Guitarists.net - The Online Guitar Community
 
Click here to register.
Password Reminder

 » Home » Guitar Discussions » Amplifiers » how many watts do you need to gig?
Options: Forums:

how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for gaviao
gaviao
IP: Logged
Status: Junior Member
Posts: 147
Join Date: 3/13/2006

So I read an article in Guitar Player recently that suggested using amps(tube) with 15 watts for gigs. The article said that you'll be able to get a better tone because you need to push a tube amp to get a good tone, and that in order to push a 30 or 50 watt to the point where you're getting good tone you'll blow the roof off of most smaller clubs... plus sound techs will love you for having a smaller amp allowing them more control over the sound.

I was wondering what all of your opinions were on the matter...

So are smaller amps better for gigs?

*for the sake of the argument let's assume that the gig is in a small to medium sized venue and that the in house sound system in good*

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 12:05 pm
RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for bertie
bertie
IP: Logged
Status: Senior Grumpy Bstd
Posts: 1,721
Join Date: 1/23/2001
it depends, on a lot of things.

=============================
Frank says....................

Heres some of my dads pickin' and stuff

Mrs Berts Bits

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 12:08 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for alwalt
alwalt
IP: Logged
Status: Power User
Posts: 916
Join Date: 9/28/2007
I use 15 watts (of a choice of 30 or 15)... and I have been told to turn down volume. I've using pedals to overdrive the amp, instead.
The thing is how much headroom you need, 15 watts cranked sounds great overdriven, but the clean tone is gone, you can turn down your guitar's volume always...

I dig my Ceriatone




Let the Coalition grow....

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 12:23 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for Julia_343
Julia_343
IP: Logged
Status: Sr. Tube Nuker
Posts: 3,062
Join Date: 9/08/2007
Have they defined "smaller clubs". and they're probably talking about small jazz clubs where people actually shut the f up and listen to the music. Yes, you can get by with it there.

They're suggesting 15 W amps for gigs these days because the people writing the article are getting old or they're not old enough. Sound guys like them because they know you can't turn it up loud enough. And at most clubs I've been to the ones with live music are so noisy from people yelling at each other that you can't hear the music anyway. Imagine a couple hundred drunks all trying to have conversations and be heard over each other. ...

No. I say 100 W tube amps aren't loud enough. Turn it up even louder. You need at least three. Crank it to at least 110 db. Loud enough to get them to shut up. Oh and you need a at least 6 412 cabs. You want the crowd focused on the band, not on each other. when they focus on each other the cops end up arriving to arrest some idiot who got into a fight.

15 W gig amps are for the herbal tea crowd in LA.

-------------------------------------
--- Soudru�ka Julia of the Vocal Assassins
--- Disclaimer: pay no attention to tonal advice from this poster if you are under 30 and play thrash.

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 12:32 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for Henry Mars
Henry Mars
IP: Logged
Status: Advanced Member
Posts: 701
Join Date: 7/17/2007

Go to G.C. and find an amp that goes up to 11. You know that that one will be loud enough.
On the other hand with a good sound re-enforcement system and an SM57 you can get by with around 40 watts. Remember all things being equal you need 10 times the power to be perceived as twice as loud.

______________________________________________________________________
....that's real nice kid. Now can you play that in Db for me?
Ashby Trent


Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 1:07 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for cowardm
cowardm
IP: Logged
Status: Preferred Member
Posts: 1,444
Join Date: 6/24/2004

There are so many factors. Let's just assume it's tube:
1) Is it class A or A/B
2) Brand
3) Speakers
4) What tone are you going for? If you want clean tone and you've cranked a 15W all the way up you probably won't get clean.
5) How loud does it have to be for the setting?
6) Is it mic'ed?
list goes on

-----
Michael

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 1:39 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Swamp Rocker
IP: Logged
Status: Preferred Member
Posts: 1,493
Join Date: 8/07/2006

Righto Julia 15 watts is for the tea parlors.

