#1
Hey guys,

I've been thinking about buying a bass guitar but I don't want to buy an amp with it. I already have an electric guitar and amplifier. Sound quality aside, would playing a bass through the electric guitar amp at relatively low levels destroy the speakers?

If you have personal experience with this issue it would be very useful to hear. Thanks.
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#2
Ive done it and survived, just turn the bass right up and probably the treble down a bit...

But if anyone has had exploding amps, do jump in :P
#5
Play it at low levels for a short period of time and you might be ok. Do it regularly or push the volume and you'll probably ruin the amp
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#6
NO. You'd be fine if you were doing it one or 2 isolated times. But regularly using a bass through a guitar amp is a bad idea.
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#7
You can do it for bedroom practice.... but if you turn it up the speaker starts farting out (you can tell by the sound), which is bad, as this can damage the speaker.

My amp gets you about loud enough to jam with someone playing acoustic guitar and nothing more.
Last edited by seljer at Mar 27, 2012,
#8
Don't do it. I ruined two good guitar amps this way, before getting a bass amp.
#10
You could have actually searched this question. Asking it always brings every guitarist out of the wood work to tell you some poor answer.

If it is a nice amp, just don't....

If it's your old peavey practice amp, turn it up it'll slowly but surely destroy the speaker. You can use it quietly, cut the bass, add some mids and be relatively safe. OR use headphones.

Best advice, if you cared enough to play bass, you'd borrow or buy an amp...
#11
I think it really depends, i say no in most case's, But the bass player in AIR did record a few of the albums with a precision going through a vox ac-30. So....
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#12
Quote by fatgoogle
I think it really depends, i say no in most case's, But the bass player in AIR did record a few of the albums with a precision going through a vox ac-30. So....


That's the thing though, you can do anything, but unless you have a recording budget and the ability and knowledge to repair damage to a speaker or the ability to replace, why suggest that? Geezer Butler played through 4x12 guitar cabs and blew speakers left and right, that doesn't mean a guy with his first P copy should go to guitar center or his own amp, crank it up and play paranoid through it?

Also some people just put bass speakers in guitar combos to use the amps sound safely.
#13
Thanks guys. I was leaning towards not trying it and now I'll just look into a cheap practice amp as I'm not going to be doing gigs with it.


Quote by askrere
You could have actually searched this question. Asking it always brings every guitarist out of the wood work to tell you some poor answer.


Yeah, I did a quick search but UG's search function is shit so I just went ahead and posted. Sorry if it bothered anyone.

Thanks for the help!
People don't really go to heaven when they die. They're taken to a special place and burned - Sherlock Holmes


Your authority is not recognized in Fort Kickass!

It's not like bullshit, more like poetry.
#14
Quote by )v(egaFan90


Yeah, I did a quick search but UG's search function is shit so I just went ahead and posted. Sorry if it bothered anyone.

Thanks for the help!


yea forum searches are hard, google always worked for me and offers a lot more answers and suggestions fast.
#15
Here is a short video by Celestion on the matter.

It's best not to use your guitar speakers for bass amplification.
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#16
Quote by FatalGear41
And on the sixth day, the Lord God did sayeth unto the world; "Let there not be found
amongst you one who maketh yet another goddamned thread asking if thou shalt play thy
bass through a guitar amp. For the answer is and forever shall be no; thou shalt not do it;
for it is an abomination and shalt destroy thine guitar amp in the course of time." And the people did rejoice. So let it be written; so let it be done.


Quote by DeliriumBassist
For the love of God, don’t do this. It may be ok for a while, but one day, the heavens will open and your amp will be destroyed by the power of God. Get a bass amp; it’s what they’re there for. As an added plus, guitars sound better through them too. Bass amps are designed to handle the lower frequencies. Guitar amps are not.


Just trying To be helpful.
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#17
I usually record my bass through my Fender Mustang II because it sounds way better than my crappy bass amp.
#18
WHAT?????????

"it will blow it up"
"don't do it you'll kill the speakers"

WTF is wrong with you people? DON'T you READ posts before you reply?

Sound quality aside, would playing a bass through the electric guitar amp at relatively low levels destroy the speakers?

and before any of you start a fight,

an amp is an amp it does NOT know what your plugging into it, guitar/bass/microphone/keyboard/

no shit if you try to play bass thru a 2x12 combo made for guitar and hit it with volume, your gonna kill it.

sure you can play bass thru a guitar amp at quiet bedroom practice volumes.
sure you can line-out to a REAL amp and STILL use a guitar amp's internal speakers at low volume.

so in reverse, let's play thru a Crown xls2500 bridged and use a 4x10 BASS CABINET rated at 300 watts, what will you think would happen in the first 15 secs of hitting a low-B with the amp pushing out max watts bridged????????


