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Anybody play a guitar amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by FatboyJ115, May 7, 2015.

  1. Today I was over my guitarists house. He was playing through his 5150 4x12 so obviously my 15W fender rumble had absolutely no chance of keeping up. He drug out his heavyashell 5150 2x12 combo and I played through that. Something about it just sounded aggressive as hell.

    Anybody on talkbass play through a guitar amp?
    Or have directions on what amps I should go for to re-capture that tone?

    P.S. I know I am posting a lot lately, hope it doesn't bother anyone.
    monsterthompson likes this.
  2. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    Careful, at higher volumes you may eat right through those speakers. The amp will be fine, but yeah, you run the risk of tearing up your buddies speakers.
    There are plenty of ways to get an aggressive bass tone; amp voicing, pre-amp pedals, light distortion or overdrive.

  3. So it's possible to run through a 5150 into a bass speaker cab, without everything just breaking?
    How common is it for someone to do that?
    Aqualung60 and SunnBass like this.
  4. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    Sure, I used to use an old Sunn Model-T into a 2x15 bass cab.
    Sounded rad!
    rickwebb, Pyrat and Aqualung60 like this.
  5. I think le my plays through a guitar amp or is it head?
  6. middy


    Mar 14, 2007
    Lots of people play through older style (ie not designed for distortion) tube guitar heads. Sunns, Marshall Super Lead / Super Bass, Ampeg V4, Fender Showman, Orange, HiWatt, Matamp, etc. there wasn't much difference if any between them back in the 60s and early 70s.

    Personally, I would rather play bass through a Marshall Super Lead and a sealed bass cab than 90% of the modern bass amps. The midrange is gorgeous, and the bass is tight with a nice low mid punch.
  7. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    If it helps, I use a '66 Fender Princeton Amp through a 1x12 (TL 806) bass cab to practice with. It won't hurt the amp at all. You might lose a few lower frequencies using a guitar amp to power bass, but it is certainly do-able.

    It used to be the other way around... The first Marshall amp was a modified version of the late 50s Fender Bassman amp! It was "interceded" to be a bassist's amp! But guitarists loved the "bigger" sound!

    Amp-wise, guitar and bass aren't that different. However, choosing the best speaker and cab for bass is critical! Open back cabs aren't useable for bass at loud volumes! But, I'll remind y'all that the most recorded bassist (Carol Kaye) used a "Fender bass" through a Fender Super Reverb Amp for most of her career (60s through mid 70s)!
    TyBo likes this.
  8. It sounds like something I'd definitely have to experiment with more before I went out of my way to buy a guitar head.
  9. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    you'll generally get a horrid tone thru a guitar amp for a multitude of reasons... in effect, it's a very bad idea.
  10. How so? What are some of the downsides to it? Besides loss of bottom end?
  11. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    I've had some good times plugging into a Fender Acoustasonic Jr, sounds very clear. I've had even better results plugging using that amp and a Hughes and Kettner QC421 Bass amp.
  12. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club

    Apr 22, 2006
    PDX / SFO / HNL
    two words.... "Frequency Response"
  13. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    A very long time ago I used a Marshall Super Lead 100watt valve amp through bass cabs. It sounded better than the bass versions I tried.

    I played it for several years. To my ears it sounded punchier and more defined.

    Low volume rehearsals might be different, but these days I think bass amps, cabs and combos have come on so far that they would always outperform any other amps on a gig.
  14. Depends on the guitar amp. Even a little peavey bandit can sound good until the speaker blows.

    I'd use any of several different clean guitar amps though decent bass speaker cabinets.
  15. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    It really depends on the amp and what kind of tone your after. You should be aware that most guitar speakers/speaker cabinets aren't good for bass, especially over the long haul. As mentioned above some "guitar" amps are based on pretty general circuits designed to support just about anything (accordions, etc). The limiting factor is usually volume. Low wattage and frail speakers can sound splendid for bass but it doesn't get loud.
    A lot of guitar amps "choke off" some low frequencies to allow for more power in higher frequencies. Voicing like this can be more subtle than you think and leave you sackless, or you find yourself overcompensating with whatever low end available and sound muddy and confused.
    Some of that agressive sound you experienced was probably open mids being pushed hard through tubes. You can get there with the right bass amp/cab too.
  16. Argassab


    Dec 16, 2014
    Cayman Islands
    Used a 100w 212 Yamaha guitar amp, sealed the back up to where the components are. Small venues around 50 people. Sounded ok maybe because they were dancing but one time one man said the bass sounds like a guitar, I didn't care. Was using it because I didn't have a bass amp at those times (a few gigs).
  17. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    Here, here.

    OP, a 5150 would make an excellent choice for a head (though I seem to recall there's a legit "bass version" of that head that may suit you better).

    Get yourself a square 412 that's designed for bass and drown in your glorious growly goodness.
  18. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains

    I'm a 5150 nut. I don't believe I've ever heard that.
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    All of my basses are 5 stringers ... Bass amps handle the low B better than guitar amps
  20. Growlmonkee


    Jan 30, 2013
    Florida, U.S.
    Guitar amps lack the oomph to push the bottom end through long excursion speakers, once you get up to 400 hz.+ the speaker doesn't have to move a ton of air to project the sound to a reasonable lvl. In a recording situation some guitar amps might be just the sound your after, but for live performance, your low notes will be shallow, though you might have some nice harmonic content, (that's what's to like about a good guitar amp). Long excursion speakers need a lot more power, because they move a lot further, that's why there aren't a lot of 500 watt guitar amps, and there are quite a few 500 watt+ bass amps. The way to project low frequency, speaker wise, is to move the speaker cones a long distance, guitar speakers are not designed to move that way, but they will anyway.....for a short time, then they will break. It's good to want to be different than everybody else, however, you are giving up a lot of fundamental tone, using guitar gear for bass, (either speakers, or amps).

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