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Recommend me a bass amp that works well with guitar, too

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by slobbo, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. slobbo


    Oct 18, 2011
    (Apologies for the wall of text).

    So I don't know if this is stupid, but I'm hoping to find an amp that can work with my bass and my guitars. I've played bass for a few months now, but am a long-time guitarist... right now, all I have is a DI box and headphone amp, so I'm hoping to find a good compromise amp, but I don't have much space or cash to spare.

    Here are the instruments I want to use:
    • 2003 (I think) MusicMan SUB - 34" scale, four string, passive (recently acquired here on TB).
    • 2007 G&L ASAT Bluesboy - 25.5" scale, set up like an old Tele Custom: ashtray-style bridge, G&L MFD single coil in the bridge, Seymour Duncan SH59 humbucker in the neck, tuned E standard and strung with EB Power Slinky strings (11-48)
    • 1994 Jackson Stealth HX - string-through-body hardtail with three humbuckers, all the same crappish stock Jackson pups; tuned like a baritone B-E-A-D-F#-B with EB Not Even Slinky strings (12-56)

    I play a wide variety of stuff, though my real love is for metal (mostly sludge, stoner, doom, etc.; stuff with lots of fuzz and bottom). Sonic inspiration includes Sabbath, Sleep, Kyuss, Electric Wizard, but also more traditional metal stuff. I'm looking for verstaility in sound, though... and I'm not stuck on tube sounds (I rarely play that territory where the natural tube distortion is important... it's usually just clean or just dirty).

    The amp would be mostly for recording and for rehearsal/jam contexts... I don't have a regular band and don't play out really.

    Finally, I'm looking to spend less than a grand, preferably less than $700.

    So... am I crazy to think there is something worthwhile that fits all these conditions, or does someone have a brilliant suggestion? A Bassman seems like an obvious possibility, and I've looked a little at the Ampeg portaflex stuff.

    TL;DR: Has anybody done guitar-through-a-bass amp with success? What about bass-through-a-guitar amp (seems less feasible)? What amp(s) will work?
  2. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    I've played a lot through my Peavey Classic 4 x 10. It's my main stage guitar amp but have used it in jam sessions as my bass amp. You just have to be careful not to blow it out with the thundering lows. That Peavey Classic is a 50 watt tube amp and can get really loud.......but it's not made for bass! And that's what you're going to find. I think it's actually easier to play guitar through a bass amp - especially with the tones you are mainly looking for. And I've done that too. I've played my SG through an Ampeg 15" bass amp and while the highs and mids are not in attendance, it didn't sound too bad!

    So the best I can tell you is GOOD LUCK!
  3. otherclef


    Aug 10, 2011
    B25B ;)
  4. Muckaluck


    Oct 11, 2005
    Whitby, Ontario
    I'd get a used tube bass head like the Traynor YBA-200 and try to get it for around $400. Then I'd get one cheap guitar cab and one cheap bass cab. This could fall close to your budget and get you a nice metal sound for both bass and guitar.
  5. pan1k


    Sep 16, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    agreed get an old tube amp. My old Sovtek Bassov Bluesboy (If you can find one) was an amazing bass amp and my roommate got some good guifiddle tones out of it as well.
  6. +1.

    In my experience good tube heads can be fairly interchangeable for guitar or bass, but the cab they are plugged in to can make a larger difference. Bass cabs just don't seem to produce a very friendly guitar sound, I have found they sound too tight and dark.
  7. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Several things you can do, depending on your budget.

    1. Get a powered PA speaker. It is "safe" for bass (meaning the bass frequencies won't damage speaker). Clear, hi-fidelity sound is good for bass, but can make a guitar sound sterile and plain. Use pedal(s) or modeler(s) to taste to fix that. (This suggestion is what I would do in your situation, considering most guitarists rely on pedals for "their tone" anyway, and heck a PA amp is just plain useful to have around.) Hint: A "keyboard amp" is practically the same thing.

