NEED HELP w/ a bass amp

For some reason, I figured this might be a good place to ask... :lol:

Hey y'all

So my brother (who plays bass in our band) is looking to upgrade his bass amp. Currently has a Fender Rumbler (I think) which is a piece of shyt, and he's looking to get a head w/ a cab or 2.

So we went down to Guitar Center, talked w/ that guy I know down there, and got him a Gallien-Krueger 1001RB-II 700/50W Biamp Bass Head w/ a Peavy 15" speaker cab to start, with the thought of adding another cab w/ two 10" later on.

Here's the thing: I'm not so sure I like it. We giged w/ it the other night and have had 2 practices w/ it so far, and I'm not sold on the sound. I also wonder if it's because he's missing the other cab (w/ the 10's), but I don't think it's just that. I don't know much about the Gallien-Krueger, but I don't think I like the Peavy cab at all.

So what do you guys think? Opinons on this gear?

I know there's a lot of you on here who've been playing bass for a long time, so I'm hoping you guys can direct us in the right direction.

Our band is a mix of jamband, classic rock, etc. music, with his influences being Phil Lesh, Roger Waters, Mike Gordon (Phish), John Paul get the idea: the greats. So that's the kind of sound he's going for, but if I were to narrow it down, I'd have to say Roger Waters or Phil Lesh is the *ideal* tone he wants, and then he'll manipulate it from there.

Any suggestions???

Hoping for help soon, because the 30 day money back guarantee runs out in about 2 weeks.....


PS - still waiting on my guitar...... :)

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PS -

Forgot to include one important item: his price range is appx. $1150 (US).

I'll leave this one to the 2 bass boys, tweedle dee and erm..

Tweedle dumb, here :)

Lee will remember the British TV show "That's Life", and some random viewer who's dog became a minor celebrity because he could make it "talk". He did this by manipulating the growling (and presumably PO'd) terrier's jaws into a one-track conversation that went:

owner: "what's your favourite food?"
growling (and presumably PO'd) terrier: "sausages"

Predictably, it can now be seen on Youtube:

In the same manner, certain bass players (not really ultra funky-dunky types, but the hifi "currently touring with well-known-female-singer" bassists) can make their gear say something like "m'band tanks" with a little bit of thumb and some FET-powered, tweeter-equipped backline. Has its place, but I cannot stand that kind of bass tone.

I'll leave the GK head aside for the mo, but the one thing that makes me reach for a shotgun is a Peavey 15" bass cab. I used to suffer them at a rehearsal room until I got fed up enough to bring my own stuff with me. I once likened the sound to climbing up an iron rung ladder, in a sewerage inspection pipe, wearing workboots. Another bass player (and, presumably, a sewer inspector) reckoned it was the most accurate analogy written.

So, yes, I think the cab is a problem and I'd look at an alternative ASAP. I don't know the GK (apart from the "lots of watts and knobs for the $" reputation) but I had a look at the spec and all that separate-50W-tweeter-power bit suggests it may also be the wrong type of head for your purposes. It all adds up to a ponytailed, jacket 'n' jeans player's delight.

I realize not every bassist wants to lug all-valve amps around, and the 400W valve jobs really are monsters of weight and wallet, so if someone told me they like Roger Waters, I'd recommend gear he actually uses. Not because I'm one of those copytone idiots, but because it's great gear and no surprise he uses it.

In Britain [eg, Live 8] he uses Ashdown - as did Macca. The 500 Evo II is a great head (Lee got one on my recco) and the blendable valve/SS preamp is really useful while the sub-oct adds bottom and tracks well. Musician's Friend does them for $750, the same as the GK, but GC doesn't seem to stock them. I'd put up with the loss of a coupla hundred watts. Abroad, he seems to use Ampeg and, again, a good choice for the playing style. GC does stock the SVT-Pro3, but it's $150 more than the GK.

For your band, I'd bet either would be more like what you're after, but there's still a problem with the cab. If you use Ashdown or Ampeg cabs, you run out of power handling or cash. I had a look at GC's used gear and that might be a way round it, or why not try the Gallien-Krueger cabs? I saw some worrying reports on the 15", but the tens had good reviews.

Too late to waffle more, but I hope to get JLR to come back in and give his op. I know he's an Ampeg+big driver fan and he still emails me occasionally.

Unfortunately I don't have much personal experience with amps, 1bl is definitely the man there. However, the bit of experience I have have all been with Peavey, and they're nasty. The combo I play through at the moment is a 1x15 Peavey and it really does suck, no life in the sound at all, muddy at either end.
All I know about GK is Duff uses them (through 8x10s, I think) and despite loving his style I really dislike his tone, he insists on a top-endy punch-punchy sound.

