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Username: csissom

Post Number: 76
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 06, 2006 - 10:49 pm:   Edit Post

Hey folks,

I just have to say I'm pretty excited here!

Since you all haven't found that perfect Distillate for me yet, I had to spend some money on something. So I went to the next thing on my list, and this afternoon I picked up a much needed replacement for my bass amp.

The new rig is a Gallien-Krueger 700RB-II head and two Dr. Bass cabinets, one BL 112 and one BL 115.

For some time, I had been thinking my old amp (a Fender BXR200 Combo) was not really well matched for the Alembic. It always did fine with my old Rickenbacker, but since I got the Alembic, I have been growing less and less satisfied with it.

And I was right. I have been twiddling with the knobs on this GK amp (and on my bass) all night. And wow! I feel like I am really hearing the Alembic for the first time! It sounds truly fantastic!

Anyway, my question is this... do any other Alembic players out there have a GK amp like this (or similar)? If so, would you like to share any tips or settings for getting an especially sweet tone out of the amp and bass?

I know, you will say... "but what kind of tone do you want?" ... well, for now I'm just looking for the variety of tones I can get. Although I can say that I prefer a fairly deep and smooth tone, but still with a lot of clarity and just a bit of a bite on the attack to give it color.

And I know you will say it depends as much on how I set the controls on the bass... so tell me how you set your bass too. My bass has Essence electronics with a Q switch added.

But no need to be exact or anything, I'm just looking for some combinations to try that maybe I haven't happened across yet.

Thanks, as always,
Senior Member
Username: dela217

Post Number: 662
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 7:16 am:   Edit Post

I am a fan of GK too. I had a 400RB for 20 years before selling it. It was never repaired, never broke down. I treated it like the proverbial red headed step child. I ended up selling it because all of the screws on the case stripped out, and I had it held together with duct tape. I guess it was from all the vibration of 20 years of bass and from it being constantly stored in the trunk of my car. A good sounding lightweight and cheap amp. It's what everyone needs. So I ended up buying another GK. This one is the 1001RB-II. TONS of power in a 2 space package. It also fits in a shallow rack!

As far as settings go, I just set everything pretty much flat.

Senior Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 623
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 8:49 am:   Edit Post

Curt, my story sounds pretty similar to yours. I was happy with my old Rick combo until I played my Alembic through a friend's GK. Then I had to have one. I really like the sound. Most of the time I play through a 400 RB 210 or sometimes through the friend's 700 (115, I think). As far as tweaking the sound I'm not really the one to advise you. I normally have the bass up and the treble fairly down. Just my preference.
Username: steve4765630

Post Number: 8
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 12:08 pm:   Edit Post

Dude, I don't use GK, but I've always like the sound. Amazing value for the money too. I think the 1001 is the best amp in the price range hands down. Nothing comes close to 700 watts with so many pro features for less that $1000.
Username: hb3

Post Number: 100
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 12:52 pm:   Edit Post

I had a 400RB back in the day....they're sort of considered classics now, aren't they?

Maybe "classic" is too strong a word.....

(Message edited by hb3 on May 07, 2006)
Senior Member
Username: rami

Post Number: 550
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 5:26 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Curt,

I'm an EDEN guy, but I certainly respect GK gear. It's funny to hear you mention your Fender BXR200C because I still have my old BXR300C! I still use it to practice on, but there's no comaprision to a modern high end system. I actually like to keep all my settings flat and fiddle with the tone (or Bass & Treble) controls on my Bass. Congrats on your new system and I'm sure you'll find your sound with it.

Username: csissom

Post Number: 81
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 4:10 pm:   Edit Post

GK Update:

Well, I got the new GK amp out to band practice yesterday and gave it a good workout, and WOW! It sounded great! It takes my sound to a whole new level. There were times it seemed like the bass was playing itself, because I was standing there listening and I couldn't believe this incredible sound was coming from me!

