Guitarsite Forums Guitar Discussion Guitar NEED HELP w/ a bass amp

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  • #24495

    For some reason, I figured this might be a good place to ask… 😆

    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 Jones… 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…..

    THANKS GUYS!!! 😀

    PS – still waiting on my guitar…… 🙂

Viewing 26 reply threads
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    • #73094

      Welcome, both, to Guitarsite and I’m happy to recommend these peds, purely on a “bought it, played it, liked it” basis.

    • #73076

      [quote]1. We do sell in the US via a rep that will be building them there as well very soon.[/quote]

      Per Daves’s note above, I am the rep in the US. You can find all of the same products at

      Donn Hall (No relation that we have discovered yet, except for great effects and amps)

    • #73121

      [quote=”1bassleft”]Shake, apols for not replying (I’m busy at the mo) but it really is appreciated, by me, to hear feedback on whether the ops here are useful and how the new toys appeal. Although I’m a valve-sniffer by trade, I agree that you should play with what you have before opening the back and swapping glass around (not too complicated, but something for the distant future for now).

      I can’t pin the exact thread, but overdrive/distortion came up and I was saying how much I like the DHA pedals made here in England. I’ve always found SS OD pedals suck the bottom end out of my bass and these valve-driven ODs add excellent crunch to fuzz without losing the bottom E. Maybe there’s a one-man-operation in the US making something similar. The big-name valve pedals are horrendously expensive.[/quote]


      here to introduce myself as the builder of DHA pedals and to answer any questions.

      1. We do sell in the US via a rep that will be building them there as well very soon.

      2. The thump 1bassleft gets when switching the effect on is now fixed (has been for a while) and there is a mod you can do. It’s a known problem with all true by-pass effects.

      3. We now build a hybrid power amp. But, it is unlike many other hybrids as it has a valve/tube 3W power stage as well as an all valve pre-amp, compressor and Fx loop. The 3W valve stage drives a dummy load and then on to line out, DI out and a 400W class D power amp. This way you get output distortion and warmth as well as pre-amp tone. It’s called the VT5-400-Bass and we are doing different versions with 180W, 700W or no SS power stage.

      4. I am a guitarist and have been building amps and effects for 30+years.

      We have a website for more info on what we do –

      I am very happy to answer any questions I can.


      Dave Hall

    • #73129

      It was here I think:

      Page 3 onwards…but the whole thread may be worth a quick glance (yeah, ok, it’s MY thread 😀 )

    • #73111

      Shake, apols for not replying (I’m busy at the mo) but it really is appreciated, by me, to hear feedback on whether the ops here are useful and how the new toys appeal. Although I’m a valve-sniffer by trade, I agree that you should play with what you have before opening the back and swapping glass around (not too complicated, but something for the distant future for now).

      I can’t pin the exact thread, but overdrive/distortion came up and I was saying how much I like the DHA pedals made here in England. I’ve always found SS OD pedals suck the bottom end out of my bass and these valve-driven ODs add excellent crunch to fuzz without losing the bottom E. Maybe there’s a one-man-operation in the US making something similar. The big-name valve pedals are horrendously expensive.

    • #73167

      Thanks 1b for all the help! New rig sounds great! Still twidling with it, dialing it in over the last few weeks – man was he loud at last practice! like a little puppy with a new toy! And man is that cab heavy! Holy shyte man, thing weighs a metric ton!

      Sent him an email w/ the reco’s for the GE tubes, I’m guessing he’s gonna hold off for a bit to see how he likes these ones, this being his first tube amp and all.

      Would love to see that thread you mentioned regarding the solid-state pedals. That’d be interesting. And the reason I asked about the Lovetone Meatball pedal is because I think it’s made on that side of the pond, so figured you guys would have more info than I would. Tried online everywhere (that I know of at least) and can’t find one for him. Oh well….he’s got enough to play with for now, and plus he’s already got a Bass Balls pedal which is doing the job for an envelope-type effect for now. Though I’ve heard great things about the Meatball, which is why I was on the look-out for more info.

