Rig Advice Needed

Discoqueen

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Hey everyone.

So I’m a very new bassist. I took lessons when I was a kid and some of the techniques have stuck with me, and I’m switching over from electric guitar, so at least I know my way around the fretboard, but as with any instrument, there is a certain amount of time that needs to pass for proficiency to develop.

Anyways, my friend wants me to replace the bassist in his band already, so lol, been practicing every day and trying to study what makes a good bass line and all that. It’s a lot of fun. Really invigorating. I want to be in the band in question really bad. They play like old school rock and grunge kinda stuff.

So, the crux of the situation, I need a rig. I have no clue what I am doing, though, as far as what I would need. I have no familiarity with most bass amp brands, though I do like orange for electric guitar amps. I don’t really know what kind of tone I am after. I’ve always been bad with gear. I am a plug and play kinda person, for sure. I like minimal, if any, pedals at all. I’d go into a store and try stuff out, but I am again, clueless what I want to ask for and have had bad experiences in stores before so, honestly, I try to buy used or online, so I thought I’d pick everyone’s brain.

Wattage? Should I go combo or head and cab? Anything I should be aware of as far as differences in how bass amps work from electric guitar amps? What kind of pedals, besides the tuner lol, are essential? I know they’d want me to have a fuzz pedal. Budget,l: hopefully under $800.

I know this is a very broad question, so thanks for reading through. Also I appreciate any advice you could give.

Thabks :)
 

Adieu

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Just buy an old Carvin Hartke or Peavey 1x15 combo or a head and 4x10 cab

Sure $2k rigs might be a bit better, but $150-300 will get you pretty close

Bass is weird that way... almost everybody either has $300 MSRP worth of pathetic gear (the old amps I'm suggesting being A LOT better) or is part of a tiny but vocal minority that are running around with $5-10k worth of gear.

There's no serious middle ground.... except old USA amps and old Japanese basses with pickup upgrades. Which are badass AF but hardly anybody uses.
 

Hexer

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If you'd want to stick with Orange, their bass amps don't seem half bad either. Can't speak from personal experience though. Ampeg is pretty much a standard in the world of rock and metal bass, too.

As for Pedals. I, too came from being a guitarist that hardly used any pedals for the most part. Now for bass I actually built a small pedal board for the first time. Basically it consists of a tuner (that can handle low notes well as I play a 5-string tuned down one step), a compressor and an overdrive that includes an EQ. Yea ok, technically I have 3 different overdrive pedals on there to play around with :lol:

Be aware that overdrive/distortion tends to work different on bass than on guitar. On bass, it tends to suck the low end away or make it muddy so it's usually a good idea to either have a distortion/overdrive/fuzz pedal that has a "blend" knob to blend in you clean signal OR to split your signal and distort only one chain.

How much power you need probably depends a lot on how your band plays in the rehearsal room and how much power is needed for you to keep up.
 

Screamingdaisy

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What gear does their current/previous bassist use and what does the band think of it?

My basic recommendation is used Ampeg, Peavey or GK. Orange is cool, but it has one sound and that sound isn’t always suitable. Don’t get a combo, unless you only play coffee shops you’ll find it limiting as you progress.

If you were around here I’d advise you to go 500w minimum and a 410 cab, but some cities you need smaller rigs so I’d ask around locally what’s standard in your scene. My big rig is 800w and a 410 or two. My small rig is 800w and a 115. A 115 is a good starting point if you can’t find a 410 in your budget.

In general, the shittier the venue the more amp/cab you need. In better venues you don’t even need to bring your own amp, they’ll have one provided on stage.

On bass it’s generally better to have too much amp/cab and need to turn down than not enough amp/cab and not be able to turn up. Being maxed out on volume is a good way to damage your gear.

No pedals except tuner, skip the distortion for now. Most venues will DI you into the PA and sending raw distortion down the DI generally sounds like shit. It’s easy to overcome, but it’s an extra headache while you’re learning and will eat into your $800 budget.

If still unsure about what to get…
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...taflex-pf-500-head-and-pf-115he-cabinet-stack

Blows your budget by $100, but you won’t be replacing it in 6 months.
 

Baelzebeard

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Yeah, I would go head and cab.
I would get a Gk RB series head, and a 4x10. That's a pretty sure bet.