Gezuss, I think some of you just post for the F*** of it.
#19
Quote by amimbari


sure you can play bass thru a guitar amp at quiet bedroom practice volumes.
sure you can line-out to a REAL amp and STILL use a guitar amp's internal speakers at low volume.

so in reverse, let's play thru a Crown xls2500 bridged and use a 4x10 BASS CABINET rated at 300 watts, what will you think would happen in the first 15 secs of hitting a low-B with the amp pushing out max watts bridged????????


Gezuss, I think some of you just post for the F*** of it.


It's not just an issue of two much power; there are a couple different ways speakers can fail. The most common is "too much power" which means the extra energy goes to heat and ends up melting your voice coil or doing other such damage. That's always a risk when you have an amp that puts out more power than the speakers are rated for.

The other way to damage them, which happens much more often with bass instruments, is over-excursion. You can have speakers connected to a "safe wattage" guitar amp then play bass through them and the speaker won't overheat. On the low notes and loud volumes, however, the speaker may literally tear itself apart because the fundamentals of the bass notes getting that much power cause the speaker to move much farther than its design allows. That's the big difference between guitar and bass speakers of a similar wattage rating--the bass (and keyboard, and PA) speakers are designed with better excursion so that the very low frequencies can be expressed well without braking the speaker.

An octave pedal on guitar doesn't do that damage because it doesn't have the same emphasis on those frequencies even though it nominally reaches them. That's why timbre of a guitar through an octave pedal is different from the timbre of a bass.


Or I could be wrong about all of this, but it's just what I've picked up in passing through a good decade of cruising gear threads.

Long story short, I worry about blowing out wimpy guitar speakers at any volume. I don't worry so much about blowing out heavy-duty ones at lower volumes. I'm playing a 2*15 cab with guitar speakers in it right now and I'm not too worried because there's only 20w going to them and so the overall distance the speaker cone travels is pretty minimal, even when I'm slamming away loudly on the E string.

Edit* not to confuse the regulars, I also play through a real 2*15 bass cab with bass speakers and a high wattage amp, the little 20w stack is my super-grindy practice and recording rig at the moment.
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Mar 28, 2012,
#20
Quote by dullsilver_mike


An octave pedal on guitar doesn't do that damage because it doesn't have the same emphasis on those frequencies even though it nominally reaches them. That's why timbre of a guitar through an octave pedal is different from the timbre of a bass.


Or I could be wrong about all of this, but it's just what I've picked up in passing through a good decade of cruising gear threads.



I wonder about that, I used my OC-3 on my classic 30 and it has a nice speaker, and a closed back matching cab with another nice speaker. It made a sound that sounded poor for tone, and just not safe (weird distorted flappy sound), so I no longer use the pedal with my guitar amp, because I just imagine the speaker cone shredding apart.
#21
DullSilver, you are 100% correct about a speaker that would tear itself apart from being forced to reproduce a frequency range it was never designed for, but refer back to the OP. "low volumes" this is the key. I play guitar as well and used my Mesa TripleRec and 4x12 to jam my bass thru many many times and yes the volume had to be kept pretty low to keep the speakers from farting, but mic'ed it was an excellent compliment to my DI box for recording purposes.

I was a youngster back in the day and had my share of "let's see how much the cab will take before it burns or self destructs" because I also tried using bass amps thru low-wattage guitar cabs and I WISH I still had pictures of some of the destruction I witnessed first hand.
#22
Sure, put the volume and gain on 1.

But seriously, if you ever want to use that guitar amp again, buy yourself a bass amp.
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#23
Quote by fatgoogle
I think it really depends, i say no in most case's, But the bass player in AIR did record a few of the albums with a precision going through a vox ac-30. So....

VOX AC30s were available in Bass or guitar versions, the only fifference being the speakers.
I used one from 63-69.
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300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
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#24
Quote by amimbari
WHAT?????????

"it will blow it up"
"don't do it you'll kill the speakers"

WTF is wrong with you people? DON'T you READ posts before you reply?

