#1
I am thinking of getting a digitech whammy, but i am confused as to why playing a bass through your amp will blow the speakersw, but using a pedal to lower the sound an octave is fine.
#2
As far as i'm aware the fundamental is stronger on a bass due to the thickness of the strings and the scale length and maybe the pickups. But the fundamental frequency of a low E string 1 octave down is still the same as a bass. I believe the low E is 82 hertz on a guitar and 41 on a bass (half the frequency due to it being 1 octave lower), this will still be this way with a guitar with an octave pedal, even if less of the fundamental is produced.
#4
It's not the frequency of a bass that kills guitar speakers - it's the attack.
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#5
Quote by Cathbard
It's not the frequency of a bass that kills guitar speakers - it's the attack.

Yup. Far as I understand, it goes like this, please correct me if I'm wrong:

Look at the spec sheets of guitar and bass speakers. The latter have a lot more to offer in terms of maximum physical excursion (Xmech), meaning the entire thing can move back and forth a lot more than guitar speakers, meaning they can deal with huge impulses. Guitars don't produce such impulses, basses do. And when a strong impulse hits a speaker with low Xmech, the spider will start beating against the front plate and/or the voice coil will be hammering against the back plate, causing physical damage to the speaker.
#6
Spend two minutes watching how far a bass speaker moves when you first hit a note - now watch your guitars speakers at the same volume. It's chalk and cheese. You don't need to understand the mechanism - just use your eyes.
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#7
What about 8-string guitars, then? They're more or less in a bass's range (and certainly are if you tune down a step). Or do guitar pickups not cause that sort of impulse?
#8
It doesn't seem to be just the pickups, but the instrument as a whole. I don't see what difference there'd be between a guitar in standard tuning with an octaver and a guitar tuned an octave down... should be the same in relation to the problem we're discussing, no?
#9
Quote by TheQuailman
It doesn't seem to be just the pickups, but the instrument as a whole. I don't see what difference there'd be between a guitar in standard tuning with an octaver and a guitar tuned an octave down... should be the same in relation to the problem we're discussing, no?

Well, 8-strings have a longer scale (usually) and thicker strings. For that matter, the Fender Bass VI is just a 30"-scale guitar tuned an octave down with super-thick strings, and I'm pretty sure they're generally played through guitar amps.

What makes the bass so special? I mean, you can get 30"-scale basses.
Last edited by Holy Katana at Jul 1, 2011,
#10
I'm guessing the thickness of the strings plays a role. The e on a bass is roughly twice as thick as the low-e on a guitar, which means an exponentially larger cross-section, which means a lot more mass that's moving when you pluck a string. Seems to indicate a lot of energy and a big fat impulse. Even guitar strings that are considered heavy aren't all that heavy in comparison.
#11
guitarists who play 8 string guitars use baby strings.

the low string on a bass can be up to .130g thick.

that produces a different attack.
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#13
Quote by TheQuailman
I didn't know thickness was measured in grams now.


That's tension weight right?

But I've heard that some 8 string players use bass strings ( sure the thinner ones, but still ) and they don't blow their ENGL's or Mesa's or whatever amp they're using. O.o
#14
well generally i have played bass thru my 10 watt SS amp but never cranked it up to max.. it'd also help to lower the volume on the bass before t enters the amp so that it has a huge headroom!

as for the rest, yeah again i think the attack and whole overtones of the bass guitar difers from that of a guitar. even if you put bass guitar strings on your axe it won't be the same cause pretty much everything from the wood to the form of the instrument matters and especially the pickups won't pick the real deal sound. it's teh same as putting viola strings on violing and tuning down, it'll never sound the same. or like cello and contrabass, they won't sound the same
#15
Quote by Vendetta V
well generally i have played bass thru my 10 watt SS amp but never cranked it up to max.. it'd also help to lower the volume on the bass before t enters the amp so that it has a huge headroom!

