Rocktron Bass Guitar Amplification


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Ten point guide for buying a new or pre-owned bass guitar amplifier

Before you run out and spend a ton of cash on a new amplifier, think about how you will use it. For example, are you a beginner or have you been playing for a while? Will you be playing solo or with a band? Whether you plan to be a star or not, there's an amp with your name on it.

1. Amp Head

The amp head is made up of both the pre-amp, which handles signal processing and sound effects, and the power amp, which provides the power and volume.

2. Pre-Amp

After plugging into an amp, the instrument signal first goes to the pre-amp. The pre-amp manipulates the signal and can make subtle or drastic changes to the characteristics of the sound.

3. Power Amp

As part of the head, the power amp delivers the power and in turn the volume. More watts will give you more volume. Compared to electric or acoustic guitars, a bass sound has a lower frequency, so it requires more power.

Here is a basic watt capacity guide.

> 50-100 watts is good for practicing alone

> 200 watts is good if you plan to jam with a guitarist or keyboard player

> 300-400 watts is recommended when playing with a drummer

> 400-1200 watts is recommended when playing with a band

4. Configurations

Combination amps, combo for short, are self-contained units that include the amplifier and speaker together.

A stack variation consists of a separate amp, or head, and a speaker cabinet. With a stack you can mix and match heads and cabinets to fine tune your sound.

5. Speaker Cabinet

The speaker cabinet receives the powered signals from the amp and projects the instrument sounds. Most bass cabinets are constructed of wood and are typically sealed so that frequencies are reproduced accurately. Cabinets come in many different sizes with one or more speakers.

6. Speaker Size

Bigger doesn't always mean better. Much of your decision will be based on what type of sound you prefer. For example, several small speakers in a bass cabinet produce a tighter, more accurate sound, while a larger speaker is often heavy sounding. There is no right or wrong in the case of bass cabinet speaker sizes, it all depends on the sound impact you seek.

7. Sound

Different amps have different sounds, so test-driving an amp is crucial to getting the sound you want. It's also important to consider the music genre you are likely to play. Do you have softer musical tastes or do you plan to rock out? Certain brands are often suited to one style and not so much to another.

8. Equalizer (EQ)

EQ settings let you emphasize or de-emphasize particular frequencies (bass, mid, treble) to alter the tone of your bass. You have the ability to adjust the frequency, giving you greater control. Most pre-amps have three knobs, some have five, and others even more.

9. Gain

The gain knob is found on your bass pre-amp and functions like an internal volume knob. For example, when you turn the gain way up you might hear a distortion sound often associated with rock music. Once you start playing and getting comfortable with your equipment, try experimenting with the gain knob to customize your sound.

10. Price

You don't need to spend big to get a decent sounding bass amp configuration. Combination, or combo amps, tend to be cheaper when compared to stack configurations where you buy the amp and speaker cabinet components separately. So if you're just starting out, a combo amp is the cheaper and easier way to go.

Rocktron Bass Amps - recently sold.

Rocktron RB20 Bass Amp,