I can imagine the big fat Peavy wubbling about as the amp tries to jab another note through it, but that might just be my vivid imagination!

But yeah, I'd ditch the Peavy. And personally, I fancy an Ashdown head, for all the reasons listed above.

I did own a EVO II bass head in my very limited time as a bass player, i had the ABM 300, it was a 325 watt head, it sounded good to me, i also had an Ashdown 4x10 cab.
Gary our Bassman in LAND has an 80's Trace elliot head, don't know the model number but he loves it, he's had the thing from new, I know a lot of people don't like Trace Elliot, and Gary doesn't like a lot of it, but he loves this amp. He also uses a hand made cabinet, its the size of a house, well it's 5ft tall, it's made from 2 inch thick marine ply, 2 sheets of 1 inch stuck together it weighs a ton, it takes 2 or us to lift it out the back of his car.
He has a horn thing in the top, then im sure he has a 12" driver and a 15" and below that an 18" monster. Is an 18" driver common in the Bass world?

My Bass plaing days lasted for 2 rehearsals, and i was replaced by a real bass player, i was demoted to lead guitarist, i used to think it was easy to play bass, but there is a hell of a lot more to it than playing the notes, you have to have one ear on what you are playing and one ear on the bass drum, When i play along in a band with a good bass player it completely lifts my playing to another level, Ive got a lot of respect for good bassists.

Bass drum is the very start of it, I tend to play along to the snare and 'hat, but nice to get a positive from a guitarist!

I always liked Trace, they're kinda frowned upon at the minute, but I grew up wanting that little green glow behind me, however, I also grew up wanting to play in a grunge band. They certainly give a nice kick for the money, my advice would still be to try and test things in the shop, you're spending quite a bit of money at he end of the day...

18" is uncommon but not unheard of. I once demoed a 21" driver using my CMI SuperBass-style head and that pushed the shop windows out. Not my thing, but impressive.

Shake, I forgot to ask; does your brother use pick on bass much? I know Tim and I do, and the Peavey driver (especially the Black Widows) really react badly to it. I recently worked on a song with the guitarist and my bassline was very reminiscent of "Breathe" on Dark Side. Using my usual valve amps, my (not usual) vintage 2x12" and (importantly) almost no attack from a soft-part of thumb near the neck playing style, the tone was very Watersy.

Perfect - thanks for the responses guys. I knew it wasn't just me w/ that f&*king Peavey. He's going to dump it off to them this weekend, and I told him to bring the GK w/ him.

1b - he does use a pick....

.....ugh, I can still hear that awful sound in my head from that Peavey. Makes me kind of queezy.

In the middle of work, so can't write much, but I'll be back w/ updates and maybe a few more questions.

Thanks again!

Thanks for the update, Shake, and it's also good to know that ops posted here come in useful. Picking through a Peavey never worked out for me. At best, I'd maybe manage that Cameo sound which is fine (red codpieces work wonders for me) but it's not very classic rock.

I'm not trying to diss a GK head I've never used, but the spec just seems to be aimed at the gdoink-gdank bassist rather than the whump-thump type. A bit of valve, even just 12AX7/ECC83 in the preamp and a SS power stage, adds that little bit of sag for authentic retro sound. Perhaps your chum at GC wasn't fully aware of the genre you're playing. If you can get some time with the SVT3 (pity they don't stock Ashdown) I'm 99% sure you'll get that Damascus/Eureka moment.

It may even be worth concentrating your resources on the head and compromising, temporarily, with the cab. IME with FleebUK, big 2nd hand cabs (collection only, no shipping etc) can be bought cheaply if within driving distance.

Ok, so he's bringing both the GK head & Peavey cab back, and I've directed him to a few different Ampeg heads: the SVT3PRO, the SVT450H, or the B2RE Bass Head. As for the cab it looks like the SVT-410HLF or B410HLF will do, depending on the head he chooses. I've gotta leave it up to him to decide on product & price after that, but I'll keep you posted.

Here's another question though: pups.

What do you recommend for an upgrade? I've told him to get a new bass altogether (his current bass is a Peavey Grind Bass 4 BXP NTB Electric Bass Guitar, which he's had for a while now, pretty much since he started playing), but money being what it is, a quick fix could be to upgrage his pups for a couple of hundred dollars, and upgrade the bass next year or so. What do you think?

Here's the link for his current bass:

I was trying to look into the Alembic single coil pups (ala Phil Lesh, ca. mid-70's), but found no luck on them....maybe they don't make them anymore.

Another one I found off recommendation is the EMG's, though because I don't know a ton about bass pick-ups, I'm not sure what model to recommend to him.

Can you guys give me any insight?

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