime, Ain't No Sunshine, Landslide.... she shares singing duties with a sax player so of course we do Baker Street, and he sings stuff like Heroes, Come up and see me (make me smile) Sultans of Swing, Friday I'm in Love..... We try and include slightly less obvious things, Crawling up a Hill, (more like Katie Melua version) Stripes (Brandy Clark) Feels Like Rain (John Hyatt) Overkill (men at work). 

:) 

 

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Good choice on the Rumble. I was a little alarmed to see people recommending expensive, powerful stuff to you. Whilst the advice was sound, I felt it might be overkill for the requirements you set out in your original request. If you do need to make more noise and like the sound your Rumble makes, you can always add an extra power amp and cab at a later date, or even buy another Rumble and link them. Have fun.

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On 09/03/2019 at 13:10, crazydancer said:

I'm a bit nervous even posting this as I'm aware this is a really basic question, but would appreciate some gentle pointers in the right direction...... 😊

I can't really offer help on your main question but I will say don't be nervous about asking questions! I've asked some real no-brainers in my time here and always get helpful responses (usually with some shenanigans mixed in)

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19 minutes ago, Rikki_Sixx said:

I can't really offer help on your main question but I will say don't be nervous about asking questions! I've asked some real no-brainers in my time here and always get helpful responses (usually with some shenanigans mixed in)

Agreed. I’m continually asking such questions and get really helpful answers.

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11 hours ago, crazydancer said:

We're a really relaxed 'just for fun and charity' band, cover stuff, our style is just whatever we like doing!  

:) 

 

Cool. Your choice should be fine

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On 09/03/2019 at 14:56, Japhet said:

I'd suggest a Fender Rumble 100 watt combo. Think there's a couple in the For Sale section. Sound fab and are really light. I don't think you'll do better for around £180 and would seem to fit very well with what you describe.

Light, easy to move and there is one in the For Sale section. This would meet your current needs but as others have pointed out, a 300/500 head and lightweight cab would see you well into the future. 

But for now Fender would work well

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With a combo of 100W or less (like the Fender Rumble or an Orange Crush), would you be able to use a head with it to get some extra grunt?

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