Just like your bass guitar becomes an extension of yourself, the best bass amps become a part of your sonic identity, the avenue by which your creativity and self-expression blossom into the world. Great sound in the low end underpins the rest of the band, interacting alongside the drums to form the nucleus of every great and timeless arrangement.
If you’re looking to buy yourself one of the best bass amps, then welcome - you’ve come to the right place. It sounds a bit cheesy, but we honestly don’t think that there has ever been a better time to buy a new bass amp. Not only have they been steadily getting lighter over the years, but they have also gotten more affordable, too.
So whether you’re brand new to the world of bass and need something to get you off the ground, or a bass master looking for your next high-end stage-ready setup, there’s something on this list for you.
To help you find exactly what you are looking for we've listed these awesome amps in price order, from budget-friendly to high-end.
We’ve included some expert buying advice further down this guide, so if you’d like to read more about the best bass amps then we'd recommend heading there now. If you’d like to get straight to the products, then keep scrolling.
Best bass amps: Our top picks
If you’re looking for the best bass amp and have the budget, you can’t go wrong with the omnipresent Ampeg SVT CL. As heard on countless hit records over the years, this bass amp moves some serious air (it’s loud!) and will offer a punchy tone that few bass amps can contend with.
For the vintage tone seekers, we have to recommend the iconic Fender Bassman Pro 800. You’d be hard-pushed to find a bass player who doesn’t appreciate the rich, warm valve tones of this reimagined classic.
If you’re a bassist on a super tight budget, or you’re thinking about buying your first bass amp, then you’ll find a lot to love with the Fender Rumble 15. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and delivers a classic Fender bass sound. The headphone out makes it great for practicing your chops late at night too.
Best bass amps: Product guide & reviews
If you’re looking for a reliable home practice amp, then look no further. Designed to be compact, lightweight, and portable - the Fender Rumble series is ideal for beginners and professionals alike.
This stylishly petite amp delivers 15-watts of power - more than enough for practicing at home. The headphone out means you can practice any time of day without disturbing the whole household, while the aux-in allows you to jam along with your favourite tracks via your phone or device.
This little amp has it all, the look, the sound, and most importantly it’s affordable!
The Warwick Gnome is the ultimate pint-sized gigging companion. This minuscule amp weighs in at a measly 2.12Ibs and will easily fit in the pocket of your gig bag.
Don’t let its size fool you. This mighty little amp delivers a clear, crisp, clean sound with a whopping 200-watts of power. Whether you’re practicing at home or playing a small gig this fun-sized amp will be sure to keep up. The fully metal enclosure is strong enough to take a beating on the road, and XLR DI output with switchable ground lift makes it a strong amp to have by your side in the recording studio as well.
Blackstar may not be your first thought when it comes to amplifiers for bass guitar, but the Unity series proves they know a thing or two about reproducing thunderous low-end - and all at a price that is kind on your wallet.
This sturdy amp offers great tone-shaping options. The three different voices (classic, modern, and overdrive) cover a wide range of classic tones, and the footswitchable chorus adds a whole new dimension to your sound. As if this wasn’t enough, it also has a built-in compressor, which you can turn on with the flick of a switch.
Ultimately this is a versatile bass amp, that offers just enough features to make practicing the bass guitar at home fun, and interesting.
While, understandably, this list contains some of the most sought-after, top tier bass amps on the market today, there’s some incredible amps to be found at the other end of the price spectrum. The TC Electronic Thrust BQ500 resides nearer the entry-level mark, but delivers a quite brilliant package for a shade under $/£300, including silent practice functionality and an onboard compressor.
As a compact, lightweight Class D head, the BQ500 is ideal as a dedicated gigging amp for players who find themselves travelling but don’t want to risk lugging their more expensive studio gear around.
Inspired by the flagship OB1 and 4 Stroke amps, the Crush 50 delivers that iconic orange tone in a more bedroom-friendly amplifier.
This may be a budget bass amp, but the Orange Crush 50 impresses on tone. Whether you’re longing for warm modern clean sounds or crunchy vintage drive, this amp delivers. The versatile active EQ section with a sweepable parametric mid band offers the ultimate control over your sound.
One nifty feature we absolutely love on this amp is the chromatic tuner. This may not seem like a big deal, but for us, it’s one less obstacle in the way of playing the bass. Simply plug in, tune-up, and bring the thunder.
The resurrected Trace Elliot has much to live up to, considering what TE used to stand for in terms of bass amplification. Obviously, the Elf is a very different proposition to the leviathan TE amps of the ‘80s, but don't let its size deceive you.
Tonally, there is much to be impressed by. The limited EQ section does its job well, while the LED indicators highlight when the in-built compression and drive functionality are in operation.
The actual power on offer is very impressive; looks can be deceptive. A fine amp and a no-brainer. You could even use it as an emergency backup for your gig bag.
Read the full Trace Elliot Elf review
Anything featuring the Marcus Miller signature will attract attention, and this has been very true of the Markbass range that Marcus has leant his name to. This particular amp has plenty of power but it’s the brushed steel looks, player-friendly control set, lightweight design and slap-happy bass tones that make this a real winner at an affordable price.
But don't be fooled into thinking this is just an amp for slap fans, it has far more tonality than that and can cover a lot of ground across a wide range of musical styles. Available in 250/500/1000 watt models also, the 800 model sits comfortably in between the two power extremes, offering fine tone-shaping options with a more than capable power output. Prepare to be impressed.
