Bass gear for a steel pan band

Hi everyone - my first time here, and hoping you can help with some advice!!

So, first of all, I’m a drummer. Please don’t hate me!! I play drum kit, but what this is about is the other part of my drumming - I also play the bass drums in a steel pan band.

So the bass steel pan drums are made up from 6 full size oil drums (3 notes on each), which as I’m sure you can imagine, are pretty bulky to transport. We need to hire a van to get these to gigs, and in these hard times, sometimes the cost of the van hire is almost as much as what we are getting paid for the gig itself.

So I’m thinking that for those occasions, it would be better to use a bass guitar - I can transport that and an amp easily in my car. I do have some experience of playing bass more than 25 years ago in a couple of cover bands. I’m sure (and actually quite keen!) that I can revive those skills, and even eventually play better than I did back then. I am willing to put in the time to learn and practice, which I didn’t have in those days.

So after all that preamble, here’s the question: The difficult part is the amp. Many gigs we play are outdoors, with no power near by. Given that the rest of the band, when in full flow, are pretty loud, are there any battery powered bass amps out there that would be able to cope with that? If not I guess it’ll need to be a mains amp and a genny.

Anyone else in a similar position? What did you come up with as a solution?

Thanks in anticipation!


The one I know of that might work is the older Phil Jones Briefcase amp (no longer made, so would need to find used). These are 100W and probably the most wattage you will find in a battery powered amp.

Past the 100W point, if that isn’t enough, the other way is to buy a regular amp/cab with more power and carry a battery assembly of some kind. I know this has been discussed here somewhere before but can’t remember where.


Thanks John - I thought this would be a big ask, and to be honest that amp is a bit above my budget.
I’ll keep looking though,
cheers, Nigel.

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Maybe this?


Thanks guys for your responses. I have now been given a bass guitar (Washburn Taurus T14) which needs some set-up (loads of fret buzz currently - think I need to adjust the truss rod and action) so will be looking for any advice on that, and a mains powered amp.

My plan is to try the amp with the band where I do have power, to gauge the wattage I need to be heard over the drums, but I think I’m going to need a regular amp with a generator, as my feeling is that a battery amp just won’t do it.

Will try it out at our next band practice.

Thanks! Nigel.

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