Yea, I know that is as much due to the bass as to the amp, but at least this amp lets the Alembic come through, loud and clear. I also can't say enough about these Dr. Bass cabinets. They sound fabulous, they look classy, and they are built like rocks. An incredible value for the price I think.

So anyway, this GK amp has a little switch on it, to change the amp to be "voiced" (whatever that means) for a 5 string bass vs. a 4 string. I was a bit curious about this, because I have never been entirely pleased with the tone of the B string on my bass. It just always seemed too muddy and undefined for my taste. And if I tried to set the tone so the B string sounded acceptable, it ruined the tone of the other four strings for me. So when I first got the bass about six months ago, I tried to incorporate the 5th string into what I play, which was easy enough to do from a playing perspective. It was easy enough to extend my scales onto the new string, since it is an even interval, but I never liked the sound. It didn't have the drive and punch I like. So honestly, for the last 2 or 3 months, I have just been avoiding the B string.

Of course, it is not always so easy to just ignore that 5th string. You see, I have a few, admittedly bad, habits from 25 years of teaching myself to play. Like, sometimes I wrap my thumb up over the top of the neck to deaden an open E note, while my other fingers are off playing something else which would clash with the E if it kept ringing out. And of course I can't do that with the 5th string in the way. This technique, or lack thereof, is an integral part of a few songs I play. Now, I have other ways to mute strings while I play, so for the most part it is ok, but there are a ccouple of songs where these new techniques just sound sloppy to me, or at least not "right".

Sorry to ramble on, this is just a long way of saying, that even though I was skeptical about what it would really do, I did push that little 5 string switch on the GK amp, and WOW! It completely brought the B string to life! It has all the punch and clarity I want, while still keeping a great tone on all the other strings. And I am not sure if I understand how it does it, but it also fixes the problem with muting my open E. Those techniques that sounded sloppy through my old amp, sound just fine now!

Sorry for such a long post, I am just really hyped up here.

And thanks to everyone for the responses. It is great to see that other folks have had good experiences with these amps.

Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 781
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 8:29 pm:   Edit Post

They're extremely well-built and roadworthy: 800RBs have been a backline regular for years and years. Bob Gallien really thought outside the box to leave behind the wooden box, use the presets curves, and build in a small biamp feature to drive the horns. I've never thought their cabinets matched the inspiration visible in the amps, though.

For my ears, though, they sound as metallic as the boxes they're built in. But they're definitely on my short list of juke-proof amps.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 782
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 8:35 pm:   Edit Post

Oh yeah, this reminds me, you four string guys:

DON'T EVER get used to or let yourself hang that thumb over the top of the fingerboard. You're gonna pay for it if you ever go to a five or six (see above).

It's not a good idea on a four, anyway. It pushes your wrist up and way out of shape and just makes things harder.

As Sherriff Buford T. Justice said . . . 'You can think about it . . but don't do it!!'

J o e y
Username: csissom

Post Number: 82
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 9:07 pm:   Edit Post

Yea Joey, I tried out some GK cabinets when I was trying out the amp, and I was not that impressed. I think the sound of the Dr. Bass cabinets is noticably better, they look more solid, and at a significantly lower price.

And yes, the GK amp can definitely sound metallic if the treble is set high. I know some people like that sound, but I don't care for it. But I have found if I set the treble on the amp to about 10:00 and the bass to about 2:00, with the mids flat at 12:00, then it takes that metallic sound out of the amp. I can then twiddle with the filter on the bass and get a whole range of tones, none of which sound metallic. Even with the filter on the bass turned all the way to the treble end, it sounds very bright and crisp, but not metallic.

And yea, like I said, the thumb thing is a bad habit. I am a whole mess of bad habits (and even a few good habits) I have collected over the years, whatever seemed to work at the time, you know. You guys would probably be aghast to see what a mess I am when I play! But at least playing the 5 string has cured me of one bad habit. Perhaps there is still hope!

