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Using a lead head for bass guitar

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mrpink, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. mrpink


    Oct 29, 2004
    I was wondering if using a lead head for a bass guitar could damage the lead head or negatively affect the sound of the bass guitar? From my understanding, a lead head having the frequency response to be able to accomodate such low tones, what could be wrong with playing a bass guitar through a lead head? Cabinet is of course a proper 2X15 bass cab.

    Any input is appreciated.
  2. This goes in amps.
  3. DubDubs


    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    It will be fine. It might not sound good but it won't damage it. Just use a bass cab.
  4. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    Pretending I'm in the amp forum :D, I'll say that once I hooked a subwoofer up to my parents' 100 watt homestereo amp. In theory, it pretty much covered the frequency response, but after 5 minutes of full smoke, it overheated and shutdown.

    I've heard that some guitar heads can gracefully handle a bass, even some guitar cabs. They're just not designed for it though :oops:!
  5. It shouldn't be a problem from the technical side (usually problems arise from using the wrong cabs or turning up way too far). Tonally, you'll have to check it out yourself (some people actually like the sound of bass through a guitar head)
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Moved to Amps...
  7. last night i played a gig with my trusty old 50w guitaramp through my 2x12 basscab. the bassplayer from the other band used a marshall jcm800.
    through the reaction from the crowd we both sounded good.
    if you like it you like it.
  8. hetsscaryguy


    May 22, 2004
    i was reading in bass guitar magazine a while ago abut rob trujillo's rig for the 2003 summer sanitarium tour with metallica and the rig was a svt3 pro for tone, a svt 4 pro for power, svt 8x10's and a mesa boogie dual rectifier with rectifier cabs for the highs.

    thought it was a bit strange but it might sound good.
  9. DubDubs


    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    If I ever get a biamp setup I'm going to use this marshall 2x12 I have for the highs and a nice bass cab for the lows but again aviod using guitar cabs for low's they fart out and can break easily.
  10. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    A guitar amps EQ section would most likely be voiced for a guitar, not a bass. Besides, most guitar amps have a lot less power.

    Other than that, they're both audio amps....
  11. Tritone

    Tritone Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2002
    Santee, America
    Lots of players use a guitar head for highs and to add crunch. Doug Pinnick, Tom Petersson, and John Entwistle (RIP) immediately come to mind, along with Trujillo.
  12. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Gene Simons is another guy who uses (or used some time) Marshall guitar stacks for recording bass. Mostly rock&roll sounding bassists.

  13. Lets not forget Lemmy either.

  14. JayAmel

    JayAmel Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Carcassonne, France
    There were times (a loooooooooooooong time ago...) when my rig was a Marshall 60's lead head and a Sunn 215 cab. Sounded very good with my Rickenbacker.

    The Marshall head died then, apparently not related to use for bass purposes.

  15. I run a Jansen (local copy of a Fender) Bassman 35w guitar tube head or a Magnavox-era Ampeg V4 when i'm feeling brave (otherwise an Eden WT800 for pure reliability but sterile tone) through an 8x10 and a Ricky...suits a snarling mid/treble tone to a T, but you find the preamp EQ voicing on most guitar amps are not suited at all to *certain* bass frequencies.

    There's no harm in using one, but remember that it won't have the same amount of headroom a pure bass amp has, so will be easy to drive into distortion - make sure the cab can handle that.
  16. Artisan


    Apr 14, 2004
    Some guitar amps roll off the lows in the preamp, making it difficult to get really low audio out the other end. Some do not.

    I had a Gibson Magnum 800 solid-state 200 watt RMS amp a long time ago. It had the power amp in the cabinet that contained 4x12" speakers. Moving it was like moving a block from the pyramid. But it sounded good for the day.

    This amp was a multi-purpose amp and was available with three different preamp heads. One for guitar, one for keyboard and one for bass. I used the one for guitar for playing bass for nearly a year. While it did not produce Earth shaking lows, no one could say that they did not hear the bass guitar. Have you ever heard 200 watts of bass on tremolo? What a freaky effect. 8>)

  17. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I have thought about using a guitar head as well. The Marshall Mode Four looks like it might be fun at 350 tube watts :p
  18. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The watts aren't tube, sorry to say. :meh:
    That's a hybrid, with tube preamps and SS power.

    Some tube guitar amps are easily converted to bass EQ, and have output transformers that will pump some bass. The Fender Super Twin comes to mind. It's a terrible guitar amp, but is not too bad for bass if used with a decent bass cab. That sucker is a 180 watter, and it is all tube power. I rewired an old Marshall bass head to guitar amp specs once, and it already used the same circuit board as the guitar version. The output transformer may have been different (don't know) though.
  19. It's kind of unfair to call the Super Twin a terrible amp. It was what it was- a very very very clean 120w 2x12 combo amp. Didn't those have the "very effective" (ahem...) master volume control?

    I think the earlier (like pre 1973) Marshall bass heads just had an extra cap or something simple to make it a "bass" head. My very first Marshall used to be someone's bass rig. A 4x12 bass bottom and a 100w SuperLead head.
  20. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I'm pretty sure you're thinking of a regular ol' Twin Reverb. The Super Twin has 6-6L6s, a 5 band EQ, a really bad sounding distortion circuit, and is rated at 180 watts output power. It also uses a cathode follower driver section, which is unlike normal Fender guitar amps. Trust me, I used to work for Fender, and no one there at the time would defend a Super Twin Reverb as a good sounding guitar amp. It's nowhere near as clean as any vintage version of the Twin. It frequently enters into Worst Tube Amp Of All Time discussions. It does have the dreaded master volume though, yeah. :cool: But speaking of Twins, the virtually identical Showman amps are quite nice for bass as well.

    As far at the Marshalls, it's a little bit more involved than one cap, IIRC, but not a whole lot much more. It only took maybe an hour to do the conversion, I think.