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Which would you upgrade first? An amp or a bass?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by StrudelBass, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. Amp

    1,037 vote(s)
  2. Bass

    858 vote(s)
  3. Carrots

    268 vote(s)
  1. If your amp is small, the amp. Otherwise, doesn't really matter both will improve your sound. I have a mahogany cirrus and an ampeg ba115.
  2. Carrots because they would probably be the one out of those choices that rots first...:wacky:
  3. GnarlyThotep


    Sep 19, 2017
    Unless your bass is a special kinda awful, the amp is going to make a bigger difference.

    If you love the way your bass plays but hate the way it sounds, you need new electronics and/or a new amp. If you hate the way your bass plays, you probably need a new bass--doesn't matter how it sounds.
    Robroy likes this.
  4. I just upgraded my amp. :)
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    15 year old thread guys.....
    Two-Spirit and mikewalker like this.
  6. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    There is no right answer to this. If you have a substandard bass, a quality amp is going clearly amplify those deficiencies. If you have a crap amp, it’s going to sound like crap. Either way, it’s going to sound like crap. Now, if you had gun to my head, I’d opt for a better amp, then get a job to pay for a better bass.
  7. telecopy


    Dec 6, 2009
    Playing at home? Bass. Playing out? Amp. Money to burn? Both.
    Levin likes this.
  8. I would upgrade the bass first. The bass is what you have to be the most comfortable playing. Then you can upgrade the amp to suite the sounds of the bass, power, etc.
  9. Amp 1st. A cheap bass can easily be improved with a new pickup and a pro setup. Wood is wood, and most basses now are made on CNC machines anyway, so tolerances are tight regardless of price point. (I don't mean to start a flame war here, just speaking in generalities).

    A cheap amp isn't much good ever.

    Amplifying the low frequencies requires more power than higher ones. That's why a 50 watt tube amp for guitar is often more than enough but a 50 watt bass amp is anemic sounding. Speakers that handle bass well usually need to be able to do pretty big excursions safely too, which costs more too.

    Thankfully class D has solved the power issue for bassists inexpensively, but you still need a good preamp and a good speaker cab to sound good.
  10. tb4sbp


    May 9, 2017
    North East
    If your amp isn't loud enough to be heard then amp first.
    If your amp sound like junk, amp first
    If your bass is a piece of junk and your amp is loud enough to be heard, bass first
  11. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    It depends on whether or not you are wanting to gig or jam. You can have a top of the line bass but, if your amp can't keep up, (you suck).
    You can get a pretty decent amp (rumble 500 combo etc. around $600) for the price of a moderately priced bass guitar.

    On the other hand if your present amp is cutting it, then go for a better bass if you are not satisfied with your current one.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  12. Heavy Blue

    Heavy Blue

    Nov 11, 2017
    Prairie Canada
    If the bass in question isn't a total POS then the amp, for sure.

    As someone said earlier. My Squier VM sounds great through my SWR. A bigger upgrade than a "better" bass would have sounded through my old Yorkville that I had prior.

    The other thing to consider is keeping the current amp/bass and upgrading the cab.
  13. EatS1stBassist


    Apr 15, 2016
    So cal
    Fortunately a great amp can be had in the Rumble Series. Very inexpensive. That leaves you more for a bass. A great amp always or usually helps a lower quality bass sound it’s best. Add a Sansamp $210 or a Behringer BDI $29
    and many basses will sound great! Also modding a Branded/generic bass with a great set of pickups a good setup and good strings and its amazing how good it will/can sound.
    Have Fun:)
  14. mviktorc


    Jul 4, 2017
    LIVE: upgrade the amp
    RECORDING: upgrade the bass. I've been amazed how a great live bass will show its warts through a really good recording setup. My Fender Aerodyne (Aguilar p.u.s) is just dandy for playing live; but it just doesn't have the right resonance through a high-end recording console.
  15. JustSomeDude

    JustSomeDude Supporting Member

    May 2, 2014
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Focus on what delivers your tone to the audience.

    I have a late 60's P and a mid 60's B15NC.
    I can cut a track with that rig and then cut the same track with my Squire VM and a Tech 21 VT Deluxe or Line 6 Stomp and you probably wouldn't be able to guess which is which. Soloed, you MIGHT.

    But I still like my cool gear. It is fun for me.

    I toured quite a bit with my P Bass using a Peavey 112 MaxBass. The amp was just for me to be able to know what notes I was playing. But the engineer started miking the amp :)
  16. artsta


    Jan 29, 2013
    Depends on situation.

    If you are in a band and you rehearse with a loud drummer, then no matter how good your bass is, if you cannot contribute to the sound because of your amp, then a good bass is pointless.

    But if you already have an amp that is loud enough, and you are deciding between upgrading the bass or amp, then I personally would go bass first - because the bass is the one you are caressing, not the amp!
  17. Robertron


    Feb 12, 2010
    NewYork, NY
    This thread is 16 years old now. Can we throw it a real birthday party next year?
    mviktorc likes this.
  18. Not until it's old enough to drink
    amper, EatS1stBassist and Robertron like this.
  19. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    It would depend on the specific bass and the specific amp and the specific person. OTOH, my first bass was a Fender Jazz Bass Plus V Ash, and my first amp was a Trace Elliot head with a Pearce Electronics cab. I went from there to SWR and Mesa, Music Man and Warwick, so I've never really faced this question.
  20. Heavy Blue

    Heavy Blue

    Nov 11, 2017
    Prairie Canada
    I'm very happy with my current gear but if pressed would go with a bass if only because it's time for a fiver to become part of the rig. That being said you'll pry my SR4 from my cold dead hands lol.

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