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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / How much bass amp is enough?

Previous 20 Messages  
Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jan 26th, 2017 05:31 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"What you don't want is to be stuck with an amp that you have to push to it's limits just to keep up."


It's easy to buy an amp without enough power in the entry level amps. I understand the budget thing but went through all this myself about 10 years back. I bought a GK Backline 100 for use around the house and thought it would be OK for rehearsal, Not. It does sound good up to a point but beyond that point it is worthless.

I ended up with a Tech 21 preamp, QSC RMX 850 that I run bridged and a Agular 1-15 cab. Buying used I have about $600 in this rig that includes a 4 space rack for the e-tronics. I'm very happy with it and can play just about any indoor gig with it. I also acquired a Mesa 4-10+15 cab for outdoors.

My point being if you ever plan to get out and play live you will need more amp than the Behringer or the Ampeg. If you guitar player gets a little frisky with the HRD at rehearsal you are toast without 350 watts minimum to keep it clean.

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jan 26th, 2017 08:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've used my SWR Studio 220 since 1985, It's handled nearly every venue. I've had to use the line out a few times, mostly outdoor gigs.

I know my current amp the Genz Benz Shuttle 9.0 is out of the price range, it's option to go from 500 watts to 900 watts, depending on my speaker arrangement, gives me options to cover everything I'll ever need. I use it mostly at 500 watts into a 2X10.

Get as much power as you can comfortably afford, buying used is a great idea, you can keep upgrading without out loosing too much in the deal.

martin p.

Westbury NY

I am never unintentionally rude
Jan 26th, 2017 09:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

the ampeg is a cool amp, but in my opinion, with only 150 watts, you would be limited to using at home for rehearsals in a semi loud rock scenario.
Having said that, if the price is right, and if that's what you need, it's certainly work.
and as a bonus, they sound pretty good.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Jan 27th, 2017 06:27 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You said:
"If I would play out with people I would figure there would be some sort of backline."

My response:
Where do you expect to perform that provides backline?

Most of the touring artists, including those "touring week end warriors" (meaning leave their home on Thursday, perform on the road...meaning spending the night in the van or in a motel...and return home on Sunday to return to their steady "day job")...most of those guys travel in an SUV or van with a trailer carrying their own sound (in case venue too small to provide a house or hired sound) and their stage instrument amps, and probably even a small lighting set up.

But that may not be true in "your neck of the woods".

Out here in the "fly over 'flatland' states" that is very common. Leave Austin or DFW metro going north and west or due north or north and east. We are on the "due north" circuit as they head to KCMO or Omaha...and even some will detour this way if last week they went thru Little Rock on their way to StL or Memphis.

The polite term for venues in towns like mine is "gas money gigs", And you do not get backline in typical gas money gig venues. At least not around here.

If you pass thru here, call me, I rent backline. I have NOT had a customer since November.

$35 gets your choice of any of the four Hot Rod series guitar amps (Blues Jr; Deluxe, and both 212 and 410 Deville). $50 gets your choice of GK700RB or SVT3Pro and an Avatar B410.

It is cheaper if you buy something to learn on, then buy a decent bass rig.

Guy last night in a Bob Wills Texas Swing tribute band played a GK MB115 and could have carried the room (150 people) without any PA support.

I previously owned an Ampeg BA115 "100 Watt model" about 10 years ago. I sold it when I turned 60 and bought one of the class D GK series. The Ampeg was able to hang with a "moderate loud rock drummer". We did not play many venues with house sound so we rarely miced up. Venues of 100-200 rarely required that much volume for our band. But I am a geezer. You may need a little more punch for crowd size.

Buy once...cry once.

Buy the right amp for the gigs you intend to play. Cry over "sticker shock" once.

USED GEAR IS CHEAPER THAT NEW GEAR....but there is usually a reason that gear is being sold. Broken dreams? Broken check book? Broken gear?

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Jan 27th, 2017 06:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I had my 540 watt GK head go down at a gig (tragic glass of ice water fall into the top mounted cooling fan vent 15 minutes before the gig.

I had a Crate Power Block as a utility backup head along, but with my 4 ohm cab, could only use one side. That 75 watts got me through the night, but not well. Our guitar player uses a 22 watt 1965 Ampeg Reverb Rocket. I could not really keep up.

