If you have a bass guitar and decided to finally invest a bit of money into a bass amplifier then you are in the right place and the right time. Nowadays, manufacturers seem to make amps for any taste and need. You will not have a problem with the amount of choice but you might have a problem with deciding on one particular model if you do not know that much about amps, especially bass amps. Just like with usual electric guitar amps bass guitar amplifiers vary in type (solid or tube), shape, and price. If you do not have a big budget for your amp do not be disappointed, there are a lots of models that come at a very low price and are actually pretty good. Here we will talk about eight of the best bass guitar amplifiers in different price ranges. If you want to find out a bit more about bass guitars, read on because at the end we will talk about what mistakes you should try to avoid and what features to look for in bass amps.
Top 8 Best Bass Guitar Amps
We will start with the most expensive amp on this list but do not worry, we have quite a few affordable and quality models coming up. The Gallien-Krueger MB112-II is a 200W powerhouse combo bass amp with one 12 inch speaker. We chose to include this model because it is perfect for new musicians who want or already gig. This amp is lightweight (just 28 lbs) and durable for travel. So if you have upcoming gigs do not worry, grab this amp and travel round the world (or two towns, who knows…). But do not think that since this is a lightweight equipment it will be light in the volume. With this amp, you can actually connect the Chain Out to and the amp is ready for bigger gigs. Apart from that, the 4-band active EQ will give you control over your tone so that you can tweak the controls and come up with new tones and, hopefully, find something unique for your performance.
- Extremely portable and lightweight
- Active equalizer, tailored to bass guitars
- Responds well to both active and passive instruments (-10dB switch)
- Easy to use
- The line out is a bit clumsy
Moving down a price ladder a little bit. Let’s talk about Orange Crush Bass Amp. We have featured Orange Crush a lot of our best lists but this affordable, easy to use bass combo amplifier has to be my favorite one out of a lot of their models. This amp is a 50-watt model with active 3-band EQ and parametric mid control that will allow you to control and shapeshift your tone to whatever you are looking for. There is also a quality, durable 12″ speaker that yields perfect sound. You will also find an onboard chromatic tuner and Aux input for connecting media devices on this model. While this might not be an amp for big venue gigging I would definitely recommend it to anyone just starting off. If you want to have small gigs this Orange Crush is made for just that. BUT if you want to practice at home and not disturb your friends or neighbors this model is also equipped with CabSim headphone output for silent practice which gives you very authentic sound.
- Loud and powerful for 50 watts
- Amazing sound quality
- Well-defined tone and endless tweaking possibilities
- Quite portable
- Does not have the Direct Out
Fender is a giant of the industry. The company has basically gone into every single instrument and equipment you could imagine. Moreover, they have done with so much panache that I cannot really exclude them from this list. Their bass amplifier – Rumble 40 v3 is a bass combo with one 10″ speaker and, of course, 40-watt power. I have owned my fair share of amplifiers, some good, some not so good. My first couple of experiences were… let’s just say not the best. If only I had a Fender amp at the beginning of my “career” I probably would have achieved a lot more in a shorter time (or so I prefer to lie to myself). This amp features a single channel, aux. Input, headphone output as well as XLR output. You will have a pretty decent control over your tone. Most importantly, if you are a beginner this is a perfect amplifier for home practice or even small gigs.
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Pretty loud for its capacities
- Line output is very handy for recording
- Meticulous tone controls
- Footswitch is not included in the package
Hartke is a lesser known brand for people who are new to amplifiers, but trust me they can compete with the best and most known brands. The quality of their amps is top-notch and their HD75 is not an exception. This bass combo model is an ideal starting point for beginners and musicians who need an easy to transport and durable amplifier for their gigs. This amp comes with 12″ speaker, 1″ tweeter, and has 75 watts which is ideal for small gigs. Then again, there are a lot of great amps for gigs. This model would not be on this list if it did not offer more. And it sure as hell offers more. The most important feature of this amp is the HyDrive-design speaker. What this design incorporates is a paper cone around the outside for traditional warm, round tones and aluminum middle which adds a bit of zing to the sound. Apart from that this Hartke combo offers 7-band EQ for full control of the tone, built-in limiter for volume as well as mono headphone output if you prefer to practice in silence.
- 7 band graphic EQ paired with Bass, Mid and Treble controls
- Powerful sound with unique characteristics
- Extremely durable, dense and well-built
- Not very portable due to its weight
- Does not have the Direct Out
Peavey has been around for years. Their products have become fan favorites and used by many professional players. So they have their reputation to uphold and they do it pretty well with their Max Series Max 110, a combo bass amplifier with 100-watt power. This particular amp shows that Peavey is as great at making affordable, beginner models as they are at making top-quality, pricey ones. This Max amp has the basics of gain control, built-in-tuner, headphone jack, Low, mid, and high EQ controls for you to shape the tone. BUT what you won’t see on the paper (a.k.a. Computer screen) is the tone that this model has and the sheer power. Yes, this might not ignite the biggest venue in the world but for mid-sized gigs, this is a powerhouse. The amp is also equipped with a 10″ speaker and TransTube tube circuitry gain boost. Overall, this model offers versatility and quality for less price than you would expect.
