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If the guitarist says "its only on 3" one more time!


JonathanD

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I am a bassist and post at the lowdown most of the time.

Today I had a question for you about tube amps.

 

Short version: Do tube amps reach near max volume (in general or sometimes even. I know some manufacturers are probably different) at an early point in the knobs turn from 0-10 leaving the last half of the knob as just saturation for the tubes?

 

Also, why are tube amps louder than solid state at the same wattage? They seem that way at least.

_______________________________________________________________

 

One of the guitarists I play with boasts that his 50 watt Marshall is only on 3 and still very loud. I suggested that the pot attenuation could just have little change after the early numbers. He turned it up much farther and there wasnt that big a difference after 5-6. After 5-6 it did get warmer tone though which leads me to believe it is saturation. For my bass amp the last 1/4 of the knob is where all the volume is. So knob placement seems irrelevant due to gain stages and pot attenuation differences.

Thanks, Jonathan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So, you are discovering the *big* difference between guitar amplification where most people desire tube saturation/overdrive, and Bass amplification where, generally (but not always) the idea is to have huge amounts of power and play cut back so as to have a large degree of clean headroom for the bass.

 

It is low-frequency square-wave distortion which cooks bass speaker voice-coils - over on the Lowdown, you'll have seen several of the guys play 1000W amps through 600W speakers and they come to no harm providing you are careful not to induce over-excursion due to excess bass roll-on.

 

This is different from the higher frequencies used with guitars, where over-excursion due to 'peaking' tends to be the main destroyer of cones.

 

Also remember that for each octave you drop *down* you need twice the power for the same volume. Another reason why a low 'B' is so difficult to articulate clearly, and why you need 400 Watts to compete with a guitar and 100W Marshall.

 

The whole science behind bass v guitar amplification is just completely different, but a lot of folk, not having had to play serious bass, don't really appreciate this.

 

And yes, tube amps *are* louder than their SS equivalent. My 30W Tube Laney is *much* louder than my 65 W SS Fender Studio 85.

 

Geoff

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Lots of tube amps get loud quickly as you turn up the knob.

 

3-4 is usually pretty loud with a good 50 watt amp and should be loud enough most of the time unless the drummer plays really hard.

 

At 5 it's pretty common for amps to start running out of clean headroom and not get a ton louder as you proceed to 10.

 

Of course the above is a generalization...your mileage may vary.

 

What you might need is a decibel meter so it can be demonstrated just how loud everybody is.

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I guess it's true... not long ago I was playing in a medium size hall and was told my Fender Princeton was too loud on 3... so we put it on a chair and turned it down to 2, and everybody thought it was fine then. Actually it didn't sound all that much different, and I got pretty good sustain. It wasn't a heavy duty lead guitar gig anyway!

 

The main thing is for all of us to be able to hear each other anyway!

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I played a little while with a bassist whose amp did go to 11. He was often told "hey man, please turn it down just a little" and he would do so, until people turned their backs, and then he'd turn it up even more.... Because, after all, the people in the next county can't wait to hear him.... I'm sure they were standing in line to TELL him so!

 

Seriously, no one asked him to turn it way down, just a little.

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Loud noises hurt my ears, but I'm the kind of person who would probably turn it up a tiny bit just to annoy people. But only if they were having a good enough day that they wouldn't kill me...

www.myspace.com/donahelena

Support bored teenage ghost hunters. www.myspace.com/rock_paranormal

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I played a little while with a bassist whose amp did go to 11. He was often told "hey man, please turn it down just a little" and he would do so, until people turned their backs, and then he'd turn it up even more.... Because, after all, the people in the next county can't wait to hear him.... I'm sure they were standing in line to TELL him so!

 

Seriously, no one asked him to turn it way down, just a little.

 

My Hot Rod Deluxe goes to 12. But that's no fun.

 

My 150-watt bass amp goes to.....the last dot. I dunno. But I don't usually go up there.

"My two Fender Basses, I just call them "Lesbos" because of the time they spend together in the closet."-Durockrolly

 

This has been a Maisie production. (Directed in part by Spiderman)

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Awesome. The whole "eleven" thing has poisoned my mind, in a way. People mention amps, math problems, age, literally anything... and my first response is "Eleven... eleven... eleven..."

www.myspace.com/donahelena

Support bored teenage ghost hunters. www.myspace.com/rock_paranormal

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