Amplifiers

lakeside339

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Hi - I have a Soundsmith acoustic/electric jazz uke (steel strings). I do not have an amp at all, so I need to find something.
I also would like a ubass. Do I need a separate bass amp, or can one amp be used for both non -bass instruments and basses?
I'm trying to stay on the lower end of $, and am looking for something like a practice amp and something to do home vids/recordings with. No giggling expected.

Thanks for any information!
 

clear

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An acoustic guitar amp (not electric guitar) should work fine for both.
 

mjh42

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What is your budget????
Not sure on all the amps out there but here is a less expensive one.

https://shop.fender.com/en-US/guitar-amplifiers/acoustic/acoustasonic-15/2313700000.html

Roland makes some nice amps----something from the CUBE amps would work......https://www.roland.com/global/products/mobile_cube/

Or something from VOX https://voxamps.com/product/soundbox-mini/(sorry I see from the website that the soundbox mini is no longer in production. Perhaps found on line/used?) We have a VOX mini 5 that I've played my Godin through. Not as clean as my Fishman but a lot cheaper and some fun effects to use as well.

Yamaha is going to cost you double the Fender...https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/THR5--yamaha-thr5-10-watt-2x3-inch-modeling-combo

If I was starting from scratch knowing a little more today than when I started I might go with a Roland Product over the Fishman product I did buy........but it's kind of a toss up and I'll stick with the Fishman......maybe get a Roland Mobile Cube someday????

Others may have suggestions as well. I'm not sure about compatibility with a ubass on these.
 
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KohanMike

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You can use one amp for both. I suggest when playing the bass uke, that you adjust the bass control on the amp higher and the mid and treble lower.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 39)
 

Steve_S

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May be more than you want, but I have the Fishman Loudbox Mini (2 channels, reverb, chorus and bluetooth). UBASS sounds great through it.
 

dwizum

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Acoustic guitar amps will work great, but you may find you lose some of the bottom end of the u bass (even with the EQ adjusted). Bass guitar frequencies really need a big speaker and a lot of wattage. You may want to look for smaller/cheaper bass combo amps as well as acoustic guitar amps - bass amps will give a good even frequency response like an acoustic guitar amp (unlike a typical amp meant for electric guitars, which you should avoid) but they'll have bigger speakers and a little more power at a given price point. $100 will get you the Fender Rumble 25 with 25w and an 8" speaker, which will do great for both of your instruments.

Then again if you're just using it for at home practice, you may not miss the bass frequencies...
 

lakeside339

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I am not seeing any way to 'like' replies in the forum. so - thank you everyone for the info - very helpful!
 

donluca

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For some reason, I now want to hear how a uke sounds through a stack of 12" speakers driven by a 100W tube Marshall amp.

I'm sure someone on youtube must have already done this, just because.
 

dwizum

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I can answer that! ;) A typical acoustic uke with a piezo pickup (or a typical "acoustic" u bass) will just feedback like crazy before you even play a note.

If you deal with the feedback (stand out of the speaker's path), it just sort of sounds "flat" and lacking definition if you're turned up high enough to push into overdrive. If you roll back the gain to get it out of overdrive and try to get a clean signal, it sounds like a squeaky, quacky, uninteresting solid body electric uke - too much midrange and the highs are there in force but have no definition. It's a fun experiment but not really a useful tone. At least not in a traditional sense.

Amps designed for electric guitars have a LOT of eq filtering built in which you really can't dial out. It's great when you want a classic electric guitar tone but frustrating if you're after a full-spectrum "acoustic" sounding tone. If you want your uke to sound like a uke - but louder - you really need an amp that has a good, even frequency response, like a typical acoustic guitar amp (or a modern bass amp) will have.
 

donluca

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Thanks man, although I gotta be honest: I wasn't expecting a serious reply! :D

One day, maybe, I'll do some testing of my own with my small 5W Champ tweed. I've built it myself (like most stuff I own) along with an attenuator, so I should be able to keep the feedback in check.
 

dwizum

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My reply probably sounded more serious than I intended it to. I'm a fan of "I wonder what will happen" experiments, it's a great way to learn. The first instrument I built from scratch roughly 25 years ago was a solid body electric ukulele - a friend of mine had been experimenting with trying to get typical electric-guitar-like overdriven tone from his piezo-equipped acoustic uke and didn't like the results of plugging it into an electric guitar amp. We went through a lot of iterations of trying things out, it was very educational.

There's a whole spectrum between "acoustic uke but louder" and "sounds the same as an electric guitar played on the higher frets" but some of the possible combinations of equipment just sound plain bad no matter what part of that spectrum you're after. I feel like the most versatile configuration is probably a solid body uke with both a magnetic pickup and a piezo, plugged in to a full spectrum amp (i.e. acoustic guitar or bass), through a good EQ, a good compressor, and a good overdrive. That seems to be the best way to get both a good "this is unmistakably a ukulele but it has nice rich electric guitar-like overdrive" and also "sounds like a uke but louder" from one set of gear. If you do experiment with your amp you should report back what you find!

And to the OP, sorry about the slight hijack...
 

donluca

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Good insight right there and, well, the thread is about amplifiers, so we're not really OT, are we? ;)

Anyway, you did exactly what I would have eventually done in my experiment, except the magnetic pickup (which would require steel strings): piezo pickup into Compressor -> EQ -> Overdrive -> amp.

I feel like the EQ is crucial to shape the sound properly before feeding it to an overdrive, otherwise it would become a mess.
 

lakeside339

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OK folks. My budget is (preferably) $100 or less, though I can get a better amp used to meet that requirement.

