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Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head

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Weighing in at fewer than 4 lb. and taking up less than one rackspace, the MB500 delivers 500W of signature GK tone in a sleek, compact, modern head....Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

500W of thunder that easily fit in your gig bag.

Weighing in at fewer than 4 lb. and taking up less than one rackspace, the MB500 delivers 500W of signature GK tone in a sleek, compact, modern head. Boasting GK's legendary 4-band active EQ and contour control, the MB500 lets you tweak your tone to perfection before hitting the digital power section.

In addition to its generous tone-shaping capabilities, the preamp section has a footswitchable boost channel with independent volume control to dial in just the right amount of grind and level boost when needed.

The MB500 is stage- and studio-ready with an XLR direct out with pre-/post-EQ selector and ground lift. Also offers a tuner out with mute, FX loop, headphone/line out, and dual Speakon outputs.

FEATURES
500W @ 4 ohms, 350W @ 8 ohms
4-band active EQ with contour switch
Footswitchable boost channel
Effects loop
Tuner out with mute
-10dB pad for active instruments
XLR out with pre-/post- EQ and ground lift switch
Two Speakon outputs
Headphone/line out
Footswitch included
SPECIFICATIONS
4 lb.
Width: 10-3/4"
Depth: 8-1/2"
Height: 1-3/4"
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Gallien-KruegerMB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head
 
4.8

(based on 39 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (34)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

95%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound (20)
  • Portable (20)
  • Good power output (19)
  • Easy to use (18)
  • Warm / comfy (15)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Performances (19)
  • Outdoor events / games (12)
  • Home studio (7)
  • Professional recording (7)
  • Amateur recording (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (14), Professional musician (9)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

The GK sound in 5lbs

So far so good. The GK MB500 sounds great, but it took some experimenting to get the tone I wanted, and I had to read the manual.

The first time...Read complete review

So far so good. The GK MB500 sounds great, but it took some experimenting to get the tone I wanted, and I had to read the manual.

The first time I played it during practice, I played it through my practice speaker, an old single 15 cab. I was having a difficult time getting the tone I wanted with my Sting Ray. Lots of low-end, but there was no high end from my G string. I switched to my P-Bass, and things got better. Then I read the manual and tried some of the suggested settings. From there, I started playing around with different controls to get different tones.

Last night I played live through my Avatar 15" bottom and it sounded it great! It pushed air, with little effort. I was able to get the GK growl along with a punched up low end for blues/rock at a small outdoor event.

As I said, you need to experiment with the tone controls and start with some of the suggested settings in the manual.

Here's the best thing about this amp. It fits in your gig-bag.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Too pricey for the performance

These days, it seems like you pay premiums for 1) brand name, 2) light weight, or 3) exceptional performance. For me (everybody has their own opinion) this amp scores on...Read complete review

These days, it seems like you pay premiums for 1) brand name, 2) light weight, or 3) exceptional performance. For me (everybody has their own opinion) this amp scores on the first 2...not so much on the third. But hey, they say 2 outa 3 ain't bad.
The compressor was OK...just not variable and a little too squashed for me. With the 4-band EQ, I couldn't get a tight, low-end punch without getting boomy, and the contour didn't seem to help at all. I returned it and continue to look at alternatives.
I play a 5-string Carvin fretted bass, with a humbucker at the bridge and single coil in the middle. Was a little less boomy when I split the humbucker. I also tried my Carvin 5-string fretless with J-bass set-up (2 singles) , and results were similar. Some may discount my review because of the brand, but I've always had great sound from my Carvin's with other amps.

Reviewed by 39 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Great AMP,Lots of Power, Fits in my Upright Bass Gig-Bag Pocket

By Joseph Covington

from NYC

See all my reviews

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

This Amp is a great value.
I would recommend this amp to Upright and Electric Bass Players. I have used this Amp since it was released and have had ZERO problems with it. I have lent it to other musicians who have opened up and or headlined shows with me (about a 20 so far). A typical after show comment..... "That little amp really packs a punch".....I live in NYC. I play Small to medium clubs as well as big stages in the summer,weddings and tours. The direct out is all you need for the extra large out-door stages. If you need to slim-down the weight of your touring/gigging rig. Have to take subways and or crammed vehicles to gigs. Or if your an old hand with a sore back....This is your amp. I would highly suggest this little fella.... The days are numbered for the giant stack rigs. They are out-dated!

