All suggestions are welcome, though!
So, the bass head in question is a Danelectro DS-100:
This one's not mine, but aren't they adorable?
It has two output sections with 2 6L6s per side. I play it through a Mesa Diesel 2x15 cab that somebody stripped, stained, and installed some kind of OEM Eminence speakers that sound GREAT but are pretty inefficient (94dB). I had an old 250w GK 400B a while back, and that got loud but the Danelectro seemed to actually rattle the nails in my house at the time (ie, seemed louder).
I'm playing bass in a band right now with a drummer that's good at matching any volume, a guitarist playing an Ampeg B-25B (this is 50w) through a Marshall 4x12, and a keyboard player and vocalist that uses the PA. From a detached point of view, the combination of low keyboard parts and guitar parts written in the lower ranges of guitar land are not an ideal environment for me on bass. But I've been able to do alright, and I have no complaints.
All this background should give more context for what power I might need. In a way, I'd say the DS-100 is about equivalent to a 30w amp for guitar: could be totally fine in some band/stage contexts, but at the moment I need both more headroom and volume. I once stumbled across a free Peavey MX, so I've been supplementing the DS-100 with the Peavey and a ported 2x10. It's been sounding super great. I play a Squier Jaguar bass (the long scale, passive one; probably 85% P pickup, 15% J) with roundwound strings, mostly with my fingers. I like the way this setup sustains but also has a lot of dynamics. Plus, I like the way there's some headroom for boost/dirt pedals. Lately, the bass is also tuned AEBE (think, drop-A -ish), but I rarely use the low string.
The Peavey is 130w hybrid with a quad 6L6 power amp. I have the combo version, so it's currently removed from the cabinet and resting upside down atop the two bass cabinets. I'm planning to build a head case for it, but you know how THAT goes.
And now, I took the DS-100 to the shop because one side wasn't working and the repair bill is very very high. I've only talked to the shop assistant at this point, but I think it needs a couple transformers, and all new tubes.
So, I've got a janky setup that I sort of actually love as if it's a diamond in the rough. But I think of myself as a guitar player, so my assessment of that could be off. This is also me here in hobby land. Also, like every good bassist, I'm not very good.
Being a guitar player at heart means, for me personally, that
- I like tube bass amps better than SS, just like I like tube guitar amps better than SS.
- I'm possibly an idiot.
- I'm skeptical of advice from TalkBass. You're the only ones I trust, OSG. !
- I love Fender cleans on guitar, but I have a real weak spot for fuzzy bass (to a fault).
- I prefer passive pickups.
- I lurv weird old obscure amps (to a fault).
- It feels like a waste to buy an amp that would not also sound amazing and great with a guitar or baritone.
- Having a stereo rig is unreasonably and embarassingly satisfying (to a fault).
- I know enough to know better, but I'm basically always fighting an urge to add distortion post shimmer reverb because I DON'T CARE THAT IT'S A BASS IT SOUNDS AWESOME.
- It's possible that what I actually need is a compressor pedal.
So this amp is obviously haunted. But I do love it. Maybe it makes sense though to put that repair money towards something else. The Peavey sounds really great for what it is, but it has a kind of honk that's hard for me to dial out (and it's not an amp that I could sell for much). Even with it's faults, I'd say I prefer the tone of the Peavey over most typical SS bass rigs. But it's not like I've tried very many things out in a band context.
Chapter 75: the end, I promise
- Besides just fixing it back to stock, I'm wondering if I could find someone to rebuild the Danelectro for bass. Would bigger transformers fit?? Is it possible to put KT88s in there or something?? I don't really mind continuing to use the Peavey in this case. The real question is about doubling down on this lifelong commitment to a haunted amp. I'm also thinking I might buy something for now, and spend some time saving money and finding a good tech. I haven't really done a search for an amp tech. I just took it to the place near my house (and he seems nice).
- My drummer knows some people with recording studios that might be interested in buying the DS-100. The only thing is
- something solid state ... like an SWR Studio 220, or maybe a cheap tube guitar head like a Carvin X100B (The price on these is back down to around $300. Part of me wonders if two X100Bs would actually be better than a lot of things in that $600 price range. Is that stupid?)
- There's a Klempt Echolette Mustang 100!
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/In-St ... mp-Head.gc
- There's a Fender 160PS tube PA ...it's probably unethical to buy that for bass and partially fund it by selling all the knobs, right?
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Fende ... mp-Head.gc
- There's a Fender Super Twin for $650
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Fende ... gI_3PD_BwE
- There's an 800w Markbass hybrid for $600
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Markb ... mp-Head.gc
I don't know.
- There's also this 160w tube Peavey AlphaBASS for $400
https://reverb.com/item/16695180-peavey ... 990s-black
Would this have a similar tone to my MX? I'd kind of prefer if it didn't.