    2. Get a smallish amp head, and get a modest dedicated bass cab (1 X 10 or 2 X 10 bass cab) and a seperate modest guitar cab (1 X 12 open back). Best sound of both worlds, but we're talking 3 seperate pieces of equipment now.

    3. Just bite the bullet and get a decent used 200-300 watt bass combo (ie, Peavey TNT, etc), and a small but good sounding guitar amp (ie Peavey Classic 20, Epi Valve Jr., etc) .

    Some things to remember - guitar through a bass amp is safe, but usually sterile. Bass through a guitar amp is a no-no. At volume it can and will damage the speaker, which is not designed for the excursion that bass frequencies produce.

    Good luck.
  8. Around these parts, Crate 4-12 guitar cabs go for around $150 used. Hartke TP 410 bass cabs go for about the same price. Add in a decent used name-brand bass head for another $150. For guitar gigs, set the EQ flat and put a Digitech modeler box in front (sub $100) and you're good to go. I did many a rhythm guitar gig with a Crate 150 watt SS head pushing a Marshall 4-12 bottom.
  9. cableguy

    cableguy Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA

    Both me and my guitarist buddy have at one time or another played stright into a powered Makie 15" PA speaker. Right now I use a 12/6 fEARful with a Carvin power amp (HD1500) with tech 21 pedals in front it sounds awesome with my bass. One of my pedals is the Tech 21 Oxford....Awesome guitar pedal as well. The fEARful is just going to put out what sound you put in as with a PA speaker. Just depends on your volume requirements as to which speaker to get.
  10. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    I love my Music man HD 130 Reverb $300-$500 I play bass through it but it is the guitar version. the only deference is one has reverb/ trem and one doesn't. The ampeg v4 $400-$700 is a another good option. Same deal as far as the signal path goes. EVM 12L is a fantastic speaker for ether bass or guitar. They can be spendy but you can find deals out there. the evm15L is good for bass/guitar as well. they run $100-$150
  11. I'd suggest you look for something with 2 or 4 tens. To me playing a guitar through a 12" or 15" bass amp loses a lot of highs and harmonics. In your case of your always playing with distortion maybe that's not a big deal to you. But I like the suggestion of getting a head and using separate cabs for your guitar and your bass. There should be enough used gear to pick from that you can get in done within your budget.
  12. In the sixties/seventies many guitar players liked the Fender Bassman heads...

    Today most bass amps/cabs are designed for frequencies that have little to do with the guitar mid-high frequencies. You could play guitar with any amp but don't expect guitar-nirvana compared with using a Marshall or Fender.

    Just for fun I took my MarkBass CMD121 to a jam once with a Line 6 PodXT as a front but it was not fun playing guitar. But it was worth testing. Meanwhile, the CMD121 works really well as a keyboard amp!
  13. ghiadub

    ghiadub Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Auburn, CA
    My mesa walkabout sounds fantastic with guitar. If you crank up the preamp it really gets a nice sounding and musical gain happening.
  14. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    You're in luck! There's a TB'er in the classifides section that has a Musicman HD150 head for sale. I have one that I wouldn't part with that I use for both guitar and bass. The head is specifically made to be used by both types of instruments and has specific tone and volume controls for the guitar half of the head and different ones for the bass half of the head. It's a whopping 150 power tube watts that can easily reach ear bleed volumes on the guitar end (also has a half power switch to knock the volume down a bit) and goes from Fender clean to Marshall overdrive with the turn of a knob. The bass side is also 150 tube watts and is plenty loud for normal bands (not going to reach the volume levels of a 300 watt SVT monster but you can always DI or mic if you need that). Bass tones are along the lines of a Fender bassman on the clean side and can approach Ampeg grind if you crank the overdrive. I love this amp and it goes fantastic with my Stingrays and Fender Precisions on the bass side. On the guitar side it goes well with my Gibson LP but even better with my Fender Blacktop Strat with dual humbuckers. It really likes the humbuckers and hot inputs. I have it sitting on a B52 412 half stack for the guitar and a Bergantino NV610 for the bass. It really is the one best head for two jobs. BTW it's SS on the preamp side so it goes well with all my pedals and it's full tube on the power side where it really makes a difference in the heft of the tone. Again, the one for sale in TB isn't mine (it's a keeper) it's a very nice condition vintage one being sold by another TB member, search in the Amp section under musicman for an HD150. Good luck.
  15. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    Amps I've used to double for guitar and bass that all had cool/unique/wonderful tones:

    Ampeg SB-12 (1966 with Utah speaker) - dark, bassy, with cool deep bluesy overdrive. It has a deep, low end emphasized voicing and works great as a loud clean guitar amp.

    Ampeg SVT-CL - A great choice for doom that works as a quite versatile guitar head if you have a clean boost to drive the preamp further. It'd be considered a low-mid gain guitar amp. The mid voicing selector makes it quite versatile. Second favorite cleans to the SC120 which is a bit naturally brighter. More watts than you need for home recording either instrument.

    Ampeg V4BH - Very much like the SVT-CL in tone but 100w and cheaper. Great cost-effective alternative to an SVT-CL.

    Sound City 120 Mk IV - a GREAT companion to vintage Ampeg cabs for a clean sound. The active EQ can always be used to spice treble to just the right amount. It's a non-master so I've only once had it into full on OD. I love the cleans, can't comment on dirty.

    Ampeg PF500/PF115HE - It doesn't have the best OD tone of the bunch but it works and has a great bass tone.

    Genz Benz ShuttleMAX 12.0 - I'm still getting acquainted but I've got an inredible array of clean, dirty, modern, and old school tones out of this amp by being familiar with the inherent characteristics of certain cabs and instruments and what their particular frequency quirks are. A very good jack of all trades amp that I've doubled on guitar run into a "TB110" S2010 loaded cab and plan to continue to use as my main/only amp when I move.

    Ampeg SVT 810 (1972) - The original CTS speakers sound good with anything I run through it, guitar, bass or otherwise. If you have ~30w+ behind a guitar or bass you can feel your notes all day long. I loaded a Marshall 410 with the right volume with the same drivers as a more portable guitar solution. ** A personal favorite guitar and bass cab!

    B-52 AT412 - 320w RMS thermal handling at 4 or 16 ohms. It sounded good with my SVT-CL for guitar, JTM-60 for guitar and bass, Valve Jr for guitar, and most any other head I threw at it. I paid $100 and sold it for $100 but it never disappointed for what it was. It was a relatively clean cab that took whatever I threw at it that day and never complained.

    Elk Miyuki Custom 30 - Quirky Japanese guitar amp that had the best overdrive I've ever heard for guitar. It sounded amazing with any two pickup bass and an efficient speaker. I used it with a JBL E140 / TL-606 cab that sounded great clean and dirty on both guitar and bass.
  16. WormtownBass


    Jun 24, 2011
    Authorized Builder: Bill Fitzmaurice, fEARful bass
    Acoustic Image
  17. slobbo


    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks, all... lots of useful suggestions.
  18. Fuzzbassian


    Jan 12, 2012
    I too play stoner/doom guitar through my bass rig.It's and old tube P.A head with an 8x10,and it makes everything sound amazing.
    So look at old,high wattage tube amps,a good dirt pedal and a reverb pedal,and you're pretty well set.
  19. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    That Music Man 150 Is sweet. And $500 shipped is pretty good considering how heavy it is. I bought mine from a Girl In Portland that was playing doom sludge type stuff and she only sold it because she bought a Sunn. (Another fantastic choice for double duty although they can be spendy) Like Gbassnorth said. they take pedals very well. Clapton played one as well as mmmmmm The dire straits guy. I don't remember his name. Guitar Gorge? HAAHAH

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