Who here gigs with a 200 watter?


Just wondering, who here gigs - real gigs, not Madison Square Bedroom, but public shows using a Marshall Major or Hiwatt DR201? Whats your music like and what kind of speakers and pedals are you using?

And if you are using something else other than Marshalls and Hiwatts speak up as well (remember Tommy Chong playing slide on a tele thru an SVT?)


i gig (real gigs) and i struggle to crank a 30W JTM45...

the power just isnt needed these days with the efficiency of PA systems.
imo anyway

John Phillips

It's not about power, it's about tone.

Those big amps just have a different sound - much bigger and deeper - than smaller ones, and you don't have to crank them to hear it.

I did have a Major a long time ago... a beautiful-sounding amp at any volume from bedroom upwards. I never turned it up all the way in public, or anywhere even close.

I do miss that amp... I sold it because it was too large, too heavy and far too expensive to retube, not because it was too loud.

The Hiwatt DR201 has an absolutely stunning tone at any volume, too - better even than the DR103.

If you've never heard the tone these amps have, please don't dismiss them as pointless dinosaurs or lecture people that 'you don't need that much power'.


A friend of mine gigs with a Sound City 120 w/EL34x6, converted to a Late 70's Hiwatt preamp circuit.
This is the 2nd Sound City 120 that i converted in this manner.
OK, it's not a 200 watter Hiwatt DR201 but this amp, and the other that i still have, are amazingly powerful. There is a big difference in power between these and the 100 watt EL34x4 Hiwatt and Sound City L100 amps i have.
As has been stated, it's not about insane vol levels with amps like these--- the depth of tone and tone quality are beyond what smaller amps can usually produce.
He uses the amp with the Master Vol on "10" and the channel at "1" or less--- any louder and his drummer complains.
He's running it through a Hiwatt (Sterling) 80's 4x12 with G12T-75's. He used a large pedalboard with a shifting selection of OD/Dist and Reverb, Delays, etc before he got this amp but now has realized that he likes the sound of the amp by itself better---
Yes, he's had problems at shows with the soundmen due to excess stage vol levels.
I've been building smaller amps, @30 watts, and trying to replicate the depth and "bigness" of these large monsters----- i've produced some very nice sounding amps, the last one for a down-tuned, mostly clean player---- he sometimes uses an OD pedal but plays complex chords and needs the low root note to be fat and tight, and all other freq's to be rich and clear---- i've accomplished this but the amp doesn't really have the feel of the 120+ watters........it just doesn't have the reserve of power like the big ones do------but the owner is very happy with it and says it has enough vol at "4" to use live...........gldtp99


Gold Supporting Member
I gig with the major once in a while- the headroom is great to have with a full band- Sure, the size is a pain (these things are HEAVY), but the tone is sure worth it. I agree with the above that the major sounds great from bedroom levels on. Takes pedal like a monster - beefs up od pedals in a way I can't get out of my slp. When I feel like scaring the soundguy, I'll do the two amp system with the Major and Matchless Superchief 120 in stereo.


Well, I agree with John P, as it's about the tone more than anything. Depending on the controls, I'm assuming you have no master volume, so if you're wanting to push it at "real gigs" you're probably going to be VERY disappointed. However, I think if you're wanting a nice clear tone with depth and punch to put pedals through, you'll probably be very pleased.

I've done 'real gigs' with a 100 watter (mesa lonestar classic 100w clean/ 50w dirty) and was fine. Although I felt like I couldn't really open it up volume wise to where it sounds best (despite gain/master/output). for some reason, it didn't seem to breathe, but it really differs from amp to amp.

With today's PA systems, most players would be more than fine with a 15w 1x12 combo with hard rock. However, some "real gigs" in **** clubs don't have a great PA and you have to work with what you can for your stage volume and room acoustics, and in those scenarios, you'll probably want at least a good 30watter to have some clean headroom.

Bottom line, you should be just dandy. Hiwatts are amps that I wish I would see more of, but it seems that the "real" giggers here (denver) only play marshall JCM2000 heads into 4x12 cabs cranking WAY too high resulting in the soundman basically abandoning their amp through the mains only letting the guitarists cabinet project. The result, usually, is that the rest of the band (vocal, drum, synth/keys, bass) sounds fine, but the guitar is thin and farty over any distance greater than 20 feet.

Now, an example of wattage overkill is something that can be an issue. For example, my bass player uses an Ampeg SVT-6 1100 watter into a 4x10 cab. Now, realistically, 300 watts into a 2x10 would be fine for most stages, but this guy has managed to blow 3 of his speakers by running his 1100 watt head into his 600 watt cab. He had a bad habit of turning up way to high.

Sorry for the rant, you should be fine and it's more a question of the tone your after at the volume you need. If you get the volume you need in any gig and sound reinforcement situation while being considerate to your band and your audience, it doesn't matter what wattage you have.

A lot of guitar and bass players forget that in venues that have a good PA, all they really need is stage volume for themselves. Most bands would be fine with a 1x12 combo aimed up at their face to hear their own playing, if you want to hear your lead or rhythm player across the stage, you ask soundman for monitor feed.

On the other side of it, you have your crap venues that have PA only running vocals, and in that scenario, you have to find the happy medium of enough projection to you, your band members, and audience, and not over powering. Bottom line in those situations is that if you are over the acoustic drum kit, you are TOO loud. In those venues, you use the drum kit as your volume ceiling and you have to strategize with your band to mix tones. Sometimes, this means you have to play with a tone that may not be your ideal tone, but compliments the collective sound of the band. I've found that I have to use a darker and huskier tone for rhythm than I'd like.

wow long post.

Keep your amp and enjoy!

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