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View Full Version : Another "how many watts do I need" thread!


jimmyohio75
05-24-2009, 11:09 AM
OK, here's my situation. My band practices in a large warehouse with concrete walls and 25 ft high ceilings. I need a decent amount of power for practice. Our band plays ZZ Top type angry blues with an occasional hard rock song or two.
I am using a '59 Bassman LTD for both practice and gigs. 98% of our gigs are in small clubs and I'm mic'd. The Bassman seems like too much power for these gigs. The Bassman works well for band practice though.
Could I get away with 12-20 watts run through a 2x12 for practice and a 1x12 for gigs? Do I need more power than this? I am thinking about selling the Bassman and getting a 12-20 watt boutique head along the lines of a Twister Dust Devil, Reeves Custom 12 or 18 or a Budda SD 18. I want to stay below $1400 for the head.
I'm not concerned about 12 watts for my gigs but I am a little concerned that 12 watts might not cut it for practice. What do y'all think?

Tone_Terrific
05-24-2009, 11:19 AM
small clubs
What if you don't mic at gigs?

jimmyohio75
05-24-2009, 11:23 AM
What if you don't mic at gigs?
Unfortunately the main club we play has a very strict sound guy. He requires that the
guitarists be mic'd. He claims that in order for him to get the entire band at equal volume levels he needs to have everyone mic'd. Since we are a relatively new band at this particular venue we didn't want to make waves.

jay42
05-24-2009, 11:29 AM
It's typical to practice louder than a club will allow. It's also unwise, imo. ymmv. You need two or three amps to cover the number of situations you'll come across. You already have the middle pretty well covered. A 15W to 20W amp with power scaling is a good fit for the lower end.

snoggin
05-24-2009, 06:42 PM
I have amps from 11 to 100 watts.. i am now using my Clark beaufort which is about 11 watts i think with a Klon and OCD and running it at 3-4 for small clubs.. Bigger i like my new to me Germino LV 55. 12 watts can be PLENTY if you dont need clean.. i never need true clean but even this cleans up alot with the volume knob and running those two pedals i can do hard rock tone pretty low on the volume scale.. And i can freakin lift it with my pinky lol

Ocelot
05-24-2009, 06:56 PM
12 watts unmiked will be completely smothered by drums, another guitar and vocals.

johnny_duke
05-24-2009, 06:58 PM
I am in a similar yet different scenario. I play with an R+B band (r+B with a mix of classic rock, etc.) and we play in a 20'x20' space and my old 5 watt supro (8" speaker) does the trick. Amp is set at half way and pushed with a matchless dirt box and it sounds quite nice. Then, i play with a harder/louder band in a 2 storey space at least 3 times the size and my 18 watt marshall clone in a 2x12 combo does the trick. In short, i would recommend going with 2 amps. Power scaling/attenuating may be an option but i have tried that in the past and have found that the tone is always coloured and it just doesn;t sound right.

scottieL
05-24-2009, 07:44 PM
I know everyone here likes to hate on mesas, but try and track down a mark series simul-class head. Running class A it is quiet, kick it into full power and you could drown out a 747 :eek: . they're not just for metal, any one of them will give infinite clean headroom through searing to all out gain. From experience I will caution you that they are tough to dial in but worth the effort

Nergalled
05-24-2009, 08:05 PM
You guys all play really small gigs? There is no way a 20-30 w amp could handle my gigs, no way. They are good for a recording studio, but not the gigs I play.

FFTT
05-24-2009, 08:15 PM
If you can control your drummer, 15-18 watts can work very well,

If you play hard boogie with a more powerful drummer, you may want to consider the Reeves Custom 30 and use the power scaling when needed for small clubs and picky sound guys.

It kind of depends on how much clean headroom you need over live drums.

sgilmore
05-24-2009, 08:16 PM
Maybe if you could find something with different wattage options. Traynor and Egnater come to mind right now but I know there are a lot more out there.

FenderBigot
05-24-2009, 08:23 PM
Unfortunately the main club we play has a very strict sound guy...
Sounds like the typical "I couldn't cut it as a player" sound guy and now he's got a power/control issue to make other players not sound as good as they'd like to sound. Sorry bro.

As far as the amp is concerned... you've got to find your tone and volume sweet spot. Lower wattage may help, but it's not always the clear answer.

