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playing bass on a guitar amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by joedude, Jun 4, 2004.

  1. joedude


    Mar 14, 2004
    I was wondering if you can play bass on a guitar amp.


    Joe M.
  2. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    Do you like your guitar player?
    Is he bigger than you?
    Are you afraid of his friends?
    Is the amp more than 22 dollars?

    If you answered yes to any of these questions DO NOT PLAY ON A GUITAR AMP. I use a fender twin in my signal chain sometimes but it comes after a crossover to ensure only appropriate frequencies get through.

  3. Bass through guitar amp = blown guitar amp
  4. Corwin81


    Mar 18, 2003
    Ames, IA
  5. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    The real answer (other than Corwin81's) is yes, within reason.

    Reproducing the signal of our instrument can push guitar speakers way beyond what they're designed for. If you roll off the low, low end it will put less stress on the speakers, etc. Lots of our bass heros have used guitar amps.

    What do you want to do with a guitar amp?
  6. savagelucy


    Apr 27, 2002
    One of the best jams i've ever had was though my friends guitar amp. A Peavey I believe. Both me and the guitarist played through the same amp and it handle the both of us fine. Mind you, it was a laid back, un-distorted guitar, groove jam, but it worked well. I just laid of the Low-end a little.

    Chris Squire (sp?) of Yes played through guitar cabinets, and a lot of people would argue he sounds pretty good.
  7. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Yes, Chris Squire played through Sunn Colliseum Lead amps and Sunn 6x12 guitar cabinets..with his Ric and a pick.
  8. up untill now i have been playing out of a guitar amp, however if i put the volume past 5 it would sounbd like its about to blow out the speaker.
  9. A guitar amp head will work for bass without any problem at all. However, your basic guitar amp as a rule won't have enough power to do bass justice. Guitar speakers on the other hand arn't designed to move back and forth near as far as bass speakers have to. So when you crank them up with a bass they start farting out real easy. You can play bass through a guitar amp as long as you don't get carried away with the volume, when you notice that "farting sound" cut back on the volume and you should be ok.
  10. OrionManMatt


    Feb 17, 2004
    The ability of a speaker to move in a linear fashion peak to peak is the Xmax and is not directly related to the ability of the speaker to reproduce a lower frequency signal. It is a reference value for the maximum linear sound pressure level (SPL) capability of the driver. To give you some credit, the SPL capability can make an overall impact in the ability of a driver to produce a lower frequency signal at a normal listening level. All transducers (drivers, woofers, whatever you want to call them) can produce any frequency within the human scope of hearing (20Hz-20kHz) but the volume at which they do so varies. That's why 18" woofers are better at producing a 15Hz signal with considerable volume compared to a 1" tweeter.

    The problem here is that most guitar amp heads are designed to play a specific frequency range to optimize power use within that band. Playing a signal that falls below that range can cause your amp to clip the signal, which can cause your drivers to bottom out and leave the gap, resulting in that farting sound you're talking about. Also pushing drivers to the point of distortion through underpowering, as was mentioned earlier, doesn't help much either.

    Just thought I would clear that up.
  11. Sidecar666


    Mar 27, 2004
    Check out the Canadian band "No Means No" He plays a P-bass through a Marshall JCM 800 and a 4x12 cab. Pretty unique sound. It's full on distortion, but it fits their weird "mental patient" jazz/rock.
  12. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    for practice against a unamplified Martin, i use a Marshall 9volt mini amp! Also i went over the guitar player's house the other day and he had me plug into his Sivertone "amp in a guitar case." Low volume, it was fine.
  13. The science of this matter is interesting but it is as simple as this. If the speakers are farting out there's a problem. If they aren't, then there's no problem.

    As far as sound goes, well that's a different story. (not saying good or bad, that's up to the individual.)
  14. cosmodrome

    cosmodrome Registered User

    Apr 30, 2004
    ****town, Netherlands
    playing bass on a guitar amp

    answer: don't do that