I used my Acoustic 370 head the next gig, which is 165 watts into 4 ohms. It was sufficient.

Having played bass since 1969, there have times 100 watts was enough (with at least two 15's) and times when 300 was not quite enough.

In hindsite, 200 watts is a bare minimum. With Class D heads, although "a watt is a watt" I'd not go lower than 350.

My Acoustic was in use, louder than my GK (165 watts VS 540 watts.) My 540 watt GK seems louder than my 500 watt Ampeg, although the Ampeg has not let me down ever.



Jan 27th, 2017 09:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


Live gigs aren't on the horizon right now. Always a chance, but right now, no.

Living in the vicinity of NYC, anytime I've played a gig with a guitar, there has always been a backline or a mic.

Again, it may be a moot point. This all came about because my buddy started prodding me to jam with him and his son, in his house. My buddy not only plays drums, he's a classical sympathy conductor (his latest project was a performance of Porgy and Bess) So, I'm sitting there jamming with a friggin' maestro.

Point of that is, although he plays with a bit of authority, he has a deep understanding of dynamics. (A DRUMMER THAT UNDERSTANDS DYNAMICS!!! WHOO-HOO!!!)

We did jam with his son and myself on guitars, but I began to think, whats the point? Everyone plays guitar and I have no time to get my chops back up to fighting shape in order to play above the guitar fray.

Then this free squire p-bass fell into my lap.

So... After drooling over 500w (you guys drove a hard argument for it), I remembered my situation. I bought the 150w Ampgeg, dealer refurbished, for $240 with FREE shipping. It seemed like a good deal, and most importantly, there IS a return policy. (although I may have to ship it back on my dime) Detailed pics shows it is in near pristine shape.

So, there IS a return policy, I'm not doing anything crazy. I paid a discount price for it. And I'm also banking on this: if it functions, but doesn't suit my needs (which are few) I could also turn that puppy around on craigslist and maybe get a little more than my money back, provided I don't smash it into a thousand pieces or something.

And I'm not going to lie, JackL kind of pushed me over the top. ;)

However, one thing I did factor in: the bass amp math formula. Guitar amp wattage x 2 = bass amp wattage. The guitar player is playing a 40w amp, that would put me at a minimum of 80 watts on bass. With 150w I should be OK, according to the equation. (Although I should have asked this ahead of time, do you guys buy into that?)

Either way, we will play next week, and I'll keep y'all posted.

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 11:46 AM, Jan 27th, 2017)

Contributing Member


It's got to be CAR!
Jan 27th, 2017 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

For starters is that 40w solid state or 40w valve? There is a massive difference in perceived volume between the two (never had your head blown off by a Vox AC30 valve amp then ..... or many others like it?) There are lots of sound dynamics involved here (Tony Wright?) & I'm sure that there will be plenty of other questions before I think you'll get that equation sorted (which I've never seen before myself - but then I've led a sheltered life here in the UK!)


New York City

Jan 27th, 2017 11:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I wish you luck with the Ampeg. They make good gear and generally they deliver a lot of bass punch. It may work out OK for you. But if it doesn't:

I don't know where that ridiculous
guitar amp wattage x 2 = bass amp math formula came from but I'm telling you right now it's total horse hockey, 100% baloney!

Guitar players often purposely play through under powered amps, especially tube amps, because they like the resulting type of overdriven tone that an underpowered amp produces. There are all kinds of approaches to how a guitar player might select any particular amp. There is NO correlation with choosing a suitable bass amp...none!

Drop that that little equation in the nearest recycle bin!

Contributing Member

Chico CA

If you rest, you rust.
Jan 27th, 2017 11:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey, don't blame me! :)

Seriously, I agree with the sentiment of buying as much power as you can afford. I play thru a GK MB500 and a 1x12, 4x10 or 1x15 (providing 350 watts) and if I couple two of them together I get the full 500. I've never been at a loss for power.

For the playing situation you described, I'll say it again - I don't think you be sorry with the Ampeg. Congrats!

Rick Knight
Contributing Member

St Peters, MO USA

Standing in the back, by the drummer.
Jan 28th, 2017 08:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Both my main and backup heads are 300 watts, which is a good amount of power for any gig I am likely to play. That said, I've jammed with a drummer and 2 guitars at a friend's house, using his old MusicMan 130 head and folded horn cabinet. Not to say it was real clean, but there was no problem with volume.

