Guitar Amp vs Bass Amp – What Is The Difference?

When working to perfect a signature sound on the guitar or bass, the right gear is key. Pedals, pickups, and amps all play a very important role in crafting a sound that is unique to you.

Today, we shall explore an age-old question faced by guitar and bass players: guitar amp vs. bass amp. Which is better for your particular tastes and goals, and why?

Before you invest in a pricey amp, it’s important to explore your options and familiarize yourself with the basic similarities and differences between guitar and bass amps.

Hooking up an instrument with a low frequency to an amp which is not designed to rumble can damage or even ruin your speakers.

A little knowledge goes a long way when considering which amp is right for practice jams, studio sessions, or performances. Researching gear can be a little overwhelming. I promise to keep it simple.

Guitar Amp

Video: “How To Choose a Guitar Amplifier – Electric Guitar Amp Buying Guide!”

Let us begin by discussing guitar amps. Needless to say, there are a multitude of guitar amps on the market. Choosing the right guitar amp is one of the most important elements when attempting to achieve your desired tone.

Guitar amps range from very small and simple, to very massive and complex. When searching for a guitar amp, consider your preference for distortion. Do you want a clean, crisp sound, or do you prefer to create a sonic wall of distortion?

If distortion is your jam, consider a high gain amp. High gain essentially refers to an amp that allows a high input. When a guitar amp takes in more sound waves that it can efficiently put out, distortion is born.

Bass Amp

Video: “How To Choose A Bass Amplifier – Bass Amplifier Buying Guide!”

There isn’t quite as much variety in the market for bass amps. Bass amps specialize in conducting lower frequencies. They tend to have less knobs than guitar amps, but generally pack a little more wattage.

Creating distortion with a bass amp alone is a bit more challenging than it is with a guitar amp. One of the greatest advantages to playing through a bass amp for bass players is that it will refine your bass tone and make it less muddy.

If you’re playing bass alongside a guitar player, a proper bass amp will distinguish your bass and make your tone more audible to listeners.

Guitar Amp vs Bass Amp

And now, the burning question: guitar amp vs. bass amp, which one is right for you?

Guitar amps are designed for mid to high range frequencies. Bass amps conduct low frequencies. You can successfully play a guitar through a bass amp, but if you attempt to play a bass through a guitar amp, there is a chance that the low frequencies may overload the amp speakers.

You might be able to play a bass at a low volume through a guitar amp. If the guitar amp begins to distort, it is vitally important to unplug your bass immediately to prevent damage to your guitar amp speakers.

Guitar amps have smaller speakers than bass amps, because smaller speakers are better at conducting higher frequencies.

Bass amps also tend to draw slightly more energy than guitar amps, because low frequencies require more wattage. If you’re a distortion-loving guitar player, playing through a bass amp without a pedal will leave much to be desired.

Bass amps are not high gain because they use more power, and are extremely efficient at conducting lower frequencies. A regular guitar will generate a cleaner sound when played through a bass amp.


Every guitar and bass player works tirelessly to perfect a tone that is theirs alone. Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton are two legendary guitar players who chose to experiment with bass amps. When it comes to gear, there is no right or wrong answer.

Naturally, no one wants to blow out a guitar amp with a bass guitar. Otherwise, choosing the right amp is a matter of personal preference. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, watch online videos, and test out as many amps as you can when on the hunt for new gear.

There are plenty of seasoned bass and guitar players who are happy to share their knowledge of amps and other gear. The right guitar or bass amp may very well transform your sound and transport your playing to new heights.

Juan Stansbury
Juan Stansbury

I'm Juan Stansbury, author and owner of Homerecordio – your ultimate destination for everything about homerecording. With hands-on experience, courses, workshops, and industry research, I offer tips on selecting the best equipment, and mixing and mastering your recordings to achieve professional-quality results at home. Join me on this journey to explore the world of homerecording and music production.

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