What to Look For in a Guitar Amp Bass Cab

A guitar amp bass cab houses one or more speakers that project your amp’s sound into the room. Speaker cables attach directly to amplifier heads – however, their structure cannot carry as much power than regular instrument leads can.

Bass amp cabinets also tend to run at lower impedance (4-ohm cabs for most modern bass amps) to avoid damage, and come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and designs.


Size can be an integral factor when choosing a bass cabinet, from single speaker models to larger rigs that fill large venues. Cabs are usually designated by their number of speakers and size in inches – for instance a 1×15 cabinet contains one 15″ speaker while 4×12 cabinets contain four 12″ ones.

Wattage ratings of cabinets are another key consideration. This refers to how much power the cab can handle from your bass head. Sending too little or too much power through speakers could damage them; peak or continuous power ratings provide information on this matter; peak power handling measures the cabinet’s short burst power capacity while continuous power ratings reveal what level it can deliver on an ongoing basis.

Consider more than size and wattage when choosing a cabinet design; open back cabs provide more vibrant tones while closed cabs produce deeper and more focused sounds. Open backed cabinets typically suit jazz, rock and blues while closed back cabs work better for metal.

Angled cabinets offer another solution for creating an expansive sound, preferential among modern amp heads. By projecting their sound upwards rather than straight ahead, these angled cabs allow top two speakers to produce their sound more evenly across a wider area than with standard models. This gives amp heads the fuller and more spacious sound they desire.

If you’re only going to rehearse or play small gigs occasionally, a 1×12″ cab might suffice; for larger venues however, 2×12″ or even 4×12″ cabinets would likely be more suitable. Also consider an FRFR cabinet (full range flat response). These specialized FRFR models were specifically created to work with modelling amplifiers, offering similar sound quality at reduced weight and space usage compared to traditional cabinets.


Bass cabs with 4×12″ designs have long been used by bands – from Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townsend through modern hair metal rockers – however there are other sizes too.

Cabinets are specifically tailored to match specific amp heads in order to produce optimal tone, providing the optimal experience. Cabinets can often be selected according to impedance (the resistance that a cabinet poses to an amplifier signal), with most bass amplifiers preferring 4-, 8- or 16 ohm cabinets as these offer lower resistance levels that have less risk of damaging speakers.

Different cabinets also utilize various designs in order to produce specific sounds. An open back design, where sound from both ends of the speaker cone is heard, produces lively tone with looser lows suited for blues or funk styles of music; closed back cabs produce a more focused and punchy sound better suited for heavy rock styles of music.

Another critical consideration is the type of speaker being used. Some manufacturers will include specific information regarding which model will produce what type of sound; otherwise, research the different speakers being utilized can give an indication as to how each cabinet may sound.

At the other end of the spectrum are combo amps which combine both head and cab into one piece of equipment, offering users an easy setup right out of the box. Combo amps offer greater flexibility than head/cab combinations in that speakers can be swapped out easily; however, these models tend to be more costly and provide less control over power output/sensitivity of their amplifier.


Sound quality of an amp bass cab is critical in crafting an engaging performance. Since the cabinet holds speakers that project your signal into an audience, its appearance must reflect well upon you and it should sound great too. A high quality cabinet should feature thick, sturdy speakers capable of withstanding high volumes as well as good insulation against rattle noises and rattle-nibble noises.

Size and power usage will also have an effect on sound quality; larger speakers tend to produce louder audio while smaller ones may be more sensitive; it’s essential that you find an optimum balance between these factors so you can play loud enough without overtaxing or damaging the speakers.

Consider also how the cabinet is angled; straight cabinets project their sound in only one direction while angled ones spread it around more effectively and may also offer tonal benefits. This may help fill a room with sound or provide tonal advantages.

Most guitarists prefer an angled cab, although others may opt for straight ones instead based on personal preference and genre of music they are playing.

How you connect your cab to an amplifier will have a direct impact on its sound quality. A special cable featuring 1/4″ jack connections designed to carry stronger signals than regular guitar leads may do will improve sound quality significantly. Guitar amps require certain levels of resistance in order to operate safely and sound their best; connecting with too little resistance could overload speakers and ruin your amp altogether.

Some players may be tempted to mismatch their heads and cabs, but doing so can produce unexpected results. Plugging a 16-ohm head into an 8-ohm cab could overheat its tubes or circuitry and potentially damage them permanently. To achieve optimal sound from their setups, it is generally advised that their impedance ratings match up for best sound results; otherwise it would be best to consult an expert first before making decisions on your own.


Finding an amp that suits your tone is no simple task, as there are thousands of bass amplifiers on the market and it may take time and research to find one that suits you. From amateur players looking for practice gear to professionals searching for gigging gear – whether a head and cabinet combination or combo amp is often best. Once decided upon you will need to consider either closed back or open back cabinets as well as which speakers to use.

Closed-back cabinets feature a rear panel that covers the speakers to dampen resonance and vibration, producing warmer, clearer sounds than open-back cabs while not offering as much low end response. As these cabs don’t offer as much low end response, closed-back units tend to work best in studio environments or small venues where onstage monitoring isn’t as critical.

Open-back cabinets feature an airy front panel that lets in plenty of air, helping create an expansive and full sound. They’re best used in large venues or by those seeking louder tones; additionally, open-back cabs tend to be less costly and easier to transport than their closed counterparts.

Your speaker cab’s wattage rating can have an impactful effect on how much power an amp can handle, so it is wise to pair head and cab wattages accordingly to prevent damaging your amplifier. Although technically possible, running higher-wattage heads with lower wattage cabs should be avoided as much as possible.

Some cabs feature one type of speaker that cannot be altered, while others come equipped with removable speakers that enable players to experiment with various tones by swapping out their cab for another with different tones. This is particularly helpful for players looking to experiment with various sounds before choosing their favorite sound; other cabs even come equipped with built-in tweeters to boost high frequencies for added depth in sound production.