I'm looking for basic guidance on buying a bass guitar amp. I currently own an Acoustic B200 and I've tried other small learning amps. I would like to find one that matches the sound I'm going for which is jazz and warmer tones but all around bass amp advice would be great too.

  • All in ones pros and cons
  • What to look for in an amp head
  • Do pedals make a difference?
  • Yes, pedals make a difference--that's what they're for ;-). My personal approach is to have a nice clean, flat bass amp and do all the tonal mods via pedals or other pre-amp adjustments. Dec 27, 2013 at 20:12
  • 2
    I have removed the brand-specific part of your question as it would be off topic here.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Dec 28, 2013 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


The answer would depend on how much money you want to spend. Here are my thoughts on your questions:

  • All in ones have the advantage of... (drum roll) having all in one. A lot of amps have a lot of effects installed, so you won't have to buy effects. A lot of amps have compressors installed, so you won't have to buy a compressor etc. My amp is both for electric and double bass, and both of them sound pretty awesome. There aren't necessarily many disadvantages. The ones that already have effects, might have the disadvantage that the effects aren't so good as a (decent) pedal effect. The disadvantage of my amp is that it's really really heavy thus making it hard to carry.
  • What you should look for in an amp head depends on you and how much time you want to spend on finding/improving your sound. A simple amp/amp head must have knobs for Volume, Gain, Contour, Middle, Tremble, Bass and you could work wonders with these. So, you should try a couple of amps and see which one fits best your sound.
  • Yes, effects make a difference like @Carl said. There are dozens kinds of pedals, and it's really fun to experiment with them. For instance, a compressor would compress your sound (duh), with a EQ you'll be able to have more settings for you sound (like set exactly the bass/middle you want) etc. The only way(and the most fun) to find out about pedals is to try them out yourself.
  • That is similar to the way the instruments are made ( I guess). I mean that there are guitars that are made specific for metal/rock. There are guitars that are made for blues. There are guitars made for jazz etc. AER makes really good amplifiers for jazz in my opinion

Honestly, I've played bass for about four years, using the same basic Silvertone practice amp, it's not much, but definitely has served it's purpose. As everyone is saying above, pedals make a difference, especially when you use multiple. But now that I have had my off topic "Squirrel!" moment, I can safely tell you that nothing tops off bringing your bass to a music store and trying them out yourself.

EDIT: Also, for a warmer sound, try using older strings. They tend to produce a duller, thud-ier sound

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