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Turning a guitar amp into a bass amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jdwhitak, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. jdwhitak


    Mar 20, 2012
    Greenwood, IN

    I've been wanting a low wattage tube amp for my bass. I've looked around and there really don't seem to be any made anymore. I've been thinking about getting a tube guitar amp and converting it into a bass amp. Has anyone here done this? What amps make good canidates? What kind of mods would need to be done to it? Cost?

  2. What is "low powered" to you? Fender makes a bassman 100 that has 100/50/25 watt switching.
  3. jdwhitak


    Mar 20, 2012
    Greenwood, IN
    I would say 25 watts or less. I just play at home these days. I don't need something for a band.

    Fender Bassman 100T? Sorry, I'm not looking to spend $1500! I was thinking more along the lines of the cheap 5-15 watt tube guitar amps that are out there these days.
  4. Just get one of those and put it through a bass cab. Should be fine.
  5. jdwhitak


    Mar 20, 2012
    Greenwood, IN
    I wouldn't need to have anything done to it to make it play better with bass?
  6. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    Generally speaking, you would want to re-voice all the gain staging (cathode bypass caps, coupling caps, interstage attenuation) and EQ to voice it properly for bass. I would probably add more filtering in the powersupply to keep the low end tight, and possibly beef up the OT for better low end frequency response. Shouldnt be that hard, especially with a lower power design.
  7. +1

    Once you get done with that, or done paying someone to do it you may be looking at "cheap" anymore. Depends on what you want.
  8. pgk


    Aug 19, 2007
    just get any old low power guitar head and plug it into a BASS cabinet. you are done. don't sweat the minutae, it does'nt really matter if you're just playing at home. a stock bf/sf fender bassman head can still be had for very cheap and is the perfect candidate for what you're looking for. just my 2 centavos
  9. I've seen guys using Epiphone Valve Jr heads in the the "Micro Rigs of Doom" thread.
  10. I've got a Crate VC508, 5 watter. Anyone use one of those?
  11. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    I get the feeling you're talking about playing bass thru a combo guitar amp.

    If so, i recommend you dont do it because the speakers in a guitar amp are low-excursion design, and are not suited for the lowere frequencies of a bass instrument.

    That said, a bass player buddy of mine has been playing his BG thru an old b/f Fender Twin (85 watt) for years without a hitch. But he plays it at very low volumes.
  12. In the sub 500 dollar range I would suggest.

    Fender Bassman 20 ( combo amp) 18watts

    Fender Musicmaster (combo amp) 12watts

    Traynor Bassmate ( several versions) (combo amp) 25watts

    Ampeg SB-12 (combo amp) 25 watts

    Ashdown little bastard (head) 30watts

    Ampeg b25 ( head) 55watts

    Fender bassman 50 (head) 50watts

    Fender bassman 100 (head)100watts

    Traynor yba heads

  13. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I would add to this very good list the Ampeg Gemini II and reverb rocket amps. These are found as guitar combos but sound beautiful running the amp to a bass cab. One could just rebuild the amp section into a headcase. They're good guitar amps too, but I'd love to have a Gemini II built into a head.
  14. I'll have to keep an eye out for those to try.

    The list i posted is amps i have owend or played.
  15. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Along with some of the previously mentioned options, the old Fender Champs can work well for your purpose. The combo's speaker won't stand up to bass, but it's simple to add a 1/4 jack so that the amp's output can be sent either to the combo's speaker or to a more robust external cab. (I have a Champ sometimes used for bass that I rehoused in a home-built headcase, so it wasn't anchored to the combo's speaker.) The Champ, like a lot of guitar amps in this category, starts shedding low end higher than is ideal for bass. However, if you're using a small guitar head only as part of a home practice rig, that isn't so much of a problem.

    For the purpose of home practice, I'm with pgk and fuzzy beard: you've got a lot of good options, especially if you focus on small tube amps that can feed a bass cab.
  16. Is there any clean tone with the champ or just full on distortion?
  17. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    what about a ampeg V-2 those are 50 watts
  18. I play my bass through my Traynor YGL-3 all the time. It doesnt have much lows, but the speakers handle the bass just fine. Being that the previous owner replaced them with Carvin PA/bass 12" speakers!
  19. BigOkie


    Nov 28, 2010
    Oklahoma City
    I have a GK Backline 110, 70 watts and a single 10" speaker. It actually sounds pretty nice. I paid $125 for it. Why not look at something like that and just keep the volume low? That sounds better than trying to modify a guitar amp.

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