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Old 13-02-2013, 03:42 PM   #1
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Playing a Bass Through a Guitar Amp

I've asked many people what would happen if you played a bass through a guitar amp and i've had loads of mixed respones. But i know definitely that if you have the amp too loud, you can blow the speaker. But how does it actually affect the amp itself?
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Old 13-02-2013, 03:43 PM   #2
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Nah, big old myth in reality.

Once lent a couple of bassists my amp & cab for a gig, both pretty much had it maxed and no issues at all.

The problem is more that guitar amp speakers have a cut off from about 75Hz generally and with a bass, you'd never get the fundamentals of the lowest notes, so bassists may be inclined to boost bass more than necessary to compensate for something that isn't there.
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Old 13-02-2013, 04:20 PM   #3
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For short term use there isn't much of an issue. Just don't play too loudly as that can damage the speaker. Over time the bass frequencies will make a guitar speaker sound more 'muddy'.

tbh most guitar amps cut the low ends far too much for my liking. It just sounds like a detuned guitar. If you want to play bass a decent bass amp is invaluable.
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Old 13-02-2013, 05:30 PM   #4
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For short term use there isn't much of an issue. Just don't play too loudly as that can damage the speaker. Over time the bass frequencies will make a guitar speaker sound more 'muddy'.
How so? Genuinely interested if there's any basis behind thinking this or whether it's just the kind of hearsay that seems to get passed around all too often with this sort of thing.
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Old 13-02-2013, 05:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raurie View Post
How so? Genuinely interested if there's any basis behind thinking this or whether it's just the kind of hearsay that seems to get passed around all too often with this sort of thing.
From what I've heard bass mainly focuses on the lower frequencies which wears the speaker in a place it wouldn't normally be worn so when you play it with guitar the highs becomes less clear because of the unusual wear in the low end.
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Old 14-02-2013, 09:48 AM   #6
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Cheddatom may have something to say about this... this has been asked numerous times too, but can't find the post he made.
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Old 14-02-2013, 02:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
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From what I've heard bass mainly focuses on the lower frequencies which wears the speaker in a place it wouldn't normally be worn so when you play it with guitar the highs becomes less clear because of the unusual wear in the low end.
Speakers over time become softer sounding regardless of what you run through them.

If you get into drop tuning and/or 7-strings, this would be creeping into the same area as the lowest notes on a bass in standard tuning and yet we don't have discussions about whether drop-tuned guitars blow speakers.
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Old 14-02-2013, 02:08 PM   #8
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Speakers over time become softer sounding regardless of what you run through them.

If you get into drop tuning and/or 7-strings, this would be creeping into the same area as the lowest notes on a bass in standard tuning and yet we don't have discussions about whether drop-tuned guitars blow speakers.
What's your experience of running synths through guitar amps Haze? I'd find it hard to imagine you haven't tried it at some point
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Old 14-02-2013, 02:56 PM   #9
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What's your experience of running synths through guitar amps Haze? I'd find it hard to imagine you haven't tried it at some point
You need to be a bit careful when doing that, the outputs of synths are a lot higher than guitars!

This tune was done running a JP8000 through a guitar amp and a Big Muff and a Frantone Sweet for the dirty synth part and a lower sine wave synth through a bass amp



On this, the sub bass and kick drum (909) are both going through my Super Bass just to add a bit of dirt to them:



And on this, I put a drum machine through a Marshall JCM to thin it out and again a small amount of dirt:




Its not something I'd do a lot because a synth uses the entire frequency spectrum and a guitar amp is quite limited and adds quite a clear sonic character to the sound.
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Old 14-02-2013, 06:21 PM   #10
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You need to be a bit careful when doing that, the outputs of synths are a lot higher than guitars!

