My Bass Rig

May 16, 2006

In my first band, I had a colossally inadequate Peavey Basic 40 full-range practice amp that I used for bass, even in shows. It was never loud enough, and coupled with my cheap off-brand bass it brought me no end of embarrassment. In the hope of getting the required volume level on my stringent budget, I had a speaker out jack installed and bought (for $75) the ugliest 15″ cab ever conceived (it was not covered in carpet or tolex or anything — just plywood). This led to even further humiliation, although it did solve the volume problem.

A year later, my friend Danny traded in a Les Paul for a full bass rig so he could play bass in our then-current band, Till We Have Faces. It consisted of a Fender Standard Jazz Bass ’92, a fossilized Peavey Mark III head, and a monstrous Crate Bass Cabinet featuring a 15″, a 12″ and a 10″. This last was so large it could not fit into my car (by contrast, my 4×12″ Fender cab fit easily), and could not be reasonably lifted by one person. He decided bass was not for him, and sold me the whole rig for $600.

Skip ahead to a year or so ago. I had always felt the equipment I owned was at least sufficient. The bass rig, though unwieldy, was certainly loud. But I realized, as I started to think about joining bands again, that the equipment I had was not going to make any good impressions (this began, unfortunately, with an embarrassing, feedback laden practice session where I failed to gain anyone’s respect). I started upgrading the components of my musical entourage, one by one.

When the time came for me to start looking for bands, I realized that I would not be taken seriously with the ancient, ugly, and enormous bass rig that I had. I also realized that I was taking up a huge amount of space in my parents’ garage with something I would never use. I took it up to San Jose with the intention of trading it in. I got (unsurprisingly) a fairly small amount of trade-in for it, but it was just sufficient for half of a Bag End 2×10″. I was not at first impressed with the sound, but its small size (it had to have been a tenth of the volume of my previous rig) and name-recognition convinced me it was a good buy. I determined that I could find a head later on.

After a number of purchases and sales, all the while trying out different gear and reading a lot of Harmony Central reviews, I got a hold of an Eden WT405 Time Traveler. This is also a diminuitive unit — roughly 3″H x 12″D x 13″W. But in spite of their smaller size, the superior quality of the Eden head and Bag End cabinet made for not a downgrade from the previous rig, but an increase in sound quality and volume. I thought for a while of getting a second Bag End cabinet, to take full advantage of the 2ohms minimum output of the amp; but I don’t even come close to using the power available now, so I don’t really see that happening.

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