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Bass on a guitar amp

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(@thegrimm)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 119
Topic starter  

We've invited a young bass player to join our church worship team when he's free, but he doesn't have an amp. We could run him directly through the sound system, but it generally doesn't sound good for the electric guitars (very tinny), though it's fine for my acoustic. Or maybe it's just because my acoustic comes with a pre-amp. (Can you tell we don't have a sound man? :( )

Alternatively, I have a 120W crate guitar amp. My online research suggests that it's not too good an idea to run a bass through a guitar amp because it can blow it up, but what if we keep the volume low (like, 2 or 3 out of 10) and then use a mic as a pickup and amplify via the system?

Any hope for us?


   
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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

I'd still be careful. It's pretty common, I think, to run a bass directly into the PA anyway. It works better for the bass than for the guitar.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@slejhamer)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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I agree with Musenfreund.

A much simpler solution is to get a DI box and run him straight to the church mixer / PA.

An inexpensive one like the Behringer DI100 works just fine, has phantom power, and also has a parallel output if you want to run a line to that amp for use as a stage monitor.

If you're doing harder rock style songs, look into the Tech 21 Bass Driver DI, which will give you some overdrive and tube-amp emulation.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

You can't hurt the amp playing bass, but speakers may be damaged by being pushed through larger cone excursions than they're designed for. Usually running it at lower volume won't hurt it, but there's no guarantee. Probably won't sound as good as a proper bass amp/speaker combination.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@diceman)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 407
 

If you can find an extension cabinet to plug the speakers into , the speakers would not have to work as hard and it might be just fine . Just make sure the ohm rating isn't too low . Usually another 8 ohm cabinet can be plugged in in parallel to the existing speakers . Just as an example , my first guitar amp was a Peavey Musician head through a 4X12 cabinet . The head long ago bit the dust but now I use the 4X12 cabinet for a bass rig and it is loud enough to play any small venue and then some . The secret is it has four speakers and each one only has 1/4 the power to it . You could also make an extension speaker for the bass . 15" drivers can be purchased new for $35 online and anyone with some cabinet making skills could make an enclosure for it . Obviously you could spend more on the speaker and get better sound .
Last but not least , you could look for something used . People are always upgrading their equipment because they need something louder or better sounding . Their old equipment gathers dust in the storage shed before they realize they'll never play it again and sell it on Ebay or on consignment at a local music store . It costs pennies on the dollar compared to new equipment .

If I claim to be a wise man , it surely means that I don't know .


   
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(@danlasley)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2118
 

The simplest thing to look for is whether the cabinet has a sealed back. Yes = OK for bass. Rare exceptions to this, but usually effective.


   
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(@scrybe)
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The simplest thing to look for is whether the cabinet has a sealed back. Yes = OK for bass. Rare exceptions to this, but usually effective.

My open-backed Marshall survived.....and you never mentioned this rule then.... :shock:

Admittedly, the volume was low. :P

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

An open backed cabinet generally won't sound good for bass, as the long wavelength sounds can come around from the back to the front of the speaker in near-opposite phase, cancelling out the bottom end.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Yup, it's all about the speaker range. A full range speaker is made to handle the low frequencies. Guitar speakers are designed to have a certain sound and break up a certain way when pushed. A bass guitar can push them the wrong way and do damage. I would not play a bass through one of my guitar amps. Now guitar through a bass amp is a whole different story.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@danlasley)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2118
 

The simplest thing to look for is whether the cabinet has a sealed back. Yes = OK for bass. Rare exceptions to this, but usually effective.

My open-backed Marshall survived.....and you never mentioned this rule then.... :shock:

Admittedly, the volume was low. :P

I try not to be a rude guest. But next time, wheel out the Ampeg 8x10 from the closet. 8)


   
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(@scrybe)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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lol

*carries cotton wool over to marshall*

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@danlasley)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
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*carries cotton wool over to marshall*

Ah-ha! It was under the duvet!

Sorry gang, you had to be there...


   
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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

We saw the picture.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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(@progressions)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 320
 

Our bassist uses his California Blonde acoustic amplifier for his bass. It's not ideal, but it's worked pretty well so far.

Isaac

Isaac Priestley: World Racketeering Squad
http://www.progressions.org/
http://www.youtube.com/worldracketeer


   
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(@blackdiamond13)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 22
 

I run my bass on a guitar amp... an old ancient Fender tube amp from the 70s --- what could happen to my bass or my amp because of this?!

Up The Irons!!


   
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