This tune was done running a JP8000 through a guitar amp and a Big Muff and a Frantone Sweet for the dirty synth part and a lower sine wave synth through a bass amp



On this, the sub bass and kick drum (909) are both going through my Super Bass just to add a bit of dirt to them:



And on this, I put a drum machine through a Marshall JCM to thin it out and again a small amount of dirt:




Its not something I'd do a lot because a synth uses the entire frequency spectrum and a guitar amp is quite limited and adds quite a clear sonic character to the sound.
Nice, liking the tunes. Might have to have a play around when I next set my rig up at home (my amp only really gets used in rehearsals and at gigs at the moment). I did try running my Prodigy through my pedal board into Ableton/Logic a while back but that was before I fixed the 2nd oscillator so I was missing a whole octave of dirty, dirty bass.
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Old 15-02-2013, 05:19 AM   #11
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Only thing to remember is the keep the volume right off at first, then bring it up slowly. Difference between line level compared to a guitar's output is huge.
Synths through analogue pedals can be seriously cool, as some really aren't designed for the output of synths, so can get some interesting distortions out of them, old school EHX pedals especially. A lot do fuck with the frequency response as well, which can help certain sounds and less EQing later.

Synths through amps/amp modelling is very common for distorted bass in a lot of Electro & dubstep these days. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppzE2AIyLNw
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Old 15-02-2013, 08:59 AM   #12
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I do like what I hear there Haze
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Old 15-02-2013, 11:02 AM   #13
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Yeh we did have this before... honestly I think if you really turn up and max out the bass on a guitar amp and play bass (or detuned/7 string guitar for that matter) you could rip the speaker cone, but that's at real extremes. I did manage it with one of those shitty little 20Watt 8" guitar combos.

Low end tends to be harder for amps to re-produce, so it makes them work harder and hotter, but as long as you're not going nuts it'll be fine

I do it fairly often with an old HH 2x12" combo and it soudns fucking ace
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Old 16-02-2013, 12:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haze015 View Post
Nah, big old myth in reality.

Once lent a couple of bassists my amp & cab for a gig, both pretty much had it maxed and no issues at all.

The problem is more that guitar amp speakers have a cut off from about 75Hz generally and with a bass, you'd never get the fundamentals of the lowest notes, so bassists may be inclined to boost bass more than necessary to compensate for something that isn't there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave. View Post
For short term use there isn't much of an issue. Just don't play too loudly as that can damage the speaker. Over time the bass frequencies will make a guitar speaker sound more 'muddy'.

tbh most guitar amps cut the low ends far too much for my liking. It just sounds like a detuned guitar. If you want to play bass a decent bass amp is invaluable.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raurie View Post
How so? Genuinely interested if there's any basis behind thinking this or whether it's just the kind of hearsay that seems to get passed around all too often with this sort of thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave. View Post
From what I've heard bass mainly focuses on the lower frequencies which wears the speaker in a place it wouldn't normally be worn so when you play it with guitar the highs becomes less clear because of the unusual wear in the low end.
Quote:
Originally Posted by haze015 View Post
Speakers over time become softer sounding regardless of what you run through them.

If you get into drop tuning and/or 7-strings, this would be creeping into the same area as the lowest notes on a bass in standard tuning and yet we don't have discussions about whether drop-tuned guitars blow speakers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheddatom View Post
Yeh we did have this before... honestly I think if you really turn up and max out the bass on a guitar amp and play bass (or detuned/7 string guitar for that matter) you could rip the speaker cone, but that's at real extremes. I did manage it with one of those shitty little 20Watt 8" guitar combos.

Low end tends to be harder for amps to re-produce, so it makes them work harder and hotter, but as long as you're not going nuts it'll be fine

I do it fairly often with an old HH 2x12" combo and it soudns fucking ace
Ahh thanks alot for the help guys!! Really appreciate it!
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Old 25-02-2013, 01:57 PM   #15
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A bass into a guitar amp is basically the Joy Division bass tone; sounds very overdriven with practically no low end.

Trent Reznor does it too on In This Twilight, though his sounds way beefier.

Playing through a guitar amp can be great if you like the tone. But follow the above posts advice if you don't want to mess it up
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