Suggestions for a lightweight, portable, decent sounding bass rig?
July 31, 2009 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Help me defy the laws of physics and make a decent bass sound with a tiny box.

I'm looking for the almost impossible: either a combo or a head and cab for bass that meets at as many of these criteria as possible:

* 35lbs or under.

* Compact enough to either be carried comfortably (walking a mile or so) or ideally, strapped to a bike rack.

* Under USD1000.00

* Loud enough just for stage volume/rehearsals with a small kit, a guitar and a couple horns. 120-150 watts should be OK but more would be better. Old school bass sounds, no tweeter or bells and whistles required.

At 25lbs or so, the GK 150MS-150 combo I tried seems like my best bet (and I like the way it sounds) but what else is out there? I've had my current (and way too large for what I need) rig for decades and am 100% ignorant of what physics defying gear is available these days.
posted by quarterframer to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not familiar with the GK 150, but I have the GK Backline 115 and it does a good job for its size. It's able to hold its own against a mid-size drum kit, unless the drummer is really trying to work out a week's frustration.
posted by lekvar at 12:57 PM on July 31, 2009 seek Markbass.
posted by GPF at 1:11 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: Also, check out the talkbass forums. This is the #1 most asked question.
posted by GPF at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2009

You might want to check out Acme cabinets.
posted by zombiedance at 1:18 PM on July 31, 2009

Seconding Markbass.
posted by Aquaman at 1:51 PM on July 31, 2009

Response by poster: The Markbass sounds interesting, I will see if I can find any to try.

I'd been to TalkBass before but the signal to noise ratio seemed pretty high to me. I really appreciate the general thoughtfulness of MeFi responses even if they are far fewer.
posted by quarterframer at 3:36 PM on July 31, 2009

The TalkBass [...] signal to noise ratio seemed pretty high


If you're ever in Austin, definitely check out bass emporium. In fact, I've auditioned a couple of nice small amps there (including the GK you mention). I don't now recall the amps I tried other than the markbass and GK, though there were several. The markbass was my favorite. Your quest is attainable!

FWIW - I have an SWR silverado special. It's not as small as you (or I) would like, but is a real workhorse and sounds great. I can get it anywhere by myself, but not without a couple of trips and treading very carefully up stairs.
posted by GPF at 3:56 PM on July 31, 2009

Oh, and the markbass is carried by Guitar Center. I'm loathe to support them, but its some good sounding gear.
posted by GPF at 3:57 PM on July 31, 2009

seconding Markbass and GK. I played for years on a 200W combo that was lighter than my 65W guitar amp, and that little box with a 12" cone really packed some punch.
posted by _dario at 5:41 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: Check out the Genz-Benz Shuttle series. I don't know about the cabs but I have a Shuttle amp and it's really good.

Also check out the Line 6 Studio 110. It's small and light. It has amp models for old school (SVT, B15 Motown, Marshall). It's low on the watts your looking for but it gets surprisingly loud. I've used it in a rehearsal room with drums and 2 guitars and had no problems hearing it. It's also got a kickass synth bass effect. I really like this combo.
posted by nivekraz at 7:36 AM on August 1, 2009

D'oh! Nivekraz's link to the Genz-Benz reminds me that it wasn't, in fact, the GK that I played but was the Shuttle (GB != GK). One nice thing about it is that it has a detachable head. I've owned a Gallien Kruger Micro Combo and although it sounds great (especially with an upright) it really doesn't have enough power for amplified settings. It plays nice with good house systems, and can handle jazz combos fine, but get a big band or rock guitar involved and it struggles.
posted by GPF at 1:57 PM on August 2, 2009

Response by poster: Just checking back in. I tried all of these (except the Line 6 and the big SWR) and ended up with a Genz Benz 3.0 Shuttle with the 1x10 cab. It is absolutely astounding for its size. Actually, it is just plain astounding. Thanks folks.
posted by quarterframer at 6:29 PM on August 27, 2009

« Older Back walk massage in Tokyo?   |   Exciting recipes for the newly vegetarian? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.