The very word bass points towards a low pitch sound. So, having a bass amp is and always will be an integral part of your time with a bass guitar, after all, without the amplifier, it would be impossible to hear what you are playing in the first place. Since amplifiers are usually what the audience listens to, they are as important as the instrument itself. So, it is important to pick the right one.
When it comes to bass guitar amp, there are a couple of things that should first be understood.
First and foremost, the watts. The loudness of your instrument depends on the watts of the amp. The higher the watts are, the more loud it will be. So, a 100 watts one would produce a far lighter sound than a 250 watt amp. An important thing to be kept in mind is that, in case of bass amps, they sound terrible when pushed to the extremes. So, it is generally better to get a high watt one and use it on a low setting, than get a low watt amp and using it on the extreme settings.
Nonetheless, the perfect watt for you depends on your playing style. A really loud amp like a 500 watt one could prove to be too loud for your style. Similarly, a 100 watt one could prove to be too light. So, it depends on how you want it to be. Do you want your sound to be louder than the drummer? Or is your band going for a lighter tone? Take all these into consideration when settling on an amplifier.
The next major factor is the size. Unlike guitar amps, with a standard size, bass amps have a more variety of amps. So, it is important for you to take that into consideration as well. This is because the size influences the tone and the frequency produced, and so, will affect your playing style.
So, whenever settling on an amp, be sure to keep these things in mind. Here are a couple of bass amps to get you started.
As one of the leading brands, well known for its innovations in this area, Hartke, which emerged in the 80s, is one of the major manufacturers of bass amplifiers. Their innovations with the aluminium cone has made them distinct from other competitors in the market. They are endorsed by many leading artists like Darryl Jones.
This particular product is ideal with a rather light-weight design having a lot of power. It is a 500 watt amplifier. So it is one of the best out there in terms of having a portable bass amp with such power. As a 500 watt amplifier, it can be really loud if needed. However, as mentioned earlier, using amps in extreme is not ideal. So, 500 watt is perfect even if you want a more lighter sound, by using it in lower settings.
The aluminium built produces warm and punchy tunes. It is ideal for more experienced bassists. Often, some artists have complained about the aluminium, claiming it spoils the music, however, many more have endorsed it. So, overall, it depends on your playing style if you want to opt for this.
Portability of an amplifier is always a factor that should be kept in mind. Often, amplifiers are quite heavy, and so, it is a difficult task to carry one to and fro from the practices and performances. This particular one has a rather clever design, and the materials used ensure that this is rather light weight for its size. It is among the most popular choices for a 500 watt bass amplifier.
Set up in 1946, Ampeg is a well known manufacturer of musical instruments, and well known for its musical instrument amplifiers. It is well established in the market and is among the most popular brands for many artists. They specialize in bass guitar amplifiers, so they are a rather reliable brand.
The 100 watt amplifier might be unattractive to some considering the price and the fact that it is a 100 watt amplifier. However, such an amplifier is perfect if you are looking for lighter and warmer tones. The sound it produces is very high quality and a must try for all the bassists. It is one of the best out there for lighter tones. It is worth mentioning that Ampeg does have other models offering higher watts.
The best element of this is the lightness in terms of weight. The amplifier is divided into two cabinets, one being the actual speaker and the other being the controls. The controls unit is relatively lighter and easy to carry around, while the speaker unit might require a bit of effort. The high quality tones it produces makes it one of the best acoustic bass amp out there.
A private American corporation set up in 1965, Peavey Electronics is a well known manufacturer of a wide range of audio equipments. It is a reputed brand having a wide range of guitar and bass amplifiers which are quite popular in the international market.
This particular 300 watts amplifier is the perfect bass amplifier for both beginners and professionals. As a 300 watt one, it is neither too light, nor too loud. So, it offers the perfect variation beginners to practice and get used to, and for professionals to experiment with. Peavey’s amplifiers are well known for the innovative usage of enhancers for acoustic low tones, which is present in this particular model as well.
They offer a wide range of amplifiers, from 10 watts, perfect for someone looking for a small bass amp, to 300 watts, which is this particular model. A key element is their design and weight. They are surprisingly portable considering their size. The amplifiers have a strap at the top to make it easier to carry. Overall, the design is quite well, and the price quite fair.
Another America based corporation, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation was established in 1946, and is a reputed strings and amplifiers manufacturers. It is also well known for its electrical guitar and bass guitars. So, it is a well established brand for a wide range of musical instruments and accessories. It’s amplifiers too are quite popular.