(7 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Be Careful

By DW

from Houston

See all my reviews

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

Dont let the size fool you, it does deliver 350 true watts @ ohms and it shook my whole house. It also sounds fantastic. You can truly dial in tones for any type of music you play.

However, the craftsmanship is very shotty. I was playing it for about 20 mintues and I started smelling that awful electrical burning smell. I touched the amp and it was very hot. I turned it off to let it cool. When I turned it back on, the same thing happened, except this time there was smoke. Also, I was running the DI to an external power amp, and it got that amp so hot it melted the power cord inside the chasis (Thankfully I was able to cool the amp and had not internal problems. I had not had problems with that amp before or since i hooked it to the GK.

This amp sounded fantastic and was absurdly powerful but please just beware of the construction. Luckily, I was able to get my money back and had no problems, but I would make sure to buy the extend warranty.

I do want to say though, that I did buy the model on clearence because it was a floor model. Also, I use an active 5-string bass tuned to Bb so I was making the amp push some pretty heavy lows. My gut feeling is that the amp was to small to handle the frequency I was running through it and push the power I wanted it to.

Either way, I don't use that amp anymore and have gone back using my Fender Rumble 150 and DI'ing to a power amp and running an SWR 4 x 10.

(6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

GREATEST AMP HEAD!!!!

By Mr. Bass Man

from FLORIDA

See all my reviews

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

Such a powerful and smooth amp for such a small body. I run this head rackmounted with a bunch of other goodies. I have a 4x10 and 1x15 bass rig and this amp is great I play very big venues and it can fill and venue with the sound you need.

(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Impressive.

By ChrisBass

from Austin, TX

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

I recently purchased this amp as a backup to my 70's SVT after much research. The band and I were pleasantly surprised when I plugged it in... This thing can get very loud while keeping the lows tight. The tone isn't quite the SVT (obviously), but it's a close second. I would recommend this amp for anyone who needs a back-up or if you're playing small to medium sized clubs. Overall, I am very pleased with my investment!

(5 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

 
3.0

Too pricey for the performance

By Kendall Rezabek

from Tennessee

See all my reviews

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

These days, it seems like you pay premiums for 1) brand name, 2) light weight, or 3) exceptional performance. For me (everybody has their own opinion) this amp scores on the first 2...not so much on the third. But hey, they say 2 outa 3 ain't bad.
The compressor was OK...just not variable and a little too squashed for me. With the 4-band EQ, I couldn't get a tight, low-end punch without getting boomy, and the contour didn't seem to help at all. I returned it and continue to look at alternatives.
I play a 5-string Carvin fretted bass, with a humbucker at the bridge and single coil in the middle. Was a little less boomy when I split the humbucker. I also tried my Carvin 5-string fretless with J-bass set-up (2 singles) , and results were similar. Some may discount my review because of the brand, but I've always had great sound from my Carvin's with other amps.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Big Sound, Great Tone, & Good Price

By basschaser

from Chicago, IL

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

Before I purchase this amp head, I tried almost every other amp heads here and there for months.
Only this amp head has met my qualification and expectation.

This MB500 gives me the tone I have been looking for.
It is nice to have the mute switch for tuning during the show.
The Contour and G.I.V.E (Boost knob) are the real hidden weapons for my tone.
When I matched this head with NEO410 (4ohm for full 500W), all my band members were impressed by its powerful and precise sound.

My only complaint is that there is no gauge on each knobs nor memory setting in this amp head.
I put the small stickers around the knobs my self, so it helps me to recall the right spots.

Overall, I am very pleased by its power, tone and price.
If you are looking for a light weight bass amp head with a great tone, powerful sound, and affordable price, MB500 might be your choice.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

goood bottom

By jottman

from L.A.

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

I am working upright jazz dude, play some louder funk jazz gigs.this amp is a great pro tool,needs a longer ac cord.the head fits perfect in a small lap top case.I a- b'd it with my walter. the walter has a little warmer mid highs, but the G K comes close,but its smaller, lighter and cost 2 3rd's less.On mid size rooms I use a 110 apifan.If I need more I use a Shroeder 210.I have owned almost every brand amp out there in the last 30 yrs. I highly recomend these 2 setups.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

great amp (mb500)

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

This an awsome amp.I was tired of lugging 175lbs.with my former rig.It is lightweight extremley clear punchy tone with the neo 2-12 and stays clear at any volume level without getting muddy or distorted.I would highly reccomend it to anyone looking for clean high volume,portability great features all at an outstanding price.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

One of the best in the market today !