as for the rest, yeah again i think the attack and whole overtones of the bass guitar difers from that of a guitar. even if you put bass guitar strings on your axe it won't be the same cause pretty much everything from the wood to the form of the instrument matters and especially the pickups won't pick the real deal sound. it's teh same as putting viola strings on violing and tuning down, it'll never sound the same. or like cello and contrabass, they won't sound the same


If I understand correctly, SS amps won't take the damage the way tube amps do.
#17
Quote by TheQuailman
The amps don't take damage, the speakers do.

exactly, the amp doesn't give a Fuck about what you feed into it, it'll either sound good either bad.. but won't get damaged (of course in the sane borders)
speaker however get's damaged mechanically, not electronically
#18
Isn't that because basses give you a strong signal, when playing slap bass (which is why bass amps have limiters), and that signal overpowers your speakers, causing damage?

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#20
The likelihood of damaging a guitar speaker by playing a bass through it is greatly overstated. Especially by twits on this forum.
#21
yep its the clank/slap sounds from basses which bust the speakers, especially when the basses strings bash against the pickup, causing a dc voltage. This rarely ever happens with guitars as the strings dont tend to move far enough.

Anyway, this can be overcome with a HP filter on the bass making it safer to run into a guitar amp.
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#22
Is there proof a bass can damage a guitar speaker?
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#23
Quote by evhbrianmay
Is there proof a bass can damage a guitar speaker?

It seems to be less common than people think it would be but it can still happen. I know people who've played bass for short amounts of time into guitar amps but always at low
volume.

If it is due to the speaking moving more from the attack of a bass then surely this is a frequency thing too? Or if not then why can't a guitar / 8 string guitar cause the same attack? Unless this is just a volume thing, in which case it is due to the bass producing a far greater amount of low end at higher volume in the attack?
#24
Quote by evhbrianmay
Is there proof a bass can damage a guitar speaker?



Yes. Some fools plugged into my amp when I was in high school on stage. They thought it was a bass amp. Come home to find a 4 inch rip in one of my speaker cones. It took a good 30 minutes before it did any damage, and they were playing fairly loud. Although, this was a crappy frontman 212, so I imagine that better speakers would hang in there better. By the time I realized they weren't plugged into a bass amp (My amp was on the backline) it was too late.

Call me a "twit" if you want, but my speaker was ****ed. Bass/fr speakers move quite a bit, while the mid rang-ey speakers like the guitar ones don't move as much. I would assume that the speakers in my frontman weren't really capable of moving as far as the bass wanted to, so they ripped.

As for octave pedals. Does an octave pedal playing two octaves down sound anything like a bass guitar? Nope. there's your answer.
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Last edited by Reincaster at Jul 1, 2011,
#25
Quote by Vendetta V
exactly, the amp doesn't give a Fuck about what you feed into it, it'll either sound good either bad.. but won't get damaged (of course in the sane borders)
speaker however get's damaged mechanically, not electronically

Then why did my friend's 6880 loaded Randall blow a fuse and two resistors when we ran a bass through it with the master on full and channel volume over half into a subwoofer?
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#26
Quote by Reincaster
Yes. Some fools plugged into my amp when I was in high school on stage. They thought it was a bass amp. Come home to find a 4 inch rip in one of my speaker cones. It took a good 30 minutes before it did any damage, and they were playing fairly loud. Although, this was a crappy frontman 212, so I imagine that better speakers would hang in there better. By the time I realized they weren't plugged into a bass amp (My amp was on the backline) it was too late.

Call me a "twit" if you want, but my speaker was ****ed. Bass/fr speakers move quite a bit, while the mid rang-ey speakers like the guitar ones don't move as much. I would assume that the speakers in my frontman weren't really capable of moving as far as the bass wanted to, so they ripped.

As for octave pedals. Does an octave pedal playing two octaves down sound anything like a bass guitar? Nope. there's your answer.

A bass guitar is only 1 octave lower than a guitar in standard tuning.
#27
Quote by Zoot Allures
A bass guitar is only 1 octave lower than a guitar in standard tuning.


