While a lot of music enthusiasts still prefer to go with a regular guitar, the bass remains one of the most underrated instruments in modern music. What’s more, you’ll often hear those tongue-in-cheek jokes about bass players being the least important members of bands. So today’s topic is the best bass guitar amps under 500 bucks.
Anyhow, the truth is completely opposite, as you can’t even imagine a good band without a great and skilled musician playing a 4-string or a 5-string (or sometimes even more strings) bass guitar. In case you’re a bass player dealing with this and looking for a great bass amp, just know that we know your struggles.
However, just like with any other instrument these days, it might get hard to find a great amp within a reasonable price range. It seems that you need to spend a ton in order to have a great tone and reliable equipment.
But luckily for us, there are some great bass amps that aren’t really that expensive and that even significantly outperform their price range. With all this said, we’ll be helping you out in finding the best bass guitar amps under $500.
Don’t miss: 10 Best Budget Bass Guitars
And don’t worry – there’ll be something for everyone’s taste and needs. In short, you can’t really go wrong with any of the amps that we’re going to get into below. Without any further ado, the best bass guitar amps under 500 dollars await below.
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Ampeg goes all the way back to the earliest days of rock ‘n’ roll and is one of the companies that helped define the genre. Of course, there’s a lot of great stuff that they offer today as well, like their simple and affordable BA 210 bass guitar amp, a great choice to open the list of best bass guitar amps under 500 bucks.
The best part about it is that it has an astounding output power of 450 watts. All this below the $500 mark. The amp is also equipped with two 10-inch Ampeg speakers, as well as a separate speaker output just in case you want to use it with some other external cabinets.
The basic controls are pretty simple, although there are some interesting additions to it. Aside from a 3-band EQ and the volume control, there are switches for bottom-end and high-end boosts. The amp also comes with an effects loop and a direct XLR output.
But the most exciting part is that the amp comes with an integrated Scrambler overdrive circuit, giving you an option to blast some heavy bass tones. This one is perfect if you’re into “dirty” kind of bass tones.
Fender Rumble 200 v3
For many decades, Fender has been giving us awesome guitar and bass guitar amplifiers. As far as basses go, the company’s Rumble series always has some pretty great yet affordable amps. The one that we’re interested in for this particular topic is the Fender Rumble 200 v3.
Providing players with 200 watts of output power, this one will be more than enough for both live and studio settings. Compared to the previous example, this amp comes with only one speaker. However, it’s significantly larger with its diameter of 15 inches. And the “Rumble” label really fits this amp series well, since these amps do create quite a rumble.
One of its main traits is simplicity and ease of use. However, the amplifier is equipped with a 4-band EQ, which you don’t find that often. By having both the low and high mids, you’ll be able to tweak your bass guitar tone for any occasion.
The amp also has its integrated overdrive circuit, as well as some other tone-shaping features in there. With an additional switch for brightness (high-end boost), contour (further shaping of the mids), and the vintage voicing mode, you’ll have a pretty versatile bass guitar amp at your disposal that still retains its simplicity. Simply put, Fender is a shoo-in for any best bass guitar amps under 500 dollars list, and this one is no exception.
Hartke Kickback KB12
Whoever plays bass guitar is familiar with Hartke. Perfecting their craft over the past few decades or so, they’ve also begun making some pretty affordable bass amps that still keep great tone quality and reliability in there.
One of the examples that we can find today is their KB12 from the Kickback amp series. But although a combo amp that seems relatively compact, it comes with a total output power of mind-numbing 500 watts. If you need something to blow your guitar player off the stage and still not spend a lot, this is the best bass guitar amps under 500 bucks that you’ll want to get.
But the main focus of this amp is simplicity. We have the basic 3-band EQ with an additional “Shape” knob that gives a boost within the lower mids area, from 100 and up to 900 Hz.
We also have a direct XLR output in case you want to have it going directly into a PA system. But what’s also great is that you can unplug the amp’s 12-inch speaker and use it with an external cabinet of your choice. And in case you don’t feel like messing with your neighbors, there’s even a headphone output for silent practice.
Orange Crush Bass 50
From all the guitar and bass guitar amp brands, Orange is probably the most specific one. Not everyone enjoys the fuzzy tones that they produce, but these amps still have their strong following and have their worthy contender for the title of the best bass guitar amps under 500 dollars.
In case you’re a bass player looking for something rough, meaty, and infused with psychedelic vibes, then we’d recommend Orange Crush Bass 50. It bears 50 watts of power, which might not be that strong for an electric bass guitar amp. However, we can assure you that this bad boy will be more than enough for your live gigs.
Looking at the controls, we have the standard 3-band EQ, along with a parametric knob for the mid frequencies. Aside from the amp’s 12-inch speaker, which drives its full output, you can also use the headphone output with a specially designed cabinet simulator. We also have an additional auxiliary 1/8-inch input for an external audio source, like backing tracks.
Things are finalized with additional control for gain and “blend.” This blend control lets you mix the clean and distorted signal.
