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Using a "Guitar" Power Amp???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jokerjkny, Mar 24, 2003.


  1. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    Hey all,

    i was wondering if its possible to use a "guitar" power amp like a VHT 2/50/2 or the 2/90/2, Mesa's 2:90 or 50/50, or Marshall's 8008, with my bass preamp and cabs???

    they're tube based power amps, but again, for guitars. would they limit a bass? not looking for huge amounts of wattage, but maybe a low volume lightweight alternative tube power amp to the BIGGER and more expensive Aguilar DB728, or Demeter's VTHF-300M.
     
  2. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    I'm not sure what kind of frequency response the output transformers are designed for. I guess in each case you'd have to ask the amp's mfr and also try it for yourself.

    I would guess that any given company would use an output transformer that they have on hand. If it's easier to get your hands on a guitar head/combo to conduct an experiement (with bass preamp and cabinets), that would probabably give you a reasonable idea of its performance.
     
  3. The output iron in them is too small to have a lot of low end. That's why they're smaller and lighter than most "bass" tube power amps. If you want the grunt, then you need a large core for the amount of inductance needed for bass. Otherwise, the relatively smaller core of the "guitar" amps will act as a highpass filter and put out less lows in proportion to the rest of the frequency spectrum.
     
  4. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I have two "guitar" power amps: a Mesa Coliseum 300 and a Mesa 20/20. The 300 kicks butt with 250 watts a side, and sounds great for bass. The 20/20 is alot smaller and lighter weight, and yet I can play with a light to med loud drummer with no problems with it. My small rig consists of a Boogie bass Triaxis, 20/20, and two 2x10 Boogie bass cabs. It's like a Fender Bassman on steroids! I've never had a problem with too little low end out of it, but it definitely won't cut it and a nu-metal band.
     
  5. SkaKing27

    SkaKing27

    Sep 1, 2002
    St.Louis MO
    I've done that before,I think it sounds too muddy.
     
  6. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    As a general rule, it is OK to play your guitar through a bass amp (i.e. Vintage Fender Bassman 4X10...one of the most sought-after and copied guitar tube amps). However, due to the low frequencies of a bass it is generally NOT good for the amp to play a bass through a guitar amp. One of the reasons why the Fender Bassman 4X10 is such a great guitar amp is because it was virtually worthless as a bass amp...the amp distorted and blew speakers frequently. Guitar speakers are very different from the speakers used by bass cab manufacturers, and guitar heads are voiced differently as well. However, if you're not worried about blowing speakers or distorting your tone (resulting in low volume and weak lows), then the potential damage to your gear might be worth the risk.
     
  7. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    Cool!

    i wonder how'd the 20/20 would sound with my Kern or Demeter.

    dag! i'm gettin' gas'ed already... ;)
     
  8. I am told that EL34s do not treat bass frequencies particularly kindly. Stick with 6L6s or 6550s.
     
  9. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hmm...

    wonder how the 20/20's EL84's hold up with Bass?

    i'm a big Vox AC30 fan, and the bass is usually loosey goosey and bit flabby. wonder if this applies to bass as well.

    then again, didnt the SWR Interstellar OD use EL84's in its output section?
     
  10. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    Yes, Stella has an EL84.

    Does the AC-30 have a tube or solid state rectifier? If it's tube that could mush out the bottom end.

    It's a very low power tube though so you'd need a whole lot of them (~ 15 watts/pair).
     
  11. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    My 20/20 sounds fine with El-84's. They start clipping at around halfway up, but with the right EQ setting it sounds like a cranked SVT. My band is recording all of our bass tracks using this rig. It sounds great.