Gigging Amp Question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by McGuire406, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. McGuire406


    Nov 4, 2012
    How many watts would you need for a gig-worthy bass amp? I have been looking at trying to find a used (yes, I'm a cheap/poor person) Gallien Krueger 400RB bass amp (280 watts), but I'm not sure if it'll cut through. The next option I had was the 700RB version, which is about 480 watts, and I think that'll be too much power.

    Now, I'm a guitarist of 4 years, so I don't know much about the bass world, and every time I try to research bass gear, I get drowned about by guitar vids. As for the last few days, I've been using a Squier Jazz bass (which my sister had sitting around for years) through a 5-watt Silverstone guitar amp.

    For those of you who don't want to read it: Is 280 watts enough to gig with (for a solid-state amp)?

    PS: I'm leaning towards GK products since I researched a bit and I love the sound of them. Also, I really love Guns N Roses, so their sound influenced what I would want to tonally achieve out of bass (even if I may not become the best bassist).

    PPS: About a cab for the head, I'm looking at Seismic Audio since I'm on a bit of a budget.
  2. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007
    Depends on the size of club you will be playing.
    I might be wrong, but I always think 400w is about where you need to be, anything louder will probably be through the FOH. A 400w will get your through clubs and bars, IMO.
    Good luck
  3. McGuire406


    Nov 4, 2012
    Ok, thanks!

    I'll definitely look into the 700RB, now, since I always hear people say different things about bass amps. Besides, I wasn't 100% on the amount of wattage since I'm a guitarist and my 50-watt tube Marshall is hell-of-a loud.
  4. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    280w solid state will do it, too. I'm running 300w at 8 ohms when using just one 15" cab. It's enough for many venues, small to medium. But, 500w with TWO 15s is better. Actually, a lot of the volume increase is due to more speakers than from going from 300w to 500w.

    But, it depends on the gig and what is really needed. I played many a gig before with 200w and a 115, and did fine.
  5. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Like others have said, it depends on where you're playing, what kind of music you're playing, and how loud your bandmates are.

    Got a PA?

    If stage volume is moderate (not ear bleeding levels), and you're playing small to medium bars, you can probably go 280.

    If you're playing bigger places, bigger crowds, and your bandmates are intent on going deaf, then 480 is your ticket. And 480 is never too loud. You've got a volume knob.
  6. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    "PS: About a cab for the head, I'm looking at Seismic Audio since I'm on a bit of a budget."

    FWIW, a used GK 400RB of any era (or even a BL600) with a better quality USED cab (or two) would be a preference for me over a 700RB and a NEW Seismic Audio cab if money was tight ...

    ... if you can swing the extra change for a 700RB, realize you may need a little more cab fire power underneath it ...

    ... bottom line, limited funds I would opt for any of these USED heads I could swing, but with better quality USED cabs ... JMHO
  7. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ

    It's all about headroom. I have played clubs with anything from 300-900 watts. You can never have TOO much power, as you can always turn DOWN. Howerever if you don't have ENOUGH power, you're pretty much SOL.
  8. Had no trouble with two guitarists and a heavy drummer with 200 watts (SS) and a 215 cab. Inside and out. Only been playing 40+ years though ;)
  9. Stephent28

    Stephent28 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    C470, CO
    I have a TecAmp Puma 900 and a GB Streamliner 900.

    Probably more than I need since I run the Puma at 1/4 and the GB at a little less than 1/2 but I would rather turn down than run out of power or headroom.

    I think something in the 500 range would be adequate for most gigs.
  10. You should definitely try and go to a music store and test some stuff out. The actual perceived volume depends on many things besides power ratings such as cab design, speaker size, ohmage, etc. You might be surprised by how loud some amps can get when you put power ratings aside. my personal suggestion is the tc electronic bg250 combo. I bought it originally as a backup and I now gig with it primarily. I think its rated at 300 watts/ 35 lbs but its surprisingly loud. Ive used it for everything including outdoor gigs and anything that really needs more goes through the DI to the house PA system.only costs 300-400 bucks. I gig around 10-20 times a month and this amp has def held up for me since early this year. I play with 2 guitarists and a drummer and i've never had a problem hearing myself or cutting through the mix. You can also upload effects onto it with your phone or usb from a computer. I use the compressor. If youre at a guitar center or something and its there check it out! :)
  11. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    480 watts is a good place to be for bass amplification. Many guitarists tend to translate those numbers into what they know, but you need to remember that low frequencies require mucho power to deliver a clean tone with some headroom.

    Make sure you match the ohm load of your amp if you're using only one cab too, but I guess you know that.
  12. Razman


    Feb 10, 2005
    Orange Park, FL
    200-300 watts RMS (in an amp with good headroom, i.e. Trace Elliot, GK, Tubeworks, and others) is a lot. I ran my 300 watt Trace 410 combo with two 2x15 extension cabs and filled a room that sat ~400 people with headroom to spare. There was FOH support but a large portion of the bass sound was emanating from my rig.

    My Tubeworks combo/rig (260w @ 4ohms) also gets very loud, even with only two fifteens. In our practice area I have to wear earplugs, mainly because we have a small PA and one side is right above my head. Our three vocalists are turned up a little loud to stand out over our drummer and two guitarists but I only have to run my amp at 3 o'clock (2nd notch on the dial) to be heard well in the mix. It too can go much further if needed.

    Then again, headroom depends upon how you mix your bass' tone. I like a full sound with aggressive mids/highs and not boomy bass; cutting highs and boosting bottom will consume more of your available power.
  13. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    With all due respect, I would opt for a cab that operated at the lowest capable impedance of your head ONLY if you were sure you were never going to need more, and were prepared to chage either cab or head if you did ...

    ... what I mean by that, is 200 watts into a single cab at 4 ohms is not going to be all that noticably louder than 125 watts into an 8 ohm cab (same speaker configuration) ... BUT, 200 watts into TWO 8 ohm cabs (4ohm load) is going to be much more noticable ...

    ... you buy a 4 ohm cab you will not be able to add another if your head is only 4 ohm capable ... so you need to be sure it will be enough (now and down the road), or realize you would need to replace the cab or the head if it is not ... JMHO

    .. also, as mentioned above, EQ choices are just as important as power .. I don't care for the deep, boomy , or heavy bass tones either, and that requires a lot less power (and $$)to keep it punchy and clear ...
  14. zortation


    Dec 26, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    True enough..

    He did state that he was on a budget....I answered accordingly.
  15. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    GNR ? Find that 700 rb ii. Find a good used heavey weight 4x10. OR a good heavey 2x15... Sorry but if you are on a budget, you can just forget about light weight. Embrace it and you can put a hell of a rig together with relatively low dough.

    A couple of things to keep in mind...

    1 Cabinet efficiency is way more important in the bass world than the guitar world. We need every erg. Guitarists would prefer a less efficient cab so that their tube amps can run hotter. We need the efficiency to keep up! It takes a hell of a lot more power for the low freq's than it does the mids...

    2 there is a max volume that any rig can produce. Period. You have to learn to live within the limits. Which occaisionally means kicking some guitarist's butt... Band.. It's a team sport... Be sure your team mates get it...