Next up in my search for the ultimate bass combo was the Fender Rumble 350. In truth the Rumble 350 was not an amp I had really considered, but the salesman at my local GC was pushing it pretty hard, so I figured I might as well give it a whirl.
The Fender Rumble 350 is a 350 Watt bass combo with 2X10″ Fender® Special Design Speakers. Controls include Volume, Overdrive Gain, Overdrive On/Off, Overdrive Blend, Punch EQ Preset, Scoop EQ Preset, Bass, Semi-Parametric Mid with Level & Frequency controls, and Treble. Also included is a Horn On/Off Switch, XLR Line Out with Ground LIft, Aux in, Headphone Jack, Effects Loop, plus Fender’s Delta Comp Adaptive Compression Circuitry. All of this is housed in a Heavy Duty Ported Cabinet with Black Vinyl Covering, a Rugged Black Metal Grill, Springloaded Side Handles and Removable Casters to aid in portability.
As I say, the salesman was eager to show me this amp, telling me I wouldn’t believe how loud it could get. I plugged in a Standard P Bass and fiddled with the amp a bit before he cranked it up so I could hear it at full volume. Well, it does indeed get loud. Unfortunately that does not mean that it sounds good. Personally I thought it sounded horrible at high volumes. There was a lot of distortion going on, even without the built in Overdrive engaged. I couldn’t tweak on the controls much while at the high volume as I was literally rattling everything in the store, but I doubt that I could of dialed in a usable tone at that volume. Once turned down to a more respectable level I tried various tone settings but just could not really come up with anything I liked. This amp has a lot going on with it’s Semi-Parametric EQ, Tone Presets, as well as Overdrive and Compression Circuits. I’m more of a less is better kind of guy, especially when it comes to built in effects. While having on-board effects might be convenient to some, I don’t like the idea, and feel that it’s just one more path your signal has to travel through before getting to the speaker, even if you don’t use them.
While the Fender Rumble 350 seems to have a lot going for it, I just didn’t care for the tone. I love Fender Basses and have played through a few Fender Bass Amps over the years, but have yet to find a Fender amp that has the tone I am looking for. At 350 watts the Rumble certainly has a lot power, yet interestingly enough it does not have an output for an additional speaker cabinet. Moreover, at almost 70 pounds, this thing is a beast! Sure is comes with removable casters but those don’t help you lift the thing up when putting it in the back of your car. For these reasons I decided the Rumble wasn’t for me, guess I’ll have to keep looking.