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Can You Play Bass On A Guitar Amp? [Do’s and Don’ts]




can you play bass on a guitar amp

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In a perfect world, we would all have a bass amp and a guitar amp. But budgets are tight for most of us, so sometimes we have to make do with just one amp.

If you’re wondering if you can use your guitar amp for bass, the answer is…maybe – but there are some things you need to know first.

In this blog post, I’ll tell you the do’s and don’ts of using a guitar amp for bass. So whether you’re looking to save money or just want to try something new, read on!

If you plan to Gig… Invest In a Bass Amp

When it comes to choosing an amplifier for live gigs, bassists have a few options. They can either go with a bass-specific amp or an electric guitar amp.

While electric guitar amps may be more affordable and easier to find, they are not the best option for bassists. Bass guitars produce lower frequencies than electric guitars, so they need an amp that is specifically designed to reproduce those frequencies.

Bass amps also tend to have more headroom than electric guitar amps, which is important for keeping the sound clear and distortion-free at high volumes.

And finally, most bass amps have a built-in EQ that allows the player to tailor the sound to their liking, whereas electric guitar amps usually do not.

For all these reasons, bassists who are serious about their live sound should invest in a bass-specific amplifier.

Can I Use A Guitar Amp To Play Bass?

Yes and no. Let’s start with reasons not to first.

It can damage the guitar amp first and foremost. A guitar amp is built to take the signal that comes from a guitar. And it’s designed to make all the frequencies that come out of the guitar sound good too.

The problem when you plug a bass into a guitar amp is that the signal is very different and the set of frequencies that come from the bass are also different too.

The bass has much more low-end frequencies which the guitar amp can’t handle. The tone that comes from the guitar amp sounds brittle and dry and it’s no good for getting a useable, solid bass tone.

However, some notable players such as Lemmy from Motorhead did play bass through a guitar amp. So why did he bother? What’s the reason for doing it?

When Lemmy did it he wasn’t trying to get a standard, solid bass tone. He was using the guitar amp to create an effect.

He wanted the dryer tone. He wanted a more aggressive and brittle sound.

Did he destroy some guitar amps along the way? Of course, he did!

But the important thing to grasp here is that he was using one for a totally different reason than your standard bass player.

So how should you decide what to do?

Follow the guidance in this article and you’ll soon see what’s best for you.

Difference between Bass Amp and Guitar Amp

When shopping for an amplifier, it is important to know whether you need an electric guitar amplifier or an electric bass amplifier.

Though they may look similar, these two types of amplifiers are designed for different instruments and provide different sound profiles.

Electric guitar amplifiers are typically designed to accentuate the midrange frequencies of the instrument, giving the guitars a “fat” sound that is perfect for rock and blues.

Electric bass amplifiers, on the other hand, are designed to reproduce the lower frequencies of the bass, resulting in a “punchy” sound that is ideal for funk and hip-hop.

So, if you’re looking to amplify your electric guitar, be sure to pick up an electric guitar amplifier.

And if you need to pump up the bass, make sure to get an electric bass amplifier.

How a Bass Sounds Through a Guitar Amplifier?

When choosing an amplifier, it is important to know what type of instrument you will be playing through it. Bass guitars and electric guitars are both popular choices, but they require different types of amplifiers.

A bass guitar amp is designed to reproduce low frequencies, which are essential for creating the rich, deep sound of a bass guitar.

Electric guitar amps, on the other hand, are designed to reproduce high frequencies. This allows them to create the bright, crisp sound that is often associated with electric guitars.

As a result, each type of amplifier has its own strengths and weaknesses. When choosing an amplifier, it is important to consider what type of sound you are looking for. If you want to create a powerful bass sound, then a bass guitar amp is the best choice.

However, if you want to create a more nuanced electric guitar sound, then an electric guitar amp may be a better option. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference.

What if I only have a guitar amplifier?

If you only have a guitar amp then this might be a problem. Sometimes guitar amps can be used but they are used more as an effect rather than to produce a regular bass tone.

Examples of this would be Lemmy of Motorhead using Marshall guitar amps. Whilst this worked, you have to keep in mind that Lemmy didn’t have a standard bass tone at all.

If you want to sound more like a regular bassist then it’s best to get a bass amp or just use a DI at your next gig.

However, if you are caught short and you have to use a guitar amp, here are a few do’s and don’ts for effects when using a guitar amp to play bass.

Make sure there are no effects

Many guitar amps have a variety of built-in effects, such as reverb, delay, and modulation. While these effects can be useful for guitarists, they often do not translate well to electric bass.

For example, reverb can muddy up the low end of the bass frequency range, making it sound less defined.

Delay can also be problematic for bass, as it can cause an unwanted note to sustain after the intended note has been played.

And modulation effects such as chorus and tremolo can often sound thin and harsh on bass.

As a result, it is important to choose an amp that is specifically designed for electric bass, in order to get the best possible sound.

Play Bass Through Your Computer

If you’re a bass player, you know that finding the right amp can be a real challenge. You need something that will give you enough power to be heard, but you also don’t want to damage your amp by cranking up the volume too high.

That’s where a guitar amp VST comes in. By using a virtual amp, you can get the same sound options as a regular guitar amplifier without the risk of damaging your equipment. And best of all, you can experiment with different settings to find the perfect sound for your playing style.

So if you’re looking for a way to get the most out of your bass sound without destroying your equipment, try using a guitar amp VST. You’ll be glad you did.

Hybrid Amps [For Bass AND Guitar]

When it comes to amplifiers, there are a few different options to choose from. If you’re looking for an amp that can handle both bass and guitar, then a hybrid amplifier is a great option.

