11 Best Free Bass Amp VST Plugins 2021 – Create Heavy Basslines

11 Best Free Bass Amp VST Plugins 2024 – Create Heavy Basslines

Last Updated on January 1, 2024

When recording bass from home, you could go direct into your audio interface. And you can get some decent results that way, but it can sound a little lifeless.

But you don’t need record through a huge Ampeg stack to get studio quality tone. A free bass amp VST can make a huge difference, and it saves you from having to set up heavy cabs and mics. If you don’t believe me, you should give it a try.

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best free bass amp VSTs available. Let’s get those bass frequencies pumping for you!

SHB-1 By Ignite Amps

SHB-1 By Ignite Amps

Ignite Amps is quite well known among metal guitarists and metal heads in general. They make quality VST plugins that work great with impulse responses (IRs).

Well, it just so happens that they have a solution for bass too. And of course, that’s what the SHB-1 is. In Ignite Amps’ own words, it was based on the “Extreme Bass Head,” originally built by Ignite Amps for Italian bassist Federico Fulceri.

The SHB-1 is great for live performance, jamming, tracking, and mixing alike.

It comes with dynamic 12AX7/ECC 83 coupled triode stages analog modeling, mono/stereo processing support, selectable oversampling rate (up to 8x), global input/output level controls, double precision 64-bit floating point mathematical model, and fully automatable controls.

Looking at the attractive graphical user interface, you see all the standard controls you would see on a regular bass amp – gain, bass, mid, treble, balance, and volume. That said, it comes with convenient deep, bright, and shape switches – something you wouldn’t see on every bass amp.

All that sounds well and good (sounds fancy even), but how does this thing sound, anyway?

Well, as you might expect, the SHB-1 is great for heavier genres, and you can pull some seriously punchy bass tones out of this plugin. Of course, you can shape it further with the onboard controls as well as additional VSTs.

Bottom line – even if you don’t play heavier genres, this plugin is worth a go. It’s available as a Windows VST and Mac AU.

Download: Ignite Amps

Live Guitar And Bass Bundle LE By Audified

Live Guitar And Bass Bundle LE By Audified

Audified makes some sick, attractive looking plugins. So, we couldn’t very well ignore the Live Guitar And Bass Bundle LE, which as you probably guessed, gives you access to amps and effects for both guitar and bass.

It’s compatible with Windows and Mac, and it comes in AAX, Audio Unit, and VST formats. Fire!

Now, here’s what you need to know about the bundle. It includes several “lighter” versions of Audified plugins – ampLion Free, GK Amplification 2 LE (featuring an accurate simulation of the Gallien-Krueger MB150 amp and GK speaker – if you’re a bass player, that probably caught your eye), and inTone 2.

If you’re a guitarist-bassist like me, you’ll dig getting access to all this stuff, especially for free.

In terms of graphical user interface, I mean, what can we say? These babies are impeccably designed. We’re kind of speechless, to be honest. Of course, Audified’s goal would be to get you hooked so you eventually upgrade to the full versions of their plugins, right?

Anyway, as a bass player, naturally, the main thing you’re interested in is the GK Amplification 2 LE, I’m sure. So, we need to take a closer look at that.

Again, the user interface is beautifully designed and fully featured. We would talk about all the controls it comes with, but we’d be here all day. What’s cool about it, though, is that it comes with a metronome and track player.

Obviously, the free version is somewhat limited compared to the Pro version, but you can get a lot of great tones out of it. The MB150 specifically is probably on the brighter side of bass amps, but naturally there’s a lot of shaping you can do within the EQ. You could use additional EQ effects, but you might not even need to.

Sounds? Yes! This thing sounds great to my ears, and I would be happy to use it on any of my projects. You can get some thick bass with this!

I guess this would almost make it an instant download. But like I said, it’s limited compared to the Pro version, so keep that in mind.

Download: Audified

TSE BOD v3.0.0 By TSE Audio

TSE BOD v3.0.0 By TSE Audio

Now, there are always a few people that say, “Hey man, I don’t need anything so complicated and powerful. Just give me something I can set up and run with fast.”

Don’t worry, for you, there’s always the TSE BOD v3.0.0 and as you can probably tell from the image or video, this baby is super simple.

