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Tube Amps Live Gigs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by sdahe, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. willie k

    willie k Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    Roswell, GA
    I have a 9 watt /13 JRT that easily keeps up with a loud drummer.
    jnovac1 likes this.
  2. BluntForceTrauma

    BluntForceTrauma Member

    Jun 6, 2014
    Tucson, AZ
    I gigged my Hughes & Kettner Edition Tube 20 last night. Miced up of course. So 15-20 watts is enough. 4 piece Classic Rock band.
    edit: Forgot to say I only had it on 3 (9 o'clock)
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    draelyc likes this.
  3. Phil the Kill Bill V2 guy

    Phil the Kill Bill V2 guy Member

    Sep 11, 2018
    Mesa Boogie Mark V 25 head thru open back Mesa 12" cab works for me.
  4. rickt

    rickt Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2018
    I used a Swart AST as my gigging amp outdoors and indoors and, typically, not mic'd. Here's an outdoor recording. I am playing a Grosh Retro Classic through a Swart AST and the other guitarist is playing PRS Hollowbody through a Maz 18 JR.

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  5. jazzguitarfan

    jazzguitarfan Member

    Mar 28, 2012
    I haven't found a gig (big, small, outdoors or otherwise) that my Maz Jr was inadequate for. Same for a DRRI or 22 watt Magnatone Twilighter. I still have my 69 Super Reverb in a practice space (although use a Pro Jr. there almost always) and sold my Pro Reverb and 80s Fender Concert. For me, 22 watts is about as much as is ever needed and probably the maximum I would use for a tube amp. My last trio gig was with a Princeton Reverb and was great.
  6. EastCoastRocker

    EastCoastRocker Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    depends on the variables. The size of the stage, the fold back (monitor) system, how loud the drummer is and how close to him you are, is there a good PA etc.
    That's what determines the answer.

    Next comes what style of music, and what type of amp.
    Do you need overdrive, and how will you get it?

    A 100 watt DSL can play low enough or loud enough for any venue. If playing with OD, it likes to be opened up but it's not an absolute. You can always use an OD pedal into a clean 100 watt amp at any volume.

    Base on my experience with my 12 watt and 30 watt Mojave old school style crank it power tube distortion amps, if I am playing Rock they are dimed. The 12 watt can not compete with the drummer. I lose my dynamics. The 30 watt can, but not if I need to reply on cleans because I need to turn it down to get cleans. But if I'm in a small lounge, 30 watts dialed in to the edge of distortion and a boost is great.

    So I'll concede to the OP that 30 Watts depending on the above can do it, but A higher watt cascaded gain stage amp or a high watt clean amp with an OD will get you there and back anywhere.
  7. doublescale1

    doublescale1 Suhr S-Classic Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    I live on the east side of metropolitan Detroit
    I too use my Mesa Mark V:35 the same way as 67blackcherry: ch1 35 watts for clean headroom and ch2 at 10 watts for the heavier OD channel - I use a VFE Blues King pedal on ch1 for edge of breakup, just that one OD pedal on the board for the MkV:35. I also run the Cab Clone on Vintage to FOH - great sound out through the PA every time. I've also gigged my old Carr Mercury, 8 watts w/1XKT66 power tube - between being only 10 feet in front of the tilited up amp and the floor monitor, It was a fun gig with that great little amp. Having a good PA really gives you more options.
  8. Ejay

    Ejay Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2017
    If you need clean headroom...and an amp that will always get you through reasonable conditions...id say 30w is minimum.
    Offcourse a 20w works in many situations, especially when you dont need cleanclean. I figure, why own an amp that is gonna let me down at least a couple times a year when theres plenty of good 30w and up amps?
  9. carl_is_tall

    carl_is_tall Member

    May 18, 2015
    Tulsa, OK
    I've used a 100 watt amp and a 3.5 watt amp at different gigs at the same venue and a bunch of others inbetween. If you eliminate the variables like PA, (i.e. Your amp will be mic'd up and you will have a monitor, regardless of the amp size) you shouldn't even worry about the wattage IMO. I think that you pick the right sounding amp for the gig. Put a mic on it and play your gig. Now if you are asking what kind of amp to use if you have no idea what you will be walking into PA wise at a gig,.. that's a different story. For that, I would say to bring way more amp than you think you will need,.. and that it should have a master volume, FX Loop or some other way to control the overall volume. (attenuator or Power Station 2 type device).

