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Best BACK_UP amp?

This is a totally last resort type of amp to haul around to gigs without breaking my back or spending much money. Tone is always important, but in this application, portability and reliability are king!

Something solid state,
likely a 1x12 combo that can be used to push a larger cab if needed,
light weight,
small footprint,
channel switching - clean/dirty,


Roland Cube60 is perfect for this. They even have a kind of quasi "sag" or "touch" button that really does work well, to react to touch on the strings. Gets loud enough, and again, as backup, or if you play in a dodgy place, has terrible effects, but the models are mostly pretty good and it is light enough.

If you have any pedals with stereo or dual out, you could even use it for ambience, for delays and such with no back pains, no hassles, no broken tubes, etc.

I was really blown away by mine. I play around with it once in a while at home, but still love tubes. But OF non tubes I have played, it is the best for rock/blues...etc.

Red Planet

Absolutely the Crate Power Block.

If you allready have a cab at a gig all you need is that little bugger. Put it in its little carry bag and go.


I'm using a Powerblock as a backup too. Another advantage of it is that I'm not tempted to sell it for something different/better, because it's the cheap and small backup I hopefully won't have to use.


Don't have experience myself, but a friend of mine who is a very experienced pro musician has a Power Block for backup too ... I would certainly trust his judgement.


I'm one of those weird people that think the PowerBlock can sound great into a nice speaker cab. I know others disagree, but I don't understand how they could.

Either way, it's small and you can keep it in the car at all times. Works great.

Red Planet

The Power Block sounds great.

I wish the Amp Simulator was defeatable. It can be done sort of as it would also make a freakin great Acoustic Preamp Straight to the Board. With the Simulator on it sounds awful with an Acoustic. Its sort of Bypassable but you loose part of the Preamp doing it.
Crate Powerblock!
I guess I don't know much about these but I thought it was simply a small power amp. I'll have to look into it. I don't use pedals for my distortion so pedal selectable channel switching is a must for any back up for me.



Gold Supporting Member
If pedal switching is a must for your backup, then the Cube 60 is the amp you need. I've used mine on countless gigs. I've run it with a 1X12 ext. spkr cab. It sounds better without an ext. cab, IMO. Direct to board out which sounds good, ch. switching, and it sounds really great. Try one, you won't be dissappointed. Oh yea, the delay, and chorus sounds are pretty good, and the clean chan. is based off of the Roland JC120, and my Strat sounds fabulous thru the clean channel. Amazing little amp.
The only thing...a combo (I'm not pushing the Cube60, and I don't honestly remember if you can channel switch on it to be honest...I never tried) has it's own speaker(s) as well...

To my way of thinking, a "backup amp" ought to be self contained. If you have a combo as normal amp, IF it is the kind of combo that isn't hard wired to the speakers, etc. etc. you could use...but there are som ifs in there. IF your main combo got run over by the drummer, you're screwed. With a self contained backup, you got it covered.

Even a head/cab (though not normal a cabinet goes down probably...one can blow a speaker, or internal connections can go) it's only half the equation.


I gig pretty much with combo's and throw another similar combo in as a backup. I gig with old Fenders alot, I have a mint Musicman 65 1x12 that makes a great backup. It's small and covers similar tone range to my BF Fenders.

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