- What are the Best Best Small Bass Amps For Gigging?
- Small Bass Amps Reviews
- Mini Bass Amp Buyer’s Guide
- How To Choose the Best Mini Bass Amp
- What Features To Look For in a Mini Bass Amp
- Final Thoughts
Bass players who are just starting to play intimate gigs with other musicians will want to buy an amp that suits their needs. You’re not going to want a massive stack of amps if you’re playing in a coffee house or a local carnival.
Luckily, there are plenty of options for bassists who want to play smaller events or even just need to rehearse with a portable bass amp.
In this article, I’ll share five of the best small bass amps for gigging. These amps will have more than enough power to support you without drowning out everyone else onstage.
What are the Best Best Small Bass Amps For Gigging?
Small Bass Amps Reviews
Ampeg Rocket Bass RB-108 1x8" 30-watt Bass Combo Amp Review
The Ampeg RB-108 is a sleek compact bass amp with a black diamond cover and sparkle grille cloth. With 30 watt power and Ampeg’s patented “Super Grit Technology,” it packs a huge punch without drowning out the more subtle tones coming from your bass guitar. It also handles humbuckers or vintage single-coil pickups with ease.
The 8-inch speaker is useful for gigs and extremely easy to travel with, but it also comes with an ⅛ in AUX input and headphone output, so you can plug in and practice without bugging anyone else in your house or hotel.
This versatile amp comes equipped with a 3-band EQ and a pre-amplifier, so you can get much more volume than you would think from this modestly-sized amp. You can easily switch from a huge, meaty sound fit for a metal band to a more biting tone that will fit punk rock.
- Comes with Ampeg "Super Grit Technology," which preserves tone.
- Powerful and versatile amp delivers an awesome sound.
- 30 watts of power is much more than many other compact amps.
- Over a foot tall and much heavier than other amps on this list.
Orange Crush Bass 50 1x12" 50-watt Bass Combo Amp Review
This analog mini bass amp operates on a whopping 50 watts, with a 12-inch speaker that will give you your classic bass tones without blowing out everyone’s ears. The ported cabinet that the Orange Crush Bass amp is built inside helps keep your low end meaty and solid.
In fact, this mini amp is full of features that are also on the brand’s OB1 and 4 Stroke amplifiers, so if you’re looking for a bass that packs some power, this is the one for you.
It has an active 3-band EQ to help shape your tone, as well as an AUX input and headphone output. It also has a chromatic tuner built-in, so you won’t have to struggle with getting your bass ready to go at the last minute before a gig!
- Don't give up any function for size, with full 3-band EQ.
- Versatile amp for a wide range of musical styles.
- Comes with a handle on top that makes it easy to transport.
- Some people prefer an amp with a black cabinet.
- One of the more expensive models on this list.
Fender Rumble 15 1x8" 15-watt Bass Combo Amp Review
The Fender Rumble 15 works with 15 watts of power for a vintage-looking amp from a recognized manufacturer, making it an excellent practice amp. The 8-inch speaker won’t overwhelm any room with noise, but you can get a good level of volume when you need it.
Like other vintage amps, it comes with a 3-band EQ, an AUX input, and a headphone output. You can plug your laptop or cell phone into it and play along with music to practice.
The Rumble 15 has a distinctly classic look, with black skin and a silver grille cloth. Add the distinctive Fender logo in the upper left hand corner, and you’ll have an amp that will be the envy of the neighborhood, especially if you have a Fender electric bass guitar.
- Vintage design will look cool no matter what room you're in.
- Not as costly as some of the other amps listed.
- Can be used as an amp for guitars, as well.
- 15 watts of power may be underwhelming for gigs.
Blackstar Fly 3 Bass 1x3" 3-watt Bass Combo Amp Review
For the ultimate compact bass amp, the Blackstar Fly 3 is one of the smallest on the market without sacrificing too much. It’s no more than seven inches long and five inches high, so you can cram it in your backpack before a gig with no problem.
Reviews say that the Blackstar Fly 3 amp is louder than expected, despite only 3 watts of power. This amp has excellent compression control, so bassists who tend to play with a lot of attack won’t sound like a muddy mess and have excellent tone control.
It also includes an AUX input and headphone output for when you don’t want to disturb other people. If you need a bass amp that can switch from playing loud gigs to practicing in your bedroom with ease, the Blackstar Fly 3 is an excellent choice.
- Big sound for a 3-watt amp.
- Compression control keeps you from sounding too muddy or buzzy.
- Extremely portable and easy to take on the road.
- Too small for some situations and will never be as powerful as a full-sized amp.
Hartke HD15 1x6.5" 15-watt Bass Combo Amp Review
The HD15 from Hartke is a sophisticated little amp that’s perfect for small gigs and rehearsals. It’s sturdy and not too small, so you can get a modest 15 watts of power without carrying around a massive piece of equipment.
This lightweight bass amp also comes with Hartke’s patented HyDrive – design speaker, which is made of a combination of aluminum and paper. This will give your tone a uniquely warm, zingy sound.
It’s equipped with a built-in limiter as well, so you can control your volume better. Like the other amps on this list, it has an AUX input and a headphone output to facilitate silent practice.
- HyDrive speaker offers a unique tone with paper-aluminum-combo.
- Built-in limiter for volume control.
- Sturdy and won't fall apart when carried around.
- Some players may not like the unique sound of a HyDrive speaker.
Mini Bass Amp Buyer’s Guide
The best small bass amp should be durable and just as powerful as you need it to be. There’s no one-size-fits-all for amps since there are so many different styles of playing and so many different situations you might be playing in.
Here’s a quick rundown of how you can find the best mini bass amp for you.
How To Choose the Best Mini Bass Amp
- Know that a mini bass amp is going to have fewer capabilities than a full-sized one. Mini bass amps will never have as much power as a full-sized amp. You also aren’t likely to find any miniature tube amps because of the delicate parts required. Mini amps will almost always be solid state.
- Determine how powerful you need your amp to be. A 15-watt amp will like the Fender Rumble or the Hartke HD15 has more power than a 3-watt amp such as Blackstar Fly 3 Bass Amp. However, this might not be an issue for you if you just need an amp to practice with. Determine how much power you really need.
- Figure out where you need to carry it. Are you going to be using your mini amp in cramped spaces? If so, you might want to invest in a more durable amp. If you’re just going to be playing in your bedroom, you can probably afford an amp that’s less heavy-duty.
What Features To Look For in a Mini Bass Amp
- Durability. Mini bass amps will be carted around and banged into things if you plan on taking them to gigs. Some bedroom amps are not designed for this kind of wear and tear. Make sure you buy an amp that’s made of a thick, sturdy material like wood.
- Tone and compression control. Bass guitars can sound muddy out of an amplifier if it doesn’t have appropriate compression control. Compression doesn’t make you louder; it just makes certain tones more audible without making the louder tones overwhelming.
If you’re looking for the best mini bass amplifiers currently available, this list will give you a great start. You don’t need to sacrifice your bass guitar’s tone just because you’re using a smaller amplifier. Invest in a small bass amp like the Ampeg Rocket Bass or the Orange Crush Bass so you can play small gigs with other musicians without drowning them out. Check out any of the above amps!