Here is what I am thinking - please correct me if I am wrong. I am looking at bass amps so I can use it for both. this would give the bigger speaker and maybe a better low end(?). But someone did say you don't want a amp that is meant for electric instruments. Look for an acoustic (guitar) amp. So-Acoustic guitar amp with bigger speakers (I would not think a ubass is going to need a ton of wattage. I'm looking at 15ish watts).
Or, bass amp, and try using EQ to keep the nice acoustic sound?

Only looking at combo amps (now that I know what that means!)

For bass amps I am looking at the Acoustic (brand) B15 15W 1x10 Bass Combo Amp, Roland, Fender (maybe the rumble 15W).
 

lakeside339

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What is your budget????
Not sure on all the amps out there but here is a less expensive one.

https://shop.fender.com/en-US/guitar-amplifiers/acoustic/acoustasonic-15/2313700000.html

Roland makes some nice amps----something from the CUBE amps would work......https://www.roland.com/global/products/mobile_cube/

Or something from VOX https://voxamps.com/product/soundbox-mini/(sorry I see from the website that the soundbox mini is no longer in production. Perhaps found on line/used?) We have a VOX mini 5 that I've played my Godin through. Not as clean as my Fishman but a lot cheaper and some fun effects to use as well.

Yamaha is going to cost you double the Fender...https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/THR5--yamaha-thr5-10-watt-2x3-inch-modeling-combo

If I was starting from scratch knowing a little more today than when I started I might go with a Roland Product over the Fishman product I did buy........but it's kind of a toss up and I'll stick with the Fishman......maybe get a Roland Mobile Cube someday????

Others may have suggestions as well. I'm not sure about compatibility with a ubass on these.

Just reread this. Originally, I looked it up and found mixed reviews for the amp itself. But then, everything gets mixed reviews. So - Maybe this is my best bet.
 

mawarmoth

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My 2Cents, If you have $100 to spend, you can't go wrong with a Roland Cube in acoustic mode. Plenty of sound lots of things you can play with. Plus it runs on AC or a ton of AA batteries. Great sounding amp.
 

Brad Bordessa

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At that price point, you're really pushing your luck, quality wise. You might get a decent uke amp OR a decent bass amp. But if you insist on trying to do both in one unit, I'd save my money until I could get an active PA speaker.

That said, watch out for modeling. If you get something that does modeled sounds ONLY, you might struggle to get a good sound. It's great for electric guitar/bass, but might suck for UBASS and uke.

EDIT: Which is why I don't like the "acoustic" setting on the Roland stuff - because as far as I can tell, it is actually an acoustic simulator for electric guitar. Doesn't sound very natural to me.
 
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lakeside339

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At that price point, you're really pushing your luck, quality wise. You might get a decent uke amp OR a decent bass amp. But if you insist on trying to do both in one unit, I'd save my money until I could get an active PA speaker.

That said, watch out for modeling. If you get something that does modeled sounds ONLY, you might struggle to get a good sound. It's great for electric guitar/bass, but might suck for UBASS and uke.

EDIT: Which is why I don't like the "acoustic" setting on the Roland stuff - because as far as I can tell, it is actually an acoustic simulator for electric guitar. Doesn't sound very natural to me.

Brad - what is modeling? OH, and as I have not mentioned it anywhere, I am not planning on gigging - this is for home practice
 

lakeside339

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My 2Cents, If you have $100 to spend, you can't go wrong with a Roland Cube in acoustic mode. Plenty of sound lots of things you can play with. Plus it runs on AC or a ton of AA batteries. Great sounding amp.

For a bass ukulele?
 

mawarmoth

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There are examples on youtube. They don't sound bad. I wouldn't use anything but maybe the reverb settings. But for $100 or less the roland cube is a lot of amp that offers AC/DC operation. Like anything these are peoples opinions.
 

dwizum

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The Roland cube is a great amp but (my opinion) it'll leave you feeling unhappy with the bass. I don't think you'll struggle to get an amp that sounds good with both the uke you already have and a uke bass but you're going to need to really focus on getting a larger speaker and enough watts for the bass, regardless of the tone or other features. It's easy to amplify a high pitched instrument without a lot of power, but bass frequencies really need a lot of air movement.

I would echo the advice above - avoid amps that focus on modeling since most of them are targeted at things you're not looking for (i.e. copying a specific electric guitar tone, making an electric guitar sound acoustic or vice-versa, etc).

There are a lot of good acoustic guitar combos out there, but the ones in your price range almost universally have small speakers and less power, which (not to sound like a broken record here!) is why I'd stick with a bass amp for your two proposed uses. It'll be much easier to find a cheap bass amp that the uke will sound good through, than to find a cheap acoustic guitar amp that the bass will sound good through. And u basses have such an amazing deep thumpy tone, it would be a shame to neuter it by playing through a tiny speaker.

I like the Fender Rumble amps among the cheaper bass combos. One benefit of them is that they sell a billion of them so they're all over the place (makes it easy to try one out locally, and also easy to find one used if you're inclined). Ampeg makes good small combos too, and they're widely available, but they sound "like an Ampeg" - some people love that and some hate it (I'd guess you'll hate it based on your needs - people who want the Ampeg tone generally know that ahead of time). If you're willing to stretch your budget a bit or look for something used, I like the Warwick combos (BC 20 will be maybe $125 used) or the smaller Hartke combos. Hartke bass combos use aluminum speakers which give them a pretty bright tone, should work well for the uke.

As always the best thing to do is get out and play as many amps as you can find...