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Need advice on amp upgrade


dohhhhh6

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As some of you know, I've been thinking about a new (bigger + more powerful) amp for ages. With Guitar Center's 39th anniversary extravaganza this month, a purchase is definetly a possibilitie.

 

Now for a small recap of my background. I've been playing bass for about 8 months, and I'm really wanting to jam with some other people. I've been taking lessons from a great teacher for my whole bass career and know how to play slap, finger, and pick (although I prefer fingers and slap) and know some theory. Right now, I only know 2 guitarists that I'd even think of about doing something with and occaisionally play some stuff with one of them (without a drummer). The same guitarist I do some stuff with really wants to get a band together, but we don't know any drummers that we'd consider playing with. I currently have a 15 watt Crate amp that would leave plenty to be desired in terms of loudness in pretty much any band like setting.

 

So right now I'm wondering, "Am I really gonna go to the next level where this bigger amp will be useful?" Now I know this question can only truely be answered by me, but I was wondering if you fellow lowdowners think that it would be a good decision to buy an amp I could use in a band setting in the future? I just don't wanna fork over 300 bucks or so (a lot of money for an unemployed 14 yr. old) for something I won't need. Remember I'm only in 8th grade this year, which means I have pretty much 4 years to get something together without worrying about the future of the band with the intervention of college.

 

Now to tell you what I'm looking at for the upgrade. In this catalouge type thing I got from GC, there's an SWR LA-15 100-watt combo for $249.99. By looking at the amp you'll probably understand that I'm looking for an amp that A) will able to be heard even when played with a drum kit in the vicinity and B) doesn't cost that much.

 

Sadly, I don't have anywhere near the amount of money that some of you spend on amps (which I've seen to be over 1 grand for some of you). I'm not too worried about the sound of the amp or how high I crank the volume up as long as it's LOUD enough for any entry level gigs I could get into in years to come. I realize that I will worry about how high the volume knob is and the overall tone of things in years to come if I stay faithful to my bass (which I hope happens), but the best way to explain it is that I'm living for today. Two other choices I have are a Rogue RB-120BT 120W 1x15 Bass Combo for $199.99 and a Behringer BX1200 Ultrabass 120W 1x12 Combo for $249.99. My face value choice is the SWR since I think it would bring the best tone for my budget. Which amp do you people think would best suit my needs?

 

Thanks for the feedback guys You are the only people I know (other than the Guitar Center staff) that are knowledgable enough about this type of stuff to seriously help me out Again thanks for the feedback and your time

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Originally posted by Da LadY In Tha Pink Dress:

As some of you know, I've been thinking about a new (bigger + more powerful) amp for ages. With Guitar Center's 39th anniversary extravaganza this month, a purchase is definetly a possibilitie.

 

Well, what's your budget?

 

You might save money by spending only $300, but if it's useless then you are definitely throwing money away.

 

Look for something used. You'd be surprised the damage you can do.

 

I remember my old Hartke combo, the 1415. It didn't sound great, but it was loud for its size.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2550688269&category=10171

 

Just a quick search and I came up with this:

 

http://www.bassnw.com/usedamps.htm

 

Trace Elliot 712SMC Combo Amp w/S.S. Preamp 1X12" & 130 Watts - $299.00

 

Sounds like a much better deal than the SWR budget line. Check eBay, too.

 

Wow, I might bid on this one:

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2551202830&category=10171

 

Be smart on a limited budget.

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Hmmmm.... I'd say go with the Behringer for true wattage. The smaller SWR amps never seem to pump out the wattage that they list.

I think your best bet is a Peavey combo like a used TNT, TKO or a Combo 115. They are sure loud enough and can be found for under $200 bucks, if you don't mind a used amp. Good luck,

Hawk :D

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Find out what that guitar player has and buy something that you know will cut through. I think the hard fast rule is to take the guitar players wattage and double it. It's harder to move those lower frequency's around. With limited finances that can be rough. Make the guitars turn down so all can be heard if you have to. If your planning on playing out somewhere your going to have to get something eventually. As far as brands and such I have no opinion. Try them all out and go with what you like.

