I need some very general help on amplification here: I've been playing bass for about 12 years, but I'm largely self-taught and have until recently just played along with CD's for fun. So although my skill at the instrument is good, my knowledge of the technical side of the "gear" side of things -- especially amps -- is virtually nil. I've had no teachers or bandmates to learn technical stuff from, and so I have basically no real understanding of amplifiers beyond basic practice amps and combo amps, which are what I have been using all these years -- the kind where you just plug and play. But now I find myself needing to upgrade to something a little more than a combo amp. I'm involved now with two gigging situations: the worship band at my church, and another is a 3-piece outfit that plays at parties, church functions, the occasional homeless shelter, and some outdoor gigs. I've also done a few gigs where I've been the hired gun bass player (except these gigs didn't pay!). The worship band consists of myself, 1-2 guitarists, a keyboard, a drummer, and 4-6 vocalists and we run sound through a pretty big PA system at the church. The 3-piece band plays through our guitarist's PA but we like to have a separate bass amp on stage. The other gigs I am usually playing apart from a PA. My current amp, a 100W Crate 1x15, is very adequate for practicing and can feed a decent signal to the board at the church. But it is lacking in the power and punch department, and I am looking for something that will make my sound fuller and punchier. So as fas as I can figure, my needs for amplification are: 1. Something portable (= fits in my car); 2. Something powerful enough to be adequate without a PA present, but not overkill for situations where I am going through the PA; 3. Something that delivers a full, punchy sound; 4. Something not incredibly expensive (<$1500). I've posted several questions to this forum about amps, and I really appreciate the responses I've gotten, but some of the stuff I read is so technical that it makes no sense, and I've not seen an "idiot's guide" to choosing an amp out there anywhere. I don't want to drop a ton of money on an amp when I am only halfway sure of what I need or want. Every time I think I've figured out what I need or want, I read something else that makes me change my mind about it. I just don't have enough knowledge of amps to be sure of my choices. So I could appreciate any down-to-earth help you could give me in deciding what steps to take toward upgrading.