Practice amp for beginner

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VinylfanVinylfan Frets: 18
Hi
In the process of buying my daughter a bass - have found a nice looking Squier MB4 that will hopefully check out when I see it in person.
Wasn't sure what to do re a practice amp?  She has a Vox VX1 already as she plays electric guitar, can she just use that to start with or will I need to buy her a bass amp as well?
If so, what's worth looking at in the £50 region??
She won't be gigging or anything (not yet anyway) so its just for home and preferably not too loud, but loud enough that she could play along with others when needed.
Thanks

PS Any opinions on the Squier MB4 would be great too (especially anything to look out for)
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 42481
    Even though guitar amps are usable for bass unless you push the speaker too hard, that little Vox is so small that it probably won't be possible to get a usable sound without risking it.

    A second hand Fender Rumble 15 should be about within your budget. A new one is £85 - anything much cheaper than that will sound pretty poor to be honest.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • phil_bphil_b Frets: 265
    ICBM said:
    Even though guitar amps are usable for bass unless you push the speaker too hard, that little Vox is so small that it probably won't be possible to get a usable sound without risking it.

    A second hand Fender Rumble 15 should be about within your budget. A new one is £85 - anything much cheaper than that will sound pretty poor to be honest.

    im a beginner and I would echo the sentiment above. don't buy a very cheep amp because the do sound crap and you will want something better in no time so the money spent on the very cheep amp is waisted. If you can find a better used amp that will be much better value in the long run
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  • VinylfanVinylfan Frets: 18
    edited September 21
    Thanks chaps.  I'd be looking at buying used anyway - other than the Fender Rumble 15, what else should I be looking at for her?? Can flex the budget a little for the right thing.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 5216
    edited September 21
    Vinylfan said:
    what's worth looking at in the £50 region??
    Frankly, not much. You will be looking at pre-owned items. It will be worth trawling car boot sales and charity shops for unloved/unrecognised bargains. 

    Discontinued models and unfashionable brands are where deals are more likely to be found. Peavey, small Trace Eliot, Fender Rumble, Roland Bass CUBE. If you are feeling brave, Ashdown Engineering made a few low wattage models.

    Another option is a headphone/recording pre-amp. 




    EDIT: My comments about the Squier MB4 bass guitar have been moved to your separate thread on that topic.
    Be seeing you.
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  • The Rumbles defy the laws of physics. I haven't tried the 15 TBH but nonetheless ( I think my son's is the 40, I can never remember and isn't a terrible clean guitar amp either) definitely worth looking at. 


    Who invaded Spain in the eight century?
    The Moops.
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  • Vinylfan said:
    what's worth looking at in the £50 region??
    Frankly, not much. You will be looking at pre-owned items. It will be worth trawling car boot sales and charity shops for unloved/unrecognised bargains. 

    Discontinued models and unfashionable brands are where deals are more likely to be found. Peavey, small Trace Eliot, Fender Rumble, Roland Bass CUBE. If you are feeling brave, Ashdown Engineering made a few low wattage models.

    Another option is a headphone/recording pre-amp. 

    Vinylfan said:
    Any opinions on the Squier MB4 would be great too (especially anything to look out for)
    The MB4 is, essentially, a Cort Action Bass with a different headstock outline. It has all of the advantages and disadvantages of having been made in Cort's Indonesian factory. Woodwork and frets will be good. Pickups, pots and jack socket will be a little bit cheap 'n' nasty.

    The bridge, whilst inexpensive, adheres to the principles of the classic Fender bridge design. The thin steel baseplate suits some music styles and detracts from others. A higher mass replacement bridge would improve the on-strap balance. In theory, it should increase mechanical sustain. This, in turn, could expose the shortcomings of the Powersound pickups.

    Overall, the MB4 is a bass that, with minor upgrades, could continue to serve even after your daughter graduates to a posher instrument.
    Thanks.  Will take a look at a few.

    Appreciate the insight into the MB4 as well.  Good to know that its basically a good platform that could be upgraded if needed. Was going to get her something more expensive, but didn't want it to end up as a potentially expensive lump sitting in the corner!
    I did look a few Ibanez basses as well, but its a combination of price, aesthetics, location and time.  The MB4 is just over £100.
    A new option I looked at was one of the Ibanez SR Mezzo ones - smaller, lighter etc. but much more expensive.

    In the end I decided that going the passive route was better as its one less thing to have to keep a stock of and she can always buy an active one later if she sticks with it.
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 5721
    edited September 21
    Orange and Ampeg were the other options I was looking at as well as the Fender Rumble in the £100 range. Very pleased with my Ampeg BA-108. More chance of finding a Fender second hand in your budget though.
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  • HeelHeel Frets: 144
    I’ve an Ampeg Ba-108 today. Great amps anc can be found cheaply. 
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  • bazxkrbazxkr Frets: 429
    Add Laney to your list. I had a hardcore 30 that was real good. The newer RB series have headphone and aux so you can practice with backing tracks. Can be had used well under £100 and my experience with laney has been good with reliability too
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  • bazxkr said:
    Add Laney to your list. I had a hardcore 30 that was real good. The newer RB series have headphone and aux so you can practice with backing tracks. Can be had used well under £100 and my experience with laney has been good with reliability too
    Thanks. Have seen a few on places like EBay - want to get something that is local enough to pick up. 
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  • Roland CUBEs are ubiquitous in teaching spaces. They do a decent quiet bass sound and have some bells and whistles to distract her from practising.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 42481
    I'd almost forgotten about these too - great little amp.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PEAVEY-MICRO-BASS-BASS-AMPLIFIER-20-Watts/303293721635?hash=item469db6ec23:g:WOAAAOSwTU1dh3Dr

    There are a couple more - the later model with a metal grille - for collection only if you're anywhere near Leeds or Shefford.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 11545
    Another vote for Roland Cubes. I've had my old one for at least a decade and it's still going strong.