I am on a limited budget and Used gear has been the path that I have chosen but you have to be careful not to inherit someone elses headaches.

 

Good Luck!!

Double Posting since March 2002

Random Post Generator #26797

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If I were you, I would compare the tone of the Rogue combo to the tone of the SWR before deciding. If you don't prefer one over the other in terms of tone, go with the Rogue. Twenty watts more, fifty bucks cheaper. Sounds good to me.

 

I would bet that the Rogue is just as good as the LA-15, it just doesn't say SWR on it.

 

Good luck

:thu:

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I have to agree with Maury - look at used. With some searching and a little luck, you can get quite a bit of amp for $300 - if that is your budget.

 

I suggest an SWR WorkingMan 15 OR an Ampeg BA115. I have played both and liked them both.

 

I did a quick search on eBay and found 4-5 SWR WM15's and a couple Ampegs that seem to be in your price range.

 

Good luck.

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I only got a few minutes before my family leaves for dinner so I'll try to answer the details I missed quickly.

 

My budget is close to $350. I can probably go higher than that with my dad backing.

 

I don't mind used gear at all. My only problem is that I've never used Ebay before, and my parents aren't too keen on letting me use it. Maybe I'll have to have another talk with them about it. They don't let me buy anything online either.

 

The guitarist that I play with sometimes has his brother's amp at the moment which probably isn't over 50-60 watts. My other friend has maybe an 80 watt Peavey. I'm not quite sure on either of them.

 

In my few spare moments I'm going to do a quick search on Ebay, and I'll try to get a little talk about Ebay going at the dinner table today. Thanks for the wonderful feedback guys.

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Another option is a local dealer selling a used amp. This would be good if your parents are "dead-set" against buying on-line.

 

Just beware, just because he's a dealer and he's local does NOT mean he's trustworthy. There are good dealers and not-so-good dealers. Ask around about local dealer(s).

 

There are some dealers that I would rather have to boil my strings than buy strings from them :mad: Honest :cool:

 

Dave

Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
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Hi Lady, I thought I would add my 2 cents. I have a friend who uses a Crate BX100 I have also been to a local 'open mic' club where the house bass amp is a SWR LA15. Both of these amps sounded good and where powerful enough to cut through 3&4 piece bands.

 

In my opinion buying used amps is a good idea as long as you can play through them first. Buying an amp on Ebay will not allow you to do this and once you figure in the cost to ship the amp it may be cheaper to find something locally.

 

There will always be a sale at GC, so don't be pressured.Take your time and try out as many different amps as you can.Many times local stores will match or beat GC prices so call around.

 

good luck and keep us informed

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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Thanks again for the feedback. I've talked briefly to my parents about Ebay, and said they'd talked to me in detail some other time. So things are looking up.

 

If I knew some more local stores, then I'd probably try them out too. But as it stands, there's only Mel Bay (they changed their name but my friends and I refer to as its older name) and GC. Maybe I'd do good to check the phone book.

 

The problem with local used gear is that there's little of it here. The musical shops I've been to don't have a lot of stuff available (although every month they get more and more). Ebay is definetly my best available source (although untapped) for used gear.

 

Now with the possibilities provided by Ebay, I can kinda search around and wait it out until a great buy comes around. So now I'm wondering what the requirements are more-or-less.

 

Lemme ask a few questions. In a amp used in a band type setting, what features do you look for? I know I need more than 100 watts to be heard over a drummer, but what's a good number of watts that allows 1 or 2 guitarist AND some headroom? How big should the speaker be? What other features do you consider a must in an amp? Sure everyone has different tastes, but I'd like to know your standards since I have none other than above 100 watts.

 

Well, it looks like I'm off to Guitar Center with a friend tommorow to check some stuff out and maybe buy some new strings (mine have been on my bass since I got it). I'll keep ya updated!