      Anyways, now that he’s taken care of, it’s time to take care of myself, though I’m going to be broke in about 2 weeks when my custom gets here, but I’m still thinking of stuff. Want to get a new amp, just don’t know what yet. Also just carelessly/flagrently/obsessively/etc. put an order in for an Analogman Bi-CompROSSer (compressor/juicer stomp box) because I’ve been on the waiting list for one since June of ’06 and my turn finally came up, so I irrationally just bought it. Oh well. I’m sure I’ve made worse decisions. 😆

    • #73109

      Tell you more? Certainly can. I’ll save on lovetoning your meatballs (or whatever) for now. I stick very firmly with valves for bass overdrive, because the bottom end is so desperately lost with solid-state pedals. If more is of interest, I’ll link to another thread here.

      Back to the valves, I can bore you on that subject too. I noticed that Ampeg’s site said that the SVT3 Pro has “one Groove Tubes 12AX7” and a number of others. The GT will be in the position V1, the most important for determining the amp’s tone. Being who I am, I’d be very tempted to pull that out and replace it with a better valve. IME, the General Electric 12AX7 (shortplate or longplate, but the shortplate is more rugged), is the best valve for bass ever made.

      I did a “blind” test once, and was surprised that the GE beat the English Mullard. When my (very decent) guitarist used the amp, the Mullard won. So I did a non-blind test with my bass and the GE won yet again. It’s a wonderful valve for bass in V1 of an amp. Clear, punchy but neutral (whereas the Mullard is middish – great for guitar but less so for bass). The GE is less expensive to buy as NOS, and worth having at current prices.

    • #73092

      LOL…too funny. And I agree – I think the 10’s will be fine, esp. for his sound. Trust me, he’s not buying anything for a while (though I AM trying to find him a Lovetone Meatball pedal….you wouldn’t happen to know where I can get one, would you? 🙂 )

      But I really appreciate all the help you and everyone else has been through this process. Buying such gear can be a daunting and overwhelming task, esp. when you don’t know much about it in the first place, and with this site’s help we navigated that pretty well, I think.

      So thanks! From both my brother Jeremiah and I.

      And still no cab yet….grrrr….it was supposed to be in yesterday, hopefully today it will come. Will keep you posted.

      So about these tube upgrades……tell me more?

    • #73003

      🙂 , must be murder looking at the head but waiting for the cab to arrive. There are enough knobs there to keep even Paris Hilton occupied for a week.

      Before I forget/die, I must mention one thing. Your bro has spent enough in more ways than one. The cab you bought has enough power handling to max the SVT3 output and, importantly, has an overall impedance of 4ohms. Check carefully before being tempted to plug in an additional 15″ cab. Yes, I know it looks cool all stacked up on stage like that, but there is something important about impedance.

      The SVT 15″ has an impedance of 8ohms. Plugging this in with the 4×10″ (in parallel is how it’ll happen) will present your amp with an overall impedance of (if my maths is right) 2.67ohm. Using another make’s 4ohm, 15″ cab will result in an overall impedance of 2ohm. Either will be so low that the head shuts down immediately. Worse still, it might not – and burn out. The amp is only designed to operate down to 4ohm. There is a way of series-linking cabs but this will raise the overall impedance and reduce the watts your head is putting out – defeating the object.

      Before you worry too much, my personal op is that modern 10″ drivers capable of going down to 30Hz (and that cab has them) make the best speakers out there. I know others will disagree and swear by the air-shifting properties of big drivers, but I wouldn’t swap my 10″ drivers for anything else at a gig. Make sure your bro twiddles fully with that SS/valve preamp sweep. Love that feature. Next thing you know, I’ll be recommending better 12AX7s than the Groove Tubes fitted as standard. By then, you’ll be bored of me and avoiding my posts 😆

    • #73029

      Thanks guys, and thanks 1b for the vote of confidence and the compliment. I think the cab got delayed & will be in tomorrow, so Tuesdays practice should be fun! I’ll keep you posted. I’ll tell you though…..he looks like a kid on Christmas day with just the head sitting there!

    • #73035

      HS all T, getting that rig NIB for $1400 from the local GC (not internet + s+h deal) shows excellent negotiating skill. You certainly got your bro top kit at a good price.

