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Amp n speakers for both guitar and bass?

Postby Evie McCreevie » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:53 am

Getting back to gigging soon, playing guitar AND bass (not simultaneously!).

Can anyone suggest an amp and speakers, or a combo, suitable for both guitar and bass at small/medium gigs? Something like a Fender Bassman, only smaller and cheaper - around 500 euros, rather than 1500?

Looking for a clean but warm, chunky sound for both... I'm happy to go secondhand - would a decent guitar amp with a bass cab do the job? Any suggestions?
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Re: Amp n speakers for both guitar and bass?

Postby ef37a » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:15 am

The main problem with bass is that it needs prodigious amounts of power even for smallish venues.

100watts is little more than a practice amp! So, the starting point has to be a pretty pokey amplifier and realistically that means a solid state jobbie. Couple that to a 15inch speaker and you have a bass rig (if you want a "brighter, tighter" tone, a 2 x10incher?).

You will then need a proper guitar speaker and you have to watch power handling here. Fortunately if you have say a 150W bass amp it will probably only put that power into 4 Ohms thus, something like a 16 Ohm V 30 will only absorb less than a third of that. 50ish watts into a 1x12V30 will do most pubs!

I suspect you will also need some sort of pedal for the sixer to modify the wide band nature of the bass amp?

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Re: Amp n speakers for both guitar and bass?

Postby BigRedX » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:13 am

Two very different instruments that have two very different amplification requirements.

Guitar amplifiers and speakers in general contribute much more to the overall sound of the instrument than the majority of bass amps. A lot of that sound is due to technical short-comings of the components originally used - valve distortion and speaker with a very uneven frequency response. That means if you want THAT guitar sound you are still tied in to design and technology from 50-60 years ago while bass amplification has moved on a lot and these days has far more in common with good PA design. BTW the size of the drivers in modern bass amplification far less important than the overall design of the cab that they are housed in.

Bass guitars also need A LOT more power in order to be heard. For gigging, the general rule of thumb is 100W plus 3 times the combined power of the rest of the band's back line.

Also unless the bass sound you want is strictly old-school 50s and 60s mainly muddy and dirty the Fender Bassman is not really suitable as a bass amp these days (coupled with the fact that they are woefully underpowered by modern standards) which is why the majority of them you see are being used by guitarists only.

You could experiment with running the guitar through a Pod or some other amp sim device into a bass amp with plenty of clean headroom, but ultimately I think you'll find yourself disappointed with the sound of one if not both instruments when you are compromising this way. Plus you are likely to have massive volume discrepancies between the two.

What sort of music are you playing? That will have a lot to do with what sort of amps you should be using - especially on the bass side.
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Re: Amp n speakers for both guitar and bass?

Postby Frisonic » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:09 pm

BigRedX wrote: bass amplification has moved on a lot and these days has far more in common with good PA design.

There's your clue!
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Re: Amp n speakers for both guitar and bass?

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:25 pm

Evie McCreevie wrote:Looking for a clean but warm, chunky sound for both... I'm happy to go secondhand - would a decent guitar amp with a bass cab do the job? Any suggestions?


I strongly advise you to try the new Peavey VIP, the recently-released model!!!! I played one of these a few weeks ago, to say I was stunned is an understatment, they're absolutely fantastic.

Don't be put off by the solid-state technology, or that it's a guitar, acoustic and bass amp in one!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKCJ9wLisPs

They really are great!!!
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Re: Amp n speakers for both guitar and bass?

Postby Ramirez » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:57 pm

Frisonic wrote:
BigRedX wrote: bass amplification has moved on a lot and these days has far more in common with good PA design.

There's your clue!

I don't know if this the above quote is a nod towards what I'm about to suggest, but here goes...

How about a powered PA cab and your choice of modelling preamps for guitar and bass?
I'm about to sell my Orange bass rig in favour of an active PA speaker and a Zoom B3 preamp. I find the amp and cabinet simulations on the Zoom to be great, so I figured I might as well use those sounds and amplify them as cleanly as possible. I'm similarly thrilled with the Fender Mustang line of modelling amps, especially for typically Fender-ish clean sounds. If I had a gig that required switching between bass and electric guitar through the same rig, I'd go with an active PA speaker such as a QSC K10 (which I'm going to get after selling the Orange... or perhaps the K12), then a Zoom B3 for bass and a Fender Mustang Floor for the guitar sounds*

I'm really starting to think that DSP preamps and powered full-range speakers are the way forward for me - a full range speaker takes speaker cab colouring out of the equation the most part (which is a massive part part of most guitar/bass amps' character) - if the cab modelling is half decent, as I'd argue it is on the Zoom and Mustang, then you've got yourself a superbly flexible rig.


*As far as I know the Mustang floor could cover your bass sounds as well (it has a Bassman model, for example, and I quite liked my bass through the Twin model), so the Zoom or similar wouldn't be needed.
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Re: Amp n speakers for both guitar and bass?

Postby Evie McCreevie » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:34 am

Thanks for the suggestions folks. That Peavey Vypr could well do the job (though I hate the name and the optional pedal is an absolute eyesore). The PA idea is worth considering too.
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Re: Amp n speakers for both guitar and bass?

Postby Hewesy » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:15 pm

I'd suggest as above really, a decent powered PA speaker with built in mixer so you can EQ each side and have independant volume controls (as above, the bass side will need more power than the guitar). If you really wanted something valve in there then look at a valve based guitar pedal, Blackstar HT or similar. Maybe a EHX valve preamp pedal?

Other than that... Can't think of anything else OTH.

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