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Can I use a Marshall guitar Head for my Bass ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Moltisanti, Apr 8, 2005.


  1. Moltisanti

    Moltisanti

    Apr 8, 2005
    I am starting a new band playing Bass (having played Guitar in my last band for 5 years), and i'm curious to know if anyone has ever used a Marshall DSL100 Guitar head for Bass ?

    The thing is I already have my Guitar rig with this awesome super loud , powerful head, and don't wanna shell out loads of cash for a powerful Bass rig if somehow I can use the head I already have.

    I've heard stories from the Bass player in my old band about guys using Guitar heads for Bass, but I don't know anyone who does. Will putting a Bass through my Marshall head screw it up ? I assume I'd need a bass cab with the correct Ohmage etc...

    can anyone help ???


    Apologies if this has been discussed before, if so post a link to the thread and I'll read it :)
     
  2. 43% burnt

    43% burnt an actor who wants to run the whole show

    May 4, 2004
    Bridgeport, CT
    NO, I wouldn't reccomend it. First of all it will damage your head. Secondly, you wont get any bottom end out of it- especially a marshall. Third, you need more power to cut through the mix. Depending on what type of amp you go with, bass usually requires 2 to 3 times the power (watts) of the guitar amps your playing with. There are obvious exceptions- tube vs. solid state watts. You will also need a cabinet(s) to go with it that handle the low freqencies. What type of music are you playing?
     
  3. Moltisanti

    Moltisanti

    Apr 8, 2005
    it's not going to be super heavy, but i want a clean punchy sound, similar to the guy in Incubus, warm but clear.

    a lot of the stuff is quite chilled, but I want enough headroom to cut through when needed.

    any recommendations of something not too expensive ?
     
  4. No you won't.
     
  5. 43% burnt

    43% burnt an actor who wants to run the whole show

    May 4, 2004
    Bridgeport, CT
    well theres alot of options out there depending on your budget. I play in a metal band, and I use a Trace Elliot AH-250 gp7sm through Genzbenz cabs: 2x10, 1x15. My setup is great I absolutely love it. Its plenty loud, and the eq on the amp is very versitile so I can use it for many different styles. I bought my rig used for $650 (which was a steal), new value would've been somewhere around $1600. I've heard good things about Ashdown amps, and theyre not to expensive. Gallien Kreuger makes some decent amps too. Avatar makes great inexpensive bass cabs...alot of talk about them on here. Anyway, Theres alot to choose from out there. I would take your bass down to store with a nice selection and try em all out.
     
  6. 43% burnt

    43% burnt an actor who wants to run the whole show

    May 4, 2004
    Bridgeport, CT
    Golden boy- Really?? I have a 5150 guitar head, I asked a few people about playing my bass through it and the general consensus was that it would damage the head. I didn't want to risk it, since its so tempermental to begin with.
     
  7. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    No. You won't damage the guitar head; you will, however (eventually) damage a guitar cab
     
  8. Moltisanti

    Moltisanti

    Apr 8, 2005
    ok...seems to be a bit of a mixed reaction

    does anyone know like a geek reason why it would damage the head ? you know like ohms or frequency or stuff like that ?

    I reckon if i plugged the head into a cab with the correct Ohmage it would kickass, but I'd be devasted if i destroyed my DSL.....

    I also live in the UK which means US brands like Ampeg and Mesa are SUPER expensive....Marshall is cheaper over here, is their bass stuff good ?
     
  9. 43% burnt

    43% burnt an actor who wants to run the whole show

    May 4, 2004
    Bridgeport, CT
    really wow, I stand corrected...I bet could get insane distortion out of that thing. But would you have enouh power to be heard in a band setting?
     
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    No it won't - where do you get that Idea?

    The other points you made were reasonable anyway... But it'll in no way damage the head! (assuming, of course, proper impedance-matching on the cab).

    Experiment with it all you want, Molti - you won't hurt the head (I'd probably be a little careful about guitar CABs, though).

