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  1. #1
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    Amps Guitar AND Bass - Hendricksen - Jazzcat Phatcat?

    I am considering a new jazz guitar amp. I am kind of stuck on a Jazzcat or Hendricksen. The prospect of getting a good bass sound out of it helps me swallow the price. So hopefully someone around hear has used these amps to do both duties and can give me some input.

    For Jazz guitar, I'm am looking for what most everyone else is and I am not interested in compromising sound here. I am sure the JC and the Hendricksen would do the job. If I just wanted it to play guitar through it, I would likely get the Hendricksen. I have never played either but I have corresponded with the owner at Hendricksen and he answered all of my questions "Johnny on the spot." I don't have any experience with Jazzcat except for seeing the website (kind of wimpy) and some pretty weak demos on youtube.

    For Bass. Nothing sexy needed for this. I just need a solid sound out of my P-Bass. The Jazzcat starts to take the lead here. The two channels would be gold. One dialed in for guitar and one for bass. Also, with two channels I can loop a bass line and play guitar along with it and no compromises in sound. Pretty inviting! I currently play bass through a Genz Benz Shuttle 8 and it sounds great! However, the 8" speaker lacks some low end that I crave and it is voiced a little wierd for guitar. It almost does the job but not quite.

    I guess I am hoping for input on the advantages and disadvantages for these amps for guitar, but I would also love to hear about anyone actually playing some bass through it. Also, if someone has played bass through either of these with the 10" speaker, that would be cool to know as well. I would love to go lighter but I mean a bass does have to sound, well, like a bass!

    I realize that this may be a pipe dream. I mean an amp that is an excellent jazz guitar amp and a good, solid bass amp sounds great but things like this almost almost never pan out. Kind of like cable TV, you wind up with 150 channels of nothing to watch. However, the potential warrants some research!

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  3. #2
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    I have a Henriksen JazzAmp 112 (weighs 32 pounds). I think it sounds darn near perfect with the thin-line semi-hollow strung with 11's that I use with it. I actually compared it directly to a JazzKat PhatKat in a store before I bought it. I had been leaning toward the JazzKat because it has lots more features, but I much preferred the Henriksen. I don't have a full hollow archtop, and I've never tried the JazzAmp 110. Since Henriksen states somewhere on their website that the 112 was originally designed to amplify upright bass, I had my son's electric bass player friend - a good player currently attending Berklee - play his quality solid-body bass through it, and we both thought it sounded great as well.
    Last edited by Tom Karol; 10-09-2011 at 09:31 PM.
    "Thanks, but you should have heard what I was trying to play!" - T. Monk
    http://network.online.berklee.edu/profile/1200078

  4. #3
    I have a Henriksen 110R which is just a superb little workhorse IMHO.
    I use it with my Heritage 575 Custom but it sounds surprisingly good with solid bodies too.

  5. #4
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    I too have the Henriksen 12 (the one before they added reverb). I use it mostly with a thin body fully hollow guitar with one P-90. It just sounds great. I have also used it with a bass and I found the results just as satisfying which is not surprising since it was intended as a bass amp originally (I think). There is no JazzKat dealer in my parts and I have never had the chance to try one, unfortunately.

  6. #5
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    Both Hendriksen 10 and 12 combo amps use eminence beta speakers, which are actually specified as bass speakers by eminence - so both work for bass, subject to the constraints of cabinet size of course. But bear in mind that the eq system is set for guitar, not bass.....I found the 10 fine for bass at modest volumes, when I owned one, but it's not a high-volume bass amp at all.

  7. #6
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    Wow, the Hendriksen gets a lot of love around here. Very nice to know.

    Yeah the bass is clearly a secondary purpose. It is not my main instrument. I find it gives me insight on musicianship that is sometimes cloudy on guitar for some reason. Timing, note selection, taste and feel just seems to come right out front when I play some bass and then I am able to keep that when I jump back on the guitar. Cross-training I guess. Different perspective on the music at hand. So no high volume use, just mostly practice and playing with low volume ensembles if I am the weaker guitar player.

    Thanks so much for the input and would love to hear any more. Trying to decide whether sell my current bass amp and a 65 Vibro Champ to fund the new acquisition. Tough but I am not much of a vintage guy so I am leaning towards the new amp.

  8. #7
    I play some bass on my Henriksen 112 and think it sounds pretty good. Very versatile amp, works well with my Tele, Gibson 330 and my Sadowsky JB & Semi Hollow.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Harleyboy View Post
    I play some bass on my Henriksen 112 and think it sounds pretty good. Very versatile amp, works well with my Tele, Gibson 330 and my Sadowsky JB & Semi Hollow.
    Hey thats some cool kit !

