January 28, 2016

Bass Amp Shoppers Guide: Know What You Need

Buying an instrument or an amplifier can be really exciting, and a lot of people save up money for years to get the exact model that they want. Others though, like working musicians and people who are just learning to play bass may have different requirements for an amplifier.

Whether you’re a beginner or you’re a seasoned pro, there are some basic tips that can guide you. Use this primer to make sure you get everything you need when you go shopping for bass amps.

Are You a Beginner?

musiciansThere’s nothing wrong with being a beginner. In fact, you should be commended for picking up an instrument and learning to play! However, you probably don’t need the best bass amp in the world if you’re just starting out.

Unlike bass guitars, amps that aren’t top-notch won’t really slow your development as a player. Focus on something that is small, sounds good and allows you to practice with headphones, especially if you live in an apartment.

You can always sell an inexpensive amplifier to recoup some of your money and buy a better one when you advance as a player.

Practice Amp?

Even skilled musicians practice at home in many cases, often setting aside at least an hour a day to work on their skills. If you live in an apartment or have neighbors close by though, chances are you can’t do that with a big stack!

Look for a practice amp with a single speaker and in a relatively contained package. Having a practice amp with a headphone output can be beneficial too, but don’t pay extra for that if it’s not a feature you’re going to use.

Studio Use

Recording musicians often need different amps for studio use and live use. In the studio, it’s all about the best tone, not about how loud you can be. Sometimes being too loud is actually detrimental, especially in home studios or in places where isolation is a concern.

If you’re recording, look for a low amperage bass amp that sounds good even at a low volume.

Live Music

If you’re buying an amp for live use, sometimes volume really is what matters. Make sure you can get enough out of any amp you buy or add a cabinet down the road. Otherwise you’ll be stuck with a heavy paperweight or a very expensive practice amp which will not serve your purpose.


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