Looking at the user interface, you can probably guess what the TSE BOD is supposed to be emulating (if you can’t, then you might still be new to bass). It’s basically a Sansamp style unit. Its design, by the way, is smooth. We like it.

In terms of controls, you’ve only got a few – level, drive, low, high, blend, and presence.

But wait, what’s the “drive” control doing there? Well, BOD stands for “bass overdrive,” so yes, this is an effects pedal plus preamp in a manner of speaking.

That said, you can always dial out the overdrive or use it subtly without giving your bass too much of a fuzzed-out sound.

More importantly, sounds. Well, we like what we hear coming out of the BOD. And it’s quite authentic to the Sansamp it’s supposed to be emulating, if a little warmer.

So, for all you instant gratification people, just download this and start playing.

TSE BOD is available for Windows and Mac.

Download: TSE Audio

Bass Deluxe By lostin70s

Bass Deluxe By lostin70s

Now, here’s a VST that quite a few users found to be quite impressive.

Bass Deluxe emulates a tube bass amp with a fat sound. Fascinatingly, even guitarists found it kind of usable.

This versatile VST comes with two identical but independent channels with adjustable compression and drive as well as nine-band equalizers. That alone makes it quite unique.

It also comes with a pedal board of six pedals including a Tone Drive, beatbox with multiple styles and looper, adjustable presence boost, and four bass cab models.

Okay, so it’s quite powerful. The only thing we need to know now is how it sounds, right? Well, not only do we find the sounds quite authentic, as promised, you can pull a lot of sounds out of it. Not to mention the effects, which include vibrato/chorus, compressor, Tone Drive, digital reverb, tremolo, and delay. That’s more than you’re going to find with most VSTs!

Bass Deluxe is available as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST, as well as a Mac VST and AU.

Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE

Bass Preamp By Ronald Passion

Bass Preamp By Ronald Passion

Okay, so it’s all downhill from here. I’m kidding, of course. We still have a few solid plugins to look at. That said, there are only so many free plugins that “do the trick,” and many of the VSTs we’re about to look at are kind of the “legacy” ones.

Plenty of people talk about Bass Preamp and that probably has something to do with it being around for a while (and maybe being one of the few options available back in the day).

You can tell that the user interface is super simple. You get controls for drive in, shaping, tone, bass, mid, in, and volume. Mostly what you’d expect. But it also has switches for on/off, extra low, extra high, solo or dual tube, and bypass/cabinet (onboard cabinet simulation) So, those are nice additions.

I’m not sure how crazy I am about the cab sim, but some people love it, so there you go.

For a basic preamp, it’s a solid choice, and the main thing we must give it credit for is its versatility. You can pull a lot of sounds out of it depending on how you tweak it.

So, for free? Not bad at all.

We could only find it as a Windows 32-bit VST though.

Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE

Doctor Bass By DamyFx

Doctor Bass By DamyFx

We rather like the name of this one – Doctor Bass. It’s meant to emulate an American tube amp and cab with speaker modeling.

The user interface is quite simple and the look of it is kind of old school. The background and cabs are probably the best design elements! The main controls are gain, low, middle, high, counter, power, and master.

The coolest part about it is that it has several cab models built in. And we all know that cabs can drastically change your tone. And in this case, they do!

We certainly can’t say it’s the most impressive VST in the world, but for some instant gratification, it’s worth a look. Again, its versatility is impressive given the free nature of the plugin and that’s probably the best part about it.

Since the plugin is kind of old school, we could only find it as a 32-bit Windows VST.

Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE

VeeBassAmp BS Edition By Viper ITB

VeeBassAmp BS Edition By Viper ITB

Now it’s time to look at the colorful VeeBass Amp BS Edition. Funny name, but you can’t judge everything by its cover (even though we do it anyway).

This bass amp sim was inspired by virtuoso Billy Sheehan’s rig (always a good sign). Although it’s not necessarily going to give you Sheehan’s exact tone, it does employ some of the same methodology.

And the concept revolves separating the high end from the low end. So, highs and lows each get their own signal chains that are then combined at output. So, even if you distorted the higher frequencies, you wouldn’t lose any dB with the lower frequencies. And you can blend the two, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish tonally.