Username: hankster

Post Number: 34
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 4:42 pm:   Edit Post

Re: the thumb thing - this is more than a bad habit. The position your hand is in when your thumb is hanging over the top of the neck puts you at great risk of developing a carpal tunnel syndrome or similar repetitive strain injury. Once these happen, they are a plague, and can make playing a misery, or impossible.

Username: bobtait

Post Number: 4
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 3:41 pm:   Edit Post

Ihave been using two GK 400 rb amps driving two 2x10 cabinets for years. I can use them independently but usually I use one preamp and the second as a power amp. I play a Mark King medium scale deluxe and a Fender precision. The cabinets are two boxes that were cut from an ancient ampeg svt 8x 10 cabinet. They are loaded presently with two pretty cheap, long excursion 8 ohm 10s each bringing each cabinet to a 4 ohm load. This gives me a 400 watt rig thru 4 ten inch speakers. The speakers are Pro Beat brand. But basically any kind of long excursion, cloth suspension speaker with a decent sized magnet would do. They pretty much approximate the sound of an old svt rig. I'm sure some EV speakers or such would work even better but these type speakers have always worked fine for me.
Username: rockbassist

Post Number: 75
Registered: 8-2005
Posted on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 12:23 pm:   Edit Post

I have used GK for quite a while. I currently use a GK 1001RB-II running biamped through a GK 410RBH and a GK 115RBH. I like the tone and relability but it seems that every time I hear a bass tone that I really love, the rig being used is an Eden so I am considering switching.
Username: pts

Post Number: 6
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Thursday, June 01, 2006 - 11:38 am:   Edit Post

I've been using the 800RB for a couple of years with a single Hartke 4x10" cabinet. The GK head has way more power than I needed for the Hartke alone. But when I was younger, I never had a rig that provided enough output, and I was always struggling to be heard with various second-hand begged, borrowed or owned combo amps. So, when it came time to invest in a proper stack, I deliberately choose a head with more power than I needed, determined never again to lack wattage if it was ever required.

It was a wise decision, because just a few months ago, I came across a chance to buy a SWR Big Ben 1x18" cabinet, and I did so. Now, with the GK's biamp feature, I've got enormous bottom-end coming through the 1X18", and the 4X10" handles mids-and high. On stage, I get clear, discernable but not deafening note definition through the 4x10" pointed at face level, while the 1x18 goes to work loosening the fillings in the audience's teeth. In a nice way. The first time I used it was at a private club with very high 30' vaulted ceilings. During set-up, I let rip with a few Lesh-Cassidy style bass chords and the whole place just shook (the low-B helps). I've never felt so manly.

So, when you're in the market for an amp, get more than you think you need. As with worktools, cheap amps end up being the most expensive amps you'll ever buy.
Username: worldfamousandy

Post Number: 56
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, June 02, 2006 - 6:39 am:   Edit Post

Ditto. I learned a long time ago to strive for an rig you can run at 50% on your biggest gig. Once in a blue moon, you may find yourself in a position where you may need a little more, and you'll have it! It's alo been my experience that most rigs' performance begin to suffer at a point beyond 50%. Running your amp at 90% all the time does not do much for your sound or the life of the rig.

I never use my 800RB anymore, only because I have an F-1X. The 800RB was my workhorse for a long time, and it was outstanding! The only problem I had was the power transformer loosening itself in the chassis. A couple times, it fell out and shorted/cooked itself, which cost about $175 to fix each time. Other than that, it sounded and performed very well under a variety of conditions.

The new GK stuff is very impressive, too, especially for the money! I may buy another GK head for the rehearsal room.

Andy Calder
Senior Member
Username: dela217

Post Number: 670
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, June 02, 2006 - 11:30 am:   Edit Post

I need a GK rig that goes to eleven.
Advanced Member
Username: olieoliver

Post Number: 361
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Friday, June 02, 2006 - 11:37 am:   Edit Post

"..a GK that goes to eleven..." they call that an SWR... LOL....or at least they did before Fender got a hold of them!

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