By adding Orange’s unique-sounding distortion and combining it with the amp’s very pronounced bottom-ends, you’ll have some really growling bass guitar tones at your disposal. Orange Crush Bass 50 is probably the perfect budget solution if you’re into heavy stoner rock bass tones.
Although a relatively younger brand on the market, Bugera has climbed up the popularity ladder over the past few years or so. One of the best things about them is the fact that they still keep the price at a very low level, all while keeping the qualities intact. Thus, they belong on our list of best bass guitar amps under 500 bucks.
One of their bass guitar amps that we’d like to bring up on this list is the BXD15A model. And let’s start right off with the best part about it – this amp has a total output power of 1000 watts. And yes, it’s still below the $500 mark.
At a higher volume level, its 15-inch aluminum Turbosound speaker will be more than enough to help you create a smaller earthquake at any venue. And while we’re at it, such a speaker construction adds a bit of a ring to the higher ends as well.
What’s also really great is that the preamp section comes with the well-known MOSFET technology which helps add some of that tube-like warmth and power to the tone.
There are also some additional features that make this amp really practical for live gigs. We have a DI output, an effects loop, auxiliary RCA input, as well as footswitch compatibility (and yes, the footswitch is included). With the amp’s footswitch, you can either mute the amp or completely override the effects loop.
And as if all of this wasn’t enough, the amp comes with a 3-band EQ, mid-frequency control, ultra-low boost, and even an onboard compressor. Getting one of these for a price under the $500 mark is practically a steal.
Peavey MAX 300
Among plenty of brands on the market, Peavey is the one that stands out, especially in the world of bass guitars. And in case you’re looking for a powerful yet affordable package, then you should definitely take a closer look at the company’s MAX 300 model.
This practical combo amp comes with two 10-inch speakers driving the amp’s 300 watts of output power, which is pretty strong when we’re talking about the best bass guitar amps under 500 bucks.
While retaining its simplicity, Peavey MAX 300 still has some very useful controls and features. So aside from a 3-band EQ, we have an additional overdrive circuit, additional boosts for each of the three EQ bands, and even a so-called “Kosmos-C” feature that does wonders to your tone.
There are also two specialized separate inputs for bass guitars with active and passive electronics. The back panel features an effects loop, an XLR DI output, aux input, headphone output, and even a separate output for an external speaker cabinet of your choice.
And in case you don’t feel like bothering with an external tuner, we even have one on the amp’s front panel. It’s an all-in-one practical yet versatile package for bassists of all the different genres.
Fender Rumble LT-25
Knowing how awesome their stuff can get, we just couldn’t help but include yet another amp from Fender’s Rumble series. However, this time around, we’re including their Rumble LT-25, which comes with only 25 watts of power. But there are a few important things that make this small amp so awesome.
First off, the Rumble LT-25 model comes with an integrated digital amp modeling unit, making it extremely versatile. Additionally, you can also pair it up with your computer for easier access to some tone-shaping features. But although it’s mainly intended for practice sessions, this little amp can also come in handy for some rehearsals and even smaller and quieter gigs.
While the controls on it seem pretty simple, the amp comes with its 50 presets that you can edit to your liking. This opens up a lot of possibilities for many different musical styles. Of course, you can’t expect this one to be a fully professional amp, but it still offers a lot of opportunities no matter your skill level and musical background. Good stuff, entirely worthy of the best bass guitar amps under 500 dollars rundown.
Ampeg Micro CL
Looking more into Ampeg’s stuff, we’d also like to examine the company’s Micro CL bass guitar amp model. Now, this is actually a conveniently-sized stack with an amp head and a cabinet. Although usually sold separately, with Micro CL, you’ll get a full package as one product.
The amp has 100 watts of output power, while the cabinet features two standard 10-inch speakers. We have two different instrument inputs on the amp head, a regular and an additional one that reduces the input gain for 15 dB and comes really in handy for bass guitars with active electronics.
Other than that, we have regular controls for master volume, a 3-band EQ, and even a separate volume level control for auxiliary inputs. It’s a very simple one and it’s intended as a cheaper and more practical alternative for those who prefer the amp head and cabinet formation. What’s more, you can even use it with other cabinets that you might prefer. We’re nearly at the end of our best bass guitar amps under 500 dollars list, but there’s one more fella to check out.
Lastly, we would like to wrap up our list of best bass guitar amps under 500 bucks by taking a closer look at yet another Hartke amp, the HD150 model. Here we have a 150-watt combo amp with one 15-inch aluminum speaker.
However, the configuration is accompanied by a single 1-inch tweeter. But one of the main priorities here was to have a durable and practical amp that you could carry around for gigs and rehearsals.
Of course, the features on it are up to standards as well. Along with basic controls for master volume and a 3-band EQ, there’s also an additional graphic equalizer with 6 frequency ranges.
We even have a direct XLR output for mixing boards, an effects loop, a headphone output, as well as an auxiliary input for 1/8-inch cables.
The amp is also pretty inexpensive considering its qualities. You’ll get that aluminum speaker “zing” that some bassists like, as well as more versatility with an additional 1-inch driver. We hope you found your very own best bass guitar amps under 500 dollars today, rock on!