Taking more than one amp to a show

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Mar 24, 2014.


  1. WashburnAB95

    WashburnAB95

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    Nov 18, 2013
    So we are told that the amp makes a bigger differnce to sound than the bass does. Many performers will carry a handfull of basses to shows so that they will have just the right sound or feel for ever song.



    Does anybody carry more than one amp and switch durring shows so that you will always have the perfect tone?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nah, my amps all have the perfect tone for everything I do so I only need one. Might bring a backup just in case, but that's about it.
  3. WashburnAB95

    WashburnAB95

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    Nov 18, 2013
    Just currious Jimmy how many basses do you tend to bring?
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    One. I have several but I can't stand changing basses during a show, so I almost always just bring one.
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  6. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    IMHO, a crappy bass into a great amp is going to sound better than a great bass into a crappy amp.

    Once you get to a certain point, it really doesn't matter all that much. A good amp is always going to sound good so if you're already using something you like it's much easier to just swap out a bass to garner a different tone.

    I generally bring two amps and two basses to all gigs. I have my primary amp and a backup, the backup has never been used. I always use both basses just for the fun of it. I'll typically play a full set on one bass, then switch it up for the next set. When playing 3 sets (99% of the time) I'll use whichever bass sounded or felt the best for the 3rd set.
  7. lz4005

    lz4005

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    Oct 22, 2013
    It's pretty common for guitar players to do that.
  8. sloppy_phil

    sloppy_phil Supporting Member

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    The only time I bring a second amp to a show is as a backup.

    Or on the rare occasions that I gig with the stereo-Rickenbacker setup which sounds completely righteous!
  9. scotch

    scotch Will play bass for fish tacos. Plus cash. Supporting Member

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    Agreed! I kinda like "crappy" basses into a great amp. Other way around yields less desirable results.

    Guitarists definitely get more leeway than the bassist at a gig. Having 2 amps for different sounds or stereo operation is pretty normal. If you see a bassist with 2 amps, one is almost always a backup. Sure, there is the full-blown arena setup, but that's usually for stage fill or cosmetics.

    Many bassists now pursue extremely transparent amplification. (Not my bag, but I understand the strategy.) In this scenario, the bass takes a more prominent role. If you like the amp for its inherent color, you'll still be hard-pressed to find a bassist doing it live.

    Like bassgodnw said, a great amp is gonna sound great (assuming the musician has his stuff together). I usually just use one amp & if on tour I carry a backup. Getting 2 amps for independent tones would be a lot of fun, but it's not worth the hassle for me.
  10. bassgod0dmw

    bassgod0dmw Supporting Member

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    I need to come up with a better way to say that, it just sounds rude now that I'm reading it back.

    I mean absolutely no offense to anyone or their gear choices. :bassist:
  11. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

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    New Hampshire
    I am HUGE HUGE HUGE on having backups for everything at showtime. I even carry backup power supply for my guitarist's pedalboard even tho I don't play a pedalboard myself. And sure enough...one night his crapped out minutes before showtime, and I saved the day.

    That said I just can't justify spending the money on a second amp head that won't get any playtime. But I do keep a SansAmp in the trunk so I could run into the PA in a last-ditch effort.

    but for "perfect tone", no, that would be crazytown considering how for most bass players that wouldn't mean just grabbing another twin combo like most guitarists would. We'd need matching cabs, an all-tube behemoth, etc etc....who has the room?
  12. bluesdogblues

    bluesdogblues

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    I always think that people who play it, or the player's hands fingers and all make the biggest difference to the sound.

    I never carry more than one bass amp, except to the recording studio.
    Well, I even never carry an amp for live performance now.. :D
  13. scotch

    scotch Will play bass for fish tacos. Plus cash. Supporting Member

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    Nah! Crappy basses are awesome! My coolest sounding bass, arguably, is a barely playable flea market Teisco/Decca that cost less than $100. Had to iron out the neck with heat, repot the pickups and generally get it in shape, but it rules pretty hard.
  14. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass Supporting Member

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    Bring two, one as the primary and one for backup. The latter has come in handy for unexpected reasons. It's always embarrassing to be unheard due to a technical issue. :)
  15. electracoyote

    electracoyote

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    I bring a backup amp identical to what is in the combo I use, so no switching, purely a CYA move.
  16. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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    When I used to gig, I used to bring a backup ALWAYS. You never know what will happen. I never saw the point of having two different heads and switching between them. For a certain growly/distorted tone, ok, I can see that. For clean tones overall, I just moved my hands around on the bass.
  17. rodl2005

    rodl2005

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    Tasmania, Australia
    I bring a back up of everything except the cab to live shows. 2 basses, Amps, cables etc.
    I'll only use one amp, the back up, which is equally as good, doesn't get used unless a problem.
    2 basses-usually a 4 with flats or tapes and a 5er with rounds. Sometimes a different scenario.
  18. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

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    I always bring a second amp as a backup but never because I want a different tone. It is a lot easier to get different tones out of an effects unit like the Zoom B3 than switching amps.
  19. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

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    ... thats the beauty of the micro's ... I have a MB200 that lives in my shoulder bag, and even if I bring something bigger, I have that if needed ... I always have multiple cabs, as I stack at least two 210's, and some times 3 if I use the 800RB, so there is a built in spare .. not to mention I supply the PA cabs, so there is usually always a spare something there if needed by somebody, which has happened a few times when guitarist or keyboard rig goes down ... I have become 'that guy' ... :meh:
  20. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

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    The feel is in YOU, Grasshopper, not in the amp. The amp only amplifies the feel.

    The only reason to take an extra ANYTHING is to guard against a mechanical failure, not to find a feel.
  21. IPYF

    IPYF

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    Melbourne, Australia
    I've never brought a backup amp to a show. I think a more viable option is a DI-Preamp like a Sans or a WTDI. They fit in a gig bag and are just as useful as a second full-sized amp if your main unit goes potato.

    If I had the money for more than one amp I'd have one of those I think.

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