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Practice Amp question

Janie 19 Mar 10 - 12:12 AM
Leadfingers 19 Mar 10 - 12:33 AM
Janie 19 Mar 10 - 12:46 AM
Joe Offer 19 Mar 10 - 02:03 AM
Richard Bridge 19 Mar 10 - 04:44 AM
wysiwyg 19 Mar 10 - 09:47 AM
Bonzo3legs 19 Mar 10 - 10:45 AM
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Subject: Practice Amp question
From: Janie
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 12:12 AM

Does a 5 watt amp provide enough volume for an electric bass to be heard by some one just learning to play bass?

My teenage son recently bought an electric bass and 5 watt amp from a friend at school. She brought the guitar to him a couple of weeks ago, but just brought the amp today. She does not have the cable to connect the guitar to the amp. Son ran his iPod through the amp, could barely hear it, and based on that, is convinced he needs to go buy a bigger amp. I'm not sure that is a legitimate test - might be comparing apples to oranges. Ought I reasonably expect that the little 5 watt amp will provide sufficient amplification for him to be able to learn and practice on the bass to begin with?

I take his interest in learning to play bass seriously. He has been playing drums for several years, and is diligent about drum lessons and practice without pressure or reminder from me.) I think he is shaping up to be a decent percussionist, but he can not carry a tune in a bucket. (Mostly eschews all music folk, but loves Barry and Neil's shanty CD - but I can't convey to you how painful it is to listen or sing along with him, even with the CD blasting - and I would never tell him that.)    Like any teenager, he is also full of grand ideas and interests. A few of them he sticks with over time, even in the face of adversity or a slow learning curve. Other interests fall to the wayside pretty quickly.

He is also a huge gear hound.

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Subject: RE: Practice Amp question
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 12:33 AM

The output from an ipod is supposed to run a VERY small speaker - The output from a guitar pickup would be a much higher power ! Get a
Quarter Inch Jack to Jack to plug the Guitar in properly - He'll need one ANYWAY , and see what that does !
And remeber that a Practice Amp is NOT built for a Gig in Madison Square Gardens !
Radio Shack is probabbly the cheapest place .

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Subject: RE: Practice Amp question
From: Janie
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 12:46 AM

Thanks Terry. That answered my question. Jack first.

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Subject: RE: Practice Amp question
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 02:03 AM

From a parent's point of view, I'd say a five-watt amplifier is ideal for a beginning guitarist. I remember when my brother was learning to play bass, and he'd play the same thing over and over - and he insisted it had to be LOUD. I'm not sure why my parents didn't put a stop to that. But then, my sister and I always thought my brother was spoiled....

My own son, who is now 37, had a band in our garage every day for years. I can't understand why the neighbors didn't call the cops, but they all seemed very proud to know Nic. Now he has parties in his loft in Brooklyn, and the neighbors DO call the cops.


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Subject: RE: Practice Amp question
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 04:44 AM

Most practice amps have a headphone socket that, if used, disconnects the internal speaker. So the next thing to buy, after a quarter inch jack-to-jack guitar cable and maybe a similar one with a tiny little jack plug on one end for the ipod if there is a desire to play stuff off the ipod through the practice amp, should be headphones.

Incidentally, bass guitar practice amps fundamentally differ from other electric guitar practice amps in that the ones for basses are supposed not to distort whereas those for other electric guitars are supposed to distort.

5 watts is ok for the very very beginning of learning the bass. Once the stage of another friend and his guitar and maybe a singer is reached, a 15 or 25 watt bass practice amp would probably be better (if not for the neighbours). When I was young I had a Selmer Bassist Minor that had the same output valves as a Watkins Dominator, ie was about 17 watts, and if I left the garage door open we could be heard for about half a mile.

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Subject: RE: Practice Amp question
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 09:47 AM

What RB said.

We have two. For home/camper use, and also in small spaces as "gig" amps (such as single nursing home rooms) as well as to give hard-of-hearing bandmates a clue where we are in the tune. :~) Not as a true monitor-- don't need that-- but as a reinforcement to the rhythm instrument in our mix so they can keep pace.


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Subject: RE: Practice Amp question
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 19 Mar 10 - 10:45 AM

I wouldn't quite put it like that, I would say that guitar amps often have additional ciruitry in order to create distortion, which would be in the preamp section. However, some bass players insist on playing 2nd lead guitar and like to distort the sound of the bass!

5 watts through a decent speaker should be ample volume for practice.

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