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Originally posted by Da LadY In Tha Pink Dress:

...Lemme ask a few questions. In a amp used in a band type setting, what features do you look for? I know I need more than 100 watts to be heard over a drummer, but what's a good number of watts that allows 1 or 2 guitarist AND some headroom? How big should the speaker be? What other features do you consider a must in an amp? Sure everyone has different tastes, but I'd like to know your standards since I have none other than above 100 watts...

Watts - a general rule of thumb is add the wattage of the guitar amps and multiply by 2 for the minimum rating. (Or in my case, add the g-amps and multiply by 9.7, MUHAHAHAHAHA!)

 

Speaker size - totally up to you here. I use 10's, other like 10's w/ a 15 or 18, some like 15's by themselves, and some like 12's.

 

Other features - Tone, volume, mute button, tone, and volume.

 

Good luck!

Ah, nice marmot.
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Originally posted by Scootdog:

Watts - a general rule of thumb is add the wattage of the guitar amps and multiply by 2 for the minimum rating. (Or in my case, add the g-amps and multiply by 9.7, MUHAHAHAHAHA!)

 

Speaker size - totally up to you here. I use 10's, other like 10's w/ a 15 or 18, some like 15's by themselves, and some like 12's.

 

Other features - Tone, volume, mute button, tone, and volume.

 

Good luck!

I'm with Scootdog; twice the power as a minimum, four times for some headroom.

 

Speakers - don't forget, if you increase your speaker surface area, you effectively increase your volume. I, like Scootdog, use 10" speakers exclusively nowadays. I often use 2 of these in a single cabinet, and sometime I use 4 of these in two separate cabinets. Once upon a time, I used to use 15" speakers.

 

I never got around to use 12" speakers with bass, only guitar. But they are all the rage these days.

 

The average 2x10" will give you volume and punch to be heard.

 

If you're budget is $350 and maybe a little more with some help, DEFINITELY check the used market. You might be able to get a head and cabinet setup if you shop around.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2550697584&category=10171

 

You have so many options... if you get creative, you could end up with a nice rig.

 

Features to look for if you're looking for "bang for the buck" and not necessarily best tone: volume, tone controls, and a built-in limiter/compressor. Also, a DI is a necessity.

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Buying new is kind of an instant gratification deal with me. You know what your getting with no surprises. You get the warranty coverage and hopefully some after sale support. It's a valid option to consider.

 

Buying used offers the hope of more bang for the buck. Most times this is true, but the secret and your not going to like this part is patience. You have to wait for the right equipment at the right price to come available. That means you have to look for it. You also need to be able(ideally) to play through it and hopefully assess its condition.

 

My observation (YMMV) is that being on E-bay is not necessarily an indicator of a good deal. I've seen stuff selling at prices where I could buy equivalent new stuff for what some fool is paying. You need to do your homework. Figure out a couple of options that could work for you and be able to recognize a legitimate deal when it appears. (Either on-line or consignment or whatever.) Doing the homework is kind of like investing sweat equity rather than cash.

 

My immediate suggestion is to go to some shops and play through a range of equipment. Of course play the ones you think are in your footprint. Also go ahead and play some of that gold plated super duper way outta your price range stuff. That has two advantages. The first is it will help you get a sense of what kinds of sounds the high end stuff can do and what how what your looking at compares relatively. The second reason is hey when else are you going to get a chance. :cool:

 

Me I avoid playing the stuff that's just slightly above my price range to avoid upselling myself. :rolleyes:

 

Have fun keep playing

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Don't rule out pawn shops. Some great deals can be had at these places. Be sure and bring someone with you who knows a little bit about what to look for. Bring your bass and play the amp first. If it sounds bad no matter how much you tweak it, it will still sound bad when you get it home. Turn it up and see if it's what you think is loud enough. If the place objects to this, you don't want to give them your hard earned money.

 

Later on, if you decide you don't want to play any longer, you can sell the gear. So, it won't be a total loss. My best advice is just go for it. You won't know until you do it.

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I agree with getz's first post a lot. You are not pressed into a purchase now...no immediate gig. How long would it take to save another couple hundred dollars?

 

I am not a fan of the LA series...they seem to be a little fragile, not much tone control.

