Rawshik
Homophobic Racist
Join date: Oct 2010
2,276 IQ
#1
I've never had an "official" gig (I have but they never went through) and my current band just broke up. So I'm looking for a new band but thinking that I might not have the gear anyway to join a more official band. So what is needed amp/watt-wise and is there anything else?
For how can I give the King his place of worth above all else
when I spend my time striving to place the crown upon myself?
Spanner93
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2012
333 IQ
#2
Depending on the size of the venue a 150w and above, preferably something with a 1x15'' or 4x10'' cab.

A tuner pedal. Seriously, get a tuner for on stage. You'd be surprised as to how many guitarists and bass players can't tune their instruments on stage.

A good gigable bass. Needs to be relative to the rest of the band. Your guitarist plays a 2000 dollar gibson, don't turn up with a squier affinity or an Ibanez GSR..... You get the point.
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anarkee
oh the horror!
Join date: Aug 2006
3,136 IQ
#3
TBH, I tried gigging with a 150W amp. Once you get beyond 1 guitarist and a drummer, it doesn't cut it I would start looking at 200W and above and then get as much headroom as your budget can allow.

To the above I would add a set and and extra set of good reliable cables, strap locks and a good strap. People seem to scrimp on these and it comes back to haunt them.
Ziphoblat
The Enigma
Join date: Jun 2010
390 IQ
#4
Quote by Spanner93
Depending on the size of the venue a 150w and above, preferably something with a 1x15'' or 4x10'' cab.


A good 2x10 is as good as a 4x10. Or a 2x12 (my personal favourite).

Regarding wattage, I used to gig regularly with a loud drummer running an amp at 75 watts and still had quite a bit of headroom. Not what I'd recommend you do, but my point is that wattage doesn't automatically equal loudness. That was a particularly loud amp for its wattage.
Spare a Cow
Eat a Vegan
anarkee
oh the horror!
Join date: Aug 2006
3,136 IQ
#5
More is going to be better though. You can always turn a loud amp down but an under powered amp can't be turned up past a certain point.

There is no way in my current band a 150W amp would cut it with a drummer and two guitarists.
eddiehimself
Call me EH, eh?
Join date: Jun 2006
1,540 IQ
#6
I wouldn't worry yourself about power too much. What you need is a good speaker cabinet with sensitive speakers. A 400-W amp is not twice as loud as a 200-W amp. You get the idea. As ZB says, you don't need to get a particular number of speakers, either. Most speaker cab makers will give a value for the sensitivity of their cab, which is measured in dB/W-m. The higher the value, the better. It's all about finding the loudest setup you can afford. If that's a 2x10 with a 200-W amp, or a 4x10 with a 600-W amp is something that you will have to find out for yourself. Just don't expect the loudest one to be the one with the biggest number of speakers or power.
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
FatalGear41
War Mastiff!!!
Join date: Oct 2009
1,381 IQ
#7
Well; it varies. A lot of it depends on the type of music that you play, the type of gear that the rest of the band uses, the size of the venue, and whether you plan to use an amplifier or go direct into the board.

At the very least, you need a reliable bass capable of performing the music your band plays. So if you guys are into way down down-tuning, you'll probably need a five-string bass. Otherwise, a four-string should serve you well. And you'll need a good Direct Box to go direct inot the board. Throw in some cables and a strap and you're set.

Now, if you want to use an amplifier, things get a bit more complicated. First off, what kind of amplifiers are your bandmates using? If you are in a band where the guitarist (or guitarists) uses a Marshall stack, then you'll need some serious firepower to keep up. Remember that bass frequencies are more difficult to amplifiy than are guitar frequencies, so you generally need three times the power of the guitarist's amplifier, unless you plan to mic the amp. At any rate, a good 2x10 combo with about 300 watts should do the trick. If you have the bucks (and a big enough car) for a 1000-watt monster and an 8x10 cabinet, then by all means, go for it. You can always turn a big rig down, but you can't always turn a small rig up.

As others have said, you need a pedal tuner. They are essential; particularly if you change tunings throughout the gig. If there are any effects that you can't live without, then you need those, too.

While some would say this is unnecessary, I recommend a back-up bass. You never know when your primary instrument is going to crap out on you. But as long as you take good care of your #1 bass, you can get away with just one bass.

Cables, cables, cables!!! I cannot stress this enough! Those suckers will crap out on you at the worst possible moment, so make sure you have plenty of spares. That includes patch cables if you run a pedal board.

