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Do you take a spare amp? Ever needed it?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by OogieWaWa, May 25, 2020.

  1. OogieWaWa


    Mar 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, OH
    I always have a spare amp hidden out in the Jeep, just in case. Do you take one? Have you ever needed it?!

    My story; yes I do, and ended up using it several times, but not always for bass!

    We're a 3-piece cover band with three singers, lots of harmony, and we play a wide variety of genres. We hardly ever play anywhere with a house system, so it's all on us. Plus our PA is adequate for almost anything we do, but not much more than that. If anything major breaks, we're out of business for the night, although the guitarist takes two amps for tonal variety.

    So being a control freak, after upgrading amps I started to take the old one as a spare, just in case, and not rely on the PA as a backup. I've been doing it for three or four years now, maybe for 100 gigs.

    I only actually needed it once when the tube amp I used to gig with at the time died, and luckily it was on one of the first few times I took it.

    We've also had an old PA amp used for our stage monitors blow up, and we used it for that for two gigs, so it's not just my backup. In a pinch I suppose the guitarist could also use it.

    Mine is an Eden WTX-260, backing up an Acoustic Image Clarus SL 4plus. Not as much power, can't do 2 Ohms, but I never really push the Clarus anyway.

    So if you take one, what's your story? Has it ever come in handy? Lifesaver?

    I also take a 210 and two 112s, all 8 Ohms, just because they fit easily, but only usually use 1 or 2 of them depending. (I can use all three but haven't needed to.) But that's another topic!
  2. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    I don't bother lugging a spare amp since I bought my Mesa WD-800. ;)
    Bassdirty, DrMole, j.albert and 7 others like this.
  3. Yes, and yes.
    Dave3, oerk, pcake and 3 others like this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If I have room, I sometimes bring a backup head. Gotta say in almost 40 years of gigging, I have never had a piece of equipment I south on me. If it is a legit concern, I'd get a TE Elf or GK MB-200 - something that would ft in my gear bags easily.
  5. mike57


    Feb 12, 2009
    Our Fair City, MA

    One time I didn't, and I should have.

    PSA - smoke coming out of your amp is not a good thing.
    DeepHz, pcake, fhm555 and 4 others like this.
  6. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Generally speaking the gigs I play have enough of a PA that I could go direct and and get through the night. Whether or not the monitor situation is good enough for me/rest of the band could adequately hear/feel may not always be certain.
    If/when I use a vintage tube amp I still have my little Aggy as it’s in my gig bag anyway.
    OogieWaWa and InhumanResource like this.
  7. Yes I do. Micro head in gear bag, a GK MB200. Weighs 1lb.

    Yes I’ve had amps go down three times in 30 years....
    - dirty power, blowing fuses on valve amp. No backup.
    - dry solder joint went during gig. No backup.
    - overheated (thermal shutdown) mid-song. Learnt my lesson, had the backup running in under 45 seconds.
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    no/not really.

    there have been a couple of times (over thousands of gigs) when i wished i had a spare, but not because an amp/rig failed me --- but because i would have used both amps! also: i had one rig and one ax for the longest time (i was full-time!) and i didn't have worrisome experiences. but if you're only playing a few gigs = why not be prepared for a disaster? :laugh:
    DrMole, pcake, 707GK and 2 others like this.
  9. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    Yes and never, but I figure the "never needed it" is at least partially due to the fact that I always had a spare with me...that's just the way my luck works.
    Rich Fiscus, Bassdirty, pcake and 5 others like this.
  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Yes and No.
    Started bringing one 3 years ago when I had a high
    profile gig. Never used it yet. OTOH when I only had one head
    I had thermal issues once in a while. For peace of mind
    the Class D's are great to have.
    OogieWaWa likes this.
  11. Hundred proof

    Hundred proof

    Apr 22, 2018
    I’ve only brought a “backup” when using either my 50+ year old Sunn head or an almost that old ACC Acoustic ... never had to use it.
    GalleyCat and OogieWaWa like this.
  12. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Yes, I usually bring spare amp (TE Elf) when I travel by car.

    I can’t remember needing it though...
    OogieWaWa and Al Kraft like this.
  13. slagbass

    slagbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2005
    Yes - a GK MB200 comes along for the ride. Never had to use it (touch wood) but I have had an amp go down on me before on a gig. I got by on that one with a SansAmp BDDI and the sound man putting my bass through the monitors. It wasn't ideal but I got through the gig. Nothing like "that burning smell" when you are halfway through a great set in front of an auditorium full of people....

    I always get a chuckle out of people who wouldn't dream of gigging without a backup bass but don't give a thought to their amp. My experience has been that amps are more fragile than basses.
  14. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Why not?
  15. 50+ years of playing gigs and no and no. If you treat your gear with respect and understanding using it within it's capabilities it should operate without problems.
    Gaolee, salcott, SJan3 and 3 others like this.
  16. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    DrMole, jerry and OogieWaWa like this.
  17. Usually
    only if I don't have a backup.
    OogieWaWa likes this.
  18. oldrocker

    oldrocker Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I bring a Tone hammer 500 that I keep in the car. Small, light easy to throw in the car while loading up for a show. Have never needed it.

    I also bring an extra bass and extra strings. I used to be a boy scout. :cool:
    pcake, Al Kraft, jam.majors and 8 others like this.
  19. Jefenator


    Aug 22, 2008
    Depends on the situation, but I often do bring a Class D head in its little laptop bag for backup. And I have used it - more than once.
    I can vouch that any backup bass amp sounds infinitely better than no bass amp.
    pcake, figuredbass, oldrocker and 2 others like this.
  20. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I was in a band once where the BL insisted I play direct through the PA. Not optimal at the time (I've since learned how to do it well). Usually, I had my PF500 DI'd right into the board and wouldn't run a bass cab. Used IEMs. Well, one night the one sub that he brought decided to die. Without that, no bass for the audience! Luckily I had my 1x15 cab in the car. Took me 3 minutes to grab it, patch it in and get rolling again.

    In recent years, I supplied the PA for the band. I had it rigged so that I didn't need an amp (used a SansAmp RBI). Both full range speakers would have to die before there was no bass. RBI was beyond bulletproof. And if that happened, there'd be no vocals either. Fortunately, I never had to test that theory.
    DJ Bebop and OogieWaWa like this.

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