Sound quality aside, would playing a bass through the electric guitar amp at relatively low levels destroy the speakers?

and before any of you start a fight,

an amp is an amp it does NOT know what your plugging into it, guitar/bass/microphone/keyboard/

no shit if you try to play bass thru a 2x12 combo made for guitar and hit it with volume, your gonna kill it.

sure you can play bass thru a guitar amp at quiet bedroom practice volumes.
sure you can line-out to a REAL amp and STILL use a guitar amp's internal speakers at low volume.

so in reverse, let's play thru a Crown xls2500 bridged and use a 4x10 BASS CABINET rated at 300 watts, what will you think would happen in the first 15 secs of hitting a low-B with the amp pushing out max watts bridged????????


Gezuss, I think some of you just post for the F*** of it.

What a silly post.
The short answer is that the cone suspensions (front and rear) are designed to do different jobs.
Using a bass through guitar speakers will in time lead to excessive cone movement causing suspension fatigue which also allows the voice coil to bottom out and in doing so usualy damages it.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
#25
Quote by ZeroBassist
Never. Ever. Play a bass through a guitar amp. You WILL kill the amp.

Only if you have a little 15 watt amp that overheats the output stage through trying to re-produce bass frequencies at too high a sound level.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
#26
Quote by John Swift
What a silly post.
The short answer is that the cone suspensions (front and rear) are designed to do different jobs.
Using a bass through guitar speakers will in time lead to excessive cone movement causing suspension fatigue which also allows the voice coil to bottom out and in doing so usualy damages it.

why is it a silly post?

WE are NOT talking about getting a 5string and jamming meshuggah riffs thru it at 120db for christs sake.

I'm done arguing for the OP's sake as he DID say low volume, and you are just prodding me into a fight about engineering specs and speaker limits when the volume level is not anywhere NEAR the speakers limits for any reason.

you are totally correct about drivers, I'm not saying you are wrong and I am right, that is NOT the point. the point is at Low volumes unless your a total idiot there would be no ill effects.

perhaps the KEY word here is "how low is low volume"?
#27
I have done some bass practice at VERY low volumes on my Mesa Lonestar, without any issues.

From a scientific point of view, it's the amplitude and accleration of the cone that would be damaging, and low frequencies require a large amplitude to make the sound.

BUT....

Someone would need to test it, but I'm willing to bet that a speaker at very low bedroom volumes producing a note at say 40Hz isn't as bad as the same speaker at live venue volume producing a note of say 80Hz.

i.e it's a combination of factor not just a low frequency

Having said that I'd be super cautious and have the volume as low as possible or maybe just use headphones if it's an expensive amp.
#28
I could stab my self in the ears, it's perfectly possible, but it would break things and probably sound pretty bad.

That is my metaphor for playing bass through a guitar amp.
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#30
Quote by amimbari
why is it a silly post?

WE are NOT talking about getting a 5string and jamming meshuggah riffs thru it at 120db for christs sake.

I'm done arguing for the OP's sake as he DID say low volume, and you are just prodding me into a fight about engineering specs and speaker limits when the volume level is not anywhere NEAR the speakers limits for any reason.

you are totally correct about drivers, I'm not saying you are wrong and I am right, that is NOT the point. the point is at Low volumes unless your a total idiot there would be no ill effects.

perhaps the KEY word here is "how low is low volume"?

It is a silly post because of the over dramatic tone that you used in it.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
#31
you'll lock the speakers but the amp will be fine. if you've got a separate head you can just buy a bass cab and hook it up to that. Chris Squire of Yes played a guitar head through a bass cab for the first couple of tours
#32
Quote by CJ Noble
you'll lock the speakers but the amp will be fine. if you've got a separate head you can just buy a bass cab and hook it up to that. Chris Squire of Yes played a guitar head through a bass cab for the first couple of tours

In the past there was often little or no difference between bass and guitar amps, for the most part the difference was in the speakers supplied.
The 70s Fender Dual Showman head was identicle to the Twin Reverb Guitar Amp. With the 2x15 Dual Showman cab you either got JBL D130 speakers for guitar or JBL D140 speakers for Bass.
Todays Bass amps generaly have more refined preamp circuitry in them.
G&L L2500
Squier Affinity Jazz Bass 5
Ashdown RPM pre-amp
Ashdown Little Giant 1000
300 watt 15" powered cab
450 watt 15" powered sub bass cab
2x10 + horn
1x15x10 + horn
#33
At least the Bass Forum is consistent.
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