A comfortable strap (preferably with strap locks) is also essential. Basses tend to be heavy, and some narrow nylon guitar strap can end up cutting into your neck and shoulder after a while. Get yourself a good, wide strap. You'll also need a stand for your bass. Do not put you bass up against your amplifier between sets. Someone will knock it over and probably break it.

Extra strings are also necessary. Bass strings don't break as often or as easily as do guitar strings, but they do break and you'll need new ones if it happens to you.

That covers the basics. Try not to bring too much gear to a gig. It just gets in the way and it is a pain in the ass to cart it back and forth from the gig. Just bring what you know you will need.
"Drinking is a skill and should be recognized as such!"

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FatalGear41 knows the ways of the obscure. I hear it's just not with Gibsons. Beware, Halloween approaches...


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DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
moody git
i probably won't commit
Join date: May 2008
360 IQ
#8
^ and batteries if you are using an active bass or using the onboard power for any pedals you have
DONT RISK IT, BUY A BASS AMP
anarkee
oh the horror!
Join date: Aug 2006
3,136 IQ
#9
^a small screwdriver is also a good thing to have in your gig bag as well.
moody git
i probably won't commit
Join date: May 2008
360 IQ
#10
i have a whole damn tool kit. allen keys for truss rod + saddles along with every other size. (just incase my bed needs adjusting or something) and all the screwdrivers and spanners you can shake a stick at. all miniaturized of course
DONT RISK IT, BUY A BASS AMP
Rawshik
Homophobic Racist
Join date: Oct 2010
2,276 IQ
#11
Wow, lots of good replies here! I have pretty much everything that you guys said except for a DI box and a decent amp. I'm currently using a Peavey TNT 130 that's done the job for practice with bands but it can't really get much louder because it's light that tells me I'm over doing it usually comes on if I go just slightly louder.

So I guess I need to be looking into a new amp then. Can someone explain the difference between volume and wattage? Generally, can't I go by the wattage number to determine how loud something is gonna be?
For how can I give the King his place of worth above all else
when I spend my time striving to place the crown upon myself?
chatterbox272
Registered User
Join date: May 2011
1,237 IQ
#12
Quote by Rawshik
Wow, lots of good replies here! I have pretty much everything that you guys said except for a DI box and a decent amp. I'm currently using a Peavey TNT 130 that's done the job for practice with bands but it can't really get much louder because it's light that tells me I'm over doing it usually comes on if I go just slightly louder.

So I guess I need to be looking into a new amp then. Can someone explain the difference between volume and wattage? Generally, can't I go by the wattage number to determine how loud something is gonna be?

Wattage does give a rough guide to volume, it's not perfect, but it's good enough. Roughly speaking, 10x the wattage will produce double volume. Then it comes down to speaker sensitivity and which frequencies are emphasised. Also, to consolidate gear I'd look into an amp with a built in DI (Unless you want a driver DI like a Sansamp BDDI or Behringer BDI21).
Spanner93
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2012
333 IQ
#13
Quote by Rawshik

So I guess I need to be looking into a new amp then. Can someone explain the difference between volume and wattage? Generally, can't I go by the wattage number to determine how loud something is gonna be?


Roughly speaking, they pretty much mean the same for your purpose. More watts is generally speaking louder (just not in Behringers). Full tube amps work differently with the watts-volume link, but as full tube amps for bass are actually quite rare/expensive, you shouldn't encounter many.
Quote by Karl Marx
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Spaz91
RIP Terry
Join date: Mar 2008
6,280 IQ
#14
Quote by Rawshik
I've never had an "official" gig (I have but they never went through) and my current band just broke up. So I'm looking for a new band but thinking that I might not have the gear anyway to join a more official band. So what is needed amp/watt-wise and is there anything else?


Bass: Something road worthy, not fragile or ornamental.

Amp: 300w solid state, speakers of your choice.

Optional: EQ pedal (depending on your amp), compressor, sturdy cable (do not skimp.)

Always have a backup bass, batteries for active equipment, a plug in tuner, straplocks (or duct tape) and a big, squishy strap.
Tostitos
caffeinated
Join date: Jan 2009
868 IQ
#15
Quote by Rawshik
So I guess I need to be looking into a new amp then. Can someone explain the difference between volume and wattage? Generally, can't I go by the wattage number to determine how loud something is gonna be?

More watts is more headroom, not necessarily volume. The more headroom you have, the higher you can turn your amp up without distorting or clipping. Volume or loudness isn't as straightforward, but the short story is: headroom is good. Get as much as you can afford.

