Do I really need to bring a spare amp?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by glocke1, Jan 21, 2022.

  1. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    On the very rare gigs I play these days I usually bring my Mesa Subway TT800 as the primary amp and a D800+ as a backup.

    Do I really need to bring a spare? I mean, it's nice to have that option but I am also realizing I've got way too much gear sitting around unused.
  2. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Spares of anything are basically think of it this way: If you were an insurance company tasked with creating a policy for On-Gig Amplifier Catastrophe you would certainly do some research into the likelihood of that event happening, so that you could calculate the risk level. How often does an amp die on the gig? What's at stake if an amp dies and there is no backup available? Ask yourself those same questions, determine your own personal risk-tolerance, and then behave accordingly.

    Personally, in nearly 50 years of gigging I have needed a backup amp exactly once. (Note, I did not have a backup amp with me at that time...but the venue did.) So I deem the likelihood very low, and I (still) never bring a spare.
    Swipter, tminus10, Altitude and 6 others like this.
  3. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Though I've never needed to use it, I still keep my old AMP BH-420 in the trunk of my car...just in case.
  4. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    Nope, the chances of that failing are minuscule. Especially on a nicer amp like that. If it were some vintage tube amp, maybe bring a DI with you… but even then, I know I wouldn’t even think about it.
    Bluesrock, RattleSnack and bigjames like this.
  5. mike57


    Feb 12, 2009
    Our Fair City, MA
    I never used to, but after reading stories here, and having an amp melt down, I always have an extra something in the car.
  6. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    I've been using tube amps for over 45 years and had two fail on me in that time and both times were my fault. The first one I was using two heads and didn't plug the second into the cab. The second time I bought a used head and never had the tubes checked or had it looked at. I had a SS head go out on me once too. I have brought spare heads here and there but never when I needed it. :laugh:

    That being said I would like to grab a class D something or other, probably Mesa D-800 as a spare.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
    SoulReflection and Gustopher like this.
  7. wazzel


    Dec 27, 2007
    Cypress, TX
    I have never owned more than one amp at a time until recently. Made it from the late 80's until 2021 without a spare amp. I had one issues in all those years and it was at a family get together so no real harm done.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  8. sleddogn


    Sep 8, 2013
    Love My Dogs
    i myself, and a couple other local bassist carry one of these newer "micro" amps as a backup. I've got the GK version, sooooo tiny but with a good punch. Great backup's for those of us going the live tube amp route.
  9. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive Suspended

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Only if your main amp dies.
  10. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    Our PA is robust enough, I’m ok with a DI box.
  11. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    My two gigging amps are small enough that I bring both. You never know if you'll need a backup so I have a spare amp and just about everything I might need on a gig. The exception is my pedal board. But I really only use a variety of dirt pedals so I could easily get through our song list going straight into my amp if something were to happen to my board.
    smogg likes this.
  12. CosmicRay

    CosmicRay Supporting Member

    I bring a Quilter BB800 as a spare. Very small & light, not a major item to take along. A spare speaker cable and instrument cable won't hurt either.
    One just never knows....
    HolmeBass, BlueTalon and groovepump like this.
  13. 2112

    2112 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Do you carry a spare tire? I mean, we don't get flats that often. My dad (RIP), who was a touring musician for many years, always taught me:

    "Professionals prepare to fail. Amateurs fail to prepare."
    DJ Bebop, CosmicRay, chuck65 and 20 others like this.
  14. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Not if you have basic PA support. Seems like these days a lot of bands and venues lack that though. (By basic I mean a PA with both FOH and mons capable of handling bass).
  15. Lava

    Lava Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    El Paso, TX
    Why not? Unless you live in NYC and have to take the subway to gigs, that particular extra amp is light and doesn't take up much space.
    Huw Phillips and BlueTalon like this.
  16. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Suspended Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    No. You don't need to bring an amp at all. You can totally rock the house with nothing but the house's di box.
  17. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Assuming that is an option.
  18. neddyrow

    neddyrow @SimmerinStew - Instagram Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2011
    Cortland, NY
    I'm the one member of the band that usually does not go through the board and use my amp/cab.

    I bring extra fuses.

    If that doesn't work, I got with the DI to the board mentioned above and get through the gig as best I can.
    zenrad and SoCal80s like this.
  19. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Suspended Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    It's always an option. Every board, on every PA, has a way to plug you into it. Even if they don't have a di box, which any halfway decent engineer has one.

    What if there's no PA? Then you don't have a singer.

    Bring a back up amp.
  20. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    It's all a gamble. Bringing an extra amp that is that small is not that big of a deal and it could be useful in some scenarios. I've been lucky enough not to need a spare amp thus far (although I probably should do better at throwing my Class D head in the trunk at least), but I did play a show where a guitarist's amp went out during one of the first couple of songs with no warning, and there were no other amps on hand, so we had to play the rest of the show without him. These things can happen.
    lfmn16 likes this.
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