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Henriksen JazzAmp 12 Bass Amp

Amplifying an acoustic bass is always a challenge. Putting together a sound that is a reasonable facsimile of the instrument involves that magical combination of a good instrument setup, pick-ups, and a clean, properly equalized amplifier. Most jazz bassists are looking for a clean sound that accurately reproduces the voice of their instrument, only louder. Distortion, reverb and other effects are taboo amongst bass purists and manufacturers of amplifiers for acoustic basses have worked hard to accommodate the distinct needs.

Beginning in 1949, the sound reinforcement devices of choice for upright bassists were the tube amplifiers made by Ampeg. These still sound great, but do have a bit of tube distortion that many bass purists find troublesome. In the early 1980s Walter Woods revolutionized the bass world with his line of solid-state amplifiers that could reproduce the instrument with a clarity that became an industry standard. I can easily recall a time when, if you walked into a club and saw that tiny red amp with its tiny shiny bright red light, you knew the bass player was going to have a sound and that he was there to play. Since then there have been a handful of new amplifiers for bass that have challenged the benchmark set by Woods. In the ’90s the Acoustic Image Clarus amplifier and Contra combo challenged the Woods legacy and more than equaled it. The Acoustic Image amplifiers possess a warm tone and the ability to fine-tune the equalization for any sized room. The thrust speaker built into the combo unit is a critical innovation that enhances the bottom of the instrument’s voice (but also adds a lot of weight to the amp and makes it surprisingly heavy for its size).

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