Following on with their collaboration/signature models, MarkBass has just released the impressive 1000-watt brute of a head designed in tandem with another monster of the bass world, Richard Bona. Once again their company reputation is top notch, as is the playing and musicality of Mr Bona, so I can see how this association fits.
Keeping the general MarkBass aesthetics, they’ve definitely gone for something a little different in terms of the lime green faceplate on the Ninja head. With a layered type clear front, the controls and logo have an almost 3D type look to them adding a bit of pizazz to their decidedly yellow and black line of amps. Rated at 1000 watts at 4 ohms, the Ninja front panel includes controls for gain, low, mid low, mid high, high, VLE, VPF, master volume and line out level.
Fat and punchy, the Ninja handles slap, extended ranges (5 and 6 strings) and aggressive playing with fingers or pick easily. It also responds nicely to traditional fingerstyle, adding some honk in the mids if needed and with some extra EQ shifting thanks to the VLE and VPF controls. Great for a range of styles, its no wonder you see MarkBass gear on everything from rock gigs to country, funk and jazz.
Do you need 1000 watts? I’ve heard players ask that question plenty of times. It all depends on what type of gigs you’re doing. No you probably won’t need 1000 watts if you’re just rehearsing quietly at home in an acoustic duo. You might not even need 100 watts if you’re playing rock gigs at a loud pub. However, one of the main complaints from bass players is that they get drowned out or lost in the mix at gigs/rehearsals, as they don’t have enough power. So for the size and price you can have that extra volume in reserve and retain your tone at louder settings, rather than it pushing your amp to the limit and having it freak out.
Richard Bona is a serious player and this is a serious amp in terms of volume and headroom. Typically other brand’s 1000-watters are bigger, heavier rack mounted type deals, whereas the Ninja could easily fit in your gig bag. Yes there are similarly rated amps on the market with more tweakable options and settings, but don’t think for a moment that the Ninja is lacking in tone. So if you need to step your rig up, or even just want to have some extra power in reserve, this lime green number could be your answer.
Hits and Misses
Serious headroom and volume
Small, portable good tones
Funky green is a nice contrast
Perhaps not enough variation from the rest of their line tonally