What to Look For When Buying a Bass Amplifier

guitar on bass amplifier

Bass amplifiers can be an invaluable asset to guitar players looking to enhance the sound of their instrument. But it’s essential that you know what to look for when shopping around for one.

Bass guitars’ low-end notes require a powerful amplifier to reproduce accurately, just as electric guitars do. Thus, the design of an amplifier for bass guitars is tailored specifically for this output.

Frequency Response

The frequency response of a guitar on bass amplifier is an integral aspect of how it sounds, as it allows players to manipulate the tone by altering certain frequencies’ amplitude. Increased frequencies create bigger and more powerful sounds while decreasing others results in duller tones with less space; this can also mask or amplify other instruments present in the mix.

The fundamental frequency range of a 4-string bass guitar is 40Hz to 400Hz, with overtones extending higher up to around 4kHz. Therefore, it is essential for bass players to understand these fundamental frequencies so they can match them with their amps and speakers accordingly.

Bass music is built upon the low notes of a guitar, which are heard as second harmonics (31Hz to 41Hz) or first harmonics (62Hz to 82Hz). The lower these frequencies are, the more prominent they tend to be in bass music.

Bass guitars typically produce lower notes than guitars, necessitating larger speakers to accurately transmit their lows. As such, bass amps tend to be larger and more powerful than their guitar counterparts.

Bass amps tend to be larger and more powerful because they must push more air in order to generate lower frequencies. Since these sounds are lower and heavier, more energy needs to be exerted through the speaker for them to produce any effect.

According to its power rating, speaker configuration and EQ optimization, bass amplifiers can produce up to 200 or 400 watts. This range is ideal for beginners or people wanting to practice before performing live. However, if you plan on using your bass amplifier live, opt for one in the 800-watt range or higher; this will prevent blowing out the speaker while enabling high volume playing.


The power of a guitar on bass amplifier depends on its frequency response. The lower it goes, the more power is needed to convert it into an audible signal; notes in the bass register often have long waveforms which need more amplified audio.

Bass guitars often utilize dedicated bass amplifiers designed specifically for their low frequency needs. These amps usually feature larger cabinets and higher wattage than typical electric guitar amps.

Bass guitars require more power to play due to their thicker strings compared to electric guitars, and these can be much heavier – potentially damaging the speaker of a bass amplifier when played at high volumes.

Therefore, selecting a bass amplifier that is specifically designed for bass playing can make an enormous difference in your music’s sound quality.

Therefore, many players opt for bass amplifiers with more power and features than standard guitar amps. These may include a sophisticated preamp section, multiple controls to shape the sound, and an expansive range of output wattages.

Some bass amps even feature specially-designed speakers to reproduce deep bass tones, producing a wider, richer sound than regular guitar amps.

Bass guitars require different EQ requirements than electric guitars, which can affect the tone of your bass. You may notice that bass amplifiers feature upper and lower mid controls as well as a parametric sweep, all of which can help shape the sound of your bass.

These controls enable you to alter the overall tone of your bass, matching it with other instruments in your band or orchestra. Furthermore, these controls enable you to boost or cut certain frequencies for added definition and balance in the bass.

Bass guitarists often opt to play through a tube amp rather than a solid-state amplifier, as the warmth of tube amp can be beneficial when playing bass and it also helps create musical distortion. Unfortunately, tube amps tend to be pricier than their solid-state counterparts and require regular upkeep and tube replacement in order to stay working optimally.


Speakers are an essential aspect of guitar on bass amplifier sound quality, as they act as the final connection between the instrument and microphone. As such, speakers have a significant impact on how well a guitar rig sounds overall.

Bass amp speakers are tailored to reproduce a specific range of frequencies, including bass, treble, midrange and low-end tones. The size and type of speaker cone also affect how well an amplifier reproduces bass sounds.

Larger speakers tend to be more accurate at reproducing high frequencies than their smaller counterparts, providing a more natural and enjoyable listening experience. Unfortunately, they may not produce as much bass or sound volume as smaller models do.

When selecting speakers for your room, it is essential to take into account both its space and desired bass output. If your space is limited, bookshelf or tower speakers with 5-inch (127mm) or smaller woofers may be more suitable.

When choosing an amplifier, one factor to consider is whether you want solid state or tube amplification. For the highest sound quality possible, go with a solid state bass amp. Hybrid amps use valves but lack some of the convenience and warmth associated with solid state amps.

For those who prefer the sound of a tube bass amplifier, there are numerous options. Some are hybrids which offer the benefits of both worlds; other types are traditional tube bass amps with one valve per channel.

If you don’t have room for separate bass amps, bass combo amps with multiple speakers may be your ideal solution.

Bass on guitar amplifiers should be able to handle the volume of both instruments, but if you push your amp too hard it could damage its speaker or overheat due to distortion. Therefore, keep guitar volume at a reasonable level when playing with bass.


Guitar amplifiers typically come with built-in effects to enhance the tone of the guitar. These may include reverb, delay and chorus; however bass amplifiers usually do not feature these capabilities.

Some guitarists may opt to play their bass through a guitar amp, in order to achieve an alternative sound than what can be produced from their regular amplifier. This can be accomplished by altering the volume and EQ settings on the bass amp.

The guitar signal will not damage a bass amplifier. The guitar is designed for higher frequencies, while bass amplifiers specialize in low bass notes. This can be advantageous for some guitar players since it enables them to use their instruments differently than before.

It may also be beneficial to utilize a guitar pedal or processor that helps shape the tone of your bass. Doing so allows you to maximize the potential of your bass amplifier’s EQ, so that you get exactly the sound desired.

In addition to changing your EQ, you can also boost the low frequencies (50-100Hz) and cut or scoop the mids (500-1000Hz). Doing so will give your bass tone more depth and substance.

If you are new to playing bass guitar, it may be beneficial to begin with a clean sound. An amplifier that isn’t suitable for your instrument could cause the instrument to sound distorted and this can significantly lower the quality of your music’s audio.

One way around this issue is to plug your bass into a modelled amplifier. These devices create the sounds of traditional guitar and bass amplifiers and can be connected to either an audio interface, PA system, headphones or audio interface.

Depending on the modelled amplifier, the signal may be too distorted for safe listening. This is because most models aren’t designed with very low bass frequencies in mind.

Bass sounds may be difficult to hear through a guitar amp, but with an audio interface or direct box you should be able to pick them out. Additionally, modelled amplifiers that have bass frequencies separated from guitar ones may work well for musicians who don’t want to use full-sized bass amps.