I play bass and my band is going to start gigging as soon as we get equipment, but: Do bass amps go through a PA? Even if you have a big half stack, do you still play through a PA? I just don't know how this works...
You can, but it's not necessary. It depends on the size of the gig. Since you guys are jsut starting, I imagine you'll be doing small-ish gigs, so you don't have to worry about running through the PA.
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Quote by NakedBassist
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not if you dont want it to.. the whole point of a PA is to amplify things.. like vocals. your guitar is gunna be amplified already.. but if you want it louder then mic it up
You'll play through a PA pretty much 95% of the time, yes. They have direct outs for this exact purpose. Plug your bass' direct out into the PA and you're set. People also like to mic amps, but it's not as common as guitar.

Soundmen typically want to be able to control the levels of all the instruments that are heard in the mix.
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Depends on the size of the venue. I have a 700 Watt Head and two cabs, it's powerful enough for most small/mid size venues. But even when it is powerful enough they'll still run my head through the PA.
Almost always, even in smaller settings. That's why a lot of people don't even invest in the nicest of amps and instead buy a really kickass Aguilar DI or some such thing. Either way, yeah, regardless of amp size you're going to be sent through the PA almost always.
Well, I know of some places (like Independent Records) where they'll let you have gigs there, but they don't have a PA system, so you are in control and have to use your own equipment. So, yeah, it's good to have at least halfway decent amps.
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Which, in effect, would render your rig a giant monitor.

It honestly helps, especially if you have a good sound tech working, because it will make sure that all the instruments are mixed well. That is assuming, again, that you have/are working with a good sound tech. A,lot of places don't have good sound guys, which can make playing those venues very difficult.
Umm, sorry to be a bit annoying, me and my band are goign to start gigging soon, have a few perofrmances booked, small venues, some at school some at local carnivals and stuff.

Sorry, but whats a PA? :/
Quote by BassReaper

Sorry, but whats a PA? :/

It's the overall sound system at the venue.
Regarding venues having a PA, Most UK venues do not have an in house PA, most venues are pubs that do not require back line to be augmented by the PA other than the Bass drum.

You should get used to using your own ears; good soundmen are few and far between; mostly a none playing friend of the band even Wifes or girlfriends.

When you'r adept at setting your sound you can be amazingly quick at setting up your gear.
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Bass played through a Stack & P.A=Awsome bass tone & volume but if you are planning on playing through the same PA as the singer DONT! or you will overpower the vocals BIG TIME!
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well I gig at pubs, and we have a huge system heh.

I take my PA system (Mixer: Behringer 2442, 2x Alto Elvis 15" speakers),
My brother in law takes his PA system (Mixer: Mackie (dunno model), 2x Yamaha big ass speakers, Power Amp, 2x32 band equalizers, DBX266)
Our vocalist takes his PA system (doesnt matter much, we use his as a fold back).

Naturally with all that equipment, we put the bass, the drum kit and the vocalist through the PA, while the guitar stays on it's own (its loud enough).

In my experience, along as the PA system has enough head room, running the vocalist and bassist through the same system isn't that terrible.