How Can You Use an Electric Guitar Amp for Bass?

Ideally, every bassist would have access to their own amp on all occasions. In any case, essentially every accomplished player has experienced a situation where their own apparatus just wasn’t available. In case you’re ever jamming with companions or playing a gig and your amp goes down, can you use a guitar amp for bass?

There are also situations where there are essentially no available bass amps around. The cumbersome, heavy nature of many larger bass amps also causes bass players to have a go at connecting to another person’s amp to save themselves the hassle of dragging their bass amp around.

Is it safe to use a guitar amp to control your bass? The answer relies on a couple of various factors; your individual circumstances may lead to an alternate outcome. This article explains what you have to think about utilizing a guitar amp for your bass, and explains what you can do to protect it as conceivable in each situation.

What Differentiates Guitar and Bass Amps?

Before talking about when it is and isn’t safe to plug your bass into a guitar amp, it’s useful to learn more about what actually separates guitar amps from bass amps in the engine. Despite the fact that they may look fundamentally the same as — large, heavy boxes secured with black or silver flame broils — guitar and bass amps have a couple of key differentiation that can lead to massive contrasts in tone and safety. And don’t forget to check out the Best Electric Guitars For Beginners.

The clearest distinction among guitar and bass amps lies in the speaker. Contingent upon the size of the amp, guitar amps generally feature a speaker anywhere from 8″ to 12″ in diameter. These speakers all have their own EQ signatures — in plain English, this means they’re all tailored to give a somewhat extraordinary sound, with varying emphasis on the treble frequencies, mids, and bass ranges.

The smaller speaker size also means that guitar amps are just capable of an alternate range of frequencies than bass amps. An open E note, the least recurrence delivered by a guitar in standard tuning, sounds at around 82 Hz — most guitar speakers are improved for ranges down to 80 Hz to accommodate this low end.

The most noteworthy fundamental note most guitars can deliver lies barely short of 1,200 Hz (a note at the 22nd fret on the high E string). Be that as it may, many guitars can frequently deliver sounds at frequencies up to 5,000 Hz, thanks to suggestions and other higher resonating sounds. Most speakers in guitar amplifiers, accordingly, top out around the 5,000 – 5,500 Hz range.

Bass amps, meanwhile, specialize in a lot of lower frequencies and put less effort into higher sounds. Larger speakers give all the more low-end yield power. Some bass amplifiers will use 10″ speakers, yet 15″ speakers are the most widely recognized measure and even 18″ speakers aren’t unheard of. Bass speakers carry their own EQ signatures as well, which will in general favor lower, stronger sounds over exact and clear high notes.

To viably amplify bass and give headroom before the signal starts to twist, many speakers on bass amps can accommodate frequencies as low as 20 or 30 Hz. The top finish of the range lies around 2,000 Hz on most bass amps, with some going even lower.

Safety Concerns

Safety is clearly the largest concern when attempting to plug a bass into a guitar amplifier. Will the lower frequencies fry the amplifier circuit? Will the speaker give out under the abundance load? The answer relies upon a couple of key factors.

Your playing volume will largely decide if it’s safe to run your bass through a guitar amplifier. At low volumes, you ought to have the option to pull off connecting to a medium-sized guitar amp, especially on the off chance that you center around the higher strings and stay away from the most minimal available notes.

Keeping the volume low will diminish the weight on the speaker and keep it from giving out as you play. Lessening the bass frequencies by moving down the brass handle on your instrument can also help guard against speaker damage.

Amplifier size will also play a job in accommodating your bass. A small strong state practice amp with a little speaker — say, a Fender Champion 20 — essentially lacks the size and speaker diameter to handle any kind of bass. Indeed, even at room rehearsal volumes, connecting a bass to amps of that caliber is wandering dangerously close to serious trouble.

The larger the guitar amp you use; in any case, the greater the chances are that you can play it safely. Massive 100-watt tube amp heads and large combos with one or numerous 12″ speakers will have the option to handle a bass for longer timeframes. As an added reward, these amps can also amplify the bass at higher volumes without giving out.

