Decent amp set ups for playing smaller gigs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Samson3191, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Samson3191


    Nov 13, 2013
    Hey guys, I'm new here. I've been playing bass for several years now. My friends and I recently started a 3-piece punk-ish type band and I play bass. We are hoping to start playing some gigs soon, probably nothing too big, and I'm thinking I need to get some new gear. Right now all I have is an Acoustic 100W 1X15 Combo amp. I hear that it's better/wiser to get a cab and head seperately so I'm thinking of doing that.

    I'm pretty uneducated when it comes to amps and stuff so I wanted to get some imput. Pretty much any advice or recommendations whatsoever would be helpful. I don't know what's good, what to avoid, how many watts I need for the cab vs the head, how many watts I need to play gigs, all of that...I'm pretty clueless.

    I appreciate any advise! Thanks.
  2. Welcome to TalkBass! Please look at the sticky on Amp Facts at the top of the page. It is chockfull of the info you are looking for!

  3. copacetic


    May 23, 2007
    check out the new GK combo series. ( the all Black ones with the 'chrome' GK ). 200 watts and up. They work, good price, natural tone, and light weight for getting around. I and others who have been through all the amp bits from large to small have found a common denominator with these. Yes you can go to the MarkBass etc. but Give these a with others of course and see what you like. Best of luck.
  4. nicopiano

    nicopiano Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2012
    Levis, Quebec, Canada
    Carvin MB serie = great small amp!
  5. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    I new a guy who gigged out in a fairly well known local band with that very same amp- plenty of power unless you are playing too-loud people. He played some decent size venues too. I was surprised at how loud that Acoustic Combo amp was- of course it is kind of heavy as well. but for the price you should be fine.
  6. First, welcome to TB.
    Here, opinions are like _____ (fill in the blank). Everybody has one.

    You will trade gear as you progress. (See G.A.S.)
    Buy used, buy mainstream, as this will hold its resale value when you turn it over.
    Don't overpay. Research, research, research.
    Read everything here. Everything. Learning will take place.
    Read the Classifieds. Every day. More learning will take place.

    All the above is no substitute for actually playing your bass, and improving your chops.
    Acquiring gear is not the intended purpose of playing bass.

    There are advantages/disadvantages in each hardware combination.
    Micro heads are small and light weight.
    They are also "fixed".. you must sell it to change something.
    Full size heads are... full sized versions of the micro heads.

    All tube amps, for the "purist", cost a lot of $$, require tube maintenance, heavy.
    Tube tone is unique to these heavy hitters.

    Preamps + Amps are rack mounted, heavier, more pricey, more flexible, more fiddling around.
    A decent power amp can be used with a variety of preamps (guilty as charged here).

    Various makes have signature tones.
    The Ampeg SVT tone, G-K, Genz-Benz, and so forth.

    The best tone is stifled by playing through crap speakers.
    With speakers, More = Better.
    Multiple small cabs allows taking only what you need.
    1 unit = intimate gigs
    2 units = large indoor venues
    4 units = outdoors or obscene sound competition levels
    IMO, a cab unit is a 2x10" or similar. YMMV.

    Only yourself and other bass players in the crowd really give a sh*t about tone.
    In the end, the band wants you playing in time.
    The audience only wants to hear you.
  7. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Your best bet is to give us a price range on how much you want to spend.

    For me personally, a pair of quality 12" cabs with a 500w head will suffice in almost any gig situation. So will a 500w head and a quality 212. A real solid and affordable combination would be a Carvin BX500 head on top of an Avatar B212 cab.

    If the cab is 8 ohms, you'll be pumping 300 of the Carvin's 500 watts into the Avatar. A four ohm version of the cab (same price) will see all 500 watts going into the cab. Total around 800 bucks. Not much for that kind of performance.
  8. Scottkarch


    Sep 11, 2012
    I like jeff7bass take A 500 watt head and pair of individual 12s is pretty compact.. smaller gigs you'll definitely be fine with a single cab. You've always got the flexibility of bigger cabs later. That being said. A light 115 combo with a Neodymium speaker can be really light to transport and loud enough for many gigs. ( obvously that depends on the band/location ).