By Fendok

from Guaynabo, PR

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Amazing And Reliable
  • Excellent Sound
  • Good Warmth
  • Portable
  • Powerful

Cons

  • None

Best Uses

  • Events
  • Home Studio
  • Performances
  • Professional Recording

Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

One of the best amps I have found. Powerfull, all the features of the 1001RB except the Bi-Amp capability in such small package......Amazing !!!!!!!!......and Yeah sounds great too !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I personaly recomend this brand to every bassist I meet. I,ve use in church and fill every corner with presence !!!.........we don't have a subwoofer and I'ts not miked !!!!!!

(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

The GK sound in 5lbs

By Rico

from Hales Corners, WI

About Me Experienced

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Excellent Sound
  • Portable

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Events
    • Performances

    Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

    So far so good. The GK MB500 sounds great, but it took some experimenting to get the tone I wanted, and I had to read the manual.

    The first time I played it during practice, I played it through my practice speaker, an old single 15 cab. I was having a difficult time getting the tone I wanted with my Sting Ray. Lots of low-end, but there was no high end from my G string. I switched to my P-Bass, and things got better. Then I read the manual and tried some of the suggested settings. From there, I started playing around with different controls to get different tones.

    Last night I played live through my Avatar 15" bottom and it sounded it great! It pushed air, with little effort. I was able to get the GK growl along with a punched up low end for blues/rock at a small outdoor event.

    As I said, you need to experiment with the tone controls and start with some of the suggested settings in the manual.

    Here's the best thing about this amp. It fits in your gig-bag.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Awesome Bass Amp

    By David

    from Ocala, FL

    About Me Professional Musician

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Excellent Sound
    • Good Warmth
    • Portable
    • Powerful

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Performances

      Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

      I just purchased the GK MB500 and am blown away by the clarity and punch out of this little unit. I have been playing through a Peavey Tour 450 and have never been able to dial in a desirable sound with my Pedulla fretless even with the 10 band EQ but as soon as I plugged in this unit I could immediately hear the difference.
      The 4 band EQ is amazing and this thing really packs a wollup! I would recommend this amp to any serious musician.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Tiny package, big GK sound!

      By geowis

      from Hopewell, NJ

      About Me Experienced

      See all my reviews

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Excellent Sound
      • Good Warmth
      • Portable
      • Powerful

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Performances

        Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

        After years of tube failures at the worst possible time. I've discovered "old school" in a tiny package. I purchased the GK MB200 for my home studio while my MarkBass TTE 500 was in for repairs. I was so blown away with what GK delivered in an amp the size of a small book that I had to take the MB 500 plunge. Like the MB 200, add a little contour, cut the hi slightly and boost the low-mid to 1 o'clock and I have tone for days.

        When my MarkBass TTE 500 returns, it's going up for sale as the MB 500 is now my go-to amp.

        By the way, the MB 200 is the loudest mini I've ever encountered. It has no problem with my 300 seat church. GK, you roc​k!

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        I like it

        By Al

        from New Orleans

        About Me Professional Musician

        Pros

        • Easy To Use
        • Excellent Sound
        • Good Warmth
        • Portable
        • Powerful
        • Small And Lightweight

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Home Studio
          • One Nighters
          • Performances

          Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

          I've only used it on 3 gigs and so far I'm happy with this amp. Since this is my 3rd GK, I'm quite familiar with using the four band EQ to dial in the exact sound I want. The contour knob is very useful and the Master B section allows me to get the amp to sound like it would at a loud volume when actually playing at a low volume. It has plenty of power and headroom. I'm happy so far.

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Incredible!

          By Basemann Biff

          from Western New York

          About Me Experienced

          See all my reviews

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Excellent Sound
          • Portable
          • Powerful

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Performances

            Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

            As an old-school bassist who was convinced that a rig had to weigh as much as a small car, I couldn't believe that a 4 pound amp could put out so much sound! I have happily found that downsizing doesn't mean sacrificing power, tone, or reliability. Coupling this unit to a 15" cabinet and my Fender Hot Rod Precision bass, gives me everything I need for my various live projects. From coffee houses to concert stages, this amp is it!

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            GK IS TO TRUST

            By kikin

            from Orlando FL

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

              Cons

              • None

              Best Uses

              • Performances

              Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

              I'd used it with a baby bass in a salsa music gig and it was hard to believe that all that powerful sound came out from that little thing.

              (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Lite and Poweful

              By Bottom

              from Northeast Arkansas (1 hour from Memphis)

              See all my reviews

              Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

              I am running this thru a Neo 4x10 cab and when necessary a 15 cab. I am very surprised at the power this head has and the tones are great. I was a little skeptical of GK products as some of the amp I have owned over the past 10 years were very problematic! I took the time to email GK and actually had a conversation with Jason who assured me that the GK quality had been improved. I was relieved to hear this, the first GK head I owned was an 800rb about 20 years ago - that thing was a work horse. It seems that the quality at GK had gone down a bit and I had several problems with 2 other GK amps. Jason was right. I have now used my 500mb for about a year 2-5 times a week and the amp is working great.You should purchase a case to carry the amp in, I found a metal brief case at harbor frieght for $25!

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Clarity and Size Benefits!

              By CrazyZeke

              from WV - DC suburbs

              See all my reviews

              Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

              This GK product is a hi-fi rated unit that works VERY well for acoustic and upright bass players. I found the settings of +1 treble, +1 hi mid, -1 lo mid, and -2 bass to be the flat setting. The contour is used to scoop out the mids and does not work well for upright bass, so I turn this off as well as the boost circuits. BUT, the tone, clarity, quiteness,power and weight makes this a great unit for small to mid sized level gigs. I've compared other brands - including very high end units (read $$$$)- and the MB500 gives the best bang-for-the bucks! Becoming a go-to unit for double bass players who also use bass guitars.

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Highly recommend

              Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

              I was gigging a different head, but bought the GK 212MBE 4-ohm cab. The head I was using started to give me grief, so I got this MB500. I really wasn?t ready to pay the price, but MF had a used #1-condition unit for 25% less than a new one, so I ordered it, but it wouldn?t power up, so I hassled MF on the phone, and got a new one for the same price, so eat your hearts out, folks, haha. I?m always direct into the PA, so I?ve got all the power and volume I need on stage, but even without PA support, there?s plenty of power to fill the typically smallish bars/clubs I do. I put this head on my two Fender Pro 410s in the studio, and although it looked kinda funny, haha? it pushed them like nobody?s business. Highly recommend this unit.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              All Good

              By CB

              from Portsmouth NH

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Excellent Sound
              • Good Warmth
              • Portable
              • Powerful

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Anywhere you gotta climb stairs for a gig!
                • Events
                • Performances

                Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

                I am downsizing from an SWR combo 15 and bought the MB 500 for its portability and power. I am still learning my war around this cool little amp, but it sure is powerful feeding my soon-to-be-replaced 4x10 cab. The boost function it provides is a bit confusing. So far I have not been able to get the "G&K growl" sound described in the owner's manual, but that might be due to pilot error. I do know it will be a pleasure to slip this amp into a shoulder bag and carry it into my next practice session!

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Gallien Kruger products are well made in the U.S.

                By els011

                from Petaluma, Ca

                About Me Experienced

                See all my reviews

                Ask me a question

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Affordable
                • Easy To Use
                • Excellent Sound
                • Portable
                • Powerful

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Events
                  • Performances

                  Comments about Gallien-Krueger MB500 500W Ultra Light Bass Amp Head:

                  I upgraded from my Gallien Kruger Backline 600 300 watt amp to the GK MB 500. Musician's Friend offered this amp at a very good promotional offer. This amp is only 3.5 lbs, and sounds very good through my Gallien Kruger 4x10 Neo bass cabinet. The cabinet comes in around 44 lbs. My joke as a bass player was that a guitar player shows up to the gig with his guitar in one hand and an amp in the other, while the bass player shows up with his bass and a hand truck to move his bass rig. Not the case anymore with these fine sounding Gallien Kruger bass products.
                  This amp requires a speakon cable adapter (into the rear of the amp) to use the 1/4 jack cable for the speaker cabinet. This was an additional expense at a local stereo store. They should include an adapter with the amp. Still a good deal though.

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