The Fender Rumble Stage 800 is one of the best loud bass amplifiers out there with 800 watts. It is perfect if you want your bass guitar to be loud and at the center of the music. With this, it is sure to be even louder than your drummer. A key element, as mentioned earlier, is that getting high watt amplifiers is better than having lower ones as they can be played on lower settings as well. Amplifiers tend not to do so well on the extremes. In case of this, that wouldn’t be a problem.
As it offers a large sound, it is quite bulky. So, broadly speaking, it is not the easiest to carry around. As it is rather heavy, it is not ideal for practices and smaller events. However, the loud amplifier is perfect if you are performing in a concert or a large auditorium. It is perfect for a larger audience. So, the next time you go out to perform, this is certainly worth considering.
A couple more benefits of this particular model include bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. This innovative design by Fender makes it wireless. So, while the amplifier itself may be heavy and bulky, it is wireless and offers a very high quality audio. So, considering all these factors, it is undoubtedly one of the best heavier amplifiers out there.
Founded in 1995, Aguilar Amplifications is quickly emerging as another very popular brand. It is focused primarily on manufacturing amplifiers, more specifically for bass players. They are well known for their quality products producing warm and light tones.
This particular model, paired with a bass cabinet, forms a very high quality amplifier. As a 500 watts amplifier, it offers a wide range for the bassists to go for, from both lighter and heavier tones. It can go quite loud. As a 500 watts amplifier, it is apt for both practices, by using it on lower settings, and for performances, by using it on higher settings. It is perfect for both beginners and experts.
The warm and sparkling sound produced by these amplifiers make it a very popular choice. The Amplifier head is rather light-weight, and comes with a bag which can be used to carry it, making it quite portable and convenient. An idea worth considering is getting a portable and convenient cabinet of your own and pairing it with this particular head. It would be a fantastic set and would produce high quality tones. It is certainly worth considering.
The Marshall CODE is a series manufactured by Marshall Amplifications, which is an English company set up in 1962. They are known for their amplifiers, earphones, speaker cabinets, among many other things. They are well established in this arena and are one of the more popular brands of amps.
The 100 watts model is perfect for those looking for lighter tones. As a well reputed brand producing quality tones, they are certainly worth considering. It is perfect for practices and smaller events like a club or a gathering. The quality of the sound is quite good as well. It produces clean and vintage tones as well, so, if you are looking to produce some jazz tones, this is the one for you.
In terms of portability, it is one of the better amplifiers. It’s design is quite innovative and sleek. The controls are embedded in the speaker cabinet, which is designed quite well. It is relatively easy to carry around despite being rather bulky. Nonetheless, if one is to take into account frequently carrying it, it could be a challenge. It is certainly worth checking out if you are experimenting with lighter amps.
As a company being around from early 70s, Acoustic Amplifications is an American brand well known for their amplifiers. In particular, their vintage models 360 and 361, for their superior quality and tones, shot them to popularity, making them one of the most popular brands in the market. They re-released their model in late 2011 called 360/361, which is considered as one of the classic amplifiers.
This particular 100 watts amp is a fine choice for a beginner, if s/he is looking to practice and hone his/her skills, and for an expert looking to experiment with lighter amps. It has a custom built speaker, ensuring that the sound it produces is personalized, and so, would suit your playing style.
The portability is not the selling point of this particular model. It is rather bulky and heavy. So, it is not the easiest task to carry it frequently to and fro from your practices or performances. Nonetheless, the custom speakers and a good input system makes it worth considering. It is ideal for performing in smaller events like a club.
Another English amplifier manufacturer, Orange was set up in 1968, and is known for its distinctive sound and the bright orange surrounding the speaker and the head. Usually, these products are sold separately, so, one has to get a cabinet along with this particular product. Nonetheless, the brand has managed to distinguish itself and is among the popular brands in the market.
This 500 watts amplifier head is one of the best ones out there. As a 500 watts amp, it is and could be easily used for larger performances involving a huge audience, like a concert. Setting it on a lower setting could provide you with lighter tones, if so desired. Lighter tones are ideal for performance in smaller settings like a club or practices. So, it is useful in a lot of situations.
The head is not particularly heavy. It is easy to carry around and use, however, considering it requires a cabinet as well, it would be much harder to carry around on a frequent basis. While, it by itself is not too heavy, it is not the lightest either. When being carried with a speaker, it could be really heavy for the bassist. So, in this area, it is not the ideal choice.