    They don't come up used very often because they are worth keeping even when the player moves onto bigger gear.
    Set up an ebay search so you get notifications, and maybe put a WANTED ad up on basschat too.


    Hello darkness my old friend.


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  • VinylfanVinylfan Frets: 18
    edited September 25
    ICBM said:
    I'd almost forgotten about these too - great little amp.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PEAVEY-MICRO-BASS-BASS-AMPLIFIER-20-Watts/303293721635?hash=item469db6ec23:g:WOAAAOSwTU1dh3Dr

    There are a couple more - the later model with a metal grille - for collection only if you're anywhere near Leeds or Shefford.
    Another vote for Roland Cubes. I've had my old one for at least a decade and it's still going strong.

    They don't come up used very often because they are worth keeping even when the player moves onto bigger gear.
    Set up an ebay search so you get notifications, and maybe put a WANTED ad up on basschat too.


    Thanks chaps. Will look out for those. Presume with the Roland cubes that there is a bass specific version?

    Have also been looking at Fender Rumble 25. 

    Cheers
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 5216
    edited September 25
    Correct. CUBE Bass or Bass-X. Ageing but eminently usable digital amp modelling technology plus several popular effects.

    If buying pre-owned, check for rattles and loudspeaker fart. Sometimes, the internals come unglued.
    Be seeing you.
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  • prowlaprowla Frets: 1828
    I think you're near to me (Berkshire), I have a Trace Elliot Boxer 15 which I've not used in a while, for £40; you're welcome to try it out.
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  • Correct. CUBE Bass or Bass-X. Ageing but eminently usable digital amp modelling technology plus several popular effects.

    If buying pre-owned, check for rattles and loudspeaker fart. Sometimes, the internals come unglued.
    Thanks.  They look quite good - there's an RX version I've come across which has various rhythm settings etc. which might be useful.

    prowla said:
    I think you're near to me (Berkshire), I have a Trace Elliot Boxer 15 which I've not used in a while, for £40; you're welcome to try it out.
    Thanks.  Let me think about that.

    At the moment, the Fender Rumble 25 and the Roland Cube Bass are the front runners - the Fender probably slightly ahead on looks alone. I know the way that it looks will have an impact on the overall reaction.
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  • Update - done a deal on a Rumble 25 v3 - should collect it tomorrow so fingers crossed its all ok.  I had to go with my wife's assessment re what looked better!  Any pointers re checking it out??

    Thanks
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  • Just plug in and play. Twiddle with the amplifier tone controls until the test instrument sounds to your liking. 

    If possible, test the amp using a bass guitar similar to the one that your daughter will eventually receive.

    The Squier MB4 is no longer common in shops. The Cort Action Bass, Squier Affinity P Bass or a Yamaha RBX170 should give a reasonable approximation.
    Be seeing you.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 42481
    Just plug in and play. Twiddle with the amplifier tone controls until the test instrument sounds to your liking.

    If possible, test the amp using a bass guitar similar to the one that your daughter will eventually receive.
    I would add that the Rumbles have very effective power stage limiting to prevent distortion even if you abuse the volume and bass settings, so if it does sound distorted, it's more likely to be the bass overdriving the input section - back it off slightly at the instrument volume control.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • Thankfully nobody mentioned the Blackstar. Quite nice if that's the only option you got, but I like Cubes and Rumbles more when testing gear in a shop.
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  • ICBM said:
    Just plug in and play. Twiddle with the amplifier tone controls until the test instrument sounds to your liking.

    If possible, test the amp using a bass guitar similar to the one that your daughter will eventually receive.
    I would add that the Rumbles have very effective power stage limiting to prevent distortion even if you abuse the volume and bass settings, so if it does sound distorted, it's more likely to be the bass overdriving the input section - back it off slightly at the instrument volume control.
    Thanks. I managed to take the actual guitar that she’s going to get. Slight panic to start with as we got no sound. Then realised one of the controls was set to zero/off. Sounds good and pretty powerful. 
    The overdrive on/off seems a bit sensitive but hoping it’ll settle down as the amp looks like its barely been used. 
    Back at home I plugged the Jazzmaster into it and that sounded good too. Will try the Strat at some point. 
    So now just need to order the case and a lead and I think we are done!! 

    Thanks chaps - much appreciated!
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  • Vinylfan said:
    The overdrive on/off seems a bit sensitive
    If you want dirt, dial in plenty of it. For most applications, a barely detectable gritty edge will suffice.


    Be seeing you.
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  • VinylfanVinylfan Frets: 18
    Quick update - we gave her the Squier MB4; the Fender Rumble 25v3; lead etc. and she was blown away!  

    So massive thanks to all here for helping me make the right choice.

    She is practising away as we speak...
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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 1017
    I used to use a Peavey Microbass, I owned two for different rooms in the house.  From memory were about £100 - £120 new back in the day although I think I picked up one second hand for £70.  Both lasted for years with no issues.

    When I stopped playing bass I advertised them for sale locally for £25 each and got no takers.  I gave one to a nephew and the other is still hanging about somewhere.  Not worth the hassle of posting for that kind of money.

    Perfectly good, serviceable bass practice amps and if you can find one you can probably pick it up for next to nothing.
    "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it." George Bernard Shaw
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