Can you use a guitar amp for a bass: useful instruction for great sound

People who are into playing guitar often try to learn how to play the bass. The same tools may be required. And the question often arises, can you use a guitar amp for a bass? More about this will be discussed in this article.

The difference between regular and bass amps for electric guitar and bass guitar

Before proceeding to the study of the question of whether can you use a guitar amp for bass, it is necessary to determine the differences between conventional and bass amps. Electric guitar and bass guitar sound at different frequencies. Amplifiers may differ in structure to minimize the difference between electric guitar and bass guitar sound.

Speakers mounted on bass amps differ in size. Therefore, the amplitude of vibration is quite high. This helps to deal with the low frequencies produced by bass guitars. Therefore, bass amps are much larger than