Tuner is a must of course. Add other pedals as needed. Er on the side I'd using pedals designed for bass.
I haven't had much luck with fuzz on bass. IME it sounds great on it's own, but disappears in the mix.
 

Randy

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I haven't read any of the above so excuse me if I'm copying anything anyone else said.

Most useful pedal I've experienced in bass playing would be a compressor. Dynamics of the bass are different than the guitar, there's a lot wider range IMO; most of it not useable. Compressor kinda boosts and boxes it in better for any kind of rock music.

Bass gear seems to go much cheaper second hand, thankfully. 4x10 seems like the most convenient to transport for a bigger rig, 200+ watts SS would get the job done. I did have a single 15" powered SWR combo for a while that was pretty nice too.

Can't make much recommendations on brands, depends on taste. I've had Ampeg, GK, SWR (all on the cheaper end of their offerings) and some older stuff like the ol standby Peavey Mark stuff and some pretty serviceable Acoustic gear. Honestly, as long as you've got enough volume and at least a powered 15 or 410, you can really EQ to taste.
 
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Crungy

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Some Behringer stuff is pretty decent, like the BXT3000 or whatever it's called. I bought one for a backup/rehearsal rig along with a Behringer 1x15 cab and it kept up pretty well in a loud 4 piece with 2-3 or 4 vocalists. That head with two 1x15's or 2 4x10s would be very loud if needed.

Another good affordable brand is Hartke. I used an LH500 with my Aguilar 4x10 for a couple years with a cover band and that worked great. Tons of volume and worked great using pedals.

Which as stated above, if you want overdrive/fuzz/distortion most times you'll want a bass version. Not to say a guitar version can't sound good, it may suck out too much low end.
 

Randy

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Oh, also, 99% of gigs I've played where you're not standing on the floor (meaning anything on a stage), the sound person had me running line direct to the board anyway and the amp was just a monitor for me and maybe people in the audience on my side of the stage.

So filling the whole room with sound isn't a really big concern. If your bass "sound" (like fuzz) is a super important part of the bands mix, might be worth getting an amp with an XLR out so it'll be post effects.
 

Hexer

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So filling the whole room with sound isn't a really big concern. If your bass "sound" (like fuzz) is a super important part of the bands mix, might be worth getting an amp with an XLR out so it'll be post effects.
Or a Preamp with XLR out and a cabinet simulation
 

Discoqueen

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Thank you all for the input!

I’m thinking the Hartke HD500 or the LH1000 head with a HD 410, which I know is over budget but… you know. I am frustrated by my lack of experience right now, as I wish I knew better what I needed, so the advice is really appreciated. My two concerns are that I get an amp that can be loud enough and that I can carry it. I’m a smaller person so when I see a 4x10 weighing 70 plus pounds… I worry I wouldn’t be able to lug that around. Maybe I can just get a dolly cart :lol:

A lot of people on Facebook are suggesting the fender rumble 500, as well.
 

SamSam

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Thank you all for the input!

I’m thinking the Hartke HD500 or the LH1000 head with a HD 410, which I know is over budget but… you know. I am frustrated by my lack of experience right now, as I wish I knew better what I needed, so the advice is really appreciated. My two concerns are that I get an amp that can be loud enough and that I can carry it. I’m a smaller person so when I see a 4x10 weighing 70 plus pounds… I worry I wouldn’t be able to lug that around. Maybe I can just get a dolly cart :lol:

A lot of people on Facebook are suggesting the fender rumble 500, as well.

A Fender Rumble 500 will be loud enough for your needs and should be easy enough to find in a shop and try. A friend of mine has one and is very happy with it, his needs are fairly basic (clean and loud) mind. They are fairly light as well which can be important. I'm sure older 90s gear can sound great but if it weighs twice as much I would be put off. I personally use a light class D amp (DG M900) and either one or two neodymium speaker 4 x 10s (I could carry both cabs for a short distance at once if I really needed to) and you couldn't force me back to a tube amp and regular cabs :lol:
 

Hexer

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The Fender Rumble does get quite a lot of praise, yes. Never tried one myself.

just as an example, here is what I plan to do once I get to play in the rehearsal room or on stage:

I already have my sound in the form of pedals and preamps. so basically I just need a poweramp to make it loud. For now I have a 500W small GK head that belongs to one of my guitarists and there is an Orange 8x10 in the rehearsal room. I just plug into the effects-return of the head with my stuff.
When the time comes I will decide if I need to buy my own poweramp but basically I expect to go DI for most live applications and my preamps already have DI outs with cab simulations, so...
 

budda

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I have a rumble 30 and it surprised me for a little practice amp.

