Gigging without a cabinet
One of the bands I'm in is adamant about my getting a full rig. I have a bass head with an XLR out which I've always just run through the PA. Never gotten flak for it, never had problems hearing. I guess to play with these guys I'm gonna have to get a cabinet...? But that puts me in the unfortunate position of having to get something I can transport via subway, as I don't have a car.
I feel kinda backed into a corner on this...the drummer claims that I shouldn't ever just go through the PA. Yet I feel like I talk to some bassists and they're like, "Why do you need a cabinet?" Why indeed! I'm seriously thinking of shelling out for a neodymium cab so that I basically never have to have this conversation again. But I don't know. Should I stand up for myself or just find a way to appease these guys without breaking my wallet or more critically, my back? :/
It doesn't really help the situation since they are pressuring you, but what is their reasoning behind this requirement?
Markbass 1x12 is 30 pounds, should be easy enough to handle. Me personally, I would rent an Ampeg 8x10 cab and then dime everything. When they've gone deaf and sterile, then suggest no cabinet is a better solution.... but that may be a more confrontational solution than you are looking for.
I am a full rig kinda guy, but if you are happy and the FOH guy is happy, I'd tell the band mates to pound sand. Unless they want to buy it and transport it for you.
I'm honestly kinda on the fence. I wrote the first post in this thread on my phone so let me fill you guys in a little better.
I have some money to throw around because I did my taxes early. Not a lot, but at the least, things aren't as tight as they've been. So I've decided to make more serious investments in my budding career as a bassist and get what I "need," within reason. I guess in a way, it's with the intention of spending money to make money. I realize that it can be practical to have a full rig in some situations (read: small clubs in NYC where the house gear is @#$ or the PA sucks or whatever). This is why I initially bought the bass head because I figured it would at least get me kinda halfway and give me some more options for gigs and sessions. It's a Peavey SessionBass rackmount head. It fits exactly in either my Oakley surf backpack or my rolling suitcase. It's just light enough to tuck under my arm, and it was $100 on Craigslist! I'm pretty happy with it and would like to complete the outfit with a cabinet.
But yeah, like you guys said, I don't necessarily want to fall prey to peer pressure either. The drummer just thinks that it'll be too problematic to run through the PA because of not being able to hear myself and because he won't be able to hear me that well either. Like *I* said, I've done it and largely for ergonomic reasons, I prefer it.
Which brings me to my other point. I quit gigging as a keyboardist because I got really sick of lugging around two stands and two keyboards. I have a rolling cart that folds up and I worked in the film industry and have worked at studios and live sound gigs... so I'm no stranger to figuring out how to move lots of gear.
I just...would prefer not to because I'm very small AND to add to that, I already have a bad shoulder. For those who might insist that no, I'm supposed to blow out my rotator cuff moving around bass gear that literally weighs as much as I do...? Uh, yeah. Why don't you talk to me in 20 years when I can't play at ALL due to having to have reconstructive surgery on my shoulder! :sob:
I'm going to check out the idea of getting a lighter cabinet, but "lighter" still translates to having to carry my bass, my bass head, and at least 30-40 pounds of cabinet. Which for me is a lot and more than I "should" be carrying at 5'5" and 95 pounds. I want to play with these guys and I want to be all agreeable and easy-going and cool to work with. I don't want to whine about my shoulder. But on the other hand, one of the things that made me absolutely furious when it came to working in film, was the fact that people just seemed to inherently expect me to lug around 80 pounds of camera gear because that was my job. I have good upper body strength but my shoulder is finally getting better after injuring it EIGHT YEARS AGO and I would like to keep it that way.
Wow, I guess this bothers me more than I thought. Um. Carry on...
I have run my SansAmp BDDI straight into the PA many many times. I always call a venue ahead of time to see what they have for a PA. If it's more than a simple vocal setup, then I bring my sansamp only. If there's only vocals then I bring my full rig. Anything to get out from hauling my 2x15 in the back seat of my car.
I think the size and type of venue should matter here. I gig without a cabinet at gigs below a certain size. There's not point in a cab at those gigs and those are usually the ones where you have a small space to set up the band. But at larger gigs I use a cab or cabs because I don't want to depend solely on the PA for those and there is usually plenty of room to have both.
So ... I do it both ways. I tell my bandmates what I plan to do, and so far they've had no problem with the choices.
p.s. It helps to have a good preamp if you go straight into the PA. Otherwise, I could see why someone might have an objection.
30 pound cabs are the "light" cabs of yesteryear. The new "light" cabs are measured in the teens, or less. ie. 11-19 lbs. Check out the Genz Benz shuttle series, and Acoustic Image cabs. There are others as well.
It seems that your Peavy head is almost 18 pounds by itself. There are many new heads that are less than 5 pounds. Combine that with a 16 pound cab, and you have a rig that is 21 pounds or so. Add in the the bag to carry it around, and you're under 25lbs. Have a look around.
Okay, well, I know I'm not alone in my intense hatred of hauling around heavy gear haha...The thing is, it's not the hatred...it's the fact that I just can't! If I'd stood up for myself 8 years ago when I first effed up my shoulder, maybe now this wouldn't be a problem. But nooo, I lifted 8 bazillion tons of camera gear by myself because I thought I "had" to.
And no, my shoulder is still not perfect and it never will be. When I rotate my shoulder, sometimes my collarbone clicks. Sometimes it just hurts out of nowhere.