(This message was last edited by Rick Knight at 11:14 AM, Jan 28th, 2017)

Contributing Member


The Plankster of Love
Jan 28th, 2017 12:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Avoid the Behringer at all costs - prone to failure and poorly built.

The Ampeg may well work for what you describe, assuming you aren't after earth-shaking bottom end like reggae.

Good luck with the hunt!

L. Nedmundo


Feb 1st, 2017 07:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think you'll be fine with the Ampeg. I used one of those for a rock musical, and it sounded great. I saw its owner use it for club gigs, and it always had enough juice for his rock band. This wasn't a loud, screaming rock band, but a rock band nonetheless.

I understand many venues don't have backline amps, but here in the Philly area (and everyplace I've played in NYC) they have serviceable PA support. I've seen players simply go direct, and I played an open mic where the sound guys forced bassists to go through a SansAmp Deluxe and into the PA. It sounded fantastic.

Honestly, I could probably get by with my Roland Cube 100 and its DI for almost every gig, but my G-K gear sounds so great, and is so lightweight, that downsizing makes no sense.



Who is E. Sandoval?
Feb 1st, 2017 05:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

How much bass amp is enough? Too much is not enough!

Get the most powerful amp you can afford to buy, within reason of course.


Newberg, Oregon

Fender...never say never.
Feb 2nd, 2017 07:13 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've asked myself this question many times over the years and over the years I have developed a system which has never failed me. Maybe you'll want to give this a try.

When I play, I like to have enough volume to "drive" the band, loud enough to provide the heartbeat of the music but not loud enough to drown everything else out and be a distraction. If my amp can do this and have a little extra headroom just in case, I have enough bass amp.




Bass is the place . . .
Feb 4th, 2017 04:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm with George on the above.

In real gigging situations, I've usually found 100 watts to be borderline adequate into, say, a 215 or 410 cab, and 200 watts to be more than enough.

Contributing Member

Vacaville CA

Runs with scissors !!
Feb 4th, 2017 07:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I used old B/F Showmans and Sunn Model T's for many years. To lighten the load I've gone to a Ampeg SVT 7 Pro over a SVT410HLF cab w/casters. They sure make loading and unloading much easier in my old age. Power is not a problem.

Contributing Member


Feb 6th, 2017 06:10 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I really like my Genz Benz Streamliner 600 watt RMS class D amp with 6 stage tube (3-12AX7s)preamp and solid state output. It is small and light. I rarely have to go past 1/2 - 2/3 volume (usually with 10 db gain button enabled. This insures good clean low driving tone.) The 3 12ax7 preamp tubes are operated at about 300 volts unlike many who use just enough voltage to turn the tube on.

(This message was last edited by Bubbalou at 02:09 AM, Feb 12th, 2017)



Feb 6th, 2017 01:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Just wanted to update this:

I played the Ampeg with a guitarist and drummer this past Friday and...

I think it did pretty well. Had it on 3, and it seemed to cut through - we certainly heard it. I recorded it on my iphone voice recorder and the bass sounded very mid-rangy, but that could be an EQ issue I suppose (I had HI,MID,LOW set to 12 o'clock) The lows, however, seemed like they were kind of lost in the sauce.

How do you post audio files on here?

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 04:38 PM, Feb 6th, 2017)


New York City

Feb 7th, 2017 03:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think to post audio files you would have to put them somewhere else on line first and then just post a link.

Recordings like that can only tell you so much about the bass sound. Type of mic? Mic placement? Limiter/compressor settings on the recorder? Room acoustics? Type of speakers/headphones used for playback? Way too many variables to be very reliable. Use a long cable and step out in front of the band while you play, that will give you some sense of the balance. Beyond that you just need to develop an ear for it.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Feb 15th, 2017 07:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Be sure you keep lows in your instrument EQ as well as boosting the lows on the Ampeg and you should feel the difference.

Keep in mind that how your audio file will sound on my computer depends not only on the cheezy speakers I have, but also how I have my sound EQ's on this end. I am not sure that is worth the trouble, but perhaps. That is for you to decide.

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / How much bass amp is enough?

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