    Joe
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I can't think of a single one. You might overdrive/clip the preamp section of the Marshall, but that's fairly unlikely. Ohms and frequency are functions of power and cabinet response, and wouldn't have anything to do with the head frying because it was playing bass. It probably just wouldn't sound too great because of the differences in input parameters of a guitar preamp vs. bass preamp

    You would, however drive the cab into clipping, trying to replicate a low B with the available power and the nature of guitar cabinets. Then you end up frying the voice coils and tearing the cones, but again, these just fazzle the cab itself, not the head. You can play guitars through bass heads and bass cabs, and the ultra-highs don't ruin bass heads.

    Could you use a bass through a guitar head and a bass cab? Yeah, but due to the lower power of a guitar head, you'd have little in the way of clean volume, I'd think. Distortion, probably quite a bit louder, but still probably get lost in a band setting.
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I wouldn't think so. This, however, is when guys like Lemmy, and Amy from Clatter, start bi-amping, and using guitar heads and cabs for distortion. I'm working on it too (head and cab are on their way). Cut the bass from the guitar rig, let a bass rig handle the lows, and the guitar rig the distorted (and loud!) mids and highs. You'll probably still screw the pooch eventually on the guitar cab, but it'll sound pretty mean before then.

    You wants the perks, you pays the price (speakers frying).

    Now, if you got a guitar preamp, like a Marshap JMP-1 or something, and started messing around with a power amp and bass cab, you might get closer without the fact that you'll have to replace speakers eventually.
     
  13. KPJ

    KPJ

    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick has been using guitar amps for his bass amplification for years. He recently started using Reeves amps, which are actually clones of Hiwatts, just like the ones Entwistle used at Leeds.
     
  14. protoz

    protoz

    Nov 30, 2000
    Iowa
    5150 has 120 tube watts (4x6550 power tubes), you'll have plenty of power to cut through. It has the same or more power than a Sunn 1200S and 1200S were super loud on bass.

    In both of my bands all the guitarists run 5150's (3x5150 and 1x5150II) so I've learned quite a bit about them. You're gonna be hard pressed to get a really nice clean tone thats for sure with the 2x12AX7's in the preamp.

    How would running a guitar amp damage the cab?
     
  15. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    A bass cab? Probably wouldn't.

    A guitar cab? Nigh but certainly.
     
  16. protoz

    protoz

    Nov 30, 2000
    Iowa
    Yea but if you were running a guitar cab with a bass it wouldn't sound very good in the first place I wouldn't think.

    I'd say try the marshall out on some bass cabs and see how it goes.
     
  17. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    I've got a 1970 Marshall 100w Super Lead head that sounds awesome through my SWR cabs. LOUD deep.

    Robert Deleo of Stone Temple Pilots has used a Marshall tube head in the studio for a long time. Nothing wrong with his sound in my book.

    Always watch the impedence. Nothing will kill your rig faster.
     
  18. big evil robot

    big evil robot

    Feb 27, 2005
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Innovations Music - Retailer
    Any older tube guitar amp would work fine, great in some cases. A marshall jmp, or even jcm 800 from the early 80's make good bass amps.
    A solid state guitar amp would just sound like crap, or barely give you any headroom to work with. I'm pretty sure they just won't cover the frequencies you get from bass.

    Marshall has a dual channel tube power amp that I'd really like to try out with a good pre-amp, it runs 100 watts a channel.

    If you're running the 100w version of the dsl, I'd say plug it into a bass cab and see how it sounds.
     
  19. Moltisanti

    Moltisanti

    Apr 8, 2005
    ok i like the sound of this now !!!

    i'm gonna try it through a bass cab of some sort...

    my Marshall head will run at 4, 8 or 16 Ohms, but the impedance is something i know nothing about...what do i need to be careful of ?
     
  20. big evil robot

    big evil robot

    Feb 27, 2005
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Innovations Music - Retailer
    Just make sure you set the head to match with the cab, otherwise things could go bad for the head, or bad for the cab.
    You'll probably run at 8 or 4, depends on the cab. I'm awful at ohms, I suck at math.