Oct 23, 2016

Pignose PB-30 Bass & Keyboard Amp Review

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

Just once in a while, the Gear Gods will align things in your favor.  Such was the case when I took up bass and keyboard within two weeks of each other and stumbled across the uncommon Pignose PB-30 on clearance.  Judging by the drought of other reviews anywhere online, I thought this might be a well-needed review for this relatively unknown but quite decent amplifier.

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

For starters, I found this amp on Amazon a little over a month ago on clearance for just $50.  The original retail was somewhere around $120, at which point there are much more popular Fender bass amps that really drown out the Pignose on the market scale.  When sharing this find with a few guitar groups, the most common sentiment was "I had no idea Pignose ever made bass guitar amps", a sentiment I definitely shared until I found it by chance.
Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

As usual, Amazon shipped in a timely fashion, and the box wasn't too beat up, although I'm getting a suspicion at this point that it's been in storage for a few years.

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

It came with some nifty stickers... well, they used to be sticky.  These perfectly un-stickers gave a hint that it's been in storage for a while.  

My guess is that Pignose decided to expand to the bass amp market but were still entirely viewed as "the company who makes the 9v busking guitar amp" that the competition swallowed them whole.  Hence the continued anonymity of their full size bass amps.  But their lack of successful marketing doesn't translate to a failure to build a decent amp, fortunately.

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

On unboxing, I found it to be a nicely sized, solidly built, yet relatively lightweight amp.  Not bad!  The (faux?) leather exterior is cool and unique looking and the exterior is very rugged.  The carry handle feels a little cheap but hasn't had any durability issues, and it has a little bit of rattling inside on shaking it around, which is likewise concerning but so far not shown any real problem.

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

The controls are as follows: Volume, Master volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, and "Funk Bass".  Let's go through them each:
Volume:  The most perplexing knob on here, which it really shouldn't be.  Turning the volume to zero cuts off the volume, but it doesn't have a particularly noticeable effect above a certain point.  Perhaps this should have been labeled a gain knob, but it doesn't introduce any gain-y overdrive or distortion at any point either.

Master volume: Works as a volume should.  Goes from quite quiet to rather boomy.  It puts out a respectable volume worthy of some hearing loss with an electric guitar, but is really only a practice amp for basses, which take a lot more power to drive the subsonic frequencies our ears are less sensitive to.

Treble: Modifies the high frequencies.  Roll it back all the way and it sounds smooth and muffled, unleash it and it's pretty twangy.

Mids: Doesn't have such a pronounced effect, but shapes the tone from wide open and honky to tighter and more constricted.

Bass: Doesn't have a whole lot of effect at all, but adds or takes away a bit from the earth-shaking frequencies.

Funk Bass switch: A fun effect, switching this adds a dose of gain and treble for a loud, snappy solo.  Sounds cool, but could be overused, can be a little piercing, and adds noticeable static and noise to the signal.

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

From the back it's built just as well, with a closed back design.  It includes a line out and a headphone jack, which are useful additions that make this amp more useful both for practice and for actual recording.

Pignose PB30 Bass Amp

Compared to a Squier P-Bass (before modifications, post coming soon!).  It's really quite a nice size for the bass hobbyist, without taking up too much room but also putting out enough power for home practice, a solo recording studio, or even small band practice.  While at the original price of $100 or more, the Pignose PB-30 doesn't have the features to really stand out beyond the well-known brand competition, if you manage to find one of the few left at a clearance rate, don't be put off by the name, because the Pignose PB-30 is still a respectable multi-purpose amp that deserves a little love too for trying to find its own way in the big world.

1 comment :

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