Bass guitar into guitar amp?

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Mason Huxley
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Joined: Thu May 02, 2019 4:17 am

Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by Mason Huxley »

For as long as I've been into electronics and audio, I think I know the answer, but a little confirmation never hurts.

I hardly ever touched my bass, so traded my little Peavey MAX112 bass amp to a friend last year to save room in my very small music room. Now I'm getting interested in it again. Am I correct that it shouldn't hurt anything to play through my guitar amps as long as I stay at "bedroom" levels? I can't imagine ever exceeding 2 or 3 watts.

Joshua Levin-Epstein
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Location: Massachusetts

Re: Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by Joshua Levin-Epstein »

If you're just need to hear yourself, you can plug into a guitar amp.

Broadly speaking, a bass amp should have more power (because it takes more power to reproduce the lower frequencies and even more power to reproduce them cleanly), a tone control section designed around lower frequencies, a larger speaker (low frequencies) and a closed cabinet (to help control speaker excursion).

In other words, if you just need to hear yourself, you can plug into a guitar amp.

JC Whitney
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by JC Whitney »

I’ve long heard stories of torn speaker cones caused by unwary bassists plugging into guitar amps and turning up - but haven’t ever met someone who it happened to first hand. Is this just a tall tale?

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Beate Ritzert
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Location: Germany

Re: Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by Beate Ritzert »

It may easily be a tale. But one with a real and serious physical backgrond. It may i ndeed happen.

Bob Francis
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Re: Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by Bob Francis »

Well I have it was a cheap amp and it misaligned the coil under the cone.
But that was someone trying to equal a much larger amps volume.

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Peter Wilcox
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Location: Northeastern California

Re: Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by Peter Wilcox »

I played a 4 string into a Peavy Pacer with an EVM12L speaker for several years at relatively high volume - but that is one hell of a speaker. But when I switched to 5 string I had to get a combo bass amp.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Mark Wybierala
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Location: Central New Jersey

Re: Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by Mark Wybierala »

Its not just the speaker. You can blow the output transformer on a tube amp and the output transistors on a solid state amp. At lower volume bedroom levels or with headphones, you aren't going to hurt anything. A 40Watt guitar amp is typically good enough for an average venue. But for a bass, you need a 200Watt amp to do the same gig. Watts are not equivalent to volume levels when you compare guitar amps to bass amps. You'll be okay for practice but if you hear distortion at all, you're pushing too hard. As long as the tone is clean, you won't be doing any harm.

David King
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by David King »

I've never torn a speaker cone but I've welded a few voice coils into their apertures using a Crown DC300 amp in welding mode.

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Steve Sawyer
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Location: Detroit, Michigan

Re: Bass guitar into guitar amp?

Post by Steve Sawyer »

I run a Headrush Gigboard into a Headrush FRFR-112 speaker. I've been using it for both guitar and bass, but strictly at bedroom volumes. From what I understand this rig works just fine for bass in a larger venue (the FRFR is "rated" at a big-grain-of-salt 1000 watts), but haven't tried that yet.

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