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What Is A Gig?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BulbousMoses, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Over the years, I have belonged to a number of music forums and when is comes to discussion of amps, I have seen people post things like "but you can't gig with it" in reference to amp xyz or cab abc, etc. I always do a bit of an eye roll when I see this and the reason is simple. There is no agreed upon definition of a "gig". Is a gig only a gig when it's a 3000 seat theater? A stadium? A 50 seat coffee bar? I would say yes to all three of these examples. As far as I'm concerned, if you are being paid to play for an audience, then it's a gig. If we agree that a gig can be anything from the smallest coffee bar to the largest stadium show then any appropriately powerful combo or head/cab can do the job. Would I play Wembley Stadium with an Ampeg BA110 combo? No, of course not. But I would play a 50 seat coffee bar with one, depending on the type of band/music. Conversely, I would NOT play a coffee bar gig with an SVT/810 cab.

    So, I guess the point is, before you say "You can't gig with this amp", think about all the possible gig situations or better yet, say "I can't gig with this amp" if you play big venues and it's a small amp we're talking about.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  2. With FOH reinforcement you can gig with any amp or even no amp at all!
  3. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi BulbousMoses :)

    You are right! I won' t bring an amp, when I play ball (soccer) either! :laugh:

    That said, smaller gigs can require bigger amps than big gigs.

    When I have good P.A. support and IEMs, I can live with a smaller amp.

    A small P.A (vocals only) and no monitoring? I 'll show up with the big stuff!

    may the bass be with you

  4. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Perhaps posters are using this description in a more personal way. For example, someone really likes the sound of a classic B15 Ampeg, but plays in a metal band where he " can't gig with it ." But, generally speaking ? Yeah, you are right. I have " gigged " with everything from a 25 watt amp to a 1600 watt amp. Right gear for the right " gig ". ;)
  5. I think you're right but I see people saying "you" can't gig with it (as in "nobody could use this amp for a gig") Semantics...lol!
    jnewmark likes this.
  6. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I've seen a lot of conventional wisdom, especially on threads where new players ask how powerful of an amp they need to gig with, that's just out of whack in my opinion. A lot of guys will insist that you can't play a gig with less than 500 watts through a 4x10, or numbers in that ballpark.

    I've also heard a lot of stories about venues not booking bands back because they're too freaking loud.
  7. Yes, good points. And these days, many small combos have connectivity options such as a DI out. If a venue has a good PA, then you can use a tiny combo and get great sound while using the combo as a stage monitor. You can even mike the combo if you need to.
    jamro217 and hrodbert696 like this.
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Even without running into the PA, playing with pop/rock cover bands in a lot of venues I've done fine with significantly less wattage through a 1x15 or 2x10. Not "tiny" combos, like 1x10 bedroom practice amps, but I'd call them medium sized. And not needing volume cranked.
  9. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Back in the '70's, I was in a Blues band, in Atlanta, Ga. We auditioned for a club in Atlanta Underground. Didn't get the gig because we weren't loud enough !
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    The times, they are a-changin'...
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    A "gig" is slang for a job. Mostly used to reference musicians who get music jobs but I still hear references to regular working jobs.
  12. Although I didn't really mention this in my original post, it will also be dependant on the type of music being played. A bassist in a hard rock or metal band probably won't be able to get by with a small combo whereas a bass player in an acoustic trio will...
    HolmeBass and hrodbert696 like this.
  13. JimChjones


    Aug 6, 2017
    SE England
    I dunno, in these days of in ear monitoring and sophisticated high quality foldback systems I would have thought anything is big enough. And I'm old enough to remember the days when 100W was a pretty decent sized bass amp, and somehow we managed. Its almost as if, with huge amps and earplugs available, people just aren't being sensible about on stage volume...
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    byacey, Pbassmanca and BulbousMoses like this.
  14. Howlin' Hanson

    Howlin' Hanson Lighter cabs, please. Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2007
    Austin TX
    I can gig at my church with an older Bassman 25. Outdoors, I use my Markbass 151 combo and New York 151 extension. So there's a wide range of what a gig might be, and what gear works for which gig.
    Pbassmanca and BulbousMoses like this.
  15. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I hate that these days everything has to be qualified by adding "IMO" (In My Opinion) or "YMMV" (Your Mileage May Vary) or some other stupud qualifier.

    If I said it, IT'S MY OPINION! DUH!

    So, if I say "Neat amp, but you can't gig with that thing" it's just MY OPINION based on MY EXPERIENCES. I shouldn't have to qualify it to keep from offending those who play library, retirement hime and coffe house gigs.

    If you can get away with playing your bass through your iPhone speaker at your "gig", that's great! For 99.999999% of us, that's simply not true.

    So 99.99999% of us will say "You can't gig with that thing".

    It should go without saying that it's just our opinion.

    If you are the exception rather than the rule... meaning you can gig with something most of us would consider a "bedroom" or "practice" amp, then perhaps YOU should specify that in your question. One or two people clarifying that rather than all of the rest of us saying "You can't gig with that.... of course, unless you play in really small coffee houses or libraries or retirement homes or campfire circles or yada yada yada" makes more sense. :thumbsup:
  16. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    By definition, a gig is a live performance of any sort.

    If you drink prune juice every day, you’ll have a regular gig.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
    TrevorR, Stumbo, micgtr71 and 10 others like this.
  17. :laugh:
  18. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    wondering why... because a DI and some IEMs are all you need?
    Two Leggs and BulbousMoses like this.
  19. Well first off, I'm not offended. Amused, maybe but not offended. But to your point about it being an opinion, I would say this. Lots of people on this forum and others put forth their opinions as FACT. That's confusing to newbies, especially. Now, not everyone does this but a new player needs to tread carefully when taking advice. Get many opinions and of course, go to stores and try amps yourself so you can get a sense of how loud they are and what features they have.
  20. Ampeg BA110 has no DI out, for one thing.
    MattZilla likes this.

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