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Taking more than one amp to a show

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by WashburnAB95, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    So we are told that the amp makes a bigger differnce to sound than the bass does. Many performers will carry a handfull of basses to shows so that they will have just the right sound or feel for ever song.

    Does anybody carry more than one amp and switch durring shows so that you will always have the perfect tone?
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nah, my amps all have the perfect tone for everything I do so I only need one. Might bring a backup just in case, but that's about it.
  3. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Just currious Jimmy how many basses do you tend to bring?
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    One. I have several but I can't stand changing basses during a show, so I almost always just bring one.
  5. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    IMHO, a crappy bass into a great amp is going to sound better than a great bass into a crappy amp.

    Once you get to a certain point, it really doesn't matter all that much. A good amp is always going to sound good so if you're already using something you like it's much easier to just swap out a bass to garner a different tone.

    I generally bring two amps and two basses to all gigs. I have my primary amp and a backup, the backup has never been used. I always use both basses just for the fun of it. I'll typically play a full set on one bass, then switch it up for the next set. When playing 3 sets (99% of the time) I'll use whichever bass sounded or felt the best for the 3rd set.
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It's pretty common for guitar players to do that.
  7. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    The only time I bring a second amp to a show is as a backup.

    Or on the rare occasions that I gig with the stereo-Rickenbacker setup which sounds completely righteous!
  8. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Agreed! I kinda like "crappy" basses into a great amp. Other way around yields less desirable results.

    Guitarists definitely get more leeway than the bassist at a gig. Having 2 amps for different sounds or stereo operation is pretty normal. If you see a bassist with 2 amps, one is almost always a backup. Sure, there is the full-blown arena setup, but that's usually for stage fill or cosmetics.

    Many bassists now pursue extremely transparent amplification. (Not my bag, but I understand the strategy.) In this scenario, the bass takes a more prominent role. If you like the amp for its inherent color, you'll still be hard-pressed to find a bassist doing it live.

    Like bassgodnw said, a great amp is gonna sound great (assuming the musician has his stuff together). I usually just use one amp & if on tour I carry a backup. Getting 2 amps for independent tones would be a lot of fun, but it's not worth the hassle for me.
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I need to come up with a better way to say that, it just sounds rude now that I'm reading it back.

    I mean absolutely no offense to anyone or their gear choices. :bassist:
  10. JimmyThunder

    JimmyThunder Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I am HUGE HUGE HUGE on having backups for everything at showtime. I even carry backup power supply for my guitarist's pedalboard even tho I don't play a pedalboard myself. And sure enough...one night his crapped out minutes before showtime, and I saved the day.

    That said I just can't justify spending the money on a second amp head that won't get any playtime. But I do keep a SansAmp in the trunk so I could run into the PA in a last-ditch effort.

    but for "perfect tone", no, that would be crazytown considering how for most bass players that wouldn't mean just grabbing another twin combo like most guitarists would. We'd need matching cabs, an all-tube behemoth, etc etc....who has the room?
  11. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    I always think that people who play it, or the player's hands fingers and all make the biggest difference to the sound.

    I never carry more than one bass amp, except to the recording studio.
    Well, I even never carry an amp for live performance now.. :D
  12. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Nah! Crappy basses are awesome! My coolest sounding bass, arguably, is a barely playable flea market Teisco/Decca that cost less than $100. Had to iron out the neck with heat, repot the pickups and generally get it in shape, but it rules pretty hard.
  13. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Bring two, one as the primary and one for backup. The latter has come in handy for unexpected reasons. It's always embarrassing to be unheard due to a technical issue. :)
  14. I bring a backup amp identical to what is in the combo I use, so no switching, purely a CYA move.
  15. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    When I used to gig, I used to bring a backup ALWAYS. You never know what will happen. I never saw the point of having two different heads and switching between them. For a certain growly/distorted tone, ok, I can see that. For clean tones overall, I just moved my hands around on the bass.
  16. I bring a back up of everything except the cab to live shows. 2 basses, Amps, cables etc.
    I'll only use one amp, the back up, which is equally as good, doesn't get used unless a problem.
    2 basses-usually a 4 with flats or tapes and a 5er with rounds. Sometimes a different scenario.
  17. I always bring a second amp as a backup but never because I want a different tone. It is a lot easier to get different tones out of an effects unit like the Zoom B3 than switching amps.
  18. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    ... thats the beauty of the micro's ... I have a MB200 that lives in my shoulder bag, and even if I bring something bigger, I have that if needed ... I always have multiple cabs, as I stack at least two 210's, and some times 3 if I use the 800RB, so there is a built in spare .. not to mention I supply the PA cabs, so there is usually always a spare something there if needed by somebody, which has happened a few times when guitarist or keyboard rig goes down ... I have become 'that guy' ... :meh:
  19. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    The feel is in YOU, Grasshopper, not in the amp. The amp only amplifies the feel.

    The only reason to take an extra ANYTHING is to guard against a mechanical failure, not to find a feel.
  20. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    I've never brought a backup amp to a show. I think a more viable option is a DI-Preamp like a Sans or a WTDI. They fit in a gig bag and are just as useful as a second full-sized amp if your main unit goes potato.

    If I had the money for more than one amp I'd have one of those I think.