Can I run a Bass through a guitar amp?

Baelzebeard

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Eyeswide, you are only talking about the electrical "power handling" of the speakers and it seems completely ignoring mechanical power handling. If a speaker is pushed too hard mechanically it could very well physically fail before being overloaded electrically.

Saying that a speaker that only specs out down to 70 Hz won't put out a 50 Hz signal is patently wrong. The speaker will not simply ignore the electrical signal sent to it outside of its published specs. It's not as if it has some sort of crossover incorporated into its voice coil, or cone, etc. The speaker will attempt to reproduce anything sent to it. The published specs are representative of how the speakers will respond to an input signal, and as a result inform you about the "appropriate" signals to send to the speaker.

I'll make an extreme case to hopefully make clear what I'm trying to say. If you were to get yourself a 100 watt 1" tweeter with a published frequency response of , let's say 2.5kHz-20kHz, and you connected that to a 100 watt amplifier with a full bandwidth signal, (music, pink noise, whatever) and I guarantee that poor little speaker would have a catastrophic mechanical failure in very short order. That's one of the main purposes of a crossover; protecting a speaker from damage by keeping it in its intended bandwidth.

Scaling it back up to 12" guitar speakers, and things become less sudden and dramatic, but still very real. 100 watts of 40'ish Hz, (bass low E) won't instantly turn a 100 watt 12" guitar speaker inside out, but it does cause the speaker to overwork itself mechanically, and that will cause the speaker to wear out prematurely.

I hope that didn't come off as rude, but I couldn't not say something.:cheers:
 

beneharris

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I've never understood why people think you can't run a bass through a guitar amp. What about guitars that are tuned low? Its not like we aren't running 10 and 11 string guitars through the same amps, I don't understand why running a bass through the same amp would cause an issue. :scratch:
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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It's possible. :shrug: A lot of bass amps back in the day were slightly-modified guitar amps, such as the Marshall Superbass and Laney Supergroup. Only problem I can see is running very low-powered speakers like Celestion Greenbacks.

With a 1x12, though, I'd keep it low volume unless you can find a proper bass speaker cab.
 

pushpull7

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It appears someone started a thread that they forgot about ;)

Long story short: There is nothing really wrong with it. Ideally, a guitar amp is biased/designed for guitars and thus is not the ideal choice for tone. But you can. If you push something too hard, she's gonna blow. Use common sense (i.e. don't just turn everything to 10 and just expect it to be fine :lol: )

HOWEVER (and it's a big one)

If you trying to play bass in a band, I'd SERIOUSLY consider a bass rig. Something less expensive that can handle those frequencies at higher volumes is better than ruining your favorite guitar amp.

One thing too. For minimal coin, you can get the Kuassa "cerebrus" VST if you just want to record bass (since I'm assuming you have a host and it's likely that format) For about 40 bucks through April (a bit on sale) it's a very nice sounding bass amp sim. In fact, I think it's better than the markbass one. This gives you the option of simply recording the parts as you see fit and then doing all the tone tweaks when you mix something where the parts are right.
 

Thesius

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I totally forgot I posted this lol. I've been reading and from the mixed responses posted here I decided to just run it through my ....ty line 6 practice amp. It's been working out for me but it doesn't sound good at all lol.

Thanks for the help guys.
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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Pretty much what'll happen. :lol: It'll sound passible, but will sound like .....

If you want a cheap but good amp, check out the Fender Rumbles. Make sure it's the V3 versions with the traditional Fender grille cloth and the cream knobs. They're a lot better than the old Rumbles, and are extremely, extremely good for the price.
 

TedEH

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Just for the sake of clarifying, my point before was not that bass will explode guitar speakers just because it's a bass.

My point was that a lot of bassists use more of the bass range than a guitarist would. And that bass takes more power to sound like it's the same volume, so it's likely that a bassist will use more power, potentially to the point of abusing the speakers.
 

eyeswide

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I hope that didn't come off as rude, but I couldn't not say something.:cheers:

Not rude at all! And my response to the other guy above had a lot more attitude than yours (TedEH, apologies if I came off sounding too much like a dick). And what you are saying could very well be correct. But, I would like to say, from what I know, the frequency threshold wouldn't have this drastic of a mismatch in guitar/bass amps to cause fatigue (but I'll concede that it could).