Say something like a 15 watt Blues Junior or a 15 watt Palimino just isn't quite enough in some situations. It can be done if you don't have Atilla The Drummer to squash your sound or a monster bass amp to compete with.
A 2 watt amp would be fine if you sm57 it through the PA.
I would think your Peavey Classic 50 would be a better choice than a 15 in most situations. If you have a quiet band a 15 will work fine. Especially running a Turbo Screamer into it, running 2 Overdrives in tandem will really push a 15 hard and may sound more like a 30 watter.
A 30 watt is only supposed to be a few decibels louder than a 15 but a Classic 30 seems to have a way bigger delivery punch than a 15 watt Blues Junior.
Your 2-12 ,,50 watter will give better sound pressure, sound saturation and give your band a fuller sound than a 15 watt amp.
I saw a guy at a bar that had a 75 watt Yamaha amp ,SS maybe . great player but that amp couldn't hang with the band, it was a wuss. He said he was dumping it after that gig and getting a real amp.

The point of playing a tube amp in the tubes cookin zone is important for the right sound. Playing a 120 watt tube amp down low may not hit the sweet spot that a cranked 15 will.

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 1:45 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for Julia_343
Julia_343
IP: Logged
Status: Sr. Tube Nuker
Posts: 3,062
Join Date: 9/08/2007
for a house party bring your 100W half stack. For a huge gig with pro sound guys, bring an AXE FX and use the preamp, power amp, sag, and cab sims, and run direct to the board and leave it up the the sound guys. If you've got an endorsement you've got to bring that gear and have it at least on stage -- just tape a properly colored LED where the on light is.

To my knowledge they haven't done a 15W tube amp with 4 - 6 gain stages.

-------------------------------------
--- Soudru�ka Julia of the Vocal Assassins
--- Disclaimer: pay no attention to tonal advice from this poster if you are under 30 and play thrash.

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 1:52 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for Chuck King
Chuck King
IP: Logged
Status: Preferred Member
Posts: 1,851
Join Date: 1/24/2007

There are lots of amps in or around the 15-watt range that sound great and can get loud enough for many gigs. Actually I think that the definition should really be "two tube lower-powered amps", which includes 15w amps like the Vox AC15, which has two EL84s, but also includes amps based off the 18-watt Marshall formula (also two EL84s) and amps with two 6V6s (e.g., Fender Deluxe). And then of course there's the Egnater Rebel 20, which has EL84s and 6V6s.

But amps of that magnitude will not necessarily stay clean at gigging levels. The Deluxe will probably go louder cleaner than the others, but even they don't have all that much clean headroom. If you want to be clean and know you're going to stay clean---and still be heard over drums etc.---then you'll probably want a more powerful amp. At that point, you're either looking at four of the lower-power tubes (e.g., Peavey Classic 30; Vox AC30) or at least two higher-power tubes (6L6 or EL34), such as a Fender Super, a Peavey Classic 50, or a 50-watt Marshall. And depending on the amp design, even some 50-watt-range amps won't stay that clean at gigging volume. So if you really want nice cleans and want to be sure you have plenty of headroom, I'd say go straight to the Twin.

gaviao said:

The article said that you'll be able to get a better tone because you need to push a tube amp to get a good tone, and that in order to push a 30 or 50 watt to the point where you're getting good tone you'll blow the roof off of most smaller clubs[.]


===================================================


That should read "good naturally distorted tone". Lots of amps still sound great at lower volumes, but of course you won't be overdriving the power tubes at that level. There's nothing quite like the sound of saturated power tubes, but it's not the only useable tone from an amp.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My music blog: http://chucksmusicblog.blogspot.com

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 1:58 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for DeathCharge
DeathCharge
IP: Logged
Status: Guiterrorizer
Posts: 11,401
Join Date: 9/25/2004

How many watts do i Need? Probably around 1W.

How many watts do I generally bring? 73W pushing 412's.

www.soundclick.com/thebuddaproject

and a shoutout to Scotty for the JSX!

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 3:09 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for Henry Mars
Henry Mars
IP: Logged
Status: Advanced Member
Posts: 701
Join Date: 7/17/2007

The physical factors of the amp are also a consideration in that speaker efficiency and cabinet design also play a big role in how loud you amp sounds. 10 watts delivered to a high efficiency speaker will sound a lot louder than 10 watts delivered to a lower efficiency speaker. Transformer losses are also a factor.