There's more than one octave available in a 6 string guitar. Just an example

Playing the 12th fret on an A string with a pitch shifter two octaves down sounds nothing like a bass guitar, correct? Playing the 2nd fret on the D string is a Bass E with two octaves down, right? Pitch shifter with one octave down playing in the first 12 frets is not the same either. This is the point I'm trying to make. Even if a guitar played the same notes as a bass guitar, it's not the same as playing a bass guitar, nor does it sound the same, or move the speaker the same way.
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Last edited by Reincaster at Jul 1, 2011,
#28
Quote by Shinozoku
Then why did my friend's 6880 loaded Randall blow a fuse and two resistors when we ran a bass through it with the master on full and channel volume over half into a subwoofer?

No clue, but it shouldn't damage the amp.
At that point, it's an electric signal, the same level as a guitar's.
It shouldn't damage anything. Odds are, the fuse blew for a different reason. And when it blew, it took some parts with it. If it was the main fuse, it definatly wouldn't have blown it because no signal from guitar or bass reaches that fuse.

Proof that amps don't get hurt from Basses: Lemmy runs his bass into a Plexi using a bass cab.
#29
Quote by Shinozoku
Then why did my friend's 6880 loaded Randall blow a fuse and two resistors when we ran a bass through it with the master on full and channel volume over half into a subwoofer?


well apparently you should have not plugged it to a subwoofer, that is my guess, but there's NO FREAKING WAY a bass gutiar could blow a fuse and 2 resistors!!


Playing the 12th fret on an A string with a pitch shifter two octaves down sounds nothing like a bass guitar, correct? Playing the 2nd fret on the D string is a Bass E with two octaves down, right? Pitch shifter with one octave down playing in the first 12 frets is not the same either. This is the point I'm trying to make. Even if a guitar played the same notes as a bass guitar, it's not the same as playing a bass guitar, nor does it sound the same, or move the speaker the same way


exactly what i've been saying from the first post
#30
Wouldn't surprise me that if you played it loud enough that it would damage your speaker.
#31
Quote by darkwolf291
No clue, but it shouldn't damage the amp.
At that point, it's an electric signal, the same level as a guitar's.
It shouldn't damage anything. Odds are, the fuse blew for a different reason. And when it blew, it took some parts with it. If it was the main fuse, it definatly wouldn't have blown it because no signal from guitar or bass reaches that fuse.

Proof that amps don't get hurt from Basses: Lemmy runs his bass into a Plexi using a bass cab.

It's a Super Bass, though.

But yeah.
#32
Quote by Reincaster
There's more than one octave available in a 6 string guitar. Just an example

Playing the 12th fret on an A string with a pitch shifter two octaves down sounds nothing like a bass guitar, correct? Playing the 2nd fret on the D string is a Bass E with two octaves down, right? Pitch shifter with one octave down playing in the first 12 frets is not the same either. This is the point I'm trying to make. Even if a guitar played the same notes as a bass guitar, it's not the same as playing a bass guitar, nor does it sound the same, or move the speaker the same way.

It sounds different yeah, it's not as full sounding, the strings are not as thick and it's generally worse sounding i guess but it's still got the same fundamental, although it's a weaker fundamental.
#33
The amount of signal from a bass is much higher than from a guitar, especially an active bass. If you have a huge bass signal going to the speaker on a guitar amp it can rip the cone pretty badly. I've done it, and it isn't pretty.

The speaker also moves much farther in and out to reproduce the bass signal that it does for a treble signal. So it an tear then as well.

It is also possible that it could damage the amp as well. The amount of current drawn through the amp can be frequency dependent, so with an extremely strong bass signal, the amp turned up very loud, and a weak fuse it is possible that the fuse would blow due to the increased demand for power. Small power supply caps don't handle lots of bass well.
#34
Quote by FischmungaXTR
...especially when the basses strings bash against the pickup, causing a dc voltage...