- Featured in a compact package
- Unique TransTube circuitry that creates distinctive overdrive
- Psycho-Acoustic effect
- Pretty loud for its size and power output
- Does not have Direct Out or effects loop
- Its tone might seem a bit stiff for some
There are some amps that are great for gigs, some that are made for recording and some that are an amazing starting point for newcomers who just want to practice at home. While I would say that Ampeg BA112v2 1 x 12-Inch Combo Bass Amplifier is an ideal amplifier for home practice I would not mind doing my first gig with this amp. If you do not have a lot of space at home to store your amp this is a great option as it is pretty compact. The 12″ Ampeg Custom speakers elevate the power of this 75-watt amps to a new level. There is also 3-band EQ that will give you the reign over the tone and ultra-high/low tone-shaping. This is pretty much everything and beyond of tone shaping that you might find necessary in the beginning.
- Durable and long-lasting all-steel chassis
- Portable handle and lightweight design
- Outstanding sound quality
- Scrambler circuitry
- Barely but still noticeable fan noise
Everyone knows that Ibanez can deliver their top products that cost a lot but the beauty of this brand is that their cheapest models are good enough to compete with models at the much higher price range. That is why their Promethean might be two, three or even four times less pricey than most models we have talked about but it is still on this list. This bass combo amp is 20-watt with one 8 inch speaker. I won’t say that you will be playing any big gigs with this model but for home practice and small recording, this baby will come in very handy. This amp features a single channel, 4-band EQ that will give you full control of the tone, Aux. input and hell lot of punchiness for the price. Of course, you can practice in silence with this model but if you are in a band do not worry about being drowned out by other instruments, this small, compact amp can do a lot more than you would expect from this price.
- Very inexpensive for what it is
- Great sound quality
- 4-band EQ
- Built to last
- The power cord is a bit short
Another cheap but not cheap in quality option we want to talk about is VOX PB10 Bass Combo Amplifier. This is a great option for beginners who want some basic features. That does not mean that you will only be getting basic tones. There are Drive, treble, bass, volume, and bright switches that will give you full control of your “ship”. VOX is pretty great at configurations that bring out the best tone and this amp is not an exception. As a beginner you probably do not have a studio for practice, let alone practices. So this model has headphone/line output if you are a night owl and like playing when everyone else is asleep. With 10-watt power, you probably won’t be taking this amp to your gigs but as a practice bass guitar amp this is a solid competitor in its price range and well above its price range.
- Eye-catching and stunning design
- Decent sound quality
- Might develop some noise at higher volumes
- Would sound better with a closed back
The list above is pretty diverse in prices, shapes, power, and tonalities that they offer but in order to know which one you want and need you have to know bit more about amplifiers. First of all, what price range are you looking into? Do you want to go for something cheaper, let’s say, an amplifier under $100? Then you should be aware that most solid-states under $100 will not be powerful enough for gigs, especially big venues. But even with the pricier options, you might find that a lot of the bass amps are under 60-watts. That’s because there is a lot more to amps that just amplification. You should be aware of the tone that you are looking for. Powerhouses like Gallien-Krueger MB112-II 200W 1×12 Combo Bass Amp have 200-watts which is amazing for gigs but know that not all powerful amps have great tone and tone control. That is vital to take into account if you are a beginner. Hell, if you are figuring out how to play guitar just now knowing every control and setup might be a bit overwhelming. That is why you should be looking into amps that are easy to maneuver.
Do Not Spiral Into “The More Watts, The Better”
We all have had a dream about playing huge venues. Daydreaming about grooving on your guitar, producing mind-numbingly great tunes as your fans scream and pass out from euphoria but chances are that that large venue is not going to be happening anytime soon if you are a beginner. Do not get too excited about amplifiers that have high wattage. I mean, high wattage is great but if you plan on practicing for a couple of years before you show the world how great you are then a smaller wattage might be a better option. Lower wattage does not mean worse quality but it sure as hell means less price.
Why Do You Need A Bass Amp?
I don’t mean the obvious question of what the bass amps are for. We all know that. What I am talking about is the purpose you will be using it for? If you want an amp for practice definitely goes for lower wattage, compact amps that are easy to control. If you want a gigging – amp for over 100-watt models after all is what we really are going for at a concert. If you want a recording bass amp – to look for features that allow you to plug in your computer, record, and add-on effects. Combo amplifiers are usually the best for practice, they are versatile enough and cheaper than most other types.
Okay, so we talked about the best bass guitar amps, a bit of bass amp power and some of the features you need to keep in mind. While this does not make you an expert in bass guitar amps it sure as hell will bring you closer to your goal of owning the best bass guitar amp on the market that you can afford (or dream about). We tried to include the more affordable options like VOX PB10 Bass Combo Amplifier and Ibanez Promethean 20W 1×8 Bass Combo Amp. these are the two of the best starting points for a beginner but if you have a bit more experience and think you are ready for gigs and recording Gallien-Krueger MB112-II 200W 1×12 Combo Bass Amp is an amazing model that even pro level players would enjoy. The choice is up to you and the market is pretty full of quality amplifiers. You just have to take your time, look around, learn a few of the major features and technical terms. While your first amplifier might not be the best amplifier you will own it should be something that is comfortable, compact (depending on your living and gigging situation), easy to use and control while also bringing out the best tone with punchy volume. And if you have not found the perfect match for you, or if you are looking for a regular electric guitar amplifier we have a lot of lists such as the best amplifier under $300 or the best amplifier under $1000. Take a look and enjoy your time looking for the equipment that will take you from a beginner to a legend you hope to be.