FFTT
05-24-2009, 08:23 PM
I know it's not as much fun, but you should be using rehearsal time to
not only get your parts and your sounds down, but also work on doing
your sets at lower volumes.

fatcat
05-24-2009, 08:32 PM
Every guitarist should have a good 15/20 watter in their stable. my choice was the badger 18 head. Let me tell ya ! its a loud 18 watts too. with power scaling she'll go down to a wisper and still sound good and full. Its not funny about taking pedals either.

m@2
05-24-2009, 10:08 PM
I love the AC30's for gigs. 30 watts = enough headroom for a loud drummer, but controllably loud overdrive (if that makes sense)

frankiestarr
05-24-2009, 10:52 PM
You might find a mild overdrive to emulate the sound of the amp turned up at the gigs instead of getting to loud.... Or one of those power soak deals....

Waxhead
05-24-2009, 11:14 PM
I know everyone here likes to hate on mesas, but try and track down a mark series simul-class head. Running class A it is quiet, kick it into full power and you could drown out a 747 :eek: . they're not just for metal, any one of them will give infinite clean headroom through searing to all out gain. From experience I will caution you that they are tough to dial in but worth the effort

+1
except that not all Mesa's are hard to dial in. My Express 5:50 is dead easy. Just keep the bass pot under 10 oclock.

I've got all the power options covered with an Egnater Rebel 20 Head with a 1 to 20w dial up knob for rehearsal & small venues plus a Mesa 5:50 Combo with simul-class 5W and 50w power switching for larger venues. Throw in a 2x12 cab with V30's and there's never a problem. 50w in a Mesa is very loud and gives you a ton of clean headroom.

Tone wise the Rebel 20 is great, especially as a pedal platform but the Mesa is superlative from clean thru OD and distortion. The most versatile amp I've ever played. Both amps are very pedal friendly, both have a series loop. Both are very small & lightweight for their wattage. The Rebel only costs US$600 and double it for the Mesa.

We try to rehearse at the same volume as gigs

Yankee Univox
05-24-2009, 11:21 PM
Get an Orange Rocker 30 head. They can be found for dirt cheap nowadays,and a good 2x12 will really open up the clean tones,compared to that somewhat 'boxy' sounding combo with the V30!


I also see some OR50s floating around within your budget.

Axe-maniac
05-25-2009, 03:19 AM
....I am thinking about selling the Bassman...

I almost sold my Bassman once. It would have been a HUGE mistake. I know how much you love your Bassman and suspect you may end up regretting it if you do sell it. Sorry to be a downer, just don't want you to make a mistake.

GenoBluzGtr
05-25-2009, 06:46 AM
First thing... like Axe-maniac says... DON'T sell that Bassman. You'll never find another amp with the qualities of that circuit through four 10" speakers and you WILL miss it and want it back.

Secondly... The Bassman will work in a variety of situations. I use mine at outdoor gigs turned up a bit, and I have used it often in small clubs at about 2-3 on the volume... it sounds wonderful in either scenario. A pedal is necessary when turned down, but that amp loves a good overdrive pedal !!!

Last thing... if you mic amps, you won't need anything more than one good amp. You will need to find an amp that gives you the sound you want at a STAGE VOLUME level that works with your band. If you always mic, any amp will work for FOH sound no matter the wattage, the only drawback will be whether or not you can hear yourself on stage. If you ever find yourself NOT mic'ing you'll need enough juice to get a good clean tone loud enough to fill the room.

I gig most often UNMIC'D with a Deluxe Reverb RI. that 22 watts is more than enough (set on about 3-4 volume) for the majority of the clubs we play (small to medium sized). If I play a club that is a little bigger I use the Bassman, again at about 3-4 on the volume, unmic'd, and it's perfect. Outdoors, I'll use the Bassman set louder and sometimes I'll add the DRRI in stereo. I also have a '64 Vibroverb Custom that I have used at larger clubs, but I find I don't really use it much at all.... in fact, I'm thinking of moving it, since it doesn't see much use... the DRRI fits 90% of my needs and it's only 36 lbs (Jensen Neo Speaker!)... I love my 2am load out!

Lou Brush
05-25-2009, 06:57 AM
Going from a Bassman to a 12-watter is a huge leap. IMHO, a 12 watt amp or 1x12 cab is gonna sound wimpy compared to your Bassman. Also, in my experience, a 12 watt amp will get buried in a loud band with no mic. I'd use the Bassman and a 2x12 cab. It's always better to have too much power than not quite enough... especially with no mic!

