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Can Guitar Amp Be Used For Bass?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mrbill180, Jan 11, 2002.

  1. mrbill180


    Dec 28, 2001
    I have a Squire 15 amp that was used for a guitar. Can this be used for a bass as well?

    I'm totally new and was thinking maybe I can use this amp to practice on while saving $$ for a bigger and better one. Please give some advice!:confused:
  2. leper


    Jun 21, 2001
    1) welcome to talkbass since youre new

    2) search before you ask...this questions been asked alot recently

    3) to be short about it: sort of
  3. PJR


    Jun 20, 2001
    N.E. PA
    For a quiet bedroom rehearsal it should be fine....

    for anything else......probably not.

  4. Hello Mrbill180 and welcome to Talk Bass.

    This subject has come up quite alot, as Leper says. And, yes, you could search the archive. However, I'll try to help as best as I can.

    Generally speaking, electronically, both types of amp are very similar indeed. There's only one octave difference at the low end between guitar and bass so the preamp stage(s) will serve reasonably for both instruments. And because the high end is of little consiquence for either, that's no bother as well.

    But, and here's the punch, the types of speaker required for guitar and bass are quite different because of the genuine wallop of sound a bass can give. (Again, that's generally speaking - I'm an electronics man, not a speaker buff.....:D) So. in short, you're quite likely to wreck the speaker in a guitar amp by playing bass through it. Having said that, I guess it'll not hurt very much at low volumes but it will when turned up.

  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Very low volume is the key, watch out for a "farting" noise. Good luck!
  6. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I'd also try turning the bass knob down a little bit.
    It basically comes down to if your care about the amp or not. If it is important to you don't use it for bass. If you don't really care about it then go for it.

    The real problem with using a guitar amp is speaker unloading. Guitar amps are usually open backed, this means there is no pressure behind the speaker, when you hit a low note, there won't be enough pressure to force the speaker back foward, and the cone will damage itself.

    I use a little tiny peavey 15watt amp thats 15 years old from time to time, when I'm in a different room and to lazy to move a better amp in. I push it really hard to. I've been doing this for years and it still works. The key is I couldn't care less if I blew it sky high, and I know I'm slowly destroying it, but it is convienient, I have no use for it, and it has no resell value.
  7. 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
    The short answer is no. You can, however successfully play a guitar through a bass amp. But that wasn't your question, was it?
  8. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
    Actually, the short answer is you can, but you might screw up the amp.

    The long answer is, frequency distortions from the bass could cause problems to the guitar amp speaker. The guitar amp speaker is not made to handle lower frequencies, and therefore you have both a higher tendency to blow out the speaker, as well as a tendancy to get really bad distortion (the distortion is also due to the inability to process the low frequencies by the pre-amp). As since we are speaking about a Squier Practice Amp anyway, the consruction is probobly not top notch.

    Amps have a bit of a hirearchy of what is able to be played on them in my opinion. Guitar Amps = Guitars, Bass Amps = Guitars and Basses, Keyboard Amps = Guitars, Basses, and Keyboards. Of course if you notice, the price does go up as you go up the hirearchy as well.
  9. Wxp4759cb


    Nov 23, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    You can play a keyboard through a bass amp. One time I saw a keyboard player playing through an SWR 4x10, and it sounded incredible!
  10. I've often seen high eng bass gear used for keys - as long as it has a tweeter and is reasonably flat, they can sound awesome.

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