Another example of this is straight up bass into bass amps - most bass amps will go as low as around 30 hz (I can't think of any with lower handling), and the fundamental of a low B on a five-string is 31 hz. So guys that tune lower, like in A, are completely missing on the fundamental of the note (yes, they are still getting the overtones, but the speaker is physically incapable of reproducing the fundamental).

This is the source of aggressively low tuned basses sounding like mud, but it is a direct parallel of the "bass guitar into guitar amp" discussion, but no one says that tuning your bass too low into a bass amp will make it blow.
 

All_¥our_Bass

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I've never understood why people think you can't run a bass through a guitar amp. What about guitars that are tuned low? Its not like we aren't running 10 and 11 string guitars through the same amps, I don't understand why running a bass through the same amp would cause an issue. :scratch:
Guitars, even when tuned low have much less power in the fundamental frequencies than compared to bass. They put out way less low end, and many guitar amps have some kind of filter to super low frequencies out as a form of noise reduction.
 

pushpull7

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Running bass through guitar gear is pretty much a last resort.

To add to what I posted earlier, I agree with this.

@....ty line6 practice amp: Please read my previous post. If you are recording to a daw, there are gazillions of options.
 

Grand Moff Tim

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Another example of this is straight up bass into bass amps - most bass amps will go as low as around 30 hz (I can't think of any with lower handling), and the fundamental of a low B on a five-string is 31 hz. So guys that tune lower, like in A, are completely missing on the fundamental of the note (yes, they are still getting the overtones, but the speaker is physically incapable of reproducing the fundamental).

Hell, most bass amps/cabs don't even go that low. I was recently trying to find a cab that could produce the fundamental of my low B, and the vast majority of the stuff I looked at didn't even go down to 35hz, let alone 30hz or lower. Even Ampeg's 8x10s only go down to 40hz, which is barely low enough for a low E, and bassists seem to love those things.
 

TedEH

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cGoEcYk said:
Running bass through guitar gear is pretty much a last resort.

I know some guys who use guitar heads for bass by choice, as their first choice. Because with the right amp and the right player, that setup can sound amazing.
 

TedEH

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Even Ampeg's 8x10s only go down to 40hz, which is barely low enough for a low E, and bassists seem to love those things.

I don't think those rating have much real-world meaning. I've played through plenty of those ampeg cabs and they handle anything you throw at it. My traynor cab with 8" speakers is supposed to handle only as low as 50hz, but I can still hear a low B pretty clearly. It's more than likely that the cab is reproducing at least some small amount of the sound below the rated cutoff, but I think most of what you hear from a bass played that low isn't the fundamental anyway.
 

HeHasTheJazzHands

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Running bass through guitar gear is pretty much a last resort.

Although running one in stereo with an actual bass amp sounds pretty damn awesome. Use a bass amp with a major scoop in the mids, and run a guitar amp with the mids dimed and bass rolled back, and you can get some pretty brutal sounds.
 

VBCheeseGrater

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There is nothing wrong with running a bass guitar through a guitar amp. You will not blow the amp. Running a bass head into a guitar speaker cabinet can cause it to blow, as the bass head will likely run much more power than the guitar speaker can handle. At lower volumes, you will have no issues. Any other permutation of head/cabinet/bass/guitar will not cause any issues.

/thread

This. Bassists started out using guitar amps from what I understand (before my time). I'm sure it's a little harder on the cab running a bass vs running regular guitar, but as long as the cab is rated high enough for the amp, the amp should fart out tonally before it puts out anything to blow the cab.
 

danresn

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On using a bass through a Marshall tube amp, the original marshall circuits were souped up Fender Bassmans (It's funny now that we have souped up Marshalls). It won't change how it actually sounds but it's an interesting little fact.
 

JeffTD

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There is a ton of really bad info being posted. Simple guide:

Bass -> bass amp -> bass cab = normal.
Bass -> bass amp -> guitar cab = bad.
Bass -> guitar amp -> guitar cab = fine.
Bass -> guitar amp -> bass camp = probably sounds amazing.
 

stevexc

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There is a ton of really bad info being posted. Simple guide:

Bass -> bass amp -> bass cab = normal.
Bass -> bass amp -> guitar cab = bad.
Bass -> guitar amp -> guitar cab = fine.
Bass -> guitar amp -> bass camp = probably sounds amazing.

Most things sound amazing at bass camp.
 


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