 

For just a little more, the Workingman gets in the picture...that's a GREAT first amp.

 

But then, you are also getting into the price range of the Eden Nemesis, Ampeg combos and a whole world of other choices.

 

I'm not a fan of the used amp market. Used basses can be easily evaluated...I can look at a bass in a pawn shop, and in 5 minutes know, absolutely, whether or not it has major problems and should be avoided.

 

For used amps, I can't do that. Problems could be hidden under screws and panels. To properly evaluate an amp it has to be analyzed on a bench.

 

An amp could sound great for 15 minutes, and then start to buzz, pop, hiss and make alien sounds. You'd never know by just spending 5 minutes pounding on it in a used store.

 

Here's another option...although Guitar Center doesn't carry it.

 

As a young bass player with limited resources, I learned what company makes quality gear with acceptable tone, tons of features and rock bottom prices. My first new amp purchase, as well as new bass purchase was Peavey. I played some of their amps a few weeks ago, and was VERY impressed.

 

Here is another option I would definitely explore: Carvin. I just got their catalog yesterday in the mail. They have a PRO 100 combo at $279 that has 100 watts. For $399 (plus 30 buck shipping) you could get a PRO 200, with a nice eq, pre amp contour, with a built in noise gate. The amp has a 15 plus a tweeter and it has RCA in, I suspect for practicing with a CD player. Carvin's reputation for quality is legendary.

 

It looks to me like the 100 and 200 are the same amp and speaker. The only differences seem to be a 5 band eq and the tweeter.

 

Good luck.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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what cornbread said. I live 2 hrs. from St. Louis and there is tons of used gear around here. Yesterday I saw a Peavey Max pre-amp for $85.00 at the local pawn shop. There were also several peavey bass combos for under $250. and thats in a town of under 20,000. Take your bass when you go and play their stuff. If you can exercise some patience you should find a deal at the pawn shop.
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!!!UPDATE!!!

 

Guys! I went to Guitar Center today and found a great used amp!

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/sid=030815125144024107138106337986/g=bass/search/detail/base_id/42517

 

I have it on layaway right now, so it's not definite... yet. The price is about 300 bucks WITH a 15 month garunty on all the parts. I know the salesguy, and he definitely would not try to cheat me. He's also is a pretty experienced bassist. It was loud, in my price range, and the extra effects definetly don't hurt.

 

Please tell me what you think about it! Now, I'm gonna read those tips from Tony ;) . Thanks for all the advice!

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Originally posted by Da LadY In Tha Pink Dress:

Also, do you think I'll be able to play clubs or anything above simple jamming with this? I'm just not quite sure if the 100 watts with work well.

It all depends on the volume of your guitarist and drummer.

 

This should be fine for rehearsal, if your cohorts are also using non-arena-rock gear. However, if you run into a guitarst playing through a 50- to 100-watt tube head through a 4x12" cabinet, you will most likely be a little disappointed.

 

Not for nothing, but back in the day when I was competing with a guitarist who insisted on using a 100-watt Marshall JCM900 and a 4x12" cabinet, I needed to throw an Ampeg SVT head (300-watt tube) AND an Ampeg SVT cabinet (8x10" speakers) at the sucker. Guess what? I still struggled to be heard. What I'm trying to get at is, as long as your fellow musicians play fair, you shouldn't have a problem. However, when I was your age, and it wasn't that long ago, I remember distinctly that guitarists in that age-range RARELY play fair. Most view the bass-player as someone to play some root notes so they can solo over them. Wait a second, I forgot... that doesn't change with age! :D

 

Regarding clubs and other venues, the amp you selected has a balance line out, which, in an decent sized venue, should go straight to the board so the bass will come through the mains. Your amp will act more like a monitor so you can hear yourself play, rather than be the source of sound for your audience.

 

And hey, if your cohorts insist on not playing fair, guess what? Find new cohorts. The beauty of playing bass is, there are SO few of us. Guitarist are a dime a dozen. Drummers, on the other hand... if you find a good one, hold on to him or her... even if it means locking them in the basement. Good luck!

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