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bass amp

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:25 pm
by hohners
just wondered if it is ok to play harp through a bass amp ,looking for that fat dirty distorted sound,currently playing through a vox vt 30 which i also play guitar through but it is too clean,any tips would be appreciated ,my name is tony im a new member from wales uk im a huge blues fan ,thanks

Re: bass amp

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:26 pm
by jeffl
If the bass amp is a '59 Bassman 4X10, then I'd say yes. If it's anything else, with a single 15" speaker, I'd play through it and see if you like the tone. If you can't play through it before you buy it, then I wouldn't buy it in this case. I know lotsa guys who won't play through a harp amp with any speakers bigger than 10", but I've got a 30-watt tube amp with a single 12" in it, and it's fine for loud bar gigs. In my case the amp is also a little too clean (even though I downtubed to an Ay7 or At7..

Re: bass amp

PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:59 pm
by torncone
Have you tried playing through any effects on your vt30, or guitar pedals ? The first time I played through my delay, a Boss DD-3, I started getting that fat honking sound I'd been looking for.

Re: bass amp

PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:42 am
by MakaInOz
Tony,

Harp can work well through a bass amp (the ’59 Bassman mentioned above is a bit of a classic harp amp). The frequency response is often closer to what a harp puts out than what a guitar amp is expecting. However, they are not ‘tuned’ for harp and will probably require some tweeking (as a guitar amp will).
I’ve played through a Fender Rumble 15 bass practice amp (with 1 x 8” speaker I think), a Behringer 60 watt bass amp with 1 x 12” and Trace Elliot 300w 4 x10” combo with and without a 2 x 15” extension cab (I’ve got kids that play bass – electric and double – hence lots of bass amps around the house) with a variety of mics. They have their good points and I think all could be used as a harp amp if necessary - but I doubt they’re as good as an amp made for harp. I also often use a 4 x 8” bass quadbox for my ‘baby’ mono PA that I put a Digitech RP350 pedal (with the Richard Hunter patch set) in front of for harp. That works pretty well for small rooms.

I’ve been looking at the Roland Bass MicroCube as a busking amp – I reckon that would work better for harp than the ‘guitar’ Microcube, but I haven’t had the opportunity for a side by side comparison yet.

The mic you use will contribute (potentially significantly) to the sound as well, and the potential use will dictate the size of the amp. For dirty blues, there’s a bunch of boutique amps, mics and pedals around and a whole bunch of money can be spent! If you don’t want to go down that (expensive) path, there’s probably a fair bit you can do with your Vox and an A B splitter with different effects chains for the guitar and harp. That and a good harp mic would be cheaper (and easier to carry).

If you want a dedicated harp amp, I’d be inclined to get a boutique (even a 5W ‘Zoo II) rather than a bass amp.
YMMV