Buying a Bass Guitar Amp Kit

bass guitar amplifier kit

Bass amplifiers require much higher powers (up to 500 watts) to reproduce low frequencies accurately and the size of speakers used can have an impactful impact.

Standard controls typically include gain, volume and at least three-band equalization; extra controls may also be included depending on a player’s style (such as drive to avoid using external pedals in metal bands or compression for funky slap players).

An assortment of parts comes together in one kit for added ease and saves the trouble of purchasing individual components separately.

Tube Amps

As the signal generated from bass guitar pickups is weak, it must first be amplified before any further processing can take place. A preamp section within an amplifier typically fulfills this role by including tone shaping controls such as gain and EQ to shape its sound – many preamps use vacuum tubes (or valves).

Tube technology dates back to 1904 when Marconi Company created a diode-valve that made television possible (hence its nickname), and has been applied successfully in bass guitar amps ever since. A bass amp using specific small-plate vavles in both preamp and power amp sections produces that lovely natural distortion beloved by guitarists today.

One reason is that tubes react directly to player dynamics. Hit a string hard and you will push them into saturation, creating harmonic distortion – this gives tube amps their distinctive sound!

But a high-quality tube amp offers more than its signature natural distortion; it can make your bass sound enormously punchy as well. While solid state amps have instantaneous quiet-to-loud response times, their circuitry takes more complex calculations to reach full dynamic range.

Vox amplifiers have long been recognized for their legendary tube amp performance – and continue to do so today. Two popular examples are the AC4 and AC30.

These amps both feature high-quality power amplifier sections equipped with three ECC83 large plate preamp valves and one 12BH7 power tube, producing an amplifier that sounds amazing when turned up! Players often opt for tube amps because of this quality; however, solid state amps with digital features like the Laney LA-Studio have similar qualities, allowing players to capture their tone perfectly both at home practice and studio recordings – such as having an attenuator that reduces power to just 0.1W for recording into DAWs directly.

Solid-State Amps

Solid-state amps are an invaluable companion for gigging musicians. Thanks to their reliability, portability, and wealth of useful features that make using one easier, there is a vast variety of models in this category with different wattages, number and sizes of speakers, channels, built-in effects etc. To narrow your choice down more effectively when selecting your amp, consider your desired use – practice, rehearsals, gigging, recording etc – before selecting one with suitable size/wattage that best meets your requirements.

With advances in digital technology, guitar amp manufacturers have been able to craft amps that replicate the sounds of vacuum tube amps at a fraction of their costs. A great example is Laney LA-Studio which boasts 3W of power that can be reduced down to 0.1W using Brake Switch attenuation for home practice or studio recording while maintaining full tube dynamics as well as digital effects and speaker cab emulations, providing guitarists with classic amp tones without incurring as much of an expense.

The Katana Artist MK II amp is an outstanding example of how a solid-state amp can merge tube-like tones with digital sculpting for optimal tone synthesis. With full guitar and bass amp model presets as well as time-based effects and Bluetooth audio playback capability – all packaged up in an easily transportable package, making this ideal for smaller gigs.

Tube amps are famously dynamic. If you hit harder, their tubes break apart or distort to produce heavier tones; this adds character and vibrato to your playing, but can become distracting in live settings. By contrast, solid-state amps respond more predictably – increasing volume when you dig in or cutting through when louder tones come through the mix.

Combo Amps

No matter your experience level or musical tastes, finding an amplifier that meets your specific requirements can be a difficult process. Combo amps make this task simpler by combining both head and cabinet components into an all-in-one unit; prewired with 1/4″ speaker cables capable of handling stronger signals than regular guitar leads, these amps feature built-in effects such as reverb and tremolo for classic rock sounds without an additional pedal box stomp box being necessary.

Combo amps are ideal for beginners because they’re compact and simple to use, making them the ideal way to play anywhere without disturbing neighbors or taking up too much room in practice sessions or gigs. Many even include direct outs for recording purposes – and some models even come equipped with tuners and effects like delay, reverb, or wah.

Once you’ve become more adept with playing with a combo amp, it may be worth upgrading to either a half-stack or full-stack amp. If you plan on performing regularly as an amateur musician or professional musician alike, a full-stack may provide enough volume and sound quality while keeping up with bass and drum players while still offering high sound quality levels.

Half-stacks can be ideal for beginner players looking to begin performing but do not yet require full stacks, and also provide musicians an affordable way to hone their skills and find gigs before investing in more costly full-stack models.

Guitar amp cabinets come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, featuring various woods and speaker types/materials such as alnico ceramic or neodymium speaker cones for optimal sound reproduction. Celestion Jensen Eminence are some of the more well-known guitar speakers on the market; other popular brands are Celestion, Jensen and Eminence. Some amps even include built-in reverb and tremolo functions while other have external stomp boxes that can be switched in or out – spring reverb is great addition to jazz amps while distortion pedal might work great on heavier metal amps!


An amplifier’s primary purpose is to take the weak AC electrical signal generated by a bass guitar pickup coil and make it strong enough to push or pull a speaker cone, as well as shape its tone and control distortion – from jazz guitar’s gentle warm tones to hard rock’s animal growls and animal noises. Bass guitars tend to be played in larger venues than electric ones, so their amplifier needs to deliver loud, deep tones that can both be heard and felt simultaneously.

Bass frequencies require speakers to move back and forth over a greater distance than higher frequency sounds, so speaker size is an integral component in providing quality sound quality. Speaker specifications often specify their maximum movement distance before it becomes damaged, also known as the X-max figure. Voice coils in speakers are actually electromagnets; as the electric current changes direction in it, attraction and repulsion between its magnet and the speaker cone occur. Positive voltage produces an attractive magnetic force and causes the speaker cone to move outward; negative voltage causes it to move inward. Every time a guitar string moves, its movements correspond with one in the speaker cone’s movement which can then be recorded onto a graph called the frequency response curve.

Each ‘titch’ on the graph represents how much the speaker moved; an increased peak at high frequencies indicates an abundance of bass being produced by this speaker system. Bass players tend to favor this type of response because it helps produce full and deep tones characteristic of this genre of music.

Modeling amplifiers utilize microprocessor technology to simulate digital onboard effects that mimic various tube amplifiers and speaker sizes, known as modeling amps, with digital effects that mirror their characteristics. They offer a vast selection of options that can be tailored specifically to meet a player’s preferences; some models feature touchscreen displays allowing players to select their amplifier/cabinet combinations; some bass amps also include an input for connecting external speakers as well as 1/4″ inputs to accommodate foot pedals that control onboard effects such as reverb and overdrive effects (also called modeling amps).