1. #1

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    Our bass player is being overpowered by the rest of the band. So she's in the market for a new amp. The question is: what should she get? I get mixed opinions: some say 100 watt is more than enough while others recommend 200 watts...

    So what is enough for rehearsals with a full band - i.e. drummer and 2 guitarists - and small gigs (at small clubs)?


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  3. #2

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    Wattage is cheap nowadays. And there are great neo speakers with good efficiency. If I were in her place, I would buy a higher powered head and one or two speaker cabs and turn down the amp instead.

    For example (without knowing her budget): Hartke TX600 - 600W Lightweight Bass Head | Sweetwater.com

  4. #3

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    Welcome to the Forum!

    I'm assuming your group is a jazz band, yes? Is she playing upright or electric?

    Medblues is right: everyone's making high watt, relatively inexpensive bass amps these days. Also check out: Carvin, Gallien Krueger, TC Electronics, Quilter, etc.

    [BTW, we're talking solid state amps here. A 100W tube bass amp could knock a wall down, but is far more expensive than these other options.]
    Last edited by marcwhy; 10-07-2016 at 08:06 AM.

  5. #4

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    As medblues points out speaker efficiency is a factor in a bass rig. It takes a lot more power to get the same decibel level from a speaker that has a low efficiency rating than it does from a speaker that has high efficiency rating. Some of the smaller bass speakers just don't move as much air per watt as the big speakers do. I have a few bass cabs including a small one I built myself that horn loads a very efficient EV 15" speaker. This cab takes far less power to rattle the windows than some of my other cabs do. When a speaker is horn loaded by the cabinet its efficiency is greatly increased. So not only total watts driving the speaker but also the speakers efficiency rating plays a big role in the final dbs. produced by a bass rig.

  6. #5

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    ^^^ +1. There are many variables, but for the amp itself, you can never have too many watts, just turn it down!

    Quilter has just come out with their first bass amp, 800W and the size of a double pedal.

    Build bridges, not walls.

  7. #6

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    I've just started playing bass again (after nearly 4 decades out!) and am amazed by how the new bass amps are light, small and have a heigh power rating. I ended up buying a TC Electronics BG250-112. Sounds great, a real "Jaco-in-the-box". It has all of the abovementioned criteria...but for all that, the "loudest" bass amp I ever had was a Fender Bassman 50 Export, with a matching 2x15" cabinet. I played rock, reggae, funk and jazz on a Fender Jazz bass through that rig...but also Jazz and rockabilly on an upright bass. And it all sounded good to my ears.

    Of course, 38 years later, I couldn't even carry the darned thing around, so my little TC will do me fine.

  8. #7

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    The "old school" rule-of-thumb (pun intended) used to be that the bassist needs 3x what the guitar player uses.
    i.e. the guitar player uses a Twin then you need 300 watts ( this, of course, was in a rock setting). As stated, speaker set up (4x10 vs. 1x15, etc.) and efficiency should be taken into consideration.

  9. #8

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    Some thoughts: I don't know how much is enough, but I know that more than enough is never an issue.
    Unless your are doing rock with a tube head, you want clean headroom. Clean headroom on a bass takes a lot of power.
    Power these days is cheap and light. However there is no free lunch - it took me a while to find a class D head that I could stand to listen to. It's a Tecamp Puma 900.
    Also, make sure to understand how an amp will perform with your cab. For example, if you decide that a 500 watt head should do, that may well be rated at a 4 ohm load. If you happen to have an 8 ohm cab, your 500 watt amp becomes something like a 275 watt amp.