Something I don't think anyone else has mentioned yet is that if you don't have a good hard case, get one. Gig bags are fine and dandy if you're transporting your bass yourself and you're in a good safe environment, but if you're playing club and bar gigs and shoving your bass in the back of a van full of guitars and drums and amps and what have you, a good hardshell case is essential to keeping your bass in one piece.
Composite Aficionado


Spector and Markbass
Phil Starr
Tab Contributor
Join date: Oct 2007
1,128 IQ
#16
OK assuming we are talking about RMS watts when comparing then doubling the watts gives you 3dB extra volume. Going from 1W to 100W gives you an extra 20dB.

A speaker cab for bass might give you 93dB for 1W which is poor or 100dB which is good. So a 100W amp will give 113dB through the first speaker and 120dB through the second.

A drummer will create as much as 110dB but bass needs to be louder as we don't hear bass very well. This means the first combination won't quite be enough for every situation. You will need just over 4x the power to get the first speaker to be as loud as the second.

Read about it all here http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/gear_maintenance/making_it_loud.html
Rawshik
Homophobic Racist
Join date: Oct 2010
2,276 IQ
#17
^Dang. No offense, but I don't want to get that technical just yet. So you guys recommend a 300w amp then? How does that work with speaker? I have very little knowledge of this and all I know is you gotta match ohms or something?
For how can I give the King his place of worth above all else
when I spend my time striving to place the crown upon myself?
FatalGear41
War Mastiff!!!
Join date: Oct 2009
1,381 IQ
#19
Quote by Rawshik
^Dang. No offense, but I don't want to get that technical just yet. So you guys recommend a 300w amp then? How does that work with speaker? I have very little knowledge of this and all I know is you gotta match ohms or something?


If you are playing through a combo amp and you are not using an extension cabinet, then an ohms match is not an issue. They're already matched. If you have a separate amplifier and cabinet, then yes, you must match up the ohms. That usually involves nothing more than reading the sticker or plate on the back of the cabinet for the ohms rating, and setting the ohms selector switch on the amplifier to the right number. Easy enough.

Yes, 300 watts should be fine for most gigs, unless you guys play at apocalyptic volume levels or you are playing a large, outdoor gig and can't mic the amp through the P.A.
"Drinking is a skill and should be recognized as such!"

Quote by gregs1020
FatalGear41 knows the ways of the obscure. I hear it's just not with Gibsons. Beware, Halloween approaches...


Quote by Spaz91
DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
Rawshik
Homophobic Racist
Join date: Oct 2010
2,276 IQ
#20
Wouldn't it be possible to directly connect the amp head into the PA? So I wouldn't need a DI?

You guys have been a great help btw, thanks!
For how can I give the King his place of worth above all else
when I spend my time striving to place the crown upon myself?
Ziphoblat
The Enigma
Join date: Jun 2010
390 IQ
#21
Quote by Rawshik
Wouldn't it be possible to directly connect the amp head into the PA? So I wouldn't need a DI?


It depends on the particular amp. It's fairly standard to have a DI onboard a bass amp but it's worth checking to be sure. You should also remember that depending on the amp the DI isn't always great quality.
Spare a Cow
Eat a Vegan
John Swift
Registered User
Join date: May 2004
899 IQ
#22
Quote by Ziphoblat
A good 2x10 is as good as a 4x10. Or a 2x12 (my personal favourite).
Regarding wattage, I used to gig regularly with a loud drummer running an amp at 75 watts and still had quite a bit of headroom. Not what I'd recommend you do, but my point is that wattage doesn't automatically equal loudness. That was a particularly loud amp for its wattage.

My Bold= pretty sweeping statement.

Don't know what eq you use but for backline 75 watts is nowhere near powerful for anything using a decent amount of bass on the EQ.
I personally wouldn't go on a live gig with no FOH support with just 75 watts, maybe for clangy no depth stuff but for Hotel California no way.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
John Swift
Registered User
Join date: May 2004
899 IQ
#23
Quote by Rawshik
Wow, lots of good replies here! I have pretty much everything that you guys said except for a DI box and a decent amp. I'm currently using a Peavey TNT 130 that's done the job for practice with bands but it can't really get much louder because it's light that tells me I'm over doing it usually comes on if I go just slightly louder.

So I guess I need to be looking into a new amp then. Can someone explain the difference between volume and wattage? Generally, can't I go by the wattage number to determine how loud something is gonna be?


Look at and digest the replies by anarkee like me she's been around the block a few times.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
Ziphoblat
The Enigma
Join date: Jun 2010
390 IQ
#24
Quote by John Swift
My Bold= pretty sweeping statement.

