Consider a tube amp

There will always be a debate on tubes vs solid state. And yes, solid state is more accurate. IMHO that’s part of the problem.

Have a listen for yourself. And I’ll take a little controversial stance here… Yes, you can actually play your bass through a guitar amp. Contrary to what some sites are saying, they’re the same tubes. 12AX7, KT88, EL34, EL84, 6V6, and 6L6 tubes are insanely common. 12AX7 in particular are used in the pre-amp in both guitar and base a LOT, and 6L6 is often in the power amp for both.

No, you can’t really gig with a guitar amp (unless they have a PA). But you can practice at suitable volume. Check a few out.

My experience so far, on both my Gibson EB5 5-string and my Gibson SG:

Fender Custom Deluxe 1968 22W hates them. All it does is fart.

Orange OR15 15W hybrid likes them an awful lot.

The Supro Blues King 10 (5W) and 12 (15W) all tube both like them both an awful lot. It would probably like them more if I wasn’t playing humbuckers.

The Marshall CP900 all tube 100W loves them.

The Supro 40W Statesman and 35W Thunderbolt (which was actually designed for bass) think they died and went to heaven. The SG especially is damned amazing.

Yes, beginners, budgets, power (lol), features… All important. But so is tone. You need to enjoy what you’re doing, what you’re hearing, or you won’t play.

I have the a rumble 100, its a good amp. But it’s sterile. The EB5 sounds OK. The SG sounds bad (to the point where I can’t play the G string on it).

Just open up a little and try stuff maybe you normally wouldn’t. And enjoy yourself, regardless.


Or just buy a solid state amp and get a tube preamp, get the best of both worlds - great tube sound without having to lug around a tube power section :slight_smile:

I love my EBS ValveDrive. Playing with different tubes in it. It sounded great with the stock 12AX7 and I think it’s even better with a JJ5751.

I came really close to springing for a Le Bass but really, the ValveDrive brings all the tube warmth and breakup I’d expect. Great preamp.


FWIW I’m not saying I made some grand discovery no one else has ever seen. That would be silly. My point was that it seems like beginners look at their amps in a different light, like a necessary evil. Really, it’s the second half of the instrument. Put some thought into it. I’m unlikely to get a pedal, but I can see why some might. I have the tone I want, and I’m not inclined to carry extra gear lol.


Yeah, understood and agree, that’s exactly why I went with the pedal approach myself. Cheaper, lighter, and gives you the tube sound without needing to invest in a tube amp :slight_smile:

If you already have a tube amp there is no need for the pedal. Unless you want a smaller solution for taking it out and about.

Another good option for people that wanted this in an amp would be the hybrid amps like Gallien-Krueger makes with their Fusion line; tube preamp, solid state power section, so both tube-sounding and small/light.

Tubes add awesome qualities to the sound, and I agree completely that people should explore that!


There was someone on the forum talking about their Mark Bass amp that had both a solid state and a tube preamp and allowed you to adjust how much of your sound was coming from each one. If I remember correctly he said he was running 80% solid state and 20% tube that gave him all the advantages he wanted from both.

I thought that was a really cool design idea.


That sounds like an interesting idea… But I can’t use the Mark Bass. I tried the CMD 151p (300W SS 15" speaker) and hated it. 30 minutes and I couldn’t find a good tone. On a $1150 product that’s not acceptable. (And that 300W was weak. Perfect example of why people say you can’t compare tube Watts to solid state.)

The Supro stuff is the exact opposite. It doesn’t matter how I set it, I can’t find a bad tone. I got the 15W 12" BK12 for $300 on clearance (yeah, a year old product line and no one is buying…) and it was still a good deal at $600. I got my for Thunderbolt for $700 (also clearance 50% off). But… The market is what it is. Sigh.

And while I don’t really like the solid state stuff, that’s me. Everyone has a tone in their head they’re trying to get to. If SS does it so be it. And if pedals work then great.

I hope within a couple months I can show you guys what I’m working on. It’s going to be cool. Like really, really cool.


I look forward to it.


Sounds interesting, are you familiar with Ashdown?
I use their Tourbus for home practise.

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Yeah that sounds frigging great.

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