Can you actually gig with an amp as small as 5 or even 1 watt??? I have been lugging around a hefty 2 x12 for the last 2 years, don't get me wrong it's an amazing amp but I'm curious to know more from the guys who have used a small valve amp and mic'd it up at a gig to full effect. If you want to offer suggestions too please barely in mind it must have an effects loop as i run a guitar processor through it. Thanks guys



I gigged fairly regularly with a 15 watt Tweaker for a few years. Majority of the time you're gonna be mic'd anyway so it doesn't really matter. Wattage =/= volume necessarily It does equal headroom, though.

I loved it. Single channel though so I had to do some volume knob shenanigans. I much prefer low watt amps.

I keep my renegade in the low power mode.

EDIT: sorry for the redundant intro I got as far as "can you really gig a 1 or 5 watt" and ignored the rest

How do you say "I'm okay" to an answering machine?

Last edited by stratman_13 at Oct 15, 2015,
Yep, one watt is plenty if you let the mic and PA do the heavy lifting and supply all the needed headroom. I am a small amp guy these days after dragging a 4x12 around for 10 years or so. I often gig with a SuperChamp at 15w with no need to mic for pub gigs. It has some built-in processing like Rev, delay, chorus, flange, but no effects loop.
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I have an 18 watt Marshall and it's tough to keep it clean when playing at a decent volume. Micing it would obviously help but I think I'd be more comfortable in the 30 watt range. A 1x12 would be a lot less to carry regardless of wattage.
gigging with an amp with that small of a output totally requiers a great monitor otherwise you (and the rest of the band) won't be able to hear yourself on stage. as metnioned not much headroom.
I have a smaller Blackstar ht5r amp. It has a line out than can be ran to a PA while still throwing signal to the speaker for stage volume.

It's pretty darn versatile but you may run into headroom issues at louder volumes gigging.
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i know its probably obvious, but it should be noted that if playing with a band your low watt amp needs to be mic'd. dont expect your 5-15w to compete with a drummer on its own.
The only people I’ve seen use five watt amps live were guitar and bass jazz dues. i.e. no drummer.
its not about volume. its about HEADROOM. a 5 watt amp will be some variation of dirty the whole gig. it could be just breaking up / cleanish which sounds great! its all about you, your pick attack, your pickups, your music style.

some people may be able to play a 5 watt amp perfectly clean. others may never get a clean tone. so many vairables. its headroom, not volume.
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But yeah, If you want to be super realistic 15 watt is watt I would say the safe minimum would be.

How do you say "I'm okay" to an answering machine?

You can gig with anything, the problem with small 5W- amps is that you have to rely totally on the sound guy to hear yourself. Personally, for that reason, I wouldn't go lower than a 15W tube amp.
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Vox Pathfinder and Laney LX amps are great for gigging. Sure, they are solid state but both amps sound and respond like a tube amp. The Vox Pathfinder would be the better option.

Then just get a decent overdrive/distortion pedal like a Mesa Boogie Flux-Drive, Throttlebox, Blackstar HT-DIST, HT-DRIVE or MI Audio Super Crunchbox and you'll be sweet. Using a high quality cable like Mogami, George L or Lava will also help. I like to use Ernie Ball Cobalts or M-Steels because I find them to have a great audio response.

I hope I have been of help

Though for small amps I would recommend:

Vox AC4
Laney CUB
Ibanez Tubescreamer
Yamaha THR10 (not a tube amp)
Epiphone Junior
Ampeg GVT-5

You could always connect to an external cab and put a Bad Cat Unleash between it to increase the wattage...
Last edited by Gibson_LesPaul_ at Oct 17, 2015,