I decided to do some signal analysis on my bass guitar. I used SpectraPro by Sound Technology Inc. My conclusions are as follows: - The crest factor of any bass line I played was calculated at 12-15 dB. This is the difference between peak level and RMS/continuous level. No matter what I played: a cool fingerstyle groove, chords, slamming with a pick. This means an amplifier driven to the verge of clipping will be delivering 25% of its maximum continuously (at best). With heavy compression engaged the crest factor dropped to about 8 dB, at which point the amp would deliver 40% of its maximum continuously. Playing slap style or short notes (funk for example), the continuous power drops far below 1/4 of full amp power. - The signal is not symmetrical. The positive half of the signal reaches a peak almost twice as high as the negative half, although the average value is of course 0. This is clearly visible on the "time series" graph below. Different EQ settings, from extreme bass boost to mid boost, and different pickups (neck, bridge) were of no influence to this phenomenon. This leads me to believe that a bass amplifier always clips first at the positive half, and the negative half doesn't clip until the power increases by about a factor 2. This would validate my "waving speaker" theory: when a bass amp clips, it becomes unstable because the average value of the signal is not 0 anymore. The amp would compensate for the unbalance by shifting its center point, thereby letting the speaker cones "wave around". - The spectrum shows how little of the signal actually is root frequency. This measurement is made with flat EQ, pickups balanced evenly. Of course, this graph varies a lot with different EQ settings. But here, the root frequency is about 15 dB below the first harmonic peak. Some difference! Time series and spectrum are below.