DaveDaveDave
05-25-2009, 07:26 AM
+1
except that not all Mesa's are hard to dial in. My Express 5:50 is dead easy. Just keep the bass pot under 10 oclock.


+2.

Believe it or not, the new Mesa Boogie Mark V is pretty easy to tweak too. It only took me 3 minutes out of the box to hear that it's a LOT more well rounded than any other Mark series I've played. It does vintage tones very nicely, on par with a Lonestar, I'd say. Each channel is switchable to 10w, 45w or 90w... and the 10w single ended mode sounds AWESOME. Having 3 separate amps in a 75lb combo is not bad at all.
So, now I'm selling my Maverick and my Mark IV - but I'm keeping my 20 and 50 watt Traynors. It's nice to have a swiss-army amp - but I only need one.


+1
We try to rehearse at the same volume as gigs

Ditto. The problem arises that practice spaces are usually smaller than clubs, and it takes more to fill up the room. When it comes to who controls what hits my ears, I'd rather have a sound guy with faders and 2000 watts of qsc or crown than some j-off dragging his JCM-900 full stack around.

BTW, if you do have to turn down with a non-master amp, here's one trick - use an attenuator in parallel with a speaker instead of in series. I do this with Weber Masses, and it's a pretty effective way of attenuation without too much tone impairment...

Waxhead
05-25-2009, 07:53 AM
+2.

Believe it or not, the new Mesa Boogie Mark V is pretty easy to tweak too. It only took me 3 minutes out of the box to hear that it's a LOT more well rounded than any other Mark series I've played. It does vintage tones very nicely, on par with a Lonestar, I'd say. Each channel is switchable to 10w, 45w or 90w... and the 10w single ended mode sounds AWESOME. Having 3 separate amps in a 75lb combo is not bad at all.
So, now I'm selling my Maverick and my Mark IV - but I'm keeping my 20 and 50 watt Traynors. It's nice to have a swiss-army amp - but I only need one.
..

Well congrats on the new amp Dave.
I've been salivating over the reviews on the Boogie board.
The Mark V is my dream amp.
Unfortunately it's gonna cost over $5000 in Australia

muffin manuk
05-25-2009, 09:18 AM
12 watts unmiked will be completely smothered by drums, another guitar and vocals.
A true 12 watt's is plenty loud enough what amp are you useing.

willhutch
05-25-2009, 07:23 PM
I believe your amp should be optimized for your gigging situation. If that means a smaller amp, so be it. If that, in turn causes problems at rehearsal, is it possible to rehearse more quietly? It really seems weird to rehearse louder than you gig. If not, maybe you could mike your guitar at rehearsal?

Dale
05-25-2009, 07:40 PM
If you can control your drummer, 15-18 watts can work very well,

If you play hard boogie with a more powerful drummer, you may want to consider the Reeves Custom 30 and use the power scaling when needed for small clubs and picky sound guys.

It kind of depends on how much clean headroom you need over live drums.


Liking to play loud and others wanting a loud band, or wishing to frequent a club where they can't be social is not very frequent. The band is there usually as social support not the main show. Even at a dance place the dance is the main venue. The band second. The ability of the horny guy to make a pass is critical to the survival of the club. Both genders count on it. If it is too loud for that it usually does not go well.

I also agree about the drummer. It always amazes me how the rest of the band is supposed to cover for a drummer who has no sense of touch. If the drummer needs lessons get them for him/her don't pass off the problem to the guitar player or the rest of the band.

shark_bite
05-25-2009, 08:45 PM
I don't really have much new to add here, but I will chime in that I try to keep amps at every wattage range. 4 watts for home, the 15W Bad Cat, the 22W (but louder 'cause of the JBL) Deluxe Reverb, and then the Bassman for those occasional Madison Square Garden shows I do (or playing outside, whatever). So really, the Bassman hardly gets any use. But, I'd never get rid of it and you probably shouldn't either, as the others have said. You definitely would regret that.

I would definitely try to control the practice space and practice at quieter volumes. Build some baffling or something - you could do that pretty cheap, but you'd be amazed at what some simple curtaining can do to get a lid on things. Or, maybe look for a different practice space. Seems those alternatives would definitely be cheaper than buying a new amp.