All this is reflected in the plugin’s design. You get a high pickup “channel” where you can adjust the higher frequencies, and a low pickup “channel” where you can adjust the lower frequencies.

So, of any of the VSTs we’ve looked at so far, this one is kind of unique. And I rather like the concept myself.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a video of anyone using this VST, but if it sounds interesting to you, you might want to give it a go!

This one is only available as a 32-bit Windows VST.

Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE

Bass Grinder Free By Audio Assault

Bass Grinder Free By Audio Assault

We often see this one popping up in conversations as well. Bass Grinder Free is a metal bass machine. The creator says you can plug right in and get mix ready tones. It comes with two amps and three cabs.

The user interface is not bad, as you can see. It comes with controls for gain, bass, mid, treble, depth, and crush.

True to form, you can achieve some devastatingly heavy bass tones with this plugin. And if you like using gain on your bass, you’ll probably have a lot of fun with this one. I wouldn’t say heavy is all it does, but if you’re looking for mellowed out groove tones, this one probably isn’t for you.

Bass Grinder Free is available as a 32-bit and 64-bit Windows VST, as well as a Mac VST, AU, and RTAS.

Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE

Slap Passion By Ronald Passion

Slap Passion By Ronald Passion

Slap Passion is yet another tube bass preamp. It comes with controls for input, bass, mid, freq, hi, and volume, as well as an on/off switch. It also has MIDI CC controls.

So far as bass VSTs are concerned, this is one of the more basic ones out there, both in terms of design and controls.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a video of anyone using this plugin, but that might be because it’s only available as a 32-bit Windows VST.

Download: Ronald Passion

BIG By AcmeBarGig

BIG By AcmeBarGig

BIG stands for Bass Integrated Gain, and it isn’t just an amp. It’s also an effects suite.

In terms of effects, it comes with noise gate, Granite compressor, and a preset manager. You also get a cabinet shaper, which allows you to emulate just about any cab imaginable (BIG promises there).

It also features “Gut” technology, which allows you to change the inner workings of the amp. You can adjust crossovers and filters, which can change the way the amp works.

In total, you get individually bypassable twin 12AX7 preamp tubes, tweakable tonestack EQ, two tweakable crossovers and filters, Phoenix Compressor, and the other features already mentioned.

We can’t tell what it’s supposed to sound like from the demo (sounds like someone just put it through a non-bass virtual instrument track), but if it’s half as good as they say it is, it’s got to be worth a try.

BIG is available as a 32-bit Windows VST.

Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE

ATKBass Preamp By Matthieu Brucher

ATKBass Preamp By Matthieu Brucher

Okay, at this point we’re scratching the bottom of the bargain barrel, but that isn’t to say you won’t find some decent stuff down there.

And what we dug up was this – ATKBass Preamp. It’s supposed to emulate a Fender Bassman preamplifier, and it comes with controls for gain, low, middle, high, volume, and dry/wet.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a video for this one. Too bad because it sounds promising. User reviews are skewed towards positive, though there are some negative ones mixed in there.

ATKBass Preamp is available as a 32- and 64-bit Windows VST, as well as a Mac VST and AU. So, give it a go and let us know how you get on.

Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE

Do I Have To Put My Bass Through A VST?

No, you don’t, but it’s certainly recommended.

Like I said, a direct bass tone can work, but it can also be a little lifeless, not quite what you’re looking for. You can always apply a channel strip and stuff like that later, but there’s the chance that’s still not going to get you where you need to go sonically.

That said, if you’re happy with your current production methods, I’m not telling you to change anything. Do what’s already working for you. Just make sure to leave some space for experimentation, because you never quite know what might come out of that!

Best Free Bass Amp VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

So that's it; check out our other guide for more great free VST plugins.

Bass is sometimes overlooked, but it tends to play an important role in mixes!

When a bass locks in with the drums or percussion, it can create a stronger and tighter rhythm section overall.

And the harmony it creates can be essential for other instruments to find their place in the mix, be it piano, guitar, or otherwise.

So, if you’re trying to up your game with your mixes, don’t forget to think about bass! Creating better bass tracks is time well spent.