An amp for both guitar and bass?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by robot, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. robot


    Feb 29, 2000
    Jacksonville, FL

    I am curious if there is an amp (combo or head) that functions well for bass as well as guitar. I enjoy playing Fender Strats, Gibson SG's, and my old Fender Jazz bass, but the amount of equipment needed makes for double case of GAS.

    I have heard that older Fender Bassman heads perform this dual function well, but I have not experimented with it yet. My thought is it would be a matter of switching cabinets from a 2x12 to a 1x15 (for guitar to bass).

    As I comb through Ebay I say "Well, there's a good Boogie Mk III, but then there is the Portaflex I saw a few minutes ago..."

    Your suggestions and ideas would be helpful.

  2. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    There is, I have one, in fact. It's a tube head.

    Mine's a '71 Music Man. I've been trying to get rid of it, since I discovered shortly after buying it that I don't like tube stuff.
  3. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    just get a bass amp. then play the guitar through it also. it sounds awsome! i play my tele through my trace elliot comando head and a crate 410! wow!!
    distortion is the best i have ever heard!
    i did play my guitar through my hartke 2000 head and a fender 15. talk about bottom end. stuff was falling of the walls. plus a guitar is much louder.
    i don't see whay more guitarist don't use bass amps.

  4. RyKnoz


    Dec 22, 2001
    Well. I never really heard of a guitar/bass amp but your best bet would be a bass amp, the guitar would sound a little deeper but nothing bad will happen to the amp because the speaker is thick enough, if you plug a bass into a guitar amp... that thing WILL RIP.
  5. Eden heads are hybrid bass/guitar amps (even labled as such), although I haven't heard a guitar played through one yet.

  6. I recommend using the bass amp for guitar as well.. All bass amps I've tried on guitars have sounded much better than amps for guitar. Guits sound magnificent on my bass combo, also with distortion. Great definition and powerfull lows. If I played guitar instead of bass, I would definately use bass amplification over gtr amps.
  7. while the bassman will perform well for both, if you wanted to get any tube overdrive for the guitar, keep in mind the same will happen for the bass. and bass usually requires more power to be heard in a band.
  8. BassPlayerGush


    Sep 23, 2001
    im pretty sure that bass guitars can easily blow out guitar amps... so i would not recommend that!

    but the sound that is produced when a guitar is put through a (typically tube) bass amp is called the "brown tone". it is very sought after by a lot of blues guitarists. i read in an article that b.b. king's contract was very, very simple and one of the few things he requested was a fender bassman amp.

    i bought a MIM fender strat off some stupid kid i go to school with for $120;) . it is in beautiful condition, he played for a week and gave up 6 years ago. i play it through ampeg v4bh tube head and my ampeg cab only has one 15" sub. but it sounds great! if you want a really great dirty sound, crank up the master and eq and leave the volume down and get a great ANALOG distortion pedal (ex. electro harmonix big muff pi). you'll be happy:D
  9. Don't forget that in the good old days bassists used guitar heads and speakers. Can't be absolutely sure about makes and models but I reckon a search through the history of (say) Marshall, HiWatt, etc, you'll find this is the case.

    I use a 50W vintage Laney head. I've abosultely no idea whether its a guitar or bass head (but is very probably for guitar). I use a Yamaha fretless with TI flats and a Bass Collection with Rotosound Stainless Steels.

    :D I REALLY LOVE the sound of that amp.:D

    I'm sure there's smoething out there that'll serve both purposes.

  10. jmanyea


    Mar 20, 2002
    St. Louis
    I am waiting for my Tech 21Sansamp RBI pre-amp that's been on b/o for 7weeks (but that's a whole other story). I plan on using as a gu***r amp also because it has a Fender Bassman emulator. Along with a 2x10 cab I think it should sound cool.
  11. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    The 59 Bassman was a 4x10 combo (with Jensens) designed for bass but guitarists loved it. It has been reissued for guitar.

    Some guitarists use the blackface and silverface Bassman heads with guitar cabs.

    The aforementioned Musicmen heads can be used for both.

    The Vox AC30 was originally designed to be used for bass and guitar, the inside of the cab was marked which version it was.

    The Marshall JMP amp heads can be used for both regardless what model it is. I think Paul Kossoff used a bass cab for guitar.

    The Selmer Treble and Bass was designed for both. I have an old (dead) Kelly head that had bass and treble channels. Marshall made ss and tube lead and bass heads and cabs.

    The Sound City/Hiwatt heads were used for both guitar and bass.
  12. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    I'm in a similar situation-I play a 10 string Chapman Stick that has two outputs-one for the 5 low bass strings, and one for the 5 high guitar-range strings. I tried running through my bass amp (Mesa or Ampeg head into SWR cabs) and a 60 watt 1x12 Carvin tube guitar combo but it's all a little bit much to carry around.

    So, I got a Boss GT-3 guitar effects processor for the top strings. It has amplifier and cabinet modeling effects that can be tailored to sound very good through a full range speaker (like a quality bass cab with a horn).

    I run the low strings through the preamp of the bass head and take a line out from the FX loop. I run this signal and the output of the GT-3 into a Rolls Playmate mini-mixer, which puts out a line-level signal into the FX return of the bass amp. It sounds good enough to me that I've put the guitar amp up for sale.
  13. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA

    i think that's the idea right there!!!

    but make sure if you are using lots of distortion to turn your horn OFF or you'll blow it.
  14. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    If you're merely playing stuff that needs only a clean straight up sound, try Acoustic Image's Clarus. i've used a few on occassion with my Tacoma jazzbox, and its a great sound.

    if you've got the moolah, there are two other great options. for a purely clean tone, a Walter Woods would kick butt. if you're going for a more rock type feel, Tech 21's PSA-1. has mostly presets for guitar, but there's also a nice handfull for bass that's similar to its RBI brethren. Rob Deleo used to have one, and he got some mean tones. couple that with a nice tube poweramp, and you'd have a helluva rig.

    but it is hard to beat a cool Bassman head. Ooo!
  15. My Sunn 300t would kill with a guitar. The distortion channel and eq would give the guitarist a lead and rythm sound. But it might be just a little loud with 300 watts.
    I also use a Traynor YBA-1 Bassmaster that is often used by guitarists. Its supposed to sound like a 50 watt plexi Marshall.
    Any bass amp could probably be used for guitar but be very carefull using bass through open back guitar cabs. The bass notes will dammage the speakers even a low volumes.
    Rock on
  16. lost_in_space


    Nov 16, 2001

    just found out this thread - one year later !

    I can give you one example of a guitar combo that sounds like KRAP on guitar, but beautiful on bass :

    the Sunn Alpha 112

    Bass reflex 1x12 enclosure, solid state, not your obvious choice of a guitar amp. The guy sold it to me as a bass amp, and he was right !

    Its been working fine as a bass/keyboard amp for 25 years. Sunns are great anyway.
  17. Most bass amps will have no trouble reproducing electric guitar. You can't say the same for guitar amps. I have an older Peavey 210TX that works just fine as a guitar amp as long as you turn down the horn.
  18. robot


    Feb 29, 2000
    Jacksonville, FL
    Thanks for the great response...I have been on a detour from bass for a while...I'm looking forward to trying out your suggestions with some imagination and an old Gibson LP Custom-tabacco 'burst, which came my way a few weeks ago.

    Eden, Sunn, Traynor, and Laney are familiar names to me in my travels to the various shops on Long Island, NY. I imagine the kids in the Commack GC will be giving me strange looks as I plug the LP into the bass heads there...

  19. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Nope. They only sound good with guitar. For bass, they absolutely suck. Verily, this is true, for I owned one (a '65), then it was stolen. There is a god, and it's on my side.

    That said, buy a good bass amp. You can tweak it to get a decent guitar sound through it. An overdrive pedal would be helpful for some warmth. Even my SWR Workingman's 12 sounds good with guitar.
  20. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I concur. Bassmen *suck* for bass. My singer worked at a studio that had one as the only bass amp. I lugged my GK on the subway rather than use that mushmachine. He got fired, so now I don't have to see it anymore. Hooray!