When I started playing music for fun, I wasn’t ready to invest in a separate amplifier for my guitar just yet. But luckily, I already had one for my bass guitar. So, I thought, “Can I use bass amp for guitar?”
Not surprisingly, many people now ask me the same question, and I finally thought of writing this article to answer once and for all!
If you have been looking around for an answer to this question as well, you’re in luck! Today, we will discuss everything from the basics of a bass amplifier and a guitar amplifier and their differences.
Then, we’ll talk about whether or not you can use a bass amplifier for guitars. Let’s begin!
What Is A Guitar Amp?
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A guitar amplifier, aka amp, is a unique electric system or device. It serves to strengthen weak electrical signals from pickups on electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and bass guitars.
This way, it produces sound through single or multiple loudspeakers that you will typically find housed within a wood cabinet.
How Does A Guitar Amp Work?
Power amplifiers use power from the main AC outlets and replicate the input signals. A speaker receives the resultant high-power signal and transforms volts into waves (sound waves).
The size and design of this speaker determine the shape and distribution of the resulting sound waves.
How Long Does A Guitar Amp Last?
Typically, guitar amplifiers can function perfectly fine for one or two decades, the condition being that you take care of them.
Even after about fifteen to twenty years, you shouldn’t think about replacing them if they’re working nicely.
What Is A Bass Amp?
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Bass amplifiers are electronic devices that utilize electrical power and create low-pitched instruments like a bass guitar.
These amplifiers typically comprise tone controls, a power amplifier, a preamplifier, and single or multiple loudspeakers in cabinets.
Do Bass Guitars Necessarily Need An Amplifier?
Bass guitars don’t make any sound on their own. Bass amplifiers are necessary to create good vibrations and loud, audible sounds.
The critical thing to keep in mind is what you are going to use the guitar for. If you plan to practice at home, a minimalistic inexpensive amplifier will do.
Is There A Difference Between A Guitar Amplifier And A Bass Amplifier?
Even though bass amplifiers are very similar to guitar amplifiers, there are slight but significant differences between them. For one, bass amplifiers have a common problem related to the production of low-frequency sounds.
The bass amplifier speaker cabinets are typically large and hold either enormous loudspeakers or multiple ones. Even the loudspeakers have a sturdier design to handle the high-power levels and reproduce low-pitch sounds at higher pressure levels.
Other differences include power output, frequency range, and amplifier features.
Can I Use A Bass Amp For Guitar?
Now that we’ve discussed all the basics, let’s move on to the primary question of today’s discussion: Can I use a bass amp for guitar?
In a nutshell, yes, you can, and here’s how:
Since both guitars and bass use the same leads, it is easy to plug them into the same amplifier. And it’s as simple as that! Just plug your guitar into the bass amplifier’s input, and it’ll start working.
As mentioned earlier, bass amplifiers are typically more powerful. They have a special design to produce lower frequencies at adequate volumes.
This way, they have absolutely no problem accommodating to a guitar, which requires much less power to work. Traditional guitars don’t require large speakers because you don’t expect them to produce lower frequencies.
All in all, a guitar will have absolutely no problem when you plug it into a bass amplifier.
It is also essential that you know that bass amplifiers are not meant for guitar sounds; guitar amplifiers are!
Since they are specific to the musical instrument, they have unique features that enhance your guitar’s sound quality, and a bass amplifier simply doesn’t have those effects.
So, if you just want to save the money and use it for practice temporarily, go ahead. However, I wouldn’t suggest using bass amplifiers for a guitar to professional musicians who have to give live performances.
The sound quality is way too different, and experts and music enthusiasts will definitely be able to tell the difference!
Would A Guitar Damage Your Bass Amplifier?
Many people have concerns that plugging a guitar into a bass amplifier might damage the speakers or the music instrument in general. However, the truth about guitars and bass amplifiers is far different from this myth.
No, your guitar will not damage your bass amplifier. Your former produce higher tones, and these tones cannot damage the bass amplifier in any scenario.
Even if your amplifier isn’t ideal for these tones, it will still be fine since it accommodates much higher power and low pitch sounds from a bass. However, if you try it the other way around, it might end up in a disaster!
So, to conclude the answer to your question, can I use a bass amp for guitar?
Yes, you can. In fact, it is not uncommon for musicians to do this, especially for home practices. I used the same trick back when I started playing music in my home studio for fun.
Since many people don’t want to spend more money buying a separate amplifier for their guitars, they try to make it work and succeed most of the time. So did I! And I recommend everyone needs it to try it at least once.
Then, when you have the chance, the need, and the budget, you can get yourself a guitar amp, too.
However, remember that it might not work vice versa. As discussed earlier, bass amplifiers have enough power to withstand a guitar.
However, guitar amplifiers don’t have what it takes to support a bass guitar. Thus, keep that fact in mind if you’re thinking about reversing those roles. If not, you might end up damaging both your guitar and your amplifier!