  10. #9
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    If your Genz-Benz doesn't provide the bottom you want, I'm a little doubtful that a guitar amp will. I use a Shuttle 3.0-10T for small venues (up to a 200+ theatre) without difficulties, but I can't imagine using any of my guitar amps for bass under any circumstances: speaker excursion is going to be a major issue, especially if you want deep bass. Carvin makes an amp that will accommodate bass and guitar (a friend who is a great bass player has one, but I haven't tried it myself): CarvinWorld.com - Guitars, Amplifiers & Pro Audio

    My own strategy is to use separate amplifiers. I gig on guitar, Dobro, bass and harmonica, and I have abandoned the dream of one amp that fits all. I take tone seriously (we all do!) and an amplifier that does one well is practically guaranteed to do nothing else as well -- and, as a corollary, one that does everything sort-of-OK will not do any of them to professional standards.

    That said, if I were you, I would direct my attention toward a bass amp that can be tweaked for guitar, rather than vice versa. Prominent bass content is not possible with a guitar amp, regardless of its pedigree. Perhaps an EQ pedal would help: both guitar and bass amps have tone stacks optimized for their particular instrument, but if you can find a relatively neutral setting on a bass amp, you might be able to use such a device to nail a good jazz tone as well. Note that this process is fraught with the reefs and shoals of the designer's intent, and much trial and error will be involved, of a sort never experienced or envisioned by us internet gurus.

  11. #10
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    I have a Carvin AG100D which has three channels,one for acoustic or electric guitar (There's a midrange cut switch for piezo pups),one for Bass guitar or keyboards etc and a mike channel.Mine is an older one with one effects unit built in.I think the new ones have two effects units built in.
    I think it's great value for the money. The compromise is that the guitar channel is not as good as a dedicated jazz amp.
    The 15" speaker is an added benefit.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpdeluxe View Post
    If your Genz-Benz doesn't provide the bottom you want, I'm a little doubtful that a guitar amp will. I use a Shuttle 3.0-10T for small venues (up to a 200+ theatre) without difficulties, but I can't imagine using any of my guitar amps for bass under any circumstances: speaker excursion is going to be a major issue, especially if you want deep bass.

    ...and I have abandoned the dream of one amp that fits all. I take tone seriously (we all do!) and an amplifier that does one well is practically guaranteed to do nothing else as well -- and, as a corollary, one that does everything sort-of-OK will not do any of them to professional standards.

    Note that this process is fraught with the reefs and shoals of the designer's intent, and much trial and error will be involved, of a sort never experienced or envisioned by us internet gurus.
    Great points! I wish I had got the 10T instead of the 8T. I would like a little more depth that the 10 surely offers over the 8. Still, it is an awesome sounding little bass amp and the best answer is probably to get a smallish 2x10 or 1x15 maybe 1x12, 4 ohm cab to get the most out of the shuttle head while keeping the 8" for practice.

    My experience is the same as yours when ever I have invisioned the "one amp does all" routine. They usually do everything ok but never exceptional in any area.

    I am abandoning the idea of using a jazz amp for bass but I still think I might get a Hendriksen 10 for jazz.

    Thanks everyone for the input!

  13. #12
    Good decision - when we want a piece of gear to do many things we end up getting a compromise. About the henriksen you do have other options and the 12 version is for sure better than the 10!

  14. #13
    I agree that no amp is perfect for both guitar and bass. Sometimes I play an upright bass, very rarely -- but occasionally -- a fretless slab, and then last night I was playing guitar. It just depends on what they want me for, and how much I'm willing to lug around.

    But I think sometimes you have to draw the line and say that enough is enough and good enough is good enough. I think as we age, sometimes too many possessions start to become more of a burden, and gear is a big part of that.

    And then too, when you get to the point you are spending more time in medical clinics than you ever spent in jazz clinics, you begin to appreciate simplicity and fewer choices to have to make.

    And soooo...I'm fairly satisfied with Polytone Mini-brute III amps. Not the best bass amp, but I understand Ray Brown used one for a while, and you know, he was a pretty good bass player. Not the best guitar amp, although probably a better guitar amp than they are a bass amp...and there is never a problem with the reverb crapping out -- which Polytones are famous for -- because they have no damned reverb to crap out.

    Plus they're fairly cheap on the used market.

    They're a bit heavier than some of the guitar amps more in vogue today, but they're a lot lighter than most of the purpose built bass amps that are available.

    Something you might want to look into if you haven't done so already...

  15. #14
    Between the Henriksen and the Polytone I would ALWAYS choose an Henriksen (although I think there are better options than both amps). I think the whole Henriksen idea was to recreate the old Polytone sound (much better than new ones) in a reliable and well built combo (and providing a good costumer service which Polytone is famous for not being able to deliver).

