Let's talk wattage

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Buzz Fretboard, Apr 14, 2002.

  1. Hi everybody, Buzz Fretboard here with a technical question for you amp builders out there!

    100 watts - talk to me. How does this stack up in the real world?

    I'm building an amp from scratch, and designed it for 100 watts. I'd like it ideally to be a gig-rig, knowing that I'm not likely to play huge stadiums or even large auditoriums. I can reasonably forsee the club scene, but that's really as far as I'd like to go. Having said all that, I've also got a few designs in mind for a cabinet - 1x15, 2x15, 2x12, and even a 1x18. All will be rated at a *minimum* of 100 watts.

    So - 100 watts into, say, a 300 watt cab (just in case I ever upgrade the amp, the cab is still good)... what is your opinion of it's performance potential in terms of loudness?
  2. 100 Watts may be good for a practice amp, but I would not try to gig with one.

    Generally speaking the rule of thumb is to have 3-4 times the power of the guitar amps. So, unless your guitar players were using 20-50 watt amps, you will not be heard.

    As a bottom line, you will probably need at least a 300 watt head.
  3. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    If it helps out i used my bassman 200 [200watts @ 4ohms through 1 15''] at a show choir comp. where there wasn't much PA support for bass [school auditorium, runnin gain at 1/2 power and volume at 1/2 power] . I think our other director said you could hear me ok but i wasn't loud by any means. What i'm getting at is shoot for 300watts + if you can-next amp i get [about a year-2 off] will most likely be getting into half/full stack territory 600-2000 watts budget permitting. The 100 watts would be great for a practice amp but anything shy of a small jam at relatively low volumes you'll be shut out. thats all
  4. bassmanjones


    Feb 23, 2002
    Boston, MA
    I think it has to do solely with your playing situation and eq settings. I mean, if you were playing in a metal band with two guitarists with marshall stacks cranked and a gorilla on drums, your 100 watt amp magically turns into a stool and nothing more.

    But, if you're playing a coffee shop with an acoustic guitarist/singer....I think you see what I'm getting at.

    100 watts is relative to where you'll be using it and how loud your other musicians are.
  5. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Good advice.:)
  6. Well I play in a punk band and our guitarist have something around 10 to 15 Watts and i've got 20, and it works since we only have a small ape at the drums ;-)
  7. Lovin Bass

    Lovin Bass

    Feb 8, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Definetly Good Advice from BassmanJones.

    I play with my church which seats around 1000 and started off with a 100 watt Crate BX-100. I had plenty of power even with (2) guitarist, drummer and GRAND piano (they really are loud!) and the 100 watts did fine. Our drummer is good and knows when to be loud and when to be gentle so everything worked out. Our acoustic guitar was run thru the PA and the electric guitar was run thru a little Danelectro 10 watt(?) amp. That little Danelectro could easily blow thru all of us. The acoustic guitarist doesn't take care of his equipment so he can't turn it up loud without some "serious feedback!" ....No worries from him.

    In any case, you have to be the judge and decide what will work. If it were me building an amp...well...how does 10,000 watts sound :D

    No seriously though, if you are going thru the trouble to build an amp from scratch then why not build it with more power. 300-500 watts would do for most anything and you won't ever need to upgrade.
  8. No seriously though, if you are going thru the trouble to build an amp from scratch then why not build it with more power. 300-500 watts would do for most anything and you won't ever need to upgrade. [/B][/QUOTE]

    The nice thing about building from scratch is that I don't have to lay out a bunch of money all at once and I can build as and when I can get parts. The downside is the actual designing. This 100W has been sitting around for years as a modified (dare I say the word) guitar amp. Still really a guitar amp, just component changes to handle better bass response and less distortion effect. Doing a design from scratch is far beyond my mortal talents, so I'll change the subject slightly and ask this: Since there are so many schematics out there for the older Marshalls, Fenders, etc, perhaps you or someone could recommend one to build on? Fabricating PCBs isn't a problem, parts are plentiful - just a critical shortage of electronic engineers. :)