Can you Use a Bass Amp for Guitar? (Definitive Guide 2022)
Whether you just didn’t have access to the appropriate guitar amp or just want to perform a fun experiment with your bass amplifier, This is the article for you! Here I’ll cover what is the potential risk and what precautions you should follow before using a bass amp for guitar.
So, can you play guitar with the bass amp?
You can play guitar on a bass amp without any potential risk of damaging either an amp or a guitar. Although bass amplifiers are designed to support more low-end frequencies and carry relatively higher mass and stiffness in the speaker cone, you can increase the quality and the authenticity of the guitar tone with proper EQ adjustments.
- Key Differences Between Bass Amp and Guitar Amp
- How to Play Guitar With Bass Amp? [Step by Step]
- Precautions While Playing Guitar with Bass Amp
- Is Bass Amp Better than Normal Amp for Guitar?
- Can your Guitar Damages the Bass Amplifier?
- Best Budget Bass Amp that Works with Guitar
- Popular Guitar Players that Uses Bass Amplifier
- Final Thoughts on Playing Guitar with Bass Amp
Key Differences Between Bass Amp and Guitar Amp
There are many differences between a bass amp and a guitar amp in terms of power usage, tonal features, frequency response, and speaker size.
|Bass Amp||Guitar Amp|
|Bass amp needs more power to work||Guitar amp needs less power to work|
|Comes with a Larger Speaker (Around 15 Inch)||Comes with a Smaller Speaker (8-12 Inches)|
|The wattage requirement is around 150-500 watts||The wattage requirement is around 25-100 watts|
|Ease of Transmission is Difficult||Provides you Higher Portability|
|Provide you Wide Frequency Response||Narrow Frequency Response|
|Low Gain and Bass-Laden||High Gain and Treble Laden|
Rather than having 3 to 4 smaller speakers (Which is quite common in a guitar amp), bass amps mostly have one large single speaker. Generally, good-quality wood is used in the speaker cabinet of a bass amp, so it can be capable to handle loud sounds of the bass guitar.
Bass amp speakers have a greater excursion, bigger magnets, and have a capacity to deliver more clean sounds compared to a guitar amp. not to mention, many bass amp cabinets also come with tweeters that allow you to emphasize the high-end frequencies.
Although budget-friendly bass amplifiers don’t provide you overdrive channel or gain level control knob, but it still offers you enough versatility in your tone. On the other hand, guitar amps comparatively provide you with more control options, switches, and input jacks.
As bass guitars are tuned at one octave lower than a normal electric guitar, that’s why bass amplifiers come with relatively bigger speakers because they required more power and headroom to push those low-end frequencies produced by the bass.
Whereas: Guitar amps usually comes with nearly 8-12 inches of a speaker, which is more than enough to push the higher notes of the electric guitar. As a result, guitar amplifiers are more portable as compared to bass amplifiers of the same power rating.
Note: Due to continuous innovations and new experiments, there are no major differences remains between guitar and bass amp, in terms of playability.
How to Play Guitar With Bass Amp? [Step by Step]
When you play guitar with a bass amp you feel a little lack of clarity in your tones. It will still work for practice but for gigging or recording, It’s always better to a dedicated guitar amplifier.
Here’re some of the changes you can do in your amplifier setup to get better and effective results in terms of enhanced tone quality.
1. Connect your Guitar to Bass Amplifier
First, plug your amplifier into the wall socket and then connect the instrument cable to your guitar. Make sure you keep down the volume and gain level to prevent any feedback and stopping you from blowing out the speakers.
2. Leverage Multiple Channels of the Amp
Most of the modern bass amplifiers come with two or more channels along with a controller that allows you to switch between them. These channels are nothing but tonal presets that provide a specific type of tone to your guitar. You can further personalize these presets depending on your playing style and the type of music you want to play.
For three-channel amps, you can split the output of the amp into more frequencies of guitar you needed. For this, you have to create an active crossover by supplying power to each amp.
3. Experiment with the Tone Controls
Check the control panel of your bass amplifier: You might see controls for mid-range, bass, and trebles with other tonal options like gain level control, depending on which bass amp you’re using.
Some amps also have a parametric equalization that splits the out into more frequencies to produce a nuanced tone.
Although all these controls are designed to produce a perfect bass sound feel, but by some experiments and with proper adjustments, you can find a sweet spot that meets the need of your electric guitar.
4. Use of Switchable Impedance
Switchable impedance is a nifty feature that allows you to change the amp output (by switching between 4 ohms or 8ohms).
You can certainly get a very natural and authentic-sounding tone from your electric guitar by connecting such an Impedance switch through XLR DI balanced output or passive/active inputs.
Precautions While Playing Guitar with Bass Amp
Even though there are some similarities in the guitar and bass amplifiers, but still you need to follow some precautions in order to minimize the potential risk factors.
Here’re some of the precautions you should consider to avoid any serious damage to your guitar or bass amp:
- Do not hit solid state amp with ton of boost and fuzz because it may cause damage.
- Do not play high pitch sound at high volume when you connect synth to bass amp
- If your amp has FX loop then use pedalboard for your guitar.
- Do not overdrive and distort your amp much
Is Bass Amp Better than Normal Amp for Guitar?
A Bass amp is not better than a normal amp for guitar because when the bass amp is connected with the guitar some mid-range frequencies seem missing and the guitar starts to sound a little dull. Whereas guitar amp is specially designed to handle higher notes of the guitar and thus sound better than a bass amp.
Can your Guitar Damages the Bass Amplifier?
The guitar does not damage the bass amplifier even if the amp is not specially designed to suits the higher notes of the electric guitar. Although your guitar may sound a little dull and delivers a satisfactory tone but there is no potential risk of blowing out the amplifier.
Personally, I’ve tried a fender rumble 25W amp with one of my electric guitar and it works fine. The only thing you should avoid is: if you connect a synth to the bass amp and played at a higher pitch, you might end up wrecking your bass amplifier.
Best Budget Bass Amp that Works with Guitar
There are some specially designed amplifier models (I called them combined amplifiers!) that work perfectly fine with both bass guitars and electric guitars. Usually, such amps come with different tone presets and allows you to get the desired tone from your guitar.
One of the modeling amplifiers that I prefer is Nux Mighty Air (Link to Amazon). It’s a great amplifier for you if you want an amp for at-home/studio practice sessions or looking for recording purposes. Also, Fender bassman and showman are also good choices that work fine with both bass and guitars.
Popular Guitar Players that Uses Bass Amplifier
There are lots of players around the world (Mostly Jazz players) who had used and still now playing guitar with a bass amp. The electric guitar delivers some unique and fat-sounding tones through bass amplifiers which are quite melodic and certainly suitable for blues-jazz kind of stuff.
Some popular guitar players who use the bass amp for guitar:
- Josh Homme
- Keith Richards
- John Marshall
Final Thoughts on Playing Guitar with Bass Amp
Even though it’s always better to use a bass amp for a bass and a guitar amp for an electric guitar, but you can play your guitar through a bass amplifier. The only thing you need to understand, it will work but won’t give you the exact feel of the sound.
I hope you find this article helpful and I am able to clear all your doubts. Still, if you have any questions or even suggestions for me, feel free to put them down in the comment section. I will be happy to respond to them.
Also, I want you to share your thoughts and share this article with your friends. Stay connected with music, Have a good day!
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