    • #73027


      Would I take a store-demo SVT3 at $575 vs $750 for the NIB? Yes, I would – for the same reason I would with a dealer-demo car sitting in the showroom with 1,000 miles. Let GC take the initial depreciation. As soon as the head is taken out of the box and used for a coupla rehearsals, you’ve lost money anyway.[/quote]

      Definitely second that I never buy new when it comes to musical equipment. People are desperate for, and gigging, early SVTs…a few months of ‘Smoke on the Water’ with the volume on 1 really shouldn’t really have done much to a new one.

    • #73037

      Hi Shake,

      That IS a great rig that you’ve gone for and, yes, it IS a heckuva outlay. If your brother goes gigging then he’ll want for nothing else but, if he loses interest quickly then he’s going to take a hit. I’ll say one thing; an SVT3 with 410HLF can be sold five years down the line and still attract good offers (cf a Fender Strat, LP or a Marshall stack) whereas I suspect the Peavey cab and even the GK head would depreciate like a stone and struggle to make the remaining payments after a short while.

      Would I take a store-demo SVT3 at $575 vs $750 for the NIB? Yes, I would – for the same reason I would with a dealer-demo car sitting in the showroom with 1,000 miles. Let GC take the initial depreciation. As soon as the head is taken out of the box and used for a coupla rehearsals, you’ve lost money anyway.

      If you really want to cut back on costs, have a valve (that actually does something – many amps have them almost for show), keep separate head and cab and don’t mind playing the 2nd hand market, Marshall’s Dynamic Bass System (the DBS 7400) springs to mind. Excellent – tried one out in the ’90s – but I don’t know how available they are your side of the pond.

    • #73034

      So he ended up going w/ the SVT3Pro and the 410HLF cab. Very nice, he is giddy about it. Has the head in hand, the cab comes tomorrow. $1400 in and out, brand new. Not bad, $100 off plus saved the shipping. I’ll let you know how it sounds/works once it’s in. Was going to go w/ the floor model for the SVT3Pro, at $550 wasn’t a bad price, but something just irked the both of us about taking on a GC floor model head, 5-year warranty or not. What do you guys think?

      So I sit here today, and then I got to wondering…..

      Does my brother really NEED a $1400 bass rig? Shyt. It’s a lot of money for him to spending, money he really doesn’t have, but says he can pay it off and what not ($770 is on a 12 month interest free GC cc, the rest is on my GC cc, which he says he’ll pay me back as soon as his is paid off. at a minimum of $100/month, shouldn’t be too long) – ok, that’s not really the point, sorry for rambling. But I worry that it may wear him down financially, and ask myself again “does he really need it? did I steer him in the right direction?” I ask this because he was basically taking my advice, and my advice alone (thanks to you guys here!), so there’s a little bit weighing on my conscience, you know?

      The problem is that he had his sights set on a head w/ a cab , for no other reason than because “he wanted one”. He couldn’t tell you the first thing about them, nor the difference between them and a combo. He just wanted one. One thing he DID want was a tube amp (which I agree on), and obviously you see where I’m going when he got the GK. Doesn’t make a whole lotta sense, I know, but stay with me here.

      I’m thinking he could’ve (and still could) be set with a nice $700-$900 amp, but being I’m an idiot about bass stuff, I’d have no argument to make when approaching him. I’m just wondering….is there a rig out there that will suffice by NOT spending $1400? I’m sure there is, but I don’t know what it is….yet.

      Ok, after writing this, I did some work myself:

      I searched around on musiciansfriend, GC, etc. and couldn’t really find a whole lot that fits that criteria, so maybe this is the best route. I just hope it doesn’t swallow him whole. But hey, you gotta lay in the bed you made, so….

      Anyways, I’m excited to hear the new rig and I guess one way to look at it is that he won’t have to spend more money down the line to upgrade his equiptment later; I’m guessing this new rig will last him a looooooong time, so it’s a good investment in the long run for him, which is good. Spend more now, spend less later, be psyched out of his shoes now with a sweet a$$ rig. 😀

      Thanks much for reading, replying, and helping! It is much obliged!