Don't know what eq you use but for backline 75 watts is nowhere near powerful for anything using a decent amount of bass on the EQ.
I personally wouldn't go on a live gig with no FOH support with just 75 watts, maybe for clangy no depth stuff but for Hotel California no way.


Sweeping statement it may be, my point was that number of speakers is not the only factor in how loud a cabinet can be, and as such well designed speakers in a well designed enclosure can result in a 2x10 easily matching a less efficient 4x10, and can certainly be more than sufficient for most gigs.

And I can assure you there was plenty of body/depth to the sound. No cut lower frequencies and still headroom to spare. It wasn't the sort of tone that makes your chest hurt, but then those sorts of tones sound atrocious anyway. I don't claim that most amplifiers of the same wattage can manage that, and as I said it wasn't ideal, but it demonstrates what an amp that was particularly loud for its wattage can do.
Spare a Cow
Eat a Vegan
John Swift
Registered User
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#25
Quote by Ziphoblat
It wasn't the sort of tone that makes your chest hurt, but then those sorts of tones sound atrocious anyway..


Once again a sweeping statement, I play in a Multi Genre band where my gear has to be able to accommodate many styles/sounds without depending on FOH assistance.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
John Swift
Registered User
Join date: May 2004
899 IQ
#26
Quote by Ziphoblat
Sweeping statement it may be, my point was that number of speakers is not the only factor in how loud a cabinet can be, and as such well designed speakers in a well designed enclosure can result in a 2x10 easily matching a less efficient 4x10, and can certainly be more than sufficient for most gigs.
Nobody can deny that well designed speakers and cabs are good but complex designs are usually both large, heavy and expensive, they came into popularity when speakers couldn't handle high wattages.
For 90% of my gigs I use a self build 1x15 cab made of 12mm braced Ply loaded with a 450 watt Eminence Neo driven by an Ashdown Little Giant 1000, I'm never short on volume plus it is incredibly light.
In the past I've used a 120 watt Orange into a 200 watt Gauss speaker loaded in a 'W folded horn' cab which was big, heavy and expensive.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
Last edited by John Swift at Feb 14, 2013,
Ziphoblat
The Enigma
Join date: Jun 2010
390 IQ
#27
Quote by John Swift
Once again a sweeping statement, I play in a Multi Genre band where my gear has to be able to accommodate many styles/sounds without depending on FOH assistance.


I was mainly referring to the "tones" you hear from bassists who basically turn the upper mids and treble knobs on their amps as far counter-clockwise as they can, and turn the bass all the way up. Disturbingly commonplace with some of the pub bands I've seen. Having weight to a tone is good, but it still needs the definition to support it in the context of a mix (as you can hear in the cited example Hotel California).

Quote by John Swift
Nobody can deny that well designed speakers and cabs are good but complex designs are usually both large, heavy and expensive, they came into popularity when speakers couldn't handle high wattages.


They don't have to be heavy if they've got neo drivers... and a 2x10 even if well-designed isn't going to be as large and cumbersome as a 4x10. The GK Neo line is a good example. Quite reasonably priced, and the 2x10 model versus the 4x10 model sheds a lot of size, 22lbs off the weight of the thing, and saves you £120. It doesn't take as many watts, but at 400 I think you'd be covered for the vast majority of gigging situations.
Spare a Cow
Eat a Vegan
FatalGear41
War Mastiff!!!
Join date: Oct 2009
1,381 IQ
#28
Quote by John Swift
In the past I've used a 120 watt Orange into a 200 watt Gauss speaker loaded in a 'W folded horn' cab which was big, heavy and expensive.


I miss Gauss speakers. They were cool, sounded great and they were practically blowout-proof. Heavy as hell, though.
"Drinking is a skill and should be recognized as such!"

Quote by gregs1020
FatalGear41 knows the ways of the obscure. I hear it's just not with Gibsons. Beware, Halloween approaches...


Quote by Spaz91
DAMNIT FATALGEAR YOU RUINED MUH FLOW!
RyanStorm13
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2012
484 IQ
#29
Rule of thumb, your bass should be apparently heard with just drums and bass playing. If your not playing over the drummer, then no one is gonna hear you, especially over a guitarist.


I personally like the 4x10 or the 8x10. You can get a nice 4x10 stack for about $1000, or get something really awesome for about $2000 in the 8x10 range. Still there is stuff in the $500-$700 range that can be 1x15 or 4x10.

