So what do I need?

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Preacher, Jul 27, 2021.

  1. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Myself (the bassist), a drummer and a lead guitar/singer are starting a blues trio.
    Think SRV and Double Trouble, or John Mayer Trio type set up.

    So I am looking at my gear trying to decide what needs upgraded since I have not played in a "real band" in twenty five years.

    Venues will be pretty small starting out and I think I have that covered. But we may play an outdoor event next month in which I am a little concerned about volume levels.

    Current gear:
    Guitars:
    Custom P Bass with flats (thank you Pino) and a fretless 5 for those more "upright bass" songs.

    Amps:
    For small venues I have a Fender 15Watt Rumble and a 15 watt Laney RB1 to choose from.
    For slightly larger venues I have an old Big K Kustom III bass head (130 watts at 6ohms) with a couple of cabinet options, a 15" Gallien Kruger 200 watt at 8 ohms cab (should end up about 100 watts) and a Peavey 2x10 cabinet 160 watts at 16 ohms (should end up around 60-70 watts). Either cabinet works well with my head (it has to run at minimum a 6 ohm cabinet so it is really flexible solid state unit).

    So here is my question.

    Do I go and get another rig with 500+ watts for those large venues?
    Do I just line out into the PA so it will add to the overall volume of the speaker on stage?
    Do I stick a microphone in front of the cabinet and then run that to the PA?
    or
    Can I run the 15" and 2x10 together? The 2x10 has a daisy chain option but I am concerned that the 15" speaker then would be getting a serious low load.
    The other thing I have thought was to get one of the small powered heads (trace elliot Elf or a Crate Powerblock) and run two lines from the guitar to the rigs, small powered head at 200 watts powering the GK and the Big K powering the Peavey 2x10?
     
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  2. J. Bonkosky

    J. Bonkosky Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I run a GK RB400 (200w) with a GK 8 ohm 2x10 cab. It is seldom my volume knob goes past 3. I think you will be fine with what you have for most venues. Maybe pick up a passive direct box and run your preamp out into it if you want to plug into a PA for insurance. I haven’t used mine ever. Good luck and have fun!
     
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  3. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Those 15-watt amps sound fine at home, but in a small club or outdoor deck gig, your bass will get lost. You should have at least 200 watts and a single 12" or 2x10" combo, with a direct out. Check out the GK MB200 combos and heads. Super small and lightweight, but they punch really well.
     
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  4. jsiddall

    jsiddall TDPRI Member

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    Regarding your question: Can I run the 15" and 2x10 together? Assuming you wire the speakers in parallel (which is what the daisy chain jack does) your amp will see a 5.3 ohm load. A bit below the 6 ohm minimum of your head, but probably close enough that you won't blow anything.

    That will get you 130 W our of your Kustom into the two cabs with 2/3 of it going to the GK cab and 1/3 to the Peavey. If you like the sound of it, and don't mind hauling that gear around, then that is your easy solution for gigs that aren't too big. For large gigs go direct to PA or look at a much bigger rig. For bigger rigs, I would recommend class D amp with neo driver cabs so you don't break your back. Don't even consider anything smaller than 500 watts keeping in mind that doubling the sound level requires 10x the power.
     
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  5. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I like 15's for bass....often a 2X10" cabinet is TOO punchy. I would ask others here.....how well does "mic-ing" bass work? I would think a combination of the Kustom head into speaker and a line-out to PA would cover most venues. I use a tc electonics 280 (?) watt head into an ancient Peavey 1X15" cabinet, but then I don't want the bass to over-power ANYTHING.
    Let us know if you guys play out anywhere......you're in DFW area, right?
     
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  6. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    After considering the Fender Rumble and Ampeg Rocketbass amps I think my next one will be the Hartke HD500. It pushes all of its 500 watts into 2x10 speakers and weighs 35 lbs.
     
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  7. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    What's your guitarist got for an amp?
    If he's got 50 watts, you need 500 watts for bass.
    If he's got 100 watts .... well, you probably can't match that if his amp is flat out.
    IMO you're better of selling what you have and get a 500 watt D-class amp (they're really teeny-weeny). Cabinet: one to suit.
    These amps have DI out, so if the venue has a PA, you can plug in without having to lug a speaker.

