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Minimum tube amp for gig

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

  1. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    56
    Jun 28, 2011
    ok
    As you may have gathered. There is no answer to your question. Way too many variables involved. I've never played live without at least 40 watt Super or Mesa and most of the time, I didn't need it all. And there was a time or two I played with two 40 watts and had one of those mic'd.

    You have the venue question; the music question; the drummer question; the PA question; the audience question; the acoustics question; the effects pedal question; the clean/dirty question and a lot more.

    So, take all of this, put it in a pot and stir on simmer. Then, go pick out an amp you like the sound of and can afford and take it home and enjoy it.

    There is no rule in life that you can't buy another amp sometime in the future. If, though, you are going to only buy one amp and only one amp that you know will be used for playing live at unknown venues/gigs, I'd probably tell you to overbuy rather than underbuy. You can always get your sound from pedals, playing through a clean channel on the amp at lower volume (which I always do because of the number of different sounds I needed for cover songs), but you cannot increase the volume of an amp beyond what it will put out and will then have to rely on whatever PA you have available. Now, I personally like mic'ing my amp and playing through a PA whenever the system will support it. But at most of the places I played, there was no decent PA available and our band's PA simply wouldn't support two guitars, vocals and drums worth a flip.

    So the answer may be 5 watts one night; 15 another; 25 another and 40 another.
    If you have a great PA, that answer can be narrowed down to whatever you want the answer to be.
     
    JustABluesGuy and td148 like this.

  2. Tomas83

    Tomas83 Strat-Talker

    331
    Jul 30, 2014
    NE in the 4 corners
    1 watt is enough miked :) there are lot of great options. My recommendation is Jet City JCA2112RC...
     
    Thrup'ny Bit likes this.

  3. jazzman1021

    jazzman1021 Strat-Talk Member

    61
    Dec 11, 2012
    Earlville, IL 60518
    Guitar-volume/tone controls. Amp-volume/bass, mid, treble, presence tone controls. Master volume.
     

  4. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    42
    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    Sure if all you want is headroom or you are playing a very large venue where you can crank that half stack. What if you want creamy overdrive or some nice crunch and are playing a small venue with 150-200 people? There is a reason why many, many, many artists use smaller watt tube amps, yes even live and mic them. They sound great, get all warm and compressed and won't blow your ears out like a 100 watt stack. Jim Campilongo plays all his shows with a Princeton Clapton recorded Layla on a Champ. They do/did this because it gets them the tone they (and many others) like.

    In addition I completely disagree with your assertion that half stack with vol on 2 will sound better than a Princeton that has some tube compression and overdrive going on. IMO tube amps sound weak an anemic when played at really low volumes (i.e. 2 out of 10) and this is why many home players don't think their tube amp sounds that good. My 20 watt Swart AST sound ok at home on 2-3 but with my band on 6-8 it sounds amazing. So I tend to use smaller 4-5 watt amps with 8 or 10 inch speakers at home as they work better.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion (just as you say too many others are giving theirs) on amp wattage but your post above was stated more as fact and not as your opinion.
     

  5. moullineaux

    moullineaux Strat-O-Master

    819
    Jul 11, 2009
    ATLANTA, GA
    With a pa 5-15 tube watts is plenty for average gigs. No pa, better to have more than you need 25-40 tube watts should be plenty. I have played a few loud crowd gigs when I needed 50 watts but past that in bigger venues a pa is usually the case and then it’s all about what tone you want.
     
    JustABluesGuy and Stratoskater like this.

  6. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 21, 2014
    Santa Maria, CA
    This. This many is the minimum required to bring the fury:
    [​IMG]
     
    RB522, mshivy, Rudi and 3 others like this.

  7. RichieS

    RichieS Strat-Talker

    Age:
    37
    145
    Sep 1, 2016
    The City
    I've had a Mesa Bogie F-30 that's held up fine the last 15 years. Even with the LOUDEST drummers, I've never turned the master/volume past 12 o'clock.

    IMO just about any good amp with one 12" speaker will be suitable for just about any gig.
     
    Stratoskater likes this.

  8. David Garner

    David Garner Senior Stratmaster

    It depends on the amp, the gig, what tone you're after, etc.

    If you need headroom and you can't mic up, you'll want more power. In general, my main gigging amps are 18 watts (Marshall 18 Watt head), 22 watts (Deluxe Reverb clone) or 25 watts (Mesa Express 5:25). I've played everything from unmiked gigs to large theaters with those. I played an amphitheater gig with a 50 watt amp and it was too loud for my use at the time. But keep in mind, the larger the gig, the more likely you are to have the amp miked up, and if it's miked up, you can literally use whatever you want as long as you can get a decent monitor mix.
     
    JustABluesGuy and mshivy like this.

  9. David Garner

    David Garner Senior Stratmaster

    There is also the matter of loading in/loading out. Does your venue have an elevator? Do you have to lug your gear up a rickety flight of stairs? Do you have to park half a mile away and hump it to the stage (as in a festival gig)?

    My favorite venue locally you load in at the back door which is right by the stage. There is a loading dock and a small flight of stairs to navigate. I load my gear onto the loading dock and then walk it right in. My second favorite venue has a flight of stairs that looks like something you'd advertise in a personal injury law firm. So loading in there has its challenges if you're carrying a huge cabinet and a bunch of other gear. It's worth it, but I'd rather have a smaller amp there.

    Both have great sound reinforcement and mike up all the cabs, so we always sound great no matter which rig I use.
     

  10. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    67
    374
    Sep 5, 2016
    Seattle
    18 Watts. An amp that will produce 18 clean watts is all you need to keep up - the output is somewhat higher as you get into distortion.

    OTOH - If the stage is 50 feet wide, you'll need at least 100 Watts. If your playing venues like that, you wouldn't be asking a question like this on a forum.
     

  11. maqcatt

    maqcatt Strat-Talker

    Age:
    69
    407
    Sep 25, 2008
    silverdale wa
    I've been using Blues Jr amps for over 20 years in medium sized rooms playing a variety of musical styles. They really sound good and are a great platform for pedals.
    Note that mine are not stock. At a fairly loud volume, in a bar with a five piece or larger, I find the low end to be way too muddy and lacking clarity.

    Even when micing through a good PA, I want to monitor my sound through the amp itself.
    Stage monitors are not going to sound like your cabinet which you've dialed in, plus you can't rely on sound guys to get it right on stage.

    My Blues jrs are either modified electronically with a better tone stack via the Billm mods or by installing a more efficient speaker or both. Speakers like an EVM12L or Eminence Swamp Thang.

    There are many techs who can mod the amp for you. If you can't have that done or find one that's already been modded, I recommend getting something a bit larger that still has a master volume.
    But be aware that you can pick up a used Blues jr for as little as $350 so a modded one will cost less than a Fender Deluxe or Vox AC 30 or Peavey Classic 30 etc.

    Billm mod kit
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003CIHAKA/?tag=strattalk05-20

    Here is a wealth of information about the Blues jr and mods.
    http://billmaudio.com/wp/?page_id=90

    The best mod is the octal mod which transforms the amp into a 22 watt amp with bigger transformers and 6V6 tubes.
    http://billmaudio.com/wp/?page_id=353

    BillM has passed away but many techs can do the conversion.

    S Mac
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 12:54 AM