For bass players, it can be quite tough to play properly at home, as most bass rigs are not only huge in size, but deliver a volume that will have your neighbors complaining two bars into the slap riff from Around the World. For those who want to keep their chops sharp whilst keeping the peace with family and partners, you’ll want to take a look at our selection of the best bass amps for practice.
Practice amps for bass guitar need to straddle a fine line. Not only do they need to deliver quality sound but they also need to be compact, which is completely at odds with how bass tones work. To produce more low-end end you need bigger speakers and more power, but for a good practice amp, you need the complete opposite.
Thankfully with the advent of technological gizmos like the passive radiator and modern amp modeling techniques, you can squeeze a lot more low-end out of smaller systems, resulting in great-sounding bass at lower volumes, more compact cabinet sizes, and lighter overall weights. If you’re new to the world of bass practice amps make sure to have a look at our buying advice section, otherwise, keep scrolling to see our top picks…
Chris is a contributor to Guitar World and MusicRadar with around 20 years of guitar playing experience – including writing for and recording various projects for around 15 of those. Outside of practical experience, he’s studied music throughout his life, with a particular focus on composition at university. He’s something of a 90s tragic and a sucker for anything with a groovy, metallic edge or psych and stoner vibes. Outside of music, he’s an avid cook, gardener, and rugby league lover.
Best bass amps for practice: The quick list
Tired of scrolling through endless walls of text? Well here you'll find some of our favorite bass amps for practice, with links to read more if you wish.
One of the best-selling bass amp ranges of the last few years, the Fender Rumble 40 combines excellent sound with light weight to make one of the best practice amps for bassists.
If you're after the best possible sound without having to use a huge rig, the Phil Jones Bass M7 Micro delivers with its compact cabinet and horned design which delivers at any volume.
If you don't want to mess around with modeling or loads of effects, the Orange Crush Bass 25 will deliver unadulteratedly brilliant bass tones with a minimum of fuss.
If your budget is tight, the Blackstar FLY 3 Bass gives you a great bass tone for comparatively little money. It's compact and portable too, so will fit into your practice rig perfectly.
Just when you thought amps couldn't get any smaller, the Positive Grid GO arrived on the scene. It's great for bass too with loads of tones and effects on hand via the app.
Best bass amps for practice 2023
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Here you'll find full writeups and reviews of all of our favorite bass amps for practice. Our writers have tested the vast majority of these amps personally, so you can rely on our recommendations.
Fender has long been renowned for their bass amps, especially among the pros. And while many of their most well-regarded amps are built for the stage, Fender hasn’t overlooked those playing in smaller spaces. The Rumble 40 fills that gap perfectly, offering a lightweight and affordable amp but still with that classic Fender sound.
One of the best things about the sound of the Rumble 40 v3 is that you have quite a lot of scope to shape it with the additional bright, contour, vintage and overdrive settings – with the contour especially being a great way to add extra depth to your tone without needing to push the volume up. Not all of these features are as crucial as others, it must be said, and even players looking for a dirty tone probably won’t get much use out of the overdrive switch as it’s definitely no replacement for a decent pedal in terms of tonal quality. Still, this doesn’t really detract from the amp at all.
At 40 Watts, there is a decent amount of low-end here and is powerful enough for the rehearsal room, so will be more than enough for any home. Given how it sounds, its portability and its price point, it’s hard to look past the Rumble 40 as one of the best practice amps for bass around.
Best for volume
As you probably heard growing up, sometimes the best things come in small packages – and this is certainly true of the M7 Micro. Perhaps one of the lesser known brands on this list, PJB has been doing great, cutting-edge things in the bass amp world for a number of years; case in point this 50W beast packed into a 12-inch (30cm) box weighing less than 15lbs (7kg). If size and portability are your priorities, then you aren’t going to top this.
Despite its deceptive looks, the M7 Micro certainly packs a punch and could even work well in a small or medium live setting. Along with its 3-band EQ, its passive/active switch can really help you find that sweet spot and will be a valued feature for those with particularly hot basses.
While it may be capable of more, its main function is as a bass amp for practice and it does this job superbly – offering a very true sounding bass tone even at lower volumes. It’s also one of the few horned practice amps out there, so you really do get a full sound with this beast.
Best for simplicity
One of the heavyweights of the amp world, Orange has a dedicated following for those chasing uber-warm and rich tones for good reason. Most of their amps do this well, but can a solid-state 25-watt bass amp deliver in the same way? Well, not exactly, but it does a pretty darn good job considering the parameters.