I have never had problems with the 1x15's I have had, even with obnoxiously loud drummers who go through drum heads like I do picks. Even with the 1x15 in a larger venue, mic'ing it to stage monitors or PA system is a quick fix. But you always start with a nice amp.


If your jamming and your not loud enough, and you have a nice amp, you don't just buy a new amp with more wattage. You work out the placement and Mic it to the singer if you need.
John Swift
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#30
Quote by FatalGear41
I miss Gauss speakers. They were cool, sounded great and they were practically blowout-proof. Heavy as hell, though.

The problem with 70s Gauss speakers was highlighted by Ken Dibbles priceless monthly speakers checks, like Altec they underperformed and distorted to much.
having been launched onto the scene with much publicity they, along with Altec seemed to quickly disappear.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
John Swift
Registered User
Join date: May 2004
899 IQ
#31
Quote by RyanStorm13
Rule of thumb, your bass should be apparently heard with just drums and bass playing. If your not playing over the drummer, then no one is gonna hear you, especially over a guitarist.


I personally like the 4x10 or the 8x10. You can get a nice 4x10 stack for about $1000, or get something really awesome for about $2000 in the 8x10 range. Still there is stuff in the $500-$700 range that can be 1x15 or 4x10.

I have never had problems with the 1x15's I have had, even with obnoxiously loud drummers who go through drum heads like I do picks. Even with the 1x15 in a larger venue, mic'ing it to stage monitors or PA system is a quick fix. But you always start with a nice amp.


If your jamming and your not loud enough, and you have a nice amp, you don't just buy a new amp with more wattage. You work out the placement and Mic it to the singer if you need.


I think you'll find that di'ing is most used method for bass not mic'ing.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
John Swift
Registered User
Join date: May 2004
899 IQ
#32
Quote by Ziphoblat
I was mainly referring to the "tones" you hear from bassists who basically turn the upper mids and treble knobs on their amps as far counter-clockwise as they can, and turn the bass all the way up. Disturbingly commonplace with some of the pub bands I've seen. Having weight to a tone is good, but it still needs the definition to support it in the context of a mix (as you can hear in the cited example Hotel California).


On Hotel California I use the mid sweep on my J-Retro kits that I've fitted to both my basses for the definition that the bassline requires, along with another Eagles song 'One Of These Nights', using this kit along with a .055 G string (not .045) I get the definition without losing bottom end tone and all through 15" Eminence Neo.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
ezracles
Registered User
Join date: Feb 2013
10 IQ
#34
It really depends. The wattage rating on the amp doesn't always map predictably.
Basically, you'll be in one of two positions though:

1. you aren't going through the PA
2. you are

If you're not going through the PA, then neither is the drummer, so you only have to be as loud as the drummer.

If you are going through the PA, that's where the most power is, so let the sound guys sort it out.

At my last gig I was in a crowded and dead and very large bar. I had 2 amps with me. Both were solid state because I didn't feel like taking my 80 pound mesa boogie down 2 flights of steps.

I always gig with 2 amps. It produces some ambience, and the combination of sounds makes for a nice sound including stereo effects. I can aim them differently. Make sure you always have at least one of them pointed to you.

It turns out that my 15 watt fender frontman is louder than my 40 watt fender mustang. I had the stang on about 7 and the fm on about 3 or 4. The newer modeling amps (this is my theory), try to reproduce amps with cabinets, which means more bass, which requires much more wattage.

I've never had my boogie over 3, and only over 2 once.

I wasn't crazy about how the stang sounded at that volume. I'm considering upgrading.

In any situation though, you'll never need tons of wattage or cabinets unless you're playing clean. That's all BS. If you turn up a Marshall stack to 3, with the gains up, it's so loud you can't even see straight. Multiple cabs are for show and failover.

If you want wall rattling bass response, you need a cab, or you can put your combo into a large wooden crate and it recreates it somewhat. Also,in some situations, you'll find you just don't cut through and have to turn up.

You can translate everything I said into bass gear too. Same deal. Except maybe the stereo effects thing.
Last edited by ezracles at Feb 26, 2013,
John Swift
Registered User
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#35
Quote by RyanStorm13
What is DIing...is that like through a pre amp


Direct injecting is the usual way for bass and keyboards.
Guitars are normaly mic'ed up as the sound of the speakers is what is required.
Basses don't often mic up as it is not very often sucessful. so di-ing from the pre-amp stage is used, most decent amps have a DI out, some also come with with pre or post EQ choice.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
Last edited by John Swift at Feb 27, 2013,