    Even if you're playing a small venue, you just don't turn up the "Vol" knob. With bass you usually just want clean.
     
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  8. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    I have been keeping an eye out for a new 500 watt or bigger head. I have heard some bad reports of Class D heads having issues. At least on some of the Mark Bass units which I really like.

    I am thinking a 500+ Head at the minimum and either a 4x10 cab or a 2x10 cab with a 15 cab for the low low notes.

    Oh and the guitarist has a Blues Jr so no problem keeping up with him for now.
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    "Do I go and get another rig with 500+ watts for those large venues?"
    YES. There are plenty of old Peavey's around that are reliable as heck.
    But any simple SS powerful amp will do. In used equipt simple is good.
     
  10. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I think you need a more powerful amp, not to necessarily be louder, but cleaner.
    At least 200W RMS.
    My “big” rig is a 250W GK.
    It’s a 150W combo with an additional 1-12 cabinet.
    Combined, it’s a 250W rig.
    I’ve never had it more than half way up, master volume dimed.
    It’s all I seem to need.
    I also think your small amp should have a bit more power/headroom.
    My small amp is an old Traynor Block 80, you guessed it 80W.
    Bass, even in most blues rock should sound clean, IMO.
    I am not a fan of 15 inch speakers for bass.
    I greatly prefer multiple 10 or 12 inch speakers.
    15s sound too, uh, bass-ey;) for my liking.
    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
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  11. Hiker

    Hiker Poster Extraordinaire

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    IEM - In-ear monitors.
     
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  12. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    You can’t lump speakers into “bassy” or “trebly” or “midrangey” or “punchy” by diameter. There are bright 15s out there and 10s suited only for subwoofer duty. Way too many driver variables to generalize, and that’s before you get into cabinet design, which is a huge series of factors itself.

    Case-by-case, using your ears...not a tape measure across the drivers.

    I use a little 4 x 8 cab, but it has 200W neo drivers in it and can vibrate stuff off shelves in our practice space with my small power amp, a 210 watt Peavey...and just a four-string P with flats, tuned to Eb...no subsonic stuff going on.

    My larger power amp is 750W bridged mono, and it doesn’t come across as louder so much as hitting harder in the low notes: the difference between “that’s loud” and “that’s pushing my solar plexus in.”

    In our trio, I can do fine in the basement with either, alongside the guitarist’s 100W JCM 2000 head and 1960B cab with Vintage 30s. But at an outdoor gig last year with the 210-watt Peavey running full out, I might as well have run direct...inaudible except for what was coming off my monitor and bouncing back from the subs.

    At An indoor gig right before the big C hit, I’d just gotten the larger power amp and in that big club, it seemed just about right. It also gave me the option of rolling back some upper mids and bumping the low mids a bit and using a slightly cleaner tone, because the extra headroom let me push it harder without relying on clank and grind to hear myself.

    So in short, going light on the watts (your Kustom) might work if you like some clank and grind in your tone, especially if you go big on speaker area (regardless of individual driver diameter). But if you want clean slam, you’ll need a lot of watts too.
     
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  13. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a rumble 40 that originally I was playing out with. At a bowling alley the drummer and pedal steel player were complaining of my tone so then I started using my Gen II Rumble 100 with 2-10". I'll be honest, I can't ever see needing more than that thing cuz on 4 it feels like my house is coming apart. Plus they both have an xlr line out so......

    I would think the 15 is probably too small with a drummer. In about any space. I mean I would bet you could hear it fine cranked, maybe, but I think you will be missing some wanted low end. And when you start turning up super loud it might distort.

    That being said, I'm sort of on board with smaller amps. I think for a long time people just over did it. Even drummers vary with how loud they play.

    Sometimes the smaller places are even worse cuz the drummer is so loud. But the fact is more wattage to keep up with him just makes the sound more challenging cuz then everyone is just too loud.

    It makes it more enjoyable if the drummer knows how to hold back some. That is kind of a rare trait though.
     
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  14. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Man you nailed it.
    I just can't figure out how drummers don't look at a venue and make a plan for what and how they are going to play.

    There are so many options now for them, silent stroke heads, low noise cymbals, head dampeners, even the stick technology has come so far with so many options to cut down the volume. But 90% of the drummers peel out their standard kit, with the heaviest sticks they can get.
    I even had a conversation with a drummer who was playing the thickest set of sticks I have seen since marching band. I suggested he go to a lighter thinner stick and he said.

    "I don't like those thin sticks, I break them too easily. These (holding up the baseball bats in his hands) I have had for six months and even through they are nicked up they are still solid." He then proceeds to bash his drum heads and hammer the cymbals in a futile attempt at a solo. Everyone else in the band turned away because it was so loud and just shook their heads.

    If I had a drummer come with me to a venue, look it over and say, "you know I think I will just bring the five piece with a ride and a high hat and play with brushes since this place is so small" I might just kiss them. I said Might!
     
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  15. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    We have trouble with the bass amp being too loud in the house, and when we turn it to fire more across the stage it gets in the drum mics. The more we can keep things separate the better for a clean house mix. So I'd vote for getting a good sound from the amp, but depending on the PA (not the amp) for the house volume. This assumes a decent PA with good subs, of course. (House here can mean outside venues, too.) Curious what others have found to work best.
    (edited for typo.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
  16. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    @Preacher In the country band I play in, he's an older guy that has been playing since 15 and he does a really good job at this. He is very stuck in his ways in other ways but he is excellent about how loud he plays.

    At my last church, that drummer has played with us in country band. He was excellent about not playing loud in church. He would use a cajone for his bass drum. And the sticks that have several little sticks bundled together. BUT, when we play out in the country band, he would get louder and louder as the night wore on and his arm would get higher and higher. I play bass in that band and I'm sitting right next to him. It annoyed me at first. But you gotta do what you gotta do. It made it very difficult to get a good mix and not get feedback in order to hear the other instruments in the smaller bars.

    At the first church I played at over 20 years ago I played drums. They had an electronic kit and that's how they dealt with that. The cymbals and toms were the annoying rubber pads but the snare had an actual head that had some bounce. I did not like playing them that much but I did for a long time. As well as any other drummer. You do what you gotta do.

    Personally I think most drummers should do exactly what you suggested, play with some brushes and a smaller kit in the smaller spaces. Or learn how to hold back. And in bigger places go whole hog.

    To me this seems to be the bigger issue with musicians in general. A lot of them are more interested in playing their instrument than playing music. But thankfully I've played with a good amount of people that know how to hold back or be loud our whatever the song and style of music requires. Without that it is a lot less enjoyable and makes playing music difficult. You just gotta be thankful when you find people that are good like that.

    I personally think for me, playing guitar, bass and drums and singing made me more aware of that. I always struggle with the thought of the fact that if I stuck to one I'd probably be a better musician at that particular instrument. But I would've missed out on a lot of opportunities to play and I personally think it made me a better overall musician to understand them all at whatever level I do. I think of songs in more of terms of the overall sound and not just my instrument. Well I try to. LOL.
     
  17. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    @SRHmusic Right now I'm playing bass through a rumble 100 and not going into the system. We don't play overly loud and we've not played any huge venues. We do play at a bowling alley and a few places with kind of big spaces to fill. I did start with a rumble 40 and going through the system which worked well too.

    I mean it seems like there are so many more options nowadays but the trend seems like less amps and more direct.

    Personally I kind of like a blend between the two. I think smaller amps into the system is a good way to go. Cuz I just don't see how when recording or playing you get the same sound from a pedal board direct as you do a good ole amp. Or control over the sound....
     
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  18. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Well I think I have made up my mind.

    I am going to go with the setup that I currently have for most of the playing. With the drummer we have I think he is old enough to have the dynamics down.
    I will have 130 watts for practice and small venues to work with.

    If we do something outside I think we will have to throw everything through the PA anyway since the guitarist is running a Blues Jr.

    I think with just the three of us we should be able to keep the levels OK.
     
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  19. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Yes, I'm suggesting having an amp that gives the sound, dynamics, etc. you want but using a PA with good subs for the house sound. It's not always possible, of course, depending on budget etc.
     
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