Picking an amp isn’t easy; it is like picking and buying a bass. In the world of music, one shoe does not fit all, no matter how much it claims to.
Picking a bass guitar amp requires patience, quiet, and your full attention; all things which are nearly impossible in a guitar store.
First off, when you go to try out an amp, make sure you go early. This will allow you to get in and try amps before a thousand and one guitarists and bassists show up at the store and start trying to show off to each other.
Unlike them, you aren’t there seeking attention; you are there seeking a product.
One of the easiest mistakes to make is to ask an employee for help; they can’t tell you what sounds good to your ear. In fact, unless you are at a smaller owned shop, or an upscale guitar shop, the employees most likely know nothing beyond how to play their instrument. This means that you will undoubtedly be led to try products that are catered towards the employee’s personal taste.
Take for instance a metal head; they will most likely suggest to you a bass guitar amp that is geared towards, you guessed it, metal. This means that your jazz lines won’t sound very jazzy, as amps geared towards metal tend to cater towards low mids and high gain, things which will be useless in giving you a smooth texture to your tone.
Bass guitar forums are some of the most informative places because they consist of bass guitarists. Moreover, they consist of bass guitarists of every style. Not only is this helpful when looking for specific qualities that bass amp companies will all claim they possess, but it can help you understand the technical aspects of your equipment as well.
So let’s say that you get to the music store early, it is nice and quiet, no showoffs in sight as of yet, and you researched the qualities of an amp that you want, and now you are sitting down playing. Then, suddenly, you are torn between two amps.
Well, that’s an easy fix believe it or not. But you may not like the answer.
Just like your noise or your voice or your feet, your ears get tired. You may not notice the subtle differences between the two amps simply because you have spent all morning straining your ear. Come back another day with a fresh ear and compare the two amps.
You may come to notice an enormous difference that you feel foolish for not noticing beforehand. Or –it is a one in a million chance, but it happens—you may like both amps equally. Then it is down to price. In that case, the answer should be simple; the better deal is, well, the better deal.
Remember; take your time when choosing your amp as you will be using it for years to come. If you get confused, simply try again another day. Good luck!
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