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Minimum tube amp for gig

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by Rasputin13, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. Rasputin13

    Rasputin13 Strat-Talker

    Jun 14, 2017
    im super new, so playing in front of human beings is a ways off. However, I was curious, what is the minimum wattage and what not you'd need in a tube amp to play live? I was messing around at the store today on a Fender Blues Jr. I gotta say, I quite liked it.
    Family Man and Dr Improbable like this.

  2. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    Ive done gigs with a 4 watt tube was mic'd though.

  3. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    The 1W on my amp would be enough for a bar if people were to shut up.
    You need a cutting sound, and to me, that means mids and treble should be plenty. However, that's more about the speaker than the amp in most cases.

    A colleague of mine did some gigs with her Tweed Blues Jr. She plays mostly acoustics, though, so she played it clean with no fx. Sounded nice. Not like her dreadnought, but nice.

  4. Percy

    Percy Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter


  5. crashbelt

    crashbelt Strat-Talker

    Feb 27, 2012
    I play pub and club gigs and over the last few years have come down from a 60w Fender Blues Deville to a 25w Mesa 5:25 Express to a 14w Gibson GA18 to now a 8w Gibson GA8.

    It's taken far too long for me to get that these days you want an amp with low enough wattage to hit the sweet spot without deafening the audience and pissing off the drummer!!

  6. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    The issue is whether or not you need actual real cleans. If you do, you need a heck of a lot more wattage than that has been discussed here. If you are ok with hairy, slight break up and so forth rather than real cleans, then you can go with a little amp.


  7. heltershelton

    heltershelton ASKED TO LEAVE THE STAGE Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    very true.

  8. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    On the first day my colleague played her Blues Jr, there was open mic at a little bar. After her, it got loud and crowded in the room, people came from work, and two guys came on stage, a bass player and a guitar player. Man, that bass guy could sing.
    Anyway, after people kept talking throughout their first song, they turned up their amps (I later discovered that the guitar guy had switched from 0.5W to 1.5W) and played - it really was loud. Then, with every song, they turned their amps down a little until for the last two, they went back to 0.5W and whatever the bass amp was set on in the end. You could hear them perfectly. That bar was quiet.
    Now you can question, of course, if open mic nights are meant to be listened to or if it is ridiculous to expect whole rooms to fall quiet when the music starts, but what they did worked, however pedagogical it might have been.

  9. stratmauler

    stratmauler Strat-Talker

    Feb 10, 2012
    I reckon you need at least 30 watts to play clean in a band with a 2nd guitarist and a rock drummer.

  10. MrKrabs

    MrKrabs Strat-Talker

    May 15, 2017
    Blues Jr is probably the minimum for a gig without a mic. I use it at church gigs and it does great
    Rigel42 and JustABluesGuy like this.

  11. Dr Improbable

    Dr Improbable Strat-O-Master

    Aug 14, 2013
    I've done blues trios with a Blues Jr unmiked.

  12. Kerry Brown

    Kerry Brown Strat-O-Master

    Mar 5, 2014
    BC, Canada
    I have 12 and 20 watt one channel amps. They are easily loud enough for playing bars. The 20 watt is rarely above five. The 12 Watt is usually around eight. I play with a very loud drummer. I've been asked to turn it down but that that may be because of my playing. I like some dirt in my tone. If you want sparkling clean I would look at 40 watts and higher. I've used up to 80 watts in the same venues. It was hard to get any dirt without pedals. I really don't like the distraction of pedals when playing live. I like to control things with the guitar's volume. With the lower wattage I can get decent, not crystal clear, cleans with the guitar volume around five then crank it up if I want some breakup.

  13. 8T_BoCO

    8T_BoCO Aspiring Stratospheric Stratitician Strat-Talk Supporter

    Mar 2, 2016
    If there is no PA to mic through, 15 tube watts ought to be sufficient. Try to find an amp with an output switch or control.
    I have one that is switchable between 7w/15w with 7 being plenty loud for a home.

  14. Will Lefeurve

    Will Lefeurve Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 1, 2016
    England & France
    Yeah, lots of gigs with a BJ, playing with a band. Mic'd and not mic'd. Mostly very successful. Really depends on the venue too. Lots of gigs here in England are pubs with very low ceilings. Fill them up with people that are no more than 3' from the band and its like playing into a pillow. A little difficult to get it just right sometimes..
    s5tuart likes this.

  15. Rasputin13

    Rasputin13 Strat-Talker

    Jun 14, 2017
    I guess I'm gonna have to get it then. I'm really left with no choice.
    Silvercrow and Mansonienne like this.

  16. moullineaux

    moullineaux Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 11, 2009
    I have a Mesa 5/25 and have yet to need more volume. Unless you are playing a really big place with lots of loud obnoxious patrons and loud drummer( I know oxymoronic statement) then you will be fine with 25-30 tube watts. Most smaller places I've played with the Mesa I was using the 5 watt setting and was plenty loud.
    wildhawk likes this.

  17. Cesspit

    Cesspit Strat-Talker

    Sep 4, 2016
    Oxford England
    30 watts is a good start. You won't max out but you'll drive it enough for a decent tone.

  18. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 13, 2011
    Music City TN
    If you're in the land of the Cleves you should be playing through a Z.

  19. wildhawk

    wildhawk Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2014

    There's someone other than me that gets it done with low watts and no pedals at gigs?



    PAPADON Strat-Talker

    Jun 24, 2016
    Sand Land
    A lot depends on whether you need clean or dirt. Without a mic 15W should do for dirt but for clean I'm thinking 30W +.
    JustABluesGuy likes this.