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Thread: Amp Wattage

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Amp Wattage

    So I'm getting ready to get a bass and amp, and I have never used anything more than a practice amp with guitar, or someone else's. My question is if I plan on playing like small gigs with possibly 100 MAX people there, what kind of amp should I be looking at. Is wattage usually a good measure of sound, and if so, is 35W enough for this situation (if so, thats ideal, because the person selling me the bass has that with it as a package deal). If not, what is? I was looking at another 65W and I really have no way to tell with a picture. I will go to try out the amp soon (when I buy it), but I'm afraid that when I play it alone in a room trying it out, it will be hard to know if the sound will work in a setting with other instruments playing and where a certain volume is required. Basically I just don't want to spend money and then end up regretting it, and needing something bigger.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2005


    I've never used more than a 100watt combo, but just to let you know, I rearely take it past two and people comment that they can hear me a long way off. There is such a thing as being too loud too. I was at a gig where they were playing so loudly that it was a deafening drone...not at all pleasant!

  3. #3
    Artistically Bankrupt
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    They don't want gear talk here, so this'll probably get locked when one of the mods see it. So I won't point out that a bass amp needs more power than a guitar amp, and you want at least a 100w for a tiny club. If your band has bought way too much PA system for club gigging (most bands do) you can get away with using it for your bass. When you can, grab a 300 watt combo.
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Twickenham, UK
    You definitely want big watts for a bass amp. I use a 250watt Armstrong (1x15) for all my rock gigs - gives plenty of headroom (I've never needed the master much beyond half-way - I'd need to start wearing ear-plugs if the band got that loud).
    I have a Gallien Krueger MB150, which is rated at 100 watts, but is no way loud enough for anything but the average jazz gig (with unmic'd drums).

    A lot depends on whether the amp is tube or solid state. A tube amp will give more bang for the watts rating. (For guitar I use a 15-watt Fender Blues Junior - rarely get the master as far as half-way, and it's fine for rock gigs in bars/clubs. It is LOUD. Much louder than a supposedly 60-watt solid state amp I once had.)

    A lot also depends on whether there is a PA you can go through. If everything is mic'd up, you should be able to take a line-out from the bass amp - so you need less power on stage.
    Even so, I wouldn't look at anything under 200 watts, for general purpose.

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