Read the full Markbass Little Marcus 800 review
The original Orange Terror Bass amp built its own fanbase at a time when portable amp heads with built-in valve distortion were few and far between. This new iteration features more grind and tonal colour.
Based on the AD200 amplifier, this hybrid-design utilises a 12AX7 valve in the preamp stage and a 12AT7 valve for the Send output of the FX loop. The return input has a solid-state stage and a solid-state Class D output stage.
So, how does it sound? Well, this is a loud amp! Playing with a pick gives a great rock tone straight off the bat, while adding some distortion courtesy of the 12AX7 in the preamp produces the signature Orange tone. It’s richly coloured, with enough grind and distortion to warm the sound up, but never venturing towards a lacklustre fizz.
Read the full Orange Terror Bass Amp review
Probably one of the best solid-state bass amp heads money can buy, the Aguilar Tone Hammer offers fearsome bass sounds in a package that weighs practically nothing. You also get incredible versatility to dial in pretty much any bass tone you like.
The drive control works in conjunction with the EQ section to vary the tone depending on your gain settings. This means that the EQ is flatter at low gain settings but as you turn things up the bass gets tighter and the treble smooths out.
There’s plenty of movement in the EQ section too, with 14 to 16dB boosts or cuts available across the spectrum. It's the midrange where the power lies here though and with a little experimentation, you can unlock some truly powerful bass tones.
When Fender first created the Telecaster, Precision and Jazz Bass instruments, the amplification the company subsequently produced was designed to bring out the now legendary characteristics of their basses.
Over time, the bass amps fell out of favour somewhat, but this newly re-designed version of the classic Bassman amp is a breath of fresh air, with vintage valve tones courtesy of its valve-loaded preamp, a whopping 800-watts of power, all the vintage aesthetics you could wish for and a back-friendly weight to boot.
Change from clean to rich valve tones in the blink of an eye with the two-channel setup and inclusive footswitch and play your Fenders as they were meant to be heard.
Darkglass makes some unfathomably powerful bass amps, with innovation and versatility at the forefront of their design ethos. The Microtubes 900 V2 is a top-of-the-range bass amp that’s equally at home on stage as it is in the studio.
The 6-band EQ section is absurdly powerful and adjusting any of the sliders will give you an instant tone change allowing for some serious tone sculpting. An onboard compression knob lets you tame the dynamics with a simple twist.
The drive control gives you another element to enliven your bass sound, with a crushing modern voice as well as one that gives you more vintage warmth. The level and gain controls ensure that you can dial in pretty much any bass tone you require.
Read the full Darkglass Microtubes 900 v2 review
Interesting features, such as the cable looping side handle and the magnetic fixing pins make the T-1000 a fully-featured, tonally flexible amp in a portable compact design.
The four-band EQ and boost features give bassists of all styles full control of their bass-tone; slap and tap players will find their performances are conveyed with power, clarity and authority while rock and pick players will appreciate the 'beefy' delivery.
Bright white LEDs illustrate which selection buttons and functions are in use and are very helpful on dark stages. A very impressive performer and a worthwhile consideration for the working bassist. Seriously good.
Read the full Eich T-1000 review
Ampeg set the standard for bass amplification in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s and, alongside their 8x10 speaker cabinets, a classic bass sound was created. As a result, everyone wanted valve warmth matched with power and volume.
This amp is a recreation of the classic - and much desired - Ampeg amp. With eleven valves across the preamp, power amp and drive sections, if you're after tube performance, this is one of the best bass amps to try.
It's not packed with features and extras but then it doesn't need to be. The weight may put you off but there is no denying the enticing bass-tones on offer.
Best bass amps: Buying advice
Choosing the best bass amp for you
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The best bass amp is going to be as personal to you as your own bass guitar heroes and musical tastes, but there are several critical things you’ll need to think about before taking the plunge. Many of the bass amps listed here are amp heads, which means you’ll need a bass amp cabinet to pair with it.
What wattage is what?
Your first consideration when choosing the best bass amp for you should be the wattage. Sure, that 1000W bass amp head with the 8x10 cabinet will knock your bandmates' socks off at practice, but unless you’re playing stadium tours, it’s probably a bit much.
Bass amp wattages tend to be higher than that of their guitar amp equivalents, and that’s because lower tones require more power to push the air and generate the sound you hear. Going for a wattage somewhere in the region of 150 to 300W should be more than suitable for small gigs.
If you’re buying a bass amp head, then you’ll need to make sure it's compatible with your speaker cabinet.
Impedance, sometimes called resistance, is measured in ohms (Ω). If you pair a bass amp head with an output impedance higher than the bass cabinet is capable of handling, you will overdrive the speakers, most likely resulting in permanent damage. Most bass amps will tell you their resistance either in the manual, online or sometimes on the back of the amp itself.
For example, it may say ‘400W @ 4 ohms’, which means you’ll need to plug it into a bass cabinet with a resistance of 4 ohms. If you were to plug it into an 8-ohm cabinet, you’d only get 200W of power, but if you plugged it into a 2-ohm cabinet, then you’ll damage the speaker, and in the worst-case scenario, cause a fire.
Other features to consider
Bass amps these days can come with a number of features, some you may never need. So, it’s important to ask yourself if you will make use of them all. Some players are perfectly happy with a basic amp, especially if they shape their tone via the preamp/tone controls on their instrument or via pedals, while others look for extra functionality like compressors, limiters, or even cab simulators.
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