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Guitar Amp as a Bass Amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by shaggyfrog77, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. shaggyfrog77


    Nov 19, 2006
    I am about to start out on bass. I have a 25watt Washburn guitar amp. If I use this as a bass amp will I f' it up? It will only be used for a bit of practice around the house. Please excuse my ingnorance... and be gental.:bag:
  2. K-Frog


    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
  3. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    No... If you use it at moderate volume to amplify your bass so that you can hear it, (as opposed to jamming with friends), you should be fine... May not sound great, but it will get you hearing yourself. The most you'll kill would be the speaker, which can be replaced...

    FWIW, my two main gigging amps are guitar amps, (paired with bass cabinets), and they work great...

  4. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Yes it will loosen up the speaker so guitar will distort more, the electronics it won't effected. I have done it for short time, but it was 1 x 12" guitar combo. So speaker was big enough to hangle low volume bass.

    Check out the little C-Tech headphone amp for bass. Plugs directly into your bass and then plug headphone into the C-Tech. Small sounds good and your guitar amp will thank you.
  5. Espidog


    May 19, 2006
    Hi shaggy, and welcome to TB. Never feel you have to apologise for your ignorance, either - that's what the forum is for!

    Re. your question: No, in principle you won't necessarily do any damage to your amp by playing a bass through it at home practice levels. Crank it up, though, and you could risk doing some harm to it and more likely your speakers (assuming that they are intended for guitar).

    A bass puts out much bigger transients than a guitar - i.e. the attack of each plucked note is more violent, so there's a potential risk of kicking your guitar speaker(s) into over-excursion (forcing the cone to travel too far back and forth). Speaker systems designed for bass guitar are made to withstand these greater transients. Likewise, bass amps typically have other measures built in, such as subsonic filtering, to reduce the risk of speaker damage. A guitar amp won't have this.

    Another problem is that with a mere 25Watts at your disposal, you'll probably be tempted to run it pretty hard just to hear yourself - and this won't be good for the amp or the speaker. In order to be heard by us humans, bass frequencies have to be delivered with a lot more energy than is needed to make a guitar audible. This is one reason why bassists' stage rigs tend to be in the 300 - 1000 Watt range, while the guitarist in the same band might only need 100-200.

    In short, then, as long as you're just noodling around at low volume (and I do mean low), and provided you don't do anything silly, you should be fine. I suspect you'll soon get frustrated by the amp's limitations, though, so if you want some peace of mind, get yourself a small bass combo for practicing. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. They're surprisingly affordable these days, and in this forum you'll find lots of opinions on what to buy.
  6. shaggyfrog77


    Nov 19, 2006
    Thanks guys. I think I will try to get a Behringer Ultrabass BXL450 45W 1x10" Bass Combo soon. Realitivily cheap compared to others in it's range and good quality from what I understand. I just need somthing to hold me over till then. May be a couple of months though. Hopefully I will not blow my speaker...
  7. You'd be surprised

    As the amplifier section is EQd more towards guitar they tend to loose alot of bass and gain alot of volume, i used a Peavey Rage 158 15 watt combo with 8" speaker as a bass amp for about a year and a half before getting my first actual bass amp.

    And the wee thing was pretty loud (for its size) and sounded pretty good, all things considered

    Its still in one piece aswell, basically as long as you dont crank it and dont crank the "bass" on the EQ you should be fine :)
  8. Bass Below

    Bass Below

    Oct 24, 2006
    New York
    Right now I'm actually playing through a 100 watt carvin guitar head and a 2x15 bass cabinet. I used it at one show and it was sufficient, but it just doesn't get the sound you really want for bass. Loses alot in a recording as well, no matter what you do with the EQ. I wouldn;t record with it for anything semi-serious, just tried it out screwing around in the studio.

    Also, maybe it's my imagination, but it seems to run much hotter with the bass running through it than it does with guitar. It concerns me, I'd rather not fry my guitar amp and it seems like at least a remote possibility. My Carvin BRX212 is being delivered today, so I've rectified the situation.

    I only started using the guitar head because the Hartke head I was using crapped out, in the middle of a recording, and I couldn't afford to buy an amp right away. Anyway, It'll work, but I would seek out an alternative asap.
  9. I've done the same thing out of necesity I had to run my bass through a 100 watt Kustom Quad head (Guitar head) into a pair of 12 inch P.A. Speakers While it worked ok (plenty of volume) I really couldn't get the tone I wanted

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