Used 410 of your choice and a GK MB500 would work too. Fender bassman 500 if budget allows too.
 

Screamingdaisy

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Thank you all for the input!

I’m thinking the Hartke HD500 or the LH1000 head with a HD 410, which I know is over budget but… you know. I am frustrated by my lack of experience right now, as I wish I knew better what I needed, so the advice is really appreciated. My two concerns are that I get an amp that can be loud enough and that I can carry it. I’m a smaller person so when I see a 4x10 weighing 70 plus pounds… I worry I wouldn’t be able to lug that around. Maybe I can just get a dolly cart :lol:

A lot of people on Facebook are suggesting the fender rumble 500, as well.

As for lack of experience, as a former guitarist I get where you’re coming from. My recommendation is to not overthink it. Start simple (bass, amp, cab, tuner), stick with industry standards (people choose them for a reason), and try going used. With used you can sell stuff for more or less what you paid for it as you gain experience and figure out what you like/don’t like in terms of bass tone.

The HD500 I don’t recommend. It may work at first, but you’ll find a 210 underpowered if the volume goes up and it has no flexibility to expand (can’t plug an extension cab into it).

The way volume works on bass is you need to think both in terms of power (wattage) and speaker surface area. The more of each you have, the more volume you can achieve. It’s why 210s are more of a pub gig thing and 410s are more common on a bigger stage. 410+115 or 810 have the additional advantage of getting the speakers up high enough that you can hear yourself easier.

The LH1000 I’ve used for a few years and it’s a good amp. It was run into a 410 and 115 and I never came close to running out of volume. Only thing I didn’t like about it is that it’s kind of flat/bland sounding, so I bypassed the preamp and ran a SansAmp VTDI into the effects return to make it sound more like an Ampeg.

The Rumble I have no experience with, but I’d recommend it over the HD500 as it has the ability to run to an extension cab. Just be aware that it will only output 250w with just the internal speakers and will output the full 500w if you add a second cab to it.

If weight is a concern, then consider lightweight cabs. Ampeg Portaflex for example. That said, most cabs should have wheels, and band mates should have no issues helping you carry up/down stairs. The biggest issue is making sure you can load it in/out of your vehicle at home.
 
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Discoqueen

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Is it okay to have a mismatched cab and amp? I was thinking a 500 watt amp and a 800 watt speaker cab. I know if it were a 890 watt amp and 500 watt speaker cab it’d be an issue, but not sure about vice versa.

the LH1000 and HD410 are my second pick at the moment. My main pick is an orange terror bass amp and a used GK CX 410. The cab is used so it’d be around the price of the LH1000 and HD410.
 

Discoqueen

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Hey y’all

thanks for all the advice!

I ended up going with a Hartke LH500 and a used Gallien-Krueger CX410, which met my budget of $800, until taxes lol. I splurged and got a JAM Rattler bass distortion pedal, as well.

The LH500 is rated 500 watts at 4 ohms and 350 watts are 8 ohms. So I bought the 4 ohm variant of the CX410, which is an 800 watt cab. I saw on other forums this kind of matchup is okay as long as I never run another speaker at the same time as I run the 4 ohm CX410. I don’t know tech stuff all that well, so I’m hoping this is the case.

All your input was super valuable. I felt super overwhelmed when I first posted, now I feel confidant I’ll have a solid rig for a few years before I need to upgrade or anything like that.

Thanks again! NAD incoming :)
 

Crungy

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Congrats! The thing to watch on the wattage rating is the RMS rating: if your amp is consistently putting out 500w at 4 ohms and your cab can handle 800w you'll be fine.

In the future if you wanted to have two 4x10's with that head, you could use 8 ohm cabs to make a 4 ohm load.
 

HaMMerHeD

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That's a solid choice. If you find yourself needing more volume, it's more likely the guitarist needs to turn down (they usually do), or you need FOH reinforcement.
 


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