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How many watts do YOU need?

De Batz

Member
Messages
2,673
72.3W.

Scientifically proven to be the optimal amp power.


On a semi-serious note, I've never played a show regardless of venue or music style where a 100W half stack was necessary to be heard. But it does look the absolute bollocks when you see the pictures the following day (week, back in the days of film processing)...
 

zenas

Member
Messages
8,260
100 watt amps came about before PAs were worth a darn. With a good PA system, monitors and a sound man with half a brain, you can use a pretty small amp. My brother routinely uses a 6g2 Princeton even for large outdoor shows, he tends to work with pros.
Myself I normally use little amps but keep a few 100 watters around. Because where I live PA systems tend to suck, monitors are nonexistent and sound guys are normally methheads.
 
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doublescale1

Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,644
I'm in a big 9 piece horn band with another guitarist (keys/B3 & rhythm sec. round us out). My Mesa Mark V:35 has always gotten the job done from small bars to big banquet halls. We always have a PA and mic everyone. I generally set Ch.2 at 10 watts for my Allman Bros level OD and run Ch.1 at 35watts for super clean funk strum duties. Works every time that way.
 

bigben55

Member
Messages
2,373
If you just/always set the amp clean, may as well get a bigger amp, up to 50 watts. That said, ive had bigger amps that had clean tone sweet spots that were too loud(TR, SR). I will state, for ME, 22 watts is more than enough for anything....with an efficient speaker(s).
 

guitarman3001

Member
Messages
10,547
I don't "need" more than 20 watts. I try to avoid situations in which I have to fill the room with my stage volume. I'm currently in two bands (or at least I was until Covid...let's see if they survive the extended break....) and in one of them I run sound. I insist on running everything through the PA. I've gigged with 5 watt amps through 120 watt amps. I always keep my stage volume just loud enough to be able to hear myself and get some good feel/interaction with my amp going. The PA is there to carry that sound throughout the room.

In the other band, very similar except I don't run the sound in that one so I tend to use higher wattage amps just in case...

I do need a lot of clean headroom because we play a wide range of music but do a good amount of funk and old school disco so I need snappy crystal clean tones.

Unless I was getting paid very well or the gigs were unusually fun, I would not want to be in a band in which I had to compete with a horn section with just my stage volume. But if I did, I'd say a minimum of 50 watts. For a gig like that I'd probably use my ToneMaster Twin Reverb.
 

wrxplayer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,365
IMO it ALL DEPENDS on whether you mic or otherwise connect your amps to a PA system. If you do, then one can get by fine with a 5e3 or Princeton style amp (12-20 watts). If not, and you want clean, I think 30-40 minimum would be required.
 

MrKite89

Member
Messages
1,654
Another thing: a compressor\limiter can enhance the headroom of the amp, "killing" the excessive peaks during heavy strumming. The "overall loudness", the "RMS value", will stay the same, but you won't clip the amp that much, resulting in a cleaner sound. A similar thing happens with solid state amps, so a JC-120 would be a great funky amp IMO...
 

MrKite89

Member
Messages
1,654
Agree with the suggestions about speaker efficiency. If your Deluxe still has the factory speaker, try a 100 dB sensitivity speaker. That should just about double the volume your Deluxe puts out. Cheap and easy.
If the Deluxe is vintage\with a vintage speaker yes, they're very inefficient. If the amp is a Reissue, they're shipped with a Jensen C12K, which is a 99dB speaker, pretty efficient. Although I don't like very much the sound of this speaker by itself, it's cool combined with other (different) speakers\cabs. My DRRi has a modern Jensen C12Q in it now, the same speaker on the '64 Handwired. To me it is much closer to the tone of a vintage Deluxe, although it's very inefficient (93dB or so). At 4.5 with a Strat and a "not too hot" bias is clean and loud, more than enough for small gigs, but if you want VERY clean and VERY loud you would have to double the power or use a very efficient speaker to get there. To each their own. ;)
 

East Texas

Member
Messages
42
If the Deluxe is vintage\with a vintage speaker yes, they're very inefficient. If the amp is a Reissue, they're shipped with a Jensen C12K, which is a 99dB speaker, pretty efficient. Although I don't like very much the sound of this speaker by itself, it's cool combined with other (different) speakers\cabs. My DRRi has a modern Jensen C12Q in it now, the same speaker on the '64 Handwired. To me it is much closer to the tone of a vintage Deluxe, although it's very inefficient (93dB or so). At 4.5 with a Strat and a "not too hot" bias is clean and loud, more than enough for small gigs, but if you want VERY clean and VERY loud you would have to double the power or use a very efficient speaker to get there. To each their own. ;)
I stand corrected. I thought all of the Jensens were around 95 dB or so. So, yeah, if the reissues already have an efficient speaker, it's going to need more power. Vibrolux might do the trick. Or just get a Super Reverb and be done with it :)
 

shredtrash

Gold Supporting Member
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,756
Depends on speaker efficiency. I've done country gigs with a 12 watt amp with a 100dB speaker and you need clean headroom for those. That was with a fairly loud drummer too. My Maz Jr with a G12H30 will rip your head off. I've also used a Vibrolux with inefficient speakers and that worked well too. If your Deluxe isn't enough, you're playing in a pretty loud band IMO.

Back in the day I played in large clubs in a 6-piece touring funk band with a Mesa Boogie DC-2 and the singer was constantly telling me to turn down.

Without knowing all of the other factors in play, it's hard to say.
 

Fulldrive-1

Member
Messages
5,543
I play in a jazz fusion band now. Amp is a 50 watt 1x12 Fender Concert. I know that no matter what the conditions, it'll get the job done.

When I played punk I ran Marshalls. 100 into 4x12, 50 into 4x12.

Depends on what you're doing.
 

PaisleyWookie

Member
Messages
7,878
It depends on the speaker efficiency: a 25W amp with a 100dB speaker is 3db louder (quite a lot) than a 50W amp with a 94dB speaker.

That said, my "cleans", also my funky cleans, are not that clean: I always look for a bit of compression\slight dirt, so, with an efficient speaker, 15W can be enough, and I doubt that more than 30W can be really useful. If the speaker is inefficient, 25W is the minimum I guess...It depends on how loud you want the guitar in the mix, also...
Yup, and a 25w amp running at 4ohms with two speakers will be louder than a single 12” 50w usually as well.
 

MantraSky

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,237
I have 100w amps with great “master-volumes” that sound killer for rock tones to clean, as low as a whisper to arena. I’ve never been interested in small amps but I’ve played A friend’s Bogner Barcelona 40/20w amazing clean tone. I played an Orange “Rocker 15” that sounded really nice. I look for great tones, but Love 100w amps most.....
 




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