    The Henriksen sounds better (to me), is cheaper (new in Europe) and if you open both amps you will see how ripped you are buying a Polytone... If you find one used at a very good price go for it but going for a new amp to me there´s no doubt - Henriksen.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjm View Post
    I agree that no amp is perfect for both guitar and bass. Sometimes I play an upright bass, very rarely -- but occasionally -- a fretless slab, and then last night I was playing guitar. It just depends on what they want me for, and how much I'm willing to lug around.

    But I think sometimes you have to draw the line and say that enough is enough and good enough is good enough. I think as we age, sometimes too many possessions start to become more of a burden, and gear is a big part of that.

    And then too, when you get to the point you are spending more time in medical clinics than you ever spent in jazz clinics, you begin to appreciate simplicity and fewer choices to have to make.
    Good points. I have rid myself of all the 100 lb+ behemoths from my past, and even the medium amps are going. But my bass can't be heard over the drummer I usually play with, unless I add a second 10T cabinet to my Genz-Benz (that gives it a 4 ohm load, and raises power from 175W to 300). I wouldn't attempt to use a guitar amp at the necessary level with a bass. But I reserve the little G-B for quieter gigs, and rely on a Mesa/Boogie Walkabout head with the two G-B speakers when I have to be loud. That's a 13 lb head and two 16 lb cabinets, easily manageable. For guitar I use the 26 lb Fender Jazzmaster Ultralight, equally handy.

    I never am in a situation where I play both guitar and bass, except the occasional jam where a friend and I trade off on instruments during the course of an evening. In that case, one of brings the guitar and amp, the other the bass and amp. For performance, I just bring what I need for the job. My favorite gig? Playing harmonica in a production of Big River, the Roger Miller-scored musical. Every evening, for five performances, the bass player hauled his bass and large Fender amp up the narrow stairs to the pit; the horn players each brought three instruments in their cases; even the fiddle player brought a double violin case. Me, I carried my little harmonica case up the steps each night (with the score safely inside). And, harmonica players being thin on the ground around here, I was paid twice what the others were!

    With today's technology, there's no reason to lug a giant amp around. (The lightweight M/B head comes in a combo cabinet with its speaker at 63 lb -- it didn't take me long to learn to leave it at home and just take the head.) If I were the OP, I'd be tempted to try a larger Genz-Benz (perhaps a Shuttle 6.0-210T, still 32 lb) with an EQ pedal and perhaps a reverb. But light is good.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984 View Post
    Between the Henriksen and the Polytone I would ALWAYS choose an Henriksen (although I think there are better options than both amps). I think the whole Henriksen idea was to recreate the old Polytone sound (much better than new ones) in a reliable and well built combo (and providing a good costumer service which Polytone is famous for not being able to deliver).

    The Henriksen sounds better (to me), is cheaper (new in Europe) and if you open both amps you will see how ripped you are buying a Polytone... If you find one used at a very good price go for it but going for a new amp to me there´s no doubt - Henriksen.
    I'm not certain, but I don't think Polytone still offers the Minibrute III, and I think it's strictly going to be a matter of finding a used amp. Availability in the U.S. is pretty good, maybe not so good in Europe.

    One of the two I own is one I got new nearly 30 years ago and has very basic controls. The newer one I bought used -- it was built some time during the 90's...pushing 20 years old. The newer amp is a pain in the ass to set, but once you're done fiddling around with all the knobs, it sounds about the same as the older one.

    (I've got two even though I argue for minimalism because I leave one at a club I play at most of the time and that way I don't have to pack an amp around so much.)

  18. #17
    Those old ones with just two or three knobs are great! I was never able to get that sound in new polytones (apparently never found the sweet spot you did).

    Man I wish I had a club where I played so much I could leave an amp there...

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by lpdeluxe View Post
    Good points. I have rid myself of all the 100 lb+ behemoths from my past, and even the medium amps are going. But my bass can't be heard over the drummer I usually play with...
    I hear what you're saying..although I was "drafted" to play bass for a community big band with the local cow college for a couple of seasons about ten years ago when they got caught short of bass players among the students and faculty. Their double bass sucked; I didn't feel like packing mine so often, so; I took a P-Bass and one of my Minibrute III's. Wasn't great, but I could be heard.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by jorgemg1984 View Post
    Man I wish I had a club where I played so much I could leave an amp there...
    Be very careful about what you wish for...

  21. #20
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    Henriksen 112 is actually a pretty decent bass amp also.

    I used to play bass in a cover band (Jazz/Pop/Rock) and the Henriksen was fine.

    Something that I found with the amp is that some basses (or guitars for that matter) just don't work with the amp. I don't know exactly what it is, but when I had to find a bass because mine was at school, it sounded very dry and mid-heavy. (Granted it was a cheap bass.)

    I guess this has got to do with bringing out the natural tones of the instrument. (Which was not good in this case..)

    For jazz guitar, it is one of the best amps I've used. I love the fender deluxes but in all honesty, the amp just doesn't sound that great at a lower volume. I've been happy with the Henriksen at most volume levels.

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