Hybrid amplifiers are designed to provide the best of both worlds, with a clean sound for guitar and plenty of power for bass.

This makes them a versatile option for any musician. One of the key benefits of a hybrid amplifier is that it can easily switch between genres.

Whether you’re playing rock or jazz, you’ll be able to get the perfect sound out of your hybrid amplifier.

Another advantage is that hybrid amplifiers are often more affordable than other types of amplifiers.

If you’re on a budget, a hybrid amplifier is a great option to consider. So if you’re looking for an amplifier that can do it all, a hybrid amplifier is the way to go.

Can you use an active bass pickup with a guitar amp?

You can but be warned, this can cause a lot of damage to the guitar amp.

Because active basses have a much stronger signal coming out them, and because guitar amps already struggle to cope with the signal coming from a passive bass, you find yourself in a situation where you’re taking a gun to a knife fight so-to-speak.

A good bass amp will either have separate inputs for active and passive basses, or a switch that toggles between the two.

This helps avoid damage from the stronger signal from the active bass.

However, when using a guitar amp for bass you may not always (or ever) get a feature like this so when plugging a bass into a guitar amp, especially if it’s an active bass, you could cause a lot of damage.

Can I damage a guitar amp by playing bass through it?

When you play the bass through a guitar amplifier, you risk damaging both the amp and the bass.

The problem is that the low frequencies produced by the bass are too much for the guitar amp to handle.

The amp will begin to distort the sound, and over time, this can cause permanent damage to the internal components.

The bass also puts stress on the speakers, which can cause them to crack or break. In addition, the extra volume can cause feedback, which can be extremely loud and unpleasant.

For these reasons, it’s best to use a dedicated bass amp when playing the bass guitar.

This will protect your equipment and ensure that you get the best possible sound quality.

Can You Play Guitar Through A Bass Amp?

When setting up your guitar rig, you might be tempted to use your bass amp for your guitar. After all, it’s a big amp with lots of power, so it should be able to handle anything you throw at it, right? Wrong.

Playing your guitar through a bass amp is a recipe for disaster. The main problem is that the frequencies produced by a guitar are much higher than those produced by a bass. As a result, the bass amp will severely distort the sound of your guitar.

Additionally, the speakers in a bass amp are designed to reproduce low frequencies, so they won’t be able to accurately reproduce the high-pitched sounds produced by a guitar.

In short, using a bass amp for your guitar is a surefire way to ruin your sound.

If you’re looking for a powerful amplifier that can accurately reproduce the sound of your guitar, you’ll need to invest in a guitar amp.

Tell me the best amp for bass?

Bass amps come in all shapes and sizes, from small combo amps to large, powerful heads. With so many options on the market, it can be tough to know where to start when shopping for a new amp.

The first step is to consider your own needs as a bass player. Do you need a lot of power for gigs, or will a smaller amp be sufficient?

Are you looking for huge sound that needs a huge speaker size or will bass amps with smaller speakers work for you?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can begin to narrow down your options. Another important factor to consider is your budget.

There’s no point in spending more money than you need to on an amp, so be sure to set a realistic price range before beginning your search.

With these factors in mind, you’re sure to find the best bass amp for your needs.


Will playing bass through guitar amp damage it?

Yes. Guitar amps are designed for guitars and bass amps are made for bass. If you use a guitar amp then it simply won’t be able to handle the signal from your bass, it will get damaged and you’ll have wasted your money. Get a bass amp instead.

Can you use a guitar amp head for bass?

This is a really bad idea. Amp heads have to power the speaker cabinets they are attached to and if you try to power a bass speaker cabinet with a guitar amp head, there will be such a huge power discrepancy between the two that something will break.

This is really not a good way to use a guitar amp.

Do you need a specific amp for bass?

Yes! You’ll need a bass amp and you can find plenty of information on them in this complete guide to bass amps.

What happens if you plug a bass into a guitar amp?

If you plug a bass into one then you’ll get a dry, brittle tone that isn’t as useable as the one you’d get from regular bass amps and you’ll probably cause some damage.

Which amplifier is best for bass?

There’s no single “best” bass amp but you can read this article about bass amps which will give you plenty of options to choose from.

Can you use any amp for a bass guitar?

No. For a guitar, you should use a guitar amp and you should play a bass through a bass amp.

Are amps for bass and electric guitar the same?

No. They are very different things!

Do I need an amp to practice bass?

Not necessarily but it really does help to be able to plug a bass guitar into even a small practice amp and get some sound back.

What is the best bass guitar practice amp?

There’s no specific model that is best but there are plenty of good models made by MarkBass, Hartke and Fender.

How many watts does a bass amp need to practice?

Bass amps usually need to be around 10-20watts for home practice but if you want your amp to double up and be used at rehearsals and gigs, consider a 50watt model.

Is a bass amp and guitar amp the same?

No, bass and guitar amps are not at all the same.

Can a bass amp be used for acoustic guitar?

Not really but it’s worth noting that an electric acoustic guitar will need a special amp of its own. A standard guitar amp won’t cut it.

Why does a bass need an amp?

Because a bass guitar can’t project its own sound. Unlike the acoustic guitar, the bass guitar doesn’t have a sound box so it doesn’t resonate enough to make a decent sound.

Whilst there are such things as acoustic bass guitars, even these pale in comparison when you think about the level of noise a bass guitar makes with a dedicated bass amp.

Can you play without amp?

You can but this only really works for home practice. If you tried to use an electric bass without an amp at a gig or a rehearsal you wouldn’t be heard so bass amps are the way to go.

Can you use guitar amps as bass amps?

It’s not advisable unless you have the money to replace a lot of damaged amps!

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