    • #73026

      I don’t watch much baseball (too late over here – I’ve even given up on watching much NFL) but I have the opposite effect on “soccer”. Every time England shine, it’s because I’ve missed the match.

      Back to bass stuff, a “desperate” Ashdown 410 cab seller was briefly intriguing, but you’re best off sorting things through GC by the sounds of it. The 410HLF has the power handling to cope with the 3Pro and also has a 4ohm impedance so you’ll get the max out of the power amp. You may never feel the need to add a 1×15″ (and the wardrobe-sized 8×10″ has never appealed to my back). If you can get a good price deal, I think it’ll work out nicely.

      I’ll talk more about improving the Peavey bass another day. Keep the messages coming.

    • #73039

      Dudeman 1b you are of much help and your opinion is held in high court in my home, MUCH THANKS.

      He ended up getting frustrated and just returning the cab today, but says he’s returning the head on Monday. My gut feeling is the guy I know over at GC tried to talk him into keeping it and just getting a new cab, but with GC’s 30-day return policy, he can’t afford NOT to try out all he can to ensure his satisfaction.

      One good thing about this guy at GC is since I’ve bought other gear off him, he gives us pretty good deals ($200 off this last bass purchase alone), so being that they have the SVT 3Pro with the 410HLF listed at $1500 online, I would think I could get it for around $1300, which as you stated, is still more than he was looking to spend, but again as you stated, I think it might be a more permanant purchase, if that makes sense. I guess that was a little redundant….sorry. 😳

      Anyways, I’ll keep you posted.

      I did call around and found no real luck on Ashdown stuff; the only store I found is about an hour away and they’ve stopped carrying Ashdown, though he’s gota brand new 4×10 cab he really wants to get rid of. I was able to convince him to make some calls to see if he could get that head that you mentioned in his store, but he said he wanted a deposit for it and they only have an *exchange* policy, so I don’t think that’s gonna work, but we’ll see.

      Actually have more to write, but the Red Sox are on and we’re up 6-5 but the Indians have 2 on w/ 0 men out, so I think I’m causing some bad ju-ju by not faithfully watching. I’ll be back!

    • #73033

      Shake, I’ve used my mental calculator and bringing back the GK and Peavey to swap for an SVT 3Pro with the 410HLF will leave your brother a few hundred out of pocket. That said, I think you have a rig that any player would be proud of. I hear only great things about the HLF but I haven’t got an op on the SVT vs the B (but, if IIRC, there’s not a big difference in price between the cabs). Some money can be saved by opting for the 450H but, from what I’ve heard on the ‘vine, the B2RE may be struggling at gig volumes.

      Onto the bass, I haven’t played that Peavey. Looking purely at the specs, it looks to be decent kit and the +ve reviews on the site come from players who should know. I have a Jim Reed BE5, and the 4-string ( is of a similar design to the Peavey. I would say that, in common with many twin-soaps, there isn’t a lot of difference to be had from switching pups. The Jim Reed uses fairly cheap Kramer pups and I was tempted to ditch them quickly.

      However, as I’ve got more used to the bass, I’ve got more out of its stock setup. Make sure that your bro isn’t just whacking the plec in between the pups all the time. Try finger or thumb pad close to the neck joint and the sound alters remarkably (a lot cheaper than replacing pups). If you’re still not satisfied, an active preamp with treble and bass boost/cut may be worth a go, especially if you know a solder monkey. I found EMG’s BTC easy and cheap to buy in the US, or you could look at the BTS seeing as you have enough potholes. Only then would I go for a pupgrade – perhaps a “Jazz” soap near the bridge to give a different tone.

    • #73005

      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?

    • #73014

      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.

    • #73012

      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!

    • #73023

      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 2×12″ and (importantly) almost no attack from a soft-part of thumb near the neck playing style, the tone was very Watersy.

    • #73036

      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…

    • #73020

      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 4×10 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.

    • #73040

      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 1×15 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.

    • #73011

      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.

    • #73009

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

    • #73021

      PS –

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

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