The Orange Crush Bass 25 still manages to conjure up some decent low end, thanks largely to its sensitive EQ that covers quite a broad tonal range, but it’s the warm, overdriven tones when cranked that will probably be one of the key selling points with this one. Few bass amps of this size really sound good when pushed, so if that’s important for you then this could be worth your time.
An onboard tuner along with the line-in and headphones certainly help its practice bass amp credentials. It’s worth noting here this is certainly a true home practice amp, and you’re unlikely to get much use of it in a full-band scenario. But if this is what you’re in the market for, it ticks all the right boxes.
Best budget option
If you are in a situation where even a 25 or 30-watt amp is more than you need, or have a fairly limited budget to spend on a bass amp for practice, then the Blackstar Fly 3 might be what you’re looking for.
This little 3-watter is a deceptively good performer. It’s far more versatile than you might think and includes EQ, compression and even a separate overdrive channel, so there’s plenty of scope to dial in a wicked tone.
It also has a sub-control feature to help bring out the low end, but given its size, this is only going to go so far and you shouldn’t expect any wall shaking - but that might actually be a selling point for many. Another selling point will be that the Fly Bass 3 can be run on AA batteries, meaning it’s truly portable and would be especially useful for buskers or anybody that likes to play on the go.
For well under $100, this makes for a pretty wicked bass practice amp or even just as an external speaker for your phone or computer. The Fly 3 also comes in a stereo pack for around $120, with many attesting that this is the best way to experience this amp.
Best compact option
If you’re looking for the smallest bass amp possible, the Positive Grid Spark GO is about as petite as guitar amps get. Weighing just north of half a pound and around the same size as an old compact digital camera, this tiny amp packs a surprisingly big tone.
We’ve got one sitting on our desk at the moment and it really is the smallest guitar amp we’ve ever come across. As part of our review, we put it through its paces with our Jaguar bass and it certainly held its own. Of course, the low-end reproduction isn’t huge, but it’s more than capable enough as a practice amp.
You get loads of different tonal possibilities too thanks to the dedicated smartphone app, with plenty of practice tools to keep you occupied as well. Whether you’re downloading fresh tones, new songs to play along to, or just using the AI-powered jamming tools, the Spark GO is the perfect compact practice companion for guitarists and bassists alike.
Read the full Positive Grid Spark GO review
Best for effects
If you’re the kind of player who likes a lot of different tones at their fingers, then the Fender Rumble LT25 will give you plenty of options to perfect your craft. Simple to use and coming in a compact and lightweight cabinet, it’s the perfect choice for the sonic explorers.
With 15 amp types and 20 effects, there’s a huge amount of choice available and the quality of the tones is absolutely phenomenal. Whether it’s a classic Fender tremolo or a modern fuzzy bass tone, this amp really inspires you to try out lots of different sounds.
30 presets give you an excellent starting point, and it’s super easy to edit them all to your particular taste. A USB output lets you record your bass tones directly, and a built-in tuner completes this amp's vast feature set. Our only negative here is that it’s not loud enough to gig with, but it’s a perfect option for practicing.
Read the full Fender Rumble LT25 review
If you didn't find your perfect match above then don't worry, there are loads more great options for perfect bass practice amps. Here are some more of our favorites.
Blackstar may not really be known for their endeavors in bass amplification but that may be something of an oversight if the Unity range is anything to go by. While their guitar counterparts might be known for their high-gain potential, the Unity Bass 30 is perhaps a more versatile offering – especially when it comes to bass amps of this size.
One of the standout features of the Unity 30 is the different voicings. Unlike most manufacturers who do their modeling on the front of the amp, Blackstar does this on the power amp and this gives these units a distinct and impressive sound. This essentially means that the tube emulation on these guys is much more convincing than many of its counterparts in the bass amp for the practice market, so you get a fairly distinct change between classic and modern voice settings. The overdrive setting even offers a decent dirty tone, plus it has a built-in chorus effect, which is pretty unique in itself.
Also boasting a headphone out and an AUX in, the Unity 30 fulfills its role as a bass practice amp well. And while it’s not really big enough to gig with on its own, it does have an XLR output for connecting directly to a Unity Bass Series active cabinet, which does make life simple if you want to go for a bigger rig but don’t want to buy a whole new head. Overall, the Unity 30 represents great value for money.
While it’s one of the most stripped-down amps in this range, you could argue that the Hartke HD50 doesn’t need to overcompensate. Unlike other bass amps for practice where you will probably make use of a built-in compressor or a contour, this one sounds great as it is.