    Also have to agree with bgavin. Only you and other bass players really care about your tone... and there are rarely more than 1 at any of my gigs. They may comment on a bass, but never tone. I find 250 watts and a 115 to be pretty loud and work in many small and medium gigs.. but we're a 70's-90's cover band. Maybe being punk you really need to start closer to the 500 watt point. ( go see the stickies about amps... a 500 watt amp wont be 5x as loud as a 100 watt amp. Wattage, dB and other things are measurements that are not linear in their response. )

    I'm happy with a combo.. it's light and simple. But I sometimes wish I had the flexability of a great head and multiple cabinet choices. A combo will always be cheaper, though. Maybe find a combo that also has the ability to add a second cabinet.
  9. Samson3191


    Nov 13, 2013
    Thanks for the responses, guys. I appreciate it. I'm sort of binge-reading the amp FAQ which has been great so far.

    Well, I'm still in school so the cheaper the better I guess. I would say around $800 is probably my limit.

    Does anyone have any opinions on these Fender Rumble series? I'm looking at a 410 4x10 cab and a 150W head online and they look pretty solid and affordable.
  10. tigerfire


    Oct 31, 2012
    Not familiar with the Rumble 150, but I have played the Rumble 75 a good bit and it seems to be decent for its price. I will say that 410s are often unwieldy and and heavy. That Fender weighs in at nearly 80 pounds. If you are going to be gigging and moving it often, that could get pretty tiresome. 212s are often lighter and easier to move, and 2x112s are the easiest of all. That being said, 410s are often priced to sell. Mine was certainly the best bang for the buck I could get for what I could afford. You might want to look for a bit more that 150 watts though- I played with a 200 watt Peavey Sessionbass into a 410 for a while and was pretty dissatisfied with the performance.
  11. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    For small gigs I've been using a Genz Benz head and an LDS 4x8. It kicks butt!
  12. One of the big retailers is blowing out the Rumble 350 head for very cheap at the moment. Full warranty. If I was American I'd buy one for a backup backup backup. Ok, I wouldn't but some will for backup backup. Such is GAS.

    You could spend the rest on a Fearful 12/6 kitset build over the holiday.
  13. Get a sans amp pedal and start playing with what you have. Send xlr out from the sans amp for your sound in the pa. Save any money you can make towards upgrading gear. A lot of us buy all our fancy gear completely from money made playing gigs.

    When it comes to cabs. I actually prefer 410 or 212 cabs with 4 wheels. It's easier to roll a midsized cab than it is to carry a smaller cab in almost every situation aside from going up and down flights of stairs.
  14. That's not always true - and its total baloney with smaller size gigs.

    Unless the band plays TO LOUD for smaller gigs, your bass rig has plenty of oomph.

    +1. Yep, I love the new powerful, compact, and super lightweight Gallien-Krueger MB series bass combos amps.

  15. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    .... excellent!! ... this should be a sticky
  16. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    If there is a speaker out or extension speaker out jack on your combo youèd be well served to just get another 1x15 cab from acoustic.

    Thats plenty of loud.
  17. Bucketface


    Nov 14, 2013
    The Line 6 LowDown LD400 Pro 2x10, 1x15 is ok but the 2x10 is out of this world for this amp. You'll know what i'm talking about if you ever come in contact with one.

  18. jam -1

    jam -1

    Jun 17, 2006
    I play small gig I wanted something with a lot of power on hand if needed so I bought a Trace Elliot 1215 Combo it was expensive but I love the tone ect I get with it you can check out the demo on youtube Trace Elliot 1215 combo demo it has a jack for extra cabinet that im going to buy next

    Take care and good luck
  19. deathsdj


    Sep 18, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    Your cheapest option might be an extension cabinet for your Acoustic amp. I use a Peavey TNT 115 amp with a 4 Ohm 115 cabinet and it sounds beautiful and loud.


  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups