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It finally happened - amp died at gig

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jim Nazium, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. First time in 10 years. I went to a gig yesterday and my combo amp wouldn't power up. Fortunately it wasn't too far from home, so I was able to go get my big rig and make it back in time for an only-slightly-late start. But obviously there will be times when that won't be possible.

    Now I'm thinking about switching to a 1x10 cab and a micro head, so I can bring a backup head.

    Practical or paranoid?
  2. The 110 cab makes little sense. Very rare for a cab to crap out completely on a rig.

    Having a backup head in the car is ALWAYS a good idea. If you are going for a pure backup (i.e., with a strong probability of never even using the amp), then the little GK200 is a good bet. Very cheap, not the greatest quality or tone or noise level, but it will surely get you through a gig in a pinch, and it is small enough to fit anywhere in your car.
  3. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    My condolences.

    It never hurts to be prepared and have a backup available. Especially when you can go with a relatively inexpensive alternative.
  4. If you're playing with a PA and a decent monitoring system, you could get by with just bringing a direct box.

    Not ideal, but I could get by for one night with it. For me it would beat lugging an amp around (and paying to purchase it) that doesn't get used 99.9% of the time.

    I've been gigging weekly for 18 years and have yet to experience an amp failure, but I'm sure my day is coming eventually. I did show up once to discover my amp had been stolen from the venue where I left it after the previous performance. Had to go direct that day. Not only did it suck that my amp had been stolen, in addition to bass I also play electric guitar and that is what I was playing with this band. The sound of an electric guitar direct into the PA would make Will Rogers punch a nun. But it was just one gig and everyone lived.
  5. 5port


    Oct 14, 2009
    LI,new yawk

    I always carry a micro head to every gig. Just leave it in the car. I've used my MB200 to power monitors in a pinch and could even be a make shift guitar head or just a DI to the board. The problem is its so small if I bring it into the club I may forget it.
  6. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    Happened to me twice.

    I decided to just buy a cheap Yorkville DI ($20 used) and go direct next time.

    Buying a GK MB200 ($200 used) or a similar cheap micro is the best idea IMO.
  7. Another good point. I've been a hero a few times by being able to provide a monitor amp in a pinch or a guitar or keyboard head, and even a spare AC cable or whatever due to me having a back-up head. Luckily, I've only had one amp fail on the gig, and that was in the early 80's when my GK400 (they blew up GOOD back then) took out both my JBLK140's!
  8. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    DEFINITELY practical.

    I always have a backup head in the car. Always.

    One of our guitarist's combo amp went out last fall. It was a bad situation as we were an hour from home. Luckily a band friend lived close enough and was already planning to come to the gig so he let him borrow a combo, but if we were farther away or playing a private party... tragedy.
  9. If you have a PA you could put the bass through, then this is the way I'd go too.

    Unless, of course, you need an excuse to buy a new amp, in which case using it as a backup is a great justification!
  10. This was a jazz brunch thing at a restaurant with no PA. Virtually all of the gigs where I would bring the combo amp are like that, so a DI wouldn't help. Also, this particular combo amp (PJB Super Flightcase) doesn't have a way to connect an external amp to the speaker, so a backup head wouldn't have helped either. That's why I'm thinking about a separate head & cab. I really like the sound of the PJB combo, and maybe this was just a freak occurrence, but I want to be able to trust my equipment at all times.
  11. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Practical. Micro head comes as a backup for every gig.
  12. Busted!
  13. I always carry a second rig, just in case. It's gotten guitarists and keyboard players out of a bind a few times too. I've been fortunate with only one failure in 50 years, and that second rig was a lifesaver.
  14. Ah, that makes sense. Yes, a micro head and small cab is the way to go, with something like the GKMB200 in the trunk as an emergency backup. The updated Genz 6.2/112 Shuttle 'combo' is a nice way to get the advantages of a combo (i.e., one piece, simple, etc.) and also the advantages of a head/cab, since the Shuttle 6.2 pulls out of a mounting bracket for stand-alone use, and you can use a different head with the cab if needed. It will BURY that PJB combo also, and the tonality should make you reasonably happy.
  15. 5port


    Oct 14, 2009
    LI,new yawk
    Believe me if I were far enough away from home and hard-up enough for a bass amp I would take the speaker out of the combo (my Promethean is a 1X15) and attached the MB200 direct with twisted wires thru the port. I can understand not wanting to do that with the PJB.
  16. Davyo

    Davyo Davyo Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2008
    Las Vegas, Nv
    I always carry an extra back-up rig to every gig I ever do,,, most of the time it's my GK MB115 combo as back up or my MB200 head as back up,,, they stay in the van on stand by.

    My giging rig is either the GK MB212 combo or the GK Neo 412 with MB500 head.

    So far I've never had a rig fail on me,,,, but I have seen it happen to other bands more than a few times.

  17. wcoffey81


    Feb 3, 2012
    S/E Michigan
    with a little woodworking and electrical you could turn your doa combo into a cab to keep it from becoming a total loss.
  18. Rickengeezer


    Feb 25, 2005
    Central Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Steve Clayton Accessories
    I always carry a cheapie Behringer 350 watt head in the van...when I had the SVT3Pro it was needed quite a bit, now with the Peavey Tour I've never needed it for my rig, but we've used it for PA, monitor, and guitar amp failures!

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