Offering a fairly clean and true bass sound even at low levels, it’s well-suited for home use. At the same time, the Hartke HD50 is also loud enough for small gigs and rehearsals, making it a great option for people who want a nice, punchy in-between kind of amp.
Thanks to its simplicity, it’s pretty easy to dial in a good sound here, but it is worth noting this might only suit certain players. If you really want the range of options that you find in some other amps, you may find it somewhat restrictive. But if you are just after something simple and functional then the Hartke HD50 is among the best at its price range.
Some bass amps for practice are more distinguishable than others, and that’s probably one of the biggest things going against the Laney RB2. While on the surface it’s probably not the most standout amp here, it’s worth taking a proper look at the RB2 for its merits.
When it comes to honing a tone, the RB2 has a lot to offer. Firstly, this bass amp offers decent low end right off the bat, but its sophisticated EQ - which includes a para-mid - gives you a wide tonal range. Add to that a selectable compressor and you’ve got a lot to play with.
You’ll also notice there are two inputs here – high and normal – to cater to basses with active or passive pickups. It also has DI out which makes it suitable to hook up directly to a PA or your interface for recording. It also has a monitor angle option allowing you to focus where your sound goes. Overall, you really get a well-rounded package here for a respectable price.
If your main priority is weight and transportability then it’s going to be hard to look past the Ashdown Studio 8. Possibly the lightest 30W bass amp on the market, the Studio 8 is definitely not going to break your back and thanks to its affordable price, your bank balance will be fine too.
The Studio 8 offers a pretty reasonable-sounding practice bass amp, well suited to home practice or lower-volume rehearsals. It contains all the hallmarks of this range, like a three-band EQ, headphone out, and line in, so in that respect, it can hold its own with most others on this list.
One criticism is that even for a 30W it does sound thinner than its horned counterparts and is probably not going to hold up to any sort of gigging. But if you are simply looking for a bass amp to practice at home, for well under $150 the Studio 8 is a pretty good option.
As one of the biggest names in the world of bass guitar, the Ampeg RB-110 Rocket Bass is a much-appreciated entry into the practice amp world. Designed to give an old-school bass amp feel to the modern player, the Rocket Bass can be used in a variety of scenarios.
Despite not being the biggest amp, the RB-110 pumps out a respectable amount of low-end, although it’ll probably struggle against a drummer. The mid-range is definitely where it’s at with this amp and it sounds great, although if you place it against a wall you can coax some more lows out of it.
We absolutely loved the SGT switch, which adds some overdrive to the circuit and gives you a vibrant bass tone with a lot of color, easily manageable with the separate Grit and Level controls. Overall it’s a well-built and rugged unit, ideally suited to practice at home
Read the full Ampeg RB-110 Rocket Bass review
Best bass amps for practice: Buying advice
Should I practice bass on an amp?
When it comes to modern practice amps, there are some features that seem like they must be a prerequisite. We’re specifically talking about headphone outputs to enable silent and auxiliary line inputs to allow you to play external tracks from your phone or computer, making it easy to play along with your favorite songs or backing tracks.
These features alone are almost worth buying a practice amp for as they can really improve your time spent playing alone. Thankfully, pretty well every bass amp out there that claims to be a practice amp will have these features.
How many watts do you need for a bass practice amp?
When it comes to bass amps for practice, one of the most important things to consider is how much low-end you realistically need. Of course, a 25W combo is going to be a much different beast to a 200W head and speaker set, so you should approach the market with realistic expectations.
Things have improved in this area though, so if you had a practice amp 10 years ago or so, you might be surprised at how great these smaller amps actually sound. As a rule of thumb though, the bigger amps offer more depth and a well-rounded tone, so if a true bass sound is really important to you at a practice level, focus on the bigger options.
There’s only so much you can get away with at home before you test your relationship with your neighbors though, so if you just want to hear yourself play and don’t need to feel a lot of air being moved around the smaller sizes will actually be ideal.
How we choose the best bass amps for practice
Here at Guitar World, we are experts in our field, with many years of playing and product testing between us. We live and breathe everything guitar and bass related, and we draw on this knowledge and experience of using products in live, recording and rehearsal scenarios when selecting the products for our guides.
When choosing what we believe to be the best bass amps for practice available right now, we combine our hands-on experience, user reviews and testimonies and engage in lengthy discussions with our editorial colleagues to reach a consensus about the top products in any given category.
First and foremost, we are guitarists, and we want other players to find the right product for them. So we take into careful consideration everything from budget to feature set, ease of use and durability to come up with a list of what we can safely say are the best bass amps for practice on the market right now.
Read more about our rating system, how we choose the gear we feature, and exactly how we test each product.
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