A busker’s best friend. His amp. Busking amps are absolutely vital if you want to actually be heard on a busy high street, and let’s face it, nobody wants to busk on a quiet high street! Even if you are using an acoustic instrument, trust me, you should have a busking amplifier for it. This article will firstly recommend WHY and HOW, before suggesting some options for you, whatever your budget happens to be.
As I’ve said above, the main reason you need a busking amp is simply to be heard. It will increase the distance away that somebody can be and still be gripped by your amazing busking skills, and it will make you stand out. Not only this, it gives a far more professional edge to your performance, not just in sound but in your appearance too, having a busking amp can make the difference between someone thinking your a hobbyist or a real musician, and lead to more hands in pockets for donations. That’s the best thing about it, it can pay for itself.
So how does a busking amp work? I don’t have power on the street! That’s why it is called a busking amp, it works by either disposable batteries or a chargeable, internal battery. This is cool in itself, but the best thing about lots of them is that they often have 8 hours of battery life, 15 watts of power (enough) and are even chargeable in a car!
Which one is for me? Here are some great busking amps of all different price ranges and capabilities. Pick one that’s best for you and add a cutting edge to your busking.
Ashton BSK158 – An affordable busking amp with an 8″ speaker pumping 15 Watts out. Two inputs so you can plug in your guitar and a microphone (super professional). This amp has an internal rechargeable battery, and a brilliant three band EQ to tweak your sound. Awesome.
I believe the term is ‘Cheap and cheerful’, but if you’re on a very tight budget this amp is an option, only 5 watts but can still help you out with your busking, and is powered by a 9V battery. Completely portable and perhaps worth a punt at that price.
100 Watts of power, multiple inputs and completely portable! Wowsa. You’ll pay a premium for it, but you can even play small venues with this bad boy, so if you need to crank out your tunes while busking this may well be your option, be careful it’s nothing that can be deemed unsociable though, as authorities will ask you to stop. Maybe resist turning this one up to eleven
A great brand coming in at under £100/$150. Roland amps are great, and this portable amp is great value and useful for both busking and practice.
I’ll be reviewing more busking amplifiers as time goes on, until then, make sure you leave me a comment or drop me a line if you have used any of these amps and agree with my valuation, or have another amp or PA system to recommend.