In fact, a few years ago I was resigned to losing dexterity in my left arm and hand due to what seemed like a pinched nerve and having a perpetually limited range of motion on that side. I consider it nothing less than a miracle and a gift that I can play at all, let alone as well as [I feel] I do. The strength, dexterity, and flexibility in my left hand has gotten considerably better due to playing bass, which is great.
I try to focus on this and to be grateful...instead of dwelling on how I put everybody else first and got injured as a result of it, and then how I stubbornly worked through the pain because I didn't want to lose out on jobs.
But I gotta tell ya...I think it's time to put my foot down, because I don't want things to get worse.
reading more about your Peavey head, it is very heavy and yet not high wattage. There are new heads out there that are like 3lbs for 300W at 8ohms compared to the 18lbs Peavey that is 130W into 8ohm.
here are some links to check out...
and browse around for more there...
check the speakers...
check the links on the side...
There are other options too. I think it is very useful to have a cabinet that you can take to a gig if you want to, or leave at home if you want to. But not having a cab that you could take to a gig even if you wanted to is a liability.
The above options have power, versatility and sound, but they are not inexpensive. We have to pick what is important to us.
Longfinger has a good point about the weight of your Peavey and switching to a micro head. If you're not in a rush to get a speaker, I suggest contacting one or two of the custom builders about a real lightweight cab. I built myself a 12"er that weighs 17 pounds, and there are new 10" and even 8" drivers with rare earth magnets that are worth considering.
Definitely don't let yourself be goaded into re-injuring yourself.
I play through a Fender Rumble 60. I wouldn't want to take it on the subway, though. I don't see why you can't just run through the PA. I don't know what their deal is!
I've been totally amazed by my GK MB200. 2 lbs! I'll bet you could get a micro head and an ultralight cab and keep it under 25 easy.
I'm also car-free in a city so every pound I lug around is crucial. (I won't go into my own left shoulder injury here.)
But I thought the trend in many NYC clubs was that they have supplied backline already? I do LOVE those kind of gigs.
You can get a small, light cab under 30lbs. and you should have one. Art galleries, jam sessions, etc. might not have a p.a..
Lash it to a folding cart and you're set. Being sufficiently equipped is part of the job.
(Don't want to spend all your $ for you, but I totally recommend a micro head as well. I got one recently and it's been great!
200w class D @4ohms, fully featured and weighs under 3lbs. Brilliant.)
hernameisrio, until you guys start regularly gigging places that you NEED a cab, you shouldn't worry about it.
Additionally, you have physical considerations with your shoulder, which your band should either straight up agree to accommodate, or tell you "sorry" and then you peace out.
Third, since you rely on public transportation, you really can't be lugging a cab. Yeah, 30 pound cabs are light and easy to carry from the car to the stage. But a few blocks to the subway and then again to the venue, 30 pounds in a bear hug sized cab gets heavy over time. Not as much time as some people might think. You shouldn't be doing that sort of thing right before a gig. and since you've got a shoulder issue, probably not ever.
The only way I see this working, is if one of your band members agrees to 100% of the time store and transport your cab for you, while promising to never personally hold it against you. The likelihood of that happening is pretty small. But it is possible. and I'm sure some of them share car space during gig time anyway.
Longfinger, thanks for the links!
I have a few ideas. I'll post when I'm not on my iPhone! As for what I can spend....this is bad timing since I just got the Music Man. But I could maybe spend a grand in a few months...?
Sounds like your bandmates are just "used" to a certain stage arrangement and want you to concede to their preconceived notion...?
However, it depends on the band and the venue. I know in my situation there's no way I could go through the PA only without it sounding like a wall of mud. I am never in the monitors and sometimes, in small bars I'm not even in the mains... the tone of my bass is just not well produced by our PA. Furthermore, it's my opinion that having the bass in all the monitors creates too many source points for the bass and makes it difficult for me to hear; I like the bass close to me where I can hear it and feel it. And I NEED massive bass close by just to hear myself over the screaming guitars and ear-splitting cymbals.
It sounds like you want to have the gear to cover every eventuality and that it's time to get a full rig. If you're using your head only as a DI, I would look into getting a Sansamp BDDI for ampless gigs and a small lightweight combo for a full rig. In my case, a small combo won't work, I need a big rig, but it sounds like you don't so...
You may have done this already, but go post and/or search the Amps forum and you'll get infinite information on how to make your situation work.
Good luck! :hyper:
Since your drummer wants you to have the cabinet maybe he would be willing to transport a small, light cabinet for you. I would explain the shoulder problem, lack of car, riding the subway and see if he would be willing to help you out. You might even buy him a six-pack once in a while to show appreciation.
I personally like being able to feel what I'm playing through the stage and in my chest. I don't lug around an 8x10, just a 1x15 with a 200w head, but it gets the job done. I think your bandmates are under the misconception that a bassist NEEDS an amp just like a guitarist needs one to achieve their tone. We, however, can achieve our tone without an amp most of the time. I think something small would be handy for gigs that provide a minimal PA, or even aimed at you from the front of the stage as your own personal monitor. Maybe get the small cabs and lightweight head mentioned above along with a dolly/handtruck to transport it to/from gigs on the subway.
Sorry your bandmates are being so stubborn, but hopefully you find something that works for you and fits your budget.
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