When did separate "bedroom amp" and "gigging amp" become a thing?

cyclopean

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My condolences!
(To the people who have to play guitar in the privacy of the bedroom)

I'm obviously opinionated, but we pretty much come here to banter about our opinions.
My feeling is that we should avoid living situations where our music is frowned upon by our "peers".

We DO get to choose our peers!
Same with who we marry, though I guess we might find the rare perfect mate except that they don't like our guitar playing.

IDK what the right approach is to being a musician in a world where intolerance is a celebrated right, but I always encourage musicians to seek out living situations and circles of friends who appreciate us for that fairly important aspect of our lives.

Of course some of us might play guitar a little just to relax, we might not consider ourselves musicians, we might not even really care if anyone ever really sees us play music.

But that group of players does not fit the OP's question, because they have no "gigging amp"!
If you have a gigging amp, obviously music is a big part of who you are and you form the rest of your life around that thing that's not just what you do but also who you are.

If who you are, is a musician, and you're no longer a "music student in a dorm or off campus housing, then dammit you need to place a value on, seek out, and find a living situation where you are not forced to play your music in your bedroom!

I emphasize this because it seems like so many players comment that their mate makes them play only at certain times in certain rooms at certain volumes etc. I understand that some of us just use guitar as a relaxing hobby and it means little to who we are or to the person we marry or shack up with.

But for all those who have a "gigging amp" because we play in bands and live the life of a musician, is it too much to ask that our friends and family value and respect that part of who we are???

I've tiptoed around whiny folk quite a lot, and am very concerned about upsetting them with loud guitar.
To avoid a life like that I've basically chosen industrial artist loft type living situations, or had a rehearsal space.
And all my GFs have been like us musicians, people with unique interesting characters and needs, who appreciate what we do, because they have something they DO too, other than work cook eat sleep and adjust the home decor.

In a way, living with a mate who does not appreciate me as a musician?
That's a HORRIFYING idea!


do the people who don't also use smaller amps at home live in rural areas with no neighbors? there's a reason why a lot of us rent practice spaces in sketchy industrial neighborhoods.
 

cyclopean

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+1 to playing guitar in the bathroom/ tile floor!
The mid boosted ring of a room with all hard surfaces is great, and not without long historic precedent.
One of the Fathers of guitar, Robert Johnson, supposedly played into the corner of a room to get the crisp brilliant mid boost reflected off the walls.

What I associate with bedroom amp and bedroom playing, is 1) a room with terrible acoustics because the bed and usual clothing, maybe curtains etc absorbs sound; and 2) playing in private, to avoid being heard, with a quiet little amp basically designed to avoid offending others with that nasty devils music.

I did at one time have a band that actually rehearsed in my bedroom, and the drummer left their kit there.
I suppose for recording, you want a dead sounding room with no reflected sounds or echo, and with volume it's not a "problem" to have sound absorbing materials. For example 50-100 meat puppets absorb a good amount of sound.

But yeah playing in every room is cool, sort of the opposite of the idea that when we play guitar, we should find a private place so nobody sees or hears us. That just makes no sense to me!
Not that I'm the arbiter of sensible stuff, if I was I would have skipped playing music and probably be more financially secure now!


but the meat puppets start to rot after a while if they aren't preserved.
 

ThermionicScott

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Has it always been this way? I gigged a lot in my 20's, during the mid 1990's, and I had one amplifier: a Marshall JCM900 half stack. That was it. At home, I turned the master volume down and played quietly, using the preamp gain as distortion. At bars, I'd turn the master up to around 5 or higher, and play. We were always miked on stage. I'm sure there was some difference in tone (or reactivity, I guess...) between gig levels and home levels, but I never thought enough about it to obsess over, I just knew that it sounded better at gigs. I didn't turn it up loud to achieve a certain "power tube saturation" or whatever tonal characteristics result from turning up a tube amp; I turned it up so I could hear it. And as far as I remember, other guitar players did the same thing. Rack gear was popular with some of the guys, a co-worker had a nice system and he used the same rig for gigs and home (he just turned it down).

These days we have guitar forums, and it's normal to see discussion about amps for "bedroom levels" and "stage levels". Am I missing something? Did this change sometime in the past 20 years or so, or has it always been like this and I just never knew about it because internet forums didn't exist?

What I want to know is, when did the idea of having a little amp around the house get to be such a BIG DEAL either way? Just whisper "bedroom amp" and some guys lose it. :lol:
 
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aFewGoodTaters

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Speaking from my own experience, when I'm playing at home it's unplugged 80% of the time or more. However, at the time when the digital modelling technology became sophisticated enough to at least fairly convincingly capture the tone feel of driven tube amps at 'bedroom' volumes is when I made the plunge for separate rigs. My Deluxe Reverb and pedalboard are now used almost exclusively for gigs and rehearsals, while my Yamaha THR is played at home when I do feel the need to plug in.
 

11 Gauge

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Maybe "bedroom amp" is a new phenomenon, but only because it used to be called "practice amp." Practice amps have been around a long time.

I think this is what happened. Years ago, I only remember it being called a practice amp. Or I guess you also had what were called student amps. I guess that some may have also referred to these as being starter amps, too.

I don't think it was probably entirely a marketing move with just renaming these as bedroom amps. IMO, the newer stuff tends to have a lot of features that are great for playing at home, but pointless for playing at the gig. For instance, I don't mind screwing around more at home with an amp, and the experimentation might actually pay off. OTOH, I just want to be able to turn a handful of knobs at the gig, and then go.

There's probably also now a whole group of products where they intentionally try to not refer to them as being either a bedroom or gig amp, because they're trying to market them as being something that can do it all equally well.
 

Dismalhead

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It used to be that bigger was better back from the '60s into the '90s. We all went out and bought huge amps and cabinets and now we're all partially deaf for it.

A decade or so ago I realized that a 15-watt combo will be more than adequate for pretty much anywhere I'm gonna play. In fact, I got myself a little 5-watt Supro that's a little bigger than a lunchbox about six months ago and now I'm looking at my AC15 like it's a 4 x 12". Can't see taking it out of the house anymore.
 
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fenderchamp

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a bedroom amp is what we used to call a practice amp, and it used to be a champ or worse, and we didn't really expect it to sound all that great? For example, I used to have a 120Watt Ampeg head with a 4x12, but I used a tiny little amp of one sort or the other at home to learn songs with, that was what I would have called a practice amp.

Now we want a practice amp that gives us some undefinable thrill such as we would imagine playing a cranked up amp would...hence the bedroom amp and... what pedal should I have use to make my... blah blah blah bedroom questions.

In reality practice will give you great tone at any volume.
 

El Marin

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It doesn't? Why doesn't the Marshall work at low levels? My 900 (and previous, my 800) did. I just cranked the pre volume and barely turned up the master.

NO, it doesn't... for me

My Marshall JCM900 MKIII sounded like crap at low volume, my Twin reverb and my Bassman did it as well. Now I play a Marshall Origin 50W, It can work at 50W, 20W and 5W. Simply, no enough power to move a 12" speaker at 5W. 20W is OK but 50W is glorious... at low level, don't talk about moving 2x12" nor 4x12". Well just 12" speakers are not for low volume. If it works for you, there you are. Not for me. It sounds dull and liveless. Is not designed for that

The THR moves enough the 2x3" and sounds good at TV level or near speaker and sound full of dynamics and love it. Crank it and is not so good. Is not designed for that.

Of course I have tried, but I am happier using each amp for whet they have been designed
 

3-Chord-Genius

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NO, it doesn't... for me

My Marshall JCM900 MKIII sounded like crap at low volume, my Twin reverb and my Bassman did it as well. Now I play a Marshall Origin 50W, It can work at 50W, 20W and 5W. Simply, no enough power to move a 12" speaker at 5W. 20W is OK but 50W is glorious... at low level, don't talk about moving 2x12" nor 4x12". Well just 12" speakers are not for low volume. If it works for you, there you are. Not for me. It sounds dull and liveless. Is not designed for that

The THR moves enough the 2x3" and sounds good at TV level or near speaker and sound full of dynamics and love it. Crank it and is not so good. Is not designed for that.

Of course I have tried, but I am happier using each amp for whet they have been designed
My JCM900 (and 800) definitely sounded better when loud, but my mindset was (and still is, I guess) for practice at home, all it has to do is work so I can hear myself. I figured at a gig is where the tone really mattered, and that just sort of took care of itself when I turned it up to hear it over everything else. At home I'm not thinking of tone, dynamics, "sag", all that stuff - I just want to be able to hear it so I can make sure I know how to play the songs so that when I do go in front of people, I don't look like a dork...:lol:
 

mistermikev

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hehe, like you - never really caught on for me! Even when I lived in apartments... I always had a loud rig but just put soundproofing in my room as much as possible and cranked away. Over the years I've owned a few 1-5watt tube amps... close as I ever got. Recently got a mesa 20/20 and that's my new bedroom amp... but it'll take yer head off! Long live the loud!
 

Drew617

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And who that no longer lives with Mom & Dad plays guitar in the bedroom?

Heh... guys who ARE mom and dad, and who had to give their hobby rooms over to kids. :)

As to turning the volume down, nah. The middle one here is a Robinette Blackvibe Micro, a 1W AB763. Sure, no amp I own is going to flap my pant legs inside the house, but this little guy and its saturated OT sound a hell of a lot richer than my PR clone at similar low DBs.

The Pod Go works nicely as a small-footprint pedalboard replacement, also as an amp modeler for truly silent play. Got a THR5 downstairs for the couch, too.

t0BuCiT.jpg
 

JamesAM

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Heh... guys who ARE mom and dad, and who had to give their hobby rooms over to kids. :)

As to turning the volume down, nah. The middle one here is a Robinette Blackvibe Micro, a 1W AB763. Sure, no amp I own is going to flap my pant legs inside the house, but this little guy and its saturated OT sound a hell of a lot richer than my PR clone at similar low DBs.

The Pod Go works nicely as a small-footprint pedalboard replacement, also as an amp modeler for truly silent play. Got a THR5 downstairs for the couch, too.

t0BuCiT.jpg

Preach.

- a dad
 

old wrench

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Way back in the late '60s and '70s I had my Blackface Champ at home and kept the old B.F. Bassman at our practice place. I inherited the Bassman from my good friend who was our keyboard player.

So I wouldn't say having a small amp at home is a new concept :).

I've never had an amp in my bedroom though.
.
 

driver8

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If folks want to hear things played loud and wrong they need to watch one of our gigs.

:lol::lol::D

I think people just started calling practice amps "bedroom amps" for some reason, probably related to the demographics of the internet at that time, i.e., younger kids living at home or with roommates. Now it's just a shorthand term to refer to a low-wattage amp that still sounds reasonably good at lower volumes that you probably won't or don't intended to gig with. It's also fewer syllables than "living room amp," so there's that advantage ;-)
 

telemnemonics

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Heh... guys who ARE mom and dad, and who had to give their hobby rooms over to kids. :)

As to turning the volume down, nah. The middle one here is a Robinette Blackvibe Micro, a 1W AB763. Sure, no amp I own is going to flap my pant legs inside the house, but this little guy and its saturated OT sound a hell of a lot richer than my PR clone at similar low DBs.

The Pod Go works nicely as a small-footprint pedalboard replacement, also as an amp modeler for truly silent play. Got a THR5 downstairs for the couch, too.

t0BuCiT.jpg

Yeah I was wondering when the Dad's & Mom's would chime in!
(Do we have any Mom's raising kids posting here? Maybe we could behave in a more women friendly manner?)
Looks like you have a nice big bedroom there!
No kids but my wife is a painter so she needs a painting studio.
She also gets all the closet space and the bedroom is pretty full.
It's easier to move from room to room with guitars than with easel, palette and turpentine.
Then there's marriage management.
Given that some here report they just stopped playing guitar while raising kids, good job making it work!
 

3-Chord-Genius

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What I want to know is, when did the idea of having a little amp around the house get to be such a BIG DEAL either way? Just whisper "bedroom amp" and some guys lose it. :lol:
It's no big deal, but I don't get why some people say "my ______ amp is too loud for home" when all you need to do is turn it down... I mean, I can see an amp not being loud enough, but not quiet enough?
 




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