Nonetheless, its balanced output, and its unique and innovative integration of various mechanics, and the wide variation offered by a 500 watts amp, makes it perfect for beginners and experts alike. It is most certainly worth a consideration, when thinking about the right amp head to buy.
Found in 1968, Gallien – Krueger, or GK, is a popular American bass amplifiers and speaker cabinet manufacturers. The company started with Robert Gallien, who later teamed up with Rich Krueger, hence the name. They are well established in the market as one of the premier brands of bass amps.
This is another 500 watts amplifier head, that is among the popular ones in the market. The key element about this one, compared to the previous one, is the affordability. This particular model is significantly cheaper, while offering a warm and rich tone nonetheless. It is quite well sought after by many artists.
Along with this massive power, which is loud and quite versatile, the product itself is quite light weighted. The compact and light design is the selling point of this product, which attracts many artists towards it. In terms of the tone it produces, it is quite natural and organic sounding, which is quite unique and hard to get. So, if you are looking for that particular tone, this is the one to go for. It is ideal for beginners as well, as it offers a wide variation. So, in terms of amp heads, it is certainly one of the best out there.
An English based corporation, Vox was founded in 1947, and is a leading musical equipment manufacturer. They are well known for their guitars, bass guitars and organs. In particular, their innovative bass guitars and electric guitars are extremely popular. Since 1992, they have been owned by the Japanese electronic firm, Korg.
The AC30 is the recreation of the renowned amplifier used by bands like The Beatles and the Queen. So, it gives off a really vintage feel, with a rather light and compact design. It is a 50 watts amp, hence will produce light tones. It is ideal if you are looking for some vintage tunes, or performing in a small event.
What truly sets this amp apart is a couple of features. The body is a faithful recreation of the amp used by those bands, and so offers a sense of belonging to that group of musicians, when using it. It is completely hand-wired and has custom-wound transformers. The speaker it uses is also of the top quality, and is an exclusive.
As a result of all these features, it is extremely expensive. However, if you are looking to get a long lasting amp with a vintage look, producing top quality tunes, this is the one to go for. Considering the price range and the tunes, it is ideal for an expert looking for certain tunes, or experimenting.
BlackStar is one of the youngest companies that has emerged rather rapidly in the last few years. As an English corporation, it was founded in 2007, and is a manufacturer of amplifiers and similar accessories. It has a number of series, with its production taking place in Asia and research in England. It is soon emerging to be one of the major players in the market.
This particular 20 watt model is ideal for personal use. The amp is not too loud, so it would not be ideal in concerts in other large gatherings, but could pull off a smaller gathering. It is perfect for practicing and honing your skills. It is quite affordable and easy to handle, making it among the popular choices in the market.
In terms of the portability, it is light and rather compact, making it quite easy to carry. As a 20 watt amp, it is not too heavy, with a light design as well. It is ideal to be used as speakers during practices at home as well. It offers a wide range of tonal variations, allowing you to experiment with different kinds of tones and music. So, it is ideal for both beginners and experts alike.
12. Roland Cube
Roland is a Japanese corporation set up in 1972. They specialize in a wide range of electronic musical instruments and equipments. The Roland CUBE is a series of guitar and bass amps produced by them. It utilizes the amplifier modelling technology to produce organic and specific tones.
The selling point of this particular model is its affordability and portability. It is among the cheapest in its model. It offers a 60 watts amp, which is perfect for smaller audiences and to be used during practices. The 60 watts offers a warm, clear and light tone for the bassist to work with. It is loud enough to cover a small audience, though, would not work in a concert and other occasions with a larger audience. It offers a number of variations making it a popular choice for beginners.
In terms of portability, it is easily one of the best out there. The compact and cubicle design makes it easy to be carried around and used, without exerting too much force. It is light and easy to use, making it easy to be carried to and from practice sessions. It’s technology allows for louder sounds in lower volumes as well, as an added benefit. So, as a beginner, looking to practice, or for smaller performances, it is the perfect amp.
A concern that often is mentioned is the affordability. Often, the higher watt amps are quite expensive and out of one’s budgets. During those times, combos are an idea worth considering. It basically refers to getting components from different parts and setting them up in a cabinet. While such combos may not always produce the best tunes, the are certainly an affordable alternative.
So, by now, I imagine you have settled on a particular bass amplifier. Again, do not decide on one simply based on reviews, but also take into account your own preferences and playing style. There are a lot of amps out there, in different price ranges, in different shapes and sizes, and they all cater to different playing styles. So think long and hard about what you want. Pick the one that suits you the most.
Now go out there and get the right amp.