Not many guitar amps can handle bass at volumes boisterous enough for jam meetings or live gigs, however. The safest conceivable strategy is to possibly play your bass through a guitar amp while practicing alone, and to keep the volume as low as conceivable. In the event that you can, however, it may simply be smarter to practice unplugged if a bass amp is unavailable for whatever reason.

Pre-amps in guitar and bass amplifiers are similar enough that you’re probably not going to cause damage to them by playing a bass through a guitar amp. Despite the fact that it may technically be safe; in any case, lower-grade pre-amps can cause all sorts of issues with your tone with a bass connected.

Past immediate devastation, utilizing a guitar amplifier for bass is probably going to cause long haul damage to internal segments. Running the bass through the amplifier puts extra weight on the pre-amp and speaker alike; after some time this damage can snowball regardless of whether you hold the volume down and just play sparingly.

Bass playing also incorporates many more snappy changes in volume and sound than most guitar types do. Methods like slapping and popping can be harmful to guitar speakers, regardless of whether the remainder of your notes remains at a low volume. The smaller guitar speaker basically can’t handle the fluctuations the same way bass amplifier speakers can. In case you’re not careful, an ineffectively coordinated slap or pop can be the snappiest way to sear your speaker totally.

You ought to always attempt to avoid utilizing a guitar amp for bass except if you’re okay with accidentally wrecking that amp. More often than not, you can pull off practice-level volume in the event that you take it easy on the low strings and intentionally avoid changing volume too rapidly.

Be that as it may, it’s difficult to anticipate exactly how a certain amplifier may react to a particular bass in each situation, and utilizing a guitar amp for your bass is wandering dangerously close to serious trouble. The margin for mistake increases as the guitar amp becomes larger and all the more impressive yet you ought to never use a guitar amp as your everyday bass amp.

Tone Differences

Regardless of whether you manage to discover a guitar amp that can handle a bass without exploding the speaker, your tone will at present be adversely affected by the change. The drastic contrasts in segments among guitar and bass amps mean that they’re upgraded to put out fundamentally various tones and won’t sound as great with an inappropriate instrument connected.

Guitar amps basically can’t give the same low-end sound that bass amps do. That fact is liable for a large portion of the speaker damage bass players cause to guitar amps — yet in any event, when you play at safe volumes, the distinction will at present affect your tone.

Bass players going through guitar amplifiers will find that their sound lacks the usual blasting, punchy low end. In fact, guitar amps will frequently transform the base finish of bass into a sludgy, undefined wash of sound with no definition or impact.

Pre-amp stages in many guitar amplifiers may also harm your tone with a bass. Certain amp models can handle the information superior to other people, yet some pre-amps will misshape when faced with the surge of low-end frequencies. This turns into an issue as you turn up with a guitar amp — you’ll nearly always find that you have less headroom than on a traditional bass amp.

On the in addition to side, some guitar amplifiers will actually give a clearer, more full top of the line than many bass amps. The most noteworthy notes that bass amps can put out actually land directly in the recurrence wheelhouse of many guitar amplifiers.

Occasionally, professional bass players will part their signal between a bass amp and a guitar amp, separating the low end to the bass amplifier (which is better prepared to convey traditional punch and force) and sending the top of the line to the guitar amp for added clarity and accuracy. This arrangement is costly, and it doesn’t make a lot of practical sense except if you every now and again play high up on the neck.

The imperfect tone is just a part of the package when you play a bass through a guitar amp. Be that as it may, in the event that you hear a sputtering or “farting” sound originating from the speaker, but the bass down and quit playing. That commotion signals the speaker is starting to give out; pushing it any harder could demolish it altogether.


All in all, is it alright to play your bass through a guitar amp? The short answer is “maybe.” If you stay at low volumes for practice and play through a guitar amp with an adequately estimated speaker, you ought to be okay. Nonetheless, no bassist should use a guitar amplifier as a long haul substitute for an appropriate bass amp.

On the off chance that you’ve quite recently purchased a bass and want to look at some comparing amps, take a gander at our rundown of the best bass amplifiers for certain ideas in each value range.


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