______________________________________________________________________
....that's real nice kid. Now can you play that in Db for me?
Ashby Trent


Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 3:12 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for Maritimer
Maritimer
IP: Logged
Status: Vocal Assassin......
Posts: 2,419
Join Date: 10/27/2006

30 watts (my Classic 30 tube amp) seems fine to me, plenty of clean headroom, and with the dirt, you can really drive 'er!!! I have a 30 watt Cube (ss) and I'd have to mic it if I was in a medium size gig, with drummer, bass player and another guitarist, just have to drive that one a bit too much to keep up. But 30 watts on a tube amp will really fill a room, and cut through the mix to be heard with ease.

Commander of the Brotherhood of Vocal Assassins

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 4:19 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
mdw3332
IP: Logged
Status: Slow Bad Music
Posts: 4,237
Join Date: 11/20/2001

Julia_343 said:

15 W gig amps are for the herbal tea crowd in LA.

===================================================


I agree, especially for those John Tesh, and Yanni medleys.

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 8:28 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for Chuck King
Chuck King
IP: Logged
Status: Preferred Member
Posts: 1,851
Join Date: 1/24/2007

I am going to modify my earlier dissertation: just tonight I was A/B-ing a tweed Deluxe (two 6V6, about 22 watts) and a Peavey Valve King 112 (two 6L6, I think 50 or 60 watts), and the Deluxe had pretty close to as much clean headroom as the Valve King. The Valve King has a lot more total horsepower, but the way the circuits are designed (and maybe the speakers) lets the Deluxe get as loud while relatively clean as the Peavey. Certainly loud enough for a small gig.

So besides all the other stuff people have identified, circuit design can also affect how much power you need.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My music blog: http://chucksmusicblog.blogspot.com

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 9:14 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for six string for hire
six string for hire
IP: Logged
Status: Jacked
Posts: 3,137
Join Date: 4/20/2003

Julia_343 said:

Have they defined "smaller clubs". and they're probably talking about small jazz clubs where people actually shut the f up and listen to the music. Yes, you can get by with it there.

They're suggesting 15 W amps for gigs these days because the people writing the article are getting old or they're not old enough. Sound guys like them because they know you can't turn it up loud enough. And at most clubs I've been to the ones with live music are so noisy from people yelling at each other that you can't hear the music anyway. Imagine a couple hundred drunks all trying to have conversations and be heard over each other. ...

No. I say 100 W tube amps aren't loud enough. Turn it up even louder. You need at least three. Crank it to at least 110 db. Loud enough to get them to shut up. Oh and you need a at least 6 412 cabs. You want the crowd focused on the band, not on each other. when they focus on each other the cops end up arriving to arrest some idiot who got into a fight.

15 W gig amps are for the herbal tea crowd in LA.


===================================================


Julia...



Your singing my song !!!

Post Date: 7/31/2009 @ 9:18 pm

RE: how many watts do you need to gig?
Avatar for TheoDog
TheoDog
IP: Logged
Status: uncompressed
Posts: 2,044
Join Date: 1/11/2003

That is a good point Julia... very solid logic

On the other side, I saw Eric clapton play an indoor arena (Crown theater in Cincinnatti) and part of the set was on a Fender Champ with 8" speaker.... It was loud.

the size of the amp is irrelevant to the size of the gig.

I played blues bars with an un-mic'ed Vox Pathfinder... it was loud enough at 15 SS watts.

If you look at the massive Marshall walls, count the mic's on the cabs, or the number of cables going to the inputs... the audience is really only listening to one head and one speaker.

Or int he case of the latest Rush concert footage the bass is somehow amplified through oversized washing machines and coin-op vending machines

He who can keep his head when all around are losing theirs... Probably does not understand the situation
Mod Junkie of the International Boutique Pedal Coalition

Post Date: 8/1/2009 @ 8:33 am


Options:
Display:
Sort:
All content © of Guitarists.net 1999 - 2014.
Comments or problems? Feel free to let us know.
Privacy Policy :: Site Map :: Terms of Use Policy.