Beginners bass amplifier guide – Which one should I buy?

Beginners bass amplifier guide

The beginners bass amplifier guide. You have your bass and now you need an amplifier to power that beast. Bass guitars have to use their own type of amps as they deliver a much lower frequency range than guitars. If you put them into guitar amps and overdrive it, it’s most likely blow out the speaker cones. If this is your first amp So it is most advisable to buy a proper bass amplifier.

Amplifier specifications can get a little complicated but with a little research you will get an idea of what is out there and what will suit your needs.

There are two questions need to ask yourself when purchasing an amplifier.

  • “What purpose do I need it for?”
  • “How much wattage do I need?”

Wattage is dependant on which size amplifier you are looking for. There is a quick way to determine the ballpark figure of how much wattage you need. Bass amplifiers work harder to produce lower frequencies than an electric guitar amp. It is a good idea to to get wattage three to four times higher than the guitar amplifier to match their volume. If they have a 100W amp you get a 400W and so on. Of course this is a very rough figure as some amps will deliver more power with a lower wattage rating.

Bass amplifier packs

There is a huge amount of customisation and research that can be done when buying an amplifier but if you’re not to fussed with the smaller details. Then it may be quicker and in your best interest to take a look at fully kitted out Bass Amplifier Packs which can be played straight out of the box with no messing around.

Amplifier packs

What do you need an amplifier for?

Amplifiers are suited for certain situations and some types are better than others depending on how and where you play.

A beginner playing at home won’t need a massive stack amplifier to hear themselves but if you do plan on rehearsing with others you will want an amplifier that accommodates your home play and group play.

The table below will provide you with a starter base line for which you should look at buying. Wattage in this case translates to output and the higher the wattage the louder the amplifier.

LevelPrimary useReccomended amplifier typeWattageGuide available
BeginnerHome practice, small rehearsals, very small performances.Practice amplifier (1X6, 1X8)10-75Beginner guide
Beginner-IntermediateRehearsal space, performing with backline and recording Combo amplifier
(2X10, 1X12, 1X15)
75-400Intermediate guide
Intermediate to ProfessionalRehearsals, recording and performing with or without backlineHalf/ full stack
(4X10, 6X10, 8X10)
400+Professional guide

Playing at home?

Practice Amplifier up to 75 Watts

Practice amplifiers have enough features for you to test out and mould your own sound. A wattage of between 15-75 Watts is a good start. Any more than that and your amplifier will out grow your house.

Benefits would be that some amplifiers have built in effects or input loops allowing you to play along to music. They are light, easy to use, small and store well. You can find out more about Practice amplifiers from our bass amplifier guides.

Rehearsing with a group?

Combo Amplifier over 75 Watts

Combo amplifiers are big enough to be used an louder settings. They are the best type of amplifier to play with if you rehearse in a group. A large Combo Amplifier with a speaker size of 15-18 inches is a perfect choice. The wattage rating at this level should be between 75 and 400 Watts. You can read more about Combo amplifiers from our bass amplifier guide series.

Playing live?

Bass stack over 400 Watts

Finally on the big stage with the lights on you front and center. For this you’ll need an amplifier to make sure you are heard all the way in the back of the packed out room. If you’re lucky enough to be in this situation you’ll want a Bass Stack.

Bass Stacks are comprised of a large head (amplifier) that powers an even larger cabinet. Cabinets are made in all varying sizes and no doubt you’ll find one to suit your style or venue playing size. Look for speaker sizes of 10-12 inches and a wattage of 400 or more.

Find out more about Bass Amplifier stacks for when you have to be louder than everyone else.

We also have a quick read about Wattage and Speaker size for those who want to know a little bit more about the goings on of amplifier.