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jump to last post 1-4 of 4 discussions (7 posts)

What size guitar amp for gigs?

  1. charliegrumples profile image43
    charliegrumplesposted 5 years ago

    What size guitar amp for gigs?

    we're talking electric guitar here ... big enough for back room of pub/bar kind of places .. ie not too big ... would 20w be sufficient or would I need more?

  2. BobMonger profile image60
    BobMongerposted 5 years ago

    This all depends on who or what else your sharing the stage with. If this is just one guy/girl on vocal the wattage should be about the same. Remember an electric guitar has volume control where as a mic does not. As most amps have more than one input you can do both into the same amp and control your guitar volume from the instrument itself. Generally speaking I'd go with closer to 100w amp or maybe more; not so much for loudness but for control. You may have to push a 20w amp pretty hard where as 100w you can turn down if it gives you too much volume. If you're on stage with a band or accompaniment always set your level to mix with the loudest piece on stage, usually the drum kit. Really, though, most depends on the size of the room and size of the crowd. A crowded audience tends to soak up the sound; but a room with a low ceiling doesn't require as much push from the amp.
    A couple of things to consider:
    A: Your average car stereo is running 100w per channel or more
    B: When the Beatles played Shea Stadium they had one 500w Peavey Amp on stage and no stage monitors; little wonder no one could hear them!
    But really, you'll know when you get set up if you've gone to small. I was always in the audience with thumbs up or down for loudness. You really can't tell from onstage if your levels are correct.

    1. BobMonger profile image60
      BobMongerposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I'm with guitar bum-100watt should be enough. I can't tell from the video how big a room they're playing. You can fill a space with that kind of sound using only a 7.5watt Pignose amp if you're playing in a broom closet.  Bigger rooms need more oomph

  3. profile image0
    guitar bumposted 5 years ago

    I think a 50-watt tube amp or 100-watt solid state and at least a 2x12 cabinet is about right for most band situations.  You can go bigger if you want, of course.  If you go with a 20-watt amp you'll be pushing it hard.  Remember, though, that in most situations your amp will be miked, so really you're talking about the right combination to get good sounds and stage volume.  Some guys like the sound of a small-wattage tube amp pushed to the limit, but of course the crowd (and some of your band) won't hear it without a mic.

    1. charliegrumples profile image43
      charliegrumplesposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the answers so far ... just for a little bit of clarification, if you take a look at that's kind of roughly the sort of thing I have in mind - thanks

  4. The Public Image profile image79
    The Public Imageposted 5 years ago

    Before I jump into my answer, I think it's important to note that wattage does NOT equal decibels. The higher the wattage on an amp, the more you can crank the volume without driving the amp into distortion (also known as headroom).

    So, with regard to your question: my philosophy has always been that I have to be able to slightly exceed the volume of my drummer. Currently, I'm the second guitarist in a band that plays rooms that hold 200 to 500 people. I use a 20-watt tube amplifier with a single 12" speaker which is typically miked and run through both the PA monitors and mains.

    I rarely push the volume up even to 50% and usually have no problem hearing my guitar directly via my stage volume. When I DO have difficulty hearing myself, I usually find it's more of an EQ issue.

    Your mileage may vary, depending on a few factors. For instance, will you be miking up the amp and running it through a PA (either your band's or the club's)? If so, then a 100-watt half stack is probably overkill. Also, what size are the rooms you'll be playing? If you're relying strictly on your amp's volume in a room that holds 200 people or less pretty comfortably, a 20- or 30-watt amp with one or two speakers should be plenty sufficient, especially if it's cranked. What about your bandmates? Are you putting microphones in front of anything other than the singer's mouth? Do you anticpate having to compete with other elements in the mix?

    Essentially, as long as your amp will be miked, you just need it to be loud enough that you can comfortably hear it onstage. Anything else is overkill. The only other thing I'll throw in here is that overkill can be a lot of fun, and there is nothing like the feeling of standing in front of a cranked 50- or 100-watt half stack!

    I hope this information helps you make your decision, if you haven't already.

    1. The Public Image profile image79
      The Public Imageposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      D'oh! Just re-read your question and realized you specified the type and size of venue right there. I would say 20 watts is just fine for pub/bar gigs, provided we're takling about a tube amp and not a solid state amp.