Your first bass practice amplifier
The best option for new bass guitar plays available to you would be a practice amplifier. They are cheaply produced, light to carry, easy to use and require no maintenance and work practically out of the box.
A realistic budget for a practice amp is between £1 and £800. 15-75 Watts is a good range to look at for home use. Even though that is a wide margin, you have the choice of a ‘big beginner amp’ or a ‘little beginner amp’. This will suit all your needs all in one price bracket.
A wattage rating of 100-300 watts is most needed for small rehearsal/performances – Read the Bass Combo Amplifier guide for more on that one.
Practice amplifier Pros
- Made for beginners
- Huge price range between £0 and £800
- 15-75 Watts is perfect at this level
- Best used at home in small environments
- Simple effects to learn
Practice amps are used and designed for practising at home, recording or rehearsing with similar sized small amplifiers typically without PA assistance. Some practice amplifiers at this price have digital effects built in and are ideally suited for beginners and performing musicians on a budget as they are built to last with a couple of good features and give you the same quality tone every day with minimal maintenance.
Example practice amplifier
Two examples of practice amplifiers as shown below, If you just want an amp that works out the box for a simple practice session and suits all your basic needs have a look at the following choices.
These two amplifiers with their lower wattage ratings are better suited for a solo musician playing at home or jamming in a small scale rehearsal environment. Simple to use with no complicated settings, you just plug in and play. You will unlikely be too loud in a home setting which is ideal for the younger musicians and parents alike.
Both amplifiers have a basic EQ function as well as a aux input for a CD/MP3 player to jam along to.
The Peavey Max 158 on the left is an entry amplifier with a small profile ideal for storage in a small bedroom.
The Ampeg BA108 on the right is a top of the line home practice amp that carries an iconic tone with all the affordability, Ampeg is a brand that has a brilliant reputation for quality and sought after by many for its use of analogue sounding tone.
What if I need something bigger?
If you aren’t just playing at home and you are rehearsing with others, you may very well need to step it up a notch and get a combo amplifier. There are plenty of those around, take a look at part two of the Beginners Guide to Bass Amplifiers with our Bass Combo amplifiers section.