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Minimum Wattage to Play a Gig?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Vlad2075, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Vlad2075


    Mar 20, 2017
    New Jersey
    Hello all!

    I haven't posted here in a while but to give you some background. I'm a recycled newbie bass player who recently picked it back up a few months back. After much practice most of it has come back to me and i'm at a place where I want to be!

    I'm ready to play some gigs! Mostly small venues (clubs, retaurants, bars...nothing fancy).
    My Fender 15 watt won't cut it, so I'm in the market for a new amp I can use to play out.

    What would you say would be the minimum wattage required to play in a small venue?


    I was looking at a Bugera BXD12 combo amp to play out. It's $299 and claims to be 1000 watts (it certainly can't be 1000 watts). I'm on a budget and even $299 is a bit pricey for me so if anyone can recommend something less expensive then even better!

    What does everyone think?
  2. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Depends on the cabinet you chose to use if you go with separates. In my case I gig with 1000W to drive my cabinets to “sing.” With a combo get the most powerful you can afford. The only combo I have played through in the past few years was a Fender Rumble 350 2x10. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it handled my six string.

    Typically we buy an amp that we can afford. As we progress and save the money this is traded in against the next better amplifier. This repeats until we have just what we want. :)
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  3. Super dependent on the drummer and on the guitarists ability to use their volume control.

    I've played where 25W was enough, and I've played where 800W wasn't.
    jamro217, old spice, gsquare and 15 others like this.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It all depends on the kind of music you're playing and the other instruments you're playing with.

    I've done a ton of small bar/coffee house gigs using 100W into a 1x12 that was more than enough.
    I've done loud rock gigs where 500W into a 4x10 was barely enough.

    The general rule of thumb, though, is that 200W into a 2x10 or 1x15 is about the minimum that will keep up with the average un-mic'd drummer.
  5. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    Look at used, and between 350-500 watts. Combo could save you some money as well.
  6. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    S. Texas Hill Country
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    I'm playing out side tomorrow and think I'll just use my Ampeg BA-108 like I did last time. The BL loved it. I just drop a Shure 57 over it and run through the house. So there is more than one way to be heard! I also have a Hartke HD150 and a GK 400RB with a 6 x 10 cab. But many folks here speak very highly of Fender Rumbles. Take a look...YMMV
  7. 500 watts and a 410 or 215.
  8. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    I use 1x15" 200W combo for small gigs with unmiced drummer (rarely) and monitoring on a big stage (mostly). For me, less than this wouldn't be enough.
    My advice is to get more power/speaker area than you THINK you need. Your amp/cab need headroom and it is always good idea to have spare power.
    IMO if you often need to push your amp to 3/4, than you bought wrong amp.
  9. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    I see that you're in NJ like me. I found this on CL selling a Rumble 200 for $300. I would offer 200 and see what he says:
    I have no affiliation with this seller.
  10. Vlad2075


    Mar 20, 2017
    New Jersey
    I forgot to mention that I will most likely be running through the PA system. Would 100 be enough through a PA?
  11. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    To be safe, look at 300 (8 ohm)/500W (4ohms) heads. Unless you have a really good cab, I think 2 15s, 2 12s, or 4 10s.
    rodv66 likes this.
  12. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    It's still a matter of hearing yourself well, if you're standing next to a drummer and the PA is firing away from you. If your drummer has a light touch maybe. More info on your ensemble and the style of music would help.

    My personal rule of thumb for rock is 300w, and 4 10s, 2 12s, or 2 15s. With quieter musical styles and drummers, you could probably get away with 200 watts and a 210, 112, or 115.

    100w though... unless you're going through a pretty big cab, not sure I'd take the chance.
  13. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Zero watts is enough through a PA if you have good monitors.
    Plenty of people go direct only.
  14. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    Yes...but probably not. It all depends on a few things.

    1. How large of an area you are trying to fill so that the guy on the other side of the stage can hear you.?
    2. Does the PA have monitors to handle bass frequencies?
    3. How loud are the drummer and other players?
    I would still say that 100 watts would be pushing your luck. Always best to have more headroom.
  15. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Ah yes, the mythical "good monitors" ;)

    As a fellow New Jerseyan, it seems like "good [house] monitors" are as rare as hen's teeth in these parts (that includes Philly and plenty of NY as well). I've been to places that have spectacular FOH systems, but still refuse to run anything but vocals and guitars through the monitors. Others will allow me to request some high-passed kick drum, but bass...

    I've had to do it once out of necessity thanks to a gear malfunction. Not something I enjoyed, or would want to rely on on a regular basis unless I supplied my own monitors/ears. YMMV.
    swafran, Gearhead17 and Vlad2075 like this.
  16. Vlad2075


    Mar 20, 2017
    New Jersey
  17. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    Since you're on a budget, that should get you there. Obviously it doesn't put out 1000 watts LOL

    Plus take advantage of the 4 payment plan.
  18. Vlad2075


    Mar 20, 2017
    New Jersey
    Oh yeah it def does NOT put out 1000 watts lol. From what I read it can put out a good 150 to 200.
  19. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Looks like Musicians Friend has a scratch and dent GK MB112-ii for $268... not that I'm necessarily saying anything bad against that Bugera, but I know which I'd choose...

    Edit: a day later, and it looks like somebody snagged that scratch and dent MB112 already, wonder if it was the OP... ;)
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
    Gearhead17, packhowitzer and jchrisk1 like this.
  20. XontheP


    May 24, 2013
    Omaha, NE
    Why do you need 1000 watts if you're standing in front of your amp/cab? Your amp is for you only. THe sound guy doesn't want to hear it. Get a clean combo, or amp/cab and stand in front of it.
    southpaw723 likes this.
  21. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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