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SpruceCreekPickers
02-04-2015, 12:50 AM
Hey folks! I've got a fretless spruce top Kala U-bass that I have been learning to play for the past couple months. Since all my playing to date has been at home, I've just used a Peavy bass amp that is a remnant of my son's attempt at playing bass in high school.
I'm now looking for a good portable bass amp, and would appreciate any suggestions!

Thanks!
Chris S.

PhilUSAFRet
02-04-2015, 01:25 AM
What would you consider "portable"...re: size and weight?

we tigers
02-04-2015, 01:52 AM
There have been several threads like this one. If portable means battery powered there are two options:
Roland bass cube
Paul Jones briefcase

Jon Moody
02-04-2015, 01:52 AM
What is your budget? That is going to be a HUGE factor in this, as "portable" and "affordable" are not mutually exclusive.

Jon Moody
02-04-2015, 01:55 AM
There have been several threads like this one. If portable means battery powered there are two options:
Roland bass cube
Paul Jones briefcase

Actually, four.

The Phil Jones Double Four can be run off a small rechargeable battery, that is about the size of a cell phone. Many folk use this with great results. I have the Briefcase and the Double Four, and would opt for the latter. It's a lot lighter, and sounds a little warmer than the Briefcase.

Also, as of NAMM 2015, Phil came out with a version of the Double Four that he calls the PJB OFF THE GRID, which is basically the Double Four with a rechargeable battery already with it.

PhilUSAFRet
02-04-2015, 02:47 AM
If you don't need battery power, here's one to beat:

http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/MB10

Jon Moody
02-04-2015, 03:03 AM
If you don't need battery power, here's one to beat:

http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/MB10

All depends on what you want. In the bass world, Carvin amps are just so-so at best. Combos by Gallien-Krueger (the MB 110, 112-II, etc.) , Markbass and more can compete easily with Carvin and are much more easily found locally.

SweetWaterBlue
02-04-2015, 03:21 AM
As others have said, it all depends on what you want. I'd suggest trying some out at a music store. In my case, I have had an Ashbory bass with the same Pahoehoe strings that are on the UBass for several years. I picked up a used Pignose Hog30 off Craigslist for under $50. Its got two 6 volt sealed lead acid batteries in it, and I have never had them run down during a 3-4 hour session. It won't give you a tone that real bass players would crave, but for jamming sessions with other ukers or guitar players it sounds great, especially in a noisy environment, which is about all we are able to find in coffee houses and outside venues. It's plenty loud for playing in those. The one downside is it weighs about 30 pounds I don't think I would buy one new, because they seem a little over-priced, but if you can find one used for a good price, grab it. They are built like tanks. The video cam doesn't pick up bass real well, but here is an old session where one of my uke buds was playing the Ashbory through the PigNose, when a couple of our bluegrass friends dropped in. He had the amp turned down about half way, so as not to over-power the ukes (one was a very loud banjo uke) and guitar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW0dXZG4M9Y

I noticed the other day, that the CC Strummers group that Cali Rose leads also has a bass player using a Hog30 (the big brown box with the red sign on top) and competing outside with other amped ukes and voices.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiW1dUK5Ofc

deschutestrout
02-04-2015, 04:30 AM
I use a Pignose with mine ... can run off A/C and has a rechargeable battery. I've been happy with it ... sounds quite good, and if I use my pre-amp, I get even more volume.

katysax
02-04-2015, 05:49 AM
I use the Phil Jones Double Four with a Laptop battery. I just slide the laptop battery into the handle. I like that I can even have a spare battery - although the laptop battery runs a really long time, after two hours of playing it is still almost completely full. Wonderful amp.

SpruceCreekPickers
02-04-2015, 07:24 AM
Thanks for all the info! The Phil Jones Double Four would be within my budget, and looks good, but may be more amp than my meager skills can justify. How about the little Yamaha THC10?

I have plugged into my wife's Roland Micro Cube, and the sound was awful.

I will definitely bring my bass into a shop to "test drive" some amps, but want to make sure I don't miss a good option just because the shop doesn't carry a particular brand.

Jon Moody
02-04-2015, 07:38 AM
Thanks for all the info! The Phil Jones Double Four would be within my budget, and looks good, but may be more amp than my meager skills can justify.

Obviously the choice is yours, but if you can afford the Double Four I would encourage you to spend the money once on a quality amplifier, instead of buying a "budget" amplifier that you may ultimately sell in order to buy the PJB later on.

I gig with the PJB stuff relentlessly, and I don't think you will ever regret that decision (or, the decision of buying an instrument or amp based on quality over what "my meager skills can justify"). Plus, it'll work with that Eleuke of yours really, really well. A lot of jazz guitarists LOOOOOOOOVE the Double Four for this reason.

Your skills are totally worth it.

kohanmike
02-04-2015, 07:54 AM
Buy the PJ. I'm the substitute bass player for Cali Rose's CC Strummers. Tom's PigNose is OK, but I use a 15 year old USA made Crate Limo 50 watt combo battery amp that I think sounds better. I saw the PJ small 4 speaker amp at NAMM last week, it looks like a great choice.

Crate Limo:
http://www.fairfax67.com/images/Crate Limo.jpg

LDS714
02-04-2015, 03:57 PM
I guess I have a different definition of portable, having been a bassist for many years and carting around huge rigs.

For me, portable meant fitting in the passenger seat of a Fiero back in the late 80s. The best-sounding and most rugged amp I found that fit that description was an Ampeg Portaflex. It's an amp, a speaker cabinet and a road case for tuners, cables, straps and the like all in one. I still have that amp and use it for rehearsals and smaller club gigs. While there are many outstanding bass rigs out there, to me at least, an Ampeg just sounds right.

bnolsen
02-04-2015, 04:08 PM
the ubass as a really different sound, definitely different in overtone. does the ampeg still have an advantage there?

katysax
02-04-2015, 05:57 PM
The Yamaha Thr 10 is a great portable amp but nix on using it with the UBass. While it has a Bass setting it sounds like a bleating animal in distress when I plug my UBass into it. I have also bought the Roland Amp and it is not powerful enough for more than a very small space. The sound is also barely OK.

The Phil Jones Double Four is a fantastic Bass Amp. It is surprisingly powerful. And the quality of the sound is as good as a much bigger bass cabinet. You won't regret it. I've wasted hundreds on cheap bass amps. The amp is even more important with a bass. You won't find another amp in the size, with a battery option that will come close to the Phil Jones.

Jon Moody
02-05-2015, 02:37 AM
the ubass as a really different sound, definitely different in overtone. does the ampeg still have an advantage there?

From experience, I'd say no. The only "old school" amp company that you could use an acoustic instrument easily with is Gallien Krueger; tons of jazz guys still swear by the old MicroBass MB-150S, which kills for tone, volume and portability.

Ampeg does what they do well. Problem is, there are a lot more players in the bass amp world that do the portable amp thing better, lighter, with more versatility in tone and with many more features.

Kekani
02-05-2015, 06:41 AM
From the title, any good bass cab that would fit well with and upright or ABG would probably serve well. Microcube (in any configuration), no.

I'll throw something else in. I use a separate amp and cab. I moved from a Genz Benz Shuttle 3 to an Eden WTX500. Currently searching for a preamp I can match with one of my power amps, just for fun, but also to use. I sometimes carry the stage, and while the WTX500 is great, I ran a GK RB1001 and the headroom was amazing (wasn't mine). Didn't like the GK tone, though.

Usually, there's only 1 bass, and a bunch of other players, so you have be able to carry everyone else. I use a battery pack and my Eden for portability. So the big question is, what cab do I use? Easy, fEARful 12/6. If I had the $$$, I'd get a fEARless 110 (see Ed Freidland's reviews of fEARless cabs - he now has 2) just for a smaller option. Total cab cost was less than $300. My amps will cost more.

SpruceCreekPickers
02-05-2015, 07:01 AM
Thanks everyone for the input and suggestions! Based on a pretty substantial recommendation from this group, bass forums, and most every review I encountered, I have ordered a PJB Double Four. Hopefully this will inspire me to devote moe quality time to my U-Bass!

- Chris S.

ricdoug
02-05-2015, 07:49 AM
If you don't need battery power, here's one to beat:

http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/MB10

Very true, Phil. Carvin makes high quality gear in America, built locally in North County San Diego. For us locals, we can bring other gear into their factory showroom and do A/B/C comparisons. The pricing is also great, due to buying direct from the factory instead of a middleman.

A bass preamp/DI is a nice tool to have, so you can use the U-Bass with a variety of amplifiers, mixers and PA systems. Here's a good value:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/373652-REG/Behringer_BDI21_V_Tone_Bass_BDI21.html

http://static.bhphoto.com/images/images500x500/373652.jpg

http://static.bhphoto.com/images/multiple_images/images500x500/IMG_13661.jpg

As for battery powered bass amps there are fewer offerings. I've used the following:

Roland Microcube RX Bass
Phil Jones Briefcase
Carvin S400D

I own the Roland and the Carvin. Ric

katysax
02-05-2015, 08:34 AM
You won't regret the double four. The thing about bass is that your meagre skills won't prevent you from being a useful edition to a group. Just remember "less is more". Between the controls on my bass and the preamp built into the Double Four I don't find any need for an additional preamp. A compressor pedal is a useful edition - it helps the bass punch through a bit more and evens out the volume between the strings. The low E on the u-bass can get lost in the mix.

DownUpDave
02-05-2015, 11:10 AM
Completely off topic but if my meager playing skills were the determining factor I would only own 1 of the 10 ukes that reside in my house. Love what One bad monkey said about never regretting buying quality stuff.:-)You only need the passion to qualify for good gear, the skills will come in time.

Congrats on your new double four amp, should be a real treat for you.