The Fender Rumble bass amps series has gained a lot of love from bass players of all levels since they were introduced in 2014. The 100-watt version, the Fender Rumble 100 is a trustworthy bass amplifier that could pack a punch even with its limited size and wattage, but the persistent question among musicians is: can you gig with a Fender Rumble 100?
Among all the modern instruments, the bass guitar has always posed the biggest challenges when it comes to live amplification. Time and time again, we have seen bass players get buried in the mix onstage, often overshadowed by the brash, loud qualities of the drums, as well as the piercing sound of high-gain guitars. This could get very disappointing not only for the musicians themselves, but also for discerning music fans who wish to feel the bass pounding on their chests.
In music, the bass is a very important driving force that can uplift the crowd’s spirits. It is after all, the pulse, the heartbeat of every song. Sometimes we don’t get to hear the notes that much, but the bass is the reason why we are compelled by our instincts to dance to the music. Unfortunately, there is nothing more dissatisfying than listening to a bass-deprived band that doesn’t have that much-needed “umph.”
Unlike the guitar, the bass needs more headroom, higher wattage and bigger speakers to accommodate its low rumbling frequencies. Whatever specification that works well for a guitar will never be enough for the powerful, muscular bass. This continues to be a problem for a lot of bass players who sometimes would have to contend with the unwanted distortion that could result from turning a 50-watt bass amp all the way up.
Fender’s Rumble line has been instrumental in solving these kinds of problems for bass players by providing the headroom needed to maintain the cleanest tone possible even when stretching the amplifier’s limits. Fender Rumbles are also designed to resonate well in various environments which helps in maximizing the capabilities of its lower wattage bass amplifiers.
The Fender Rumble 100: can you gig with this bass amp?
Utilizing a 12” speaker, this 100-watt variant of the Fender Rumble is a lightweight amp that bass players can easily lug around. The amplifier’s less back-breaking weight is a huge advantage for traveling musicians who can’t trust the quality of bass amps being provided in some venues. They can also easily fit inside a car’s trunk and only require one person to carry it around.
The Fender Rumble 100 can definitely handle small to medium size venues, but they will work best in indoor/closed door environments. Online reviews from hundreds of veteran musicians have attested to the Rumble 100’s capacity to deliver some booty-shaking tones onstage.
While there will always be some limitations to a 100-watt bass amp, there are a number of ways to maximize the capabilities of the Rumble 100 and here are some of them:
Utilize the Rumble’s tone-shaping features to your advantage
The Fender Rumble 100 is equipped with very reliable contour, bright and vintage controls. Turning up the volume is not the only way to bring up your bass sound. By tweaking these controls together with the EQ, you can make your bass more noticeable. Avoid mixing your bass guitar in a way that will muddy up your band’s overall sound. This way, frequencies from your bass and other instruments won’t interfere with one another, ensuring clarity and harmony within the mix.
Mic up the Fender Rumble
A common method to bring out your bass more is to use the P.A. system with the help of a microphone. Give your bass the needed extra push by properly putting a mic in front of your Rumble 100’s speakers. Avoid letting the mic “kiss” the covering of the speakers to prevent clipping and distortion.
Elevate your bass amp
You can elevate the bass amp by putting it on top of a chair or a small table. This will allow the soundwaves to travel directly to your hearing level. If the stage is not very high, the crowd will also get the chance to hear your bass a little bit more, compared to when the bass amp is on the ground and the sound is directed to the lower parts of their bodies.
Use the dedicated line out
Instead of miking up, you can also use the Fender Rumble 100’s dedicated line out to connect it to the P.A. system. This feature will help you pierce through the mix even in much bigger venues such as ballrooms and theaters. Kindly ask the soundman to bring up some of your bass sound on your monitors to make it louder for you as well.
If you can afford a Fender Rumble 200, or better yet, a Rumble 500, the additional wattage would be a huge welcome for you and your band. However, if your budget is limited, you can follow the aforementioned remedies to ensure that your performance will be a much more enjoyable experience for you and the throngs of fans who came to groove to your funky basslines.