    For example, if I need pristine cleans, I can make my little 3.5 watt Vibro Champ sound great thru a PA with the vol on 3. But if you HAVE to have that sound and you don't know what the PA situation is,.. bring the Twin Reverb.

    Just my thoughts, others will vary.
    bman5150us and apoyando like this.
  10. draelyc

    draelyc Member

    Oct 23, 2009
    upstate SC
    ^^^ That.

    I used to have a Koch Studiotone 20 watt head, which I ran into a closed back 1x12 with a CL80, and giggled that rig a bunch. Only once did I have trouble keeping up, volume wise, and that was with a hard hitting drummer and a three-guitar lineup.

    I also used to own a Laney VC15 combo. Nearly the same wattage, but there's no way I could even have *practiced* with my band using that amp, much less actually gigged. :dunno

    I now have a Budda Superdrive 18 combo. Again, nearly the same wattage, but in a live setting the Budda would absolutely obliterate the Koch ~ you'd never even hear the Studiotone next to the Superdrive.
  11. ldizzle

    ldizzle Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    I played for 3k people with an ac4. Just gonna throw that out.

    Prefer 15-50w depending on the circuit/room/etc.
  12. rumbletone

    rumbletone Silver Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2013
    Vancouver BC
    Depends on the gig, but I’ve certainly never needed more than 20 watts (any larger venues I play have PAs). For musical theatre gigs 1watt would likely be more than enough.
  13. strumminsix

    strumminsix Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2006
    NW Burbs of Chi Town
    Have gigged with a Dr Z Maz 8 without issue, if mic'd, and had enough clean headroom. Depends on the gig.
  14. Lance

    Lance Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    SF, CA
    Really depends a lot on the room. How high the ceiling is made it so I used a Princeton Reverb and ran out of headroom. Used same amp in a room with lower ceilings and it was plenty. I only turn it up to 4.5, then it starts to breakup and I don't like that sound. I'm used to a 100W SFTR. Great MV, and can be used for almost anything. Even bedroom quiet!
  15. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Clifton, VA
    I need a pair of EL34s or 6L6s, or four EL84s. No more and no less. I play clean and have a pedal or two.

    Anything less gets too strident, too dirty, and too compressed. Usually. If it’s a quieter gig then I can do 15 watts.
  16. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Member

    Jan 3, 2017
    So. NH
    I used a 5w Blackheart a few times and it was plenty loud in a 5 piece rock band. I only switched to a 50w amp because I wanted better cleans and an FX loop.
  17. SexHaver420

    SexHaver420 Member

    Nov 11, 2016
    I usually gig at bars without any PA support besides vocals and my band plays sludgy/stonery metal stuff and we like to play loud. The quietest I'll gig with is a dimed 50 watt. I usually play a 140 watt though.
  18. sturge

    sturge Member

    May 1, 2008
    CT, USA
    6 piece rock band...For 5 years a 30W Egnater Rebel 1X12 was a great amp for most gigs. I could get what I needed for small gigs and I had a 1X12 ext cab when needed. I've also used 15W Tweed Blues JR a few times but it runs out of balls without being mic'd. Last 3 years I've used 100W/channel Quilter Aviator head with 2X12 cab which has been awesome and very versatile.
  19. apoyando

    apoyando Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2007
    If you think of these things as tools it’s a bit easier...
    1) don’t think wattage...think about how much loud clean headroom you need...a 40w Fender is different from a 30w Vox....even when they are at equal volume
    2) nobody else’s requirements matter...Unless you’re curious IT DOESNT MATTER what works for me..
    What kind of situations do YOU play in? What style/tone do you require? Are you always with the same players? Etc etc
    As another bit of info...a 100w power section is only 3db louder than 50w ( assuming the same preamp section) ...changing a speaker from an efficiency of 97db to 100db can get you a similar ( not exactly the same) result as doubling your amp power ( though transformer size etc matters)
    All that being said it is usually easier to turn down/tone down etc a higher powered amp than to suffer an underpowered one...
    Thumpalumpacus likes this.
  20. Jamie_Mitchell

    Jamie_Mitchell Member

    Aug 20, 2009
    south of no north
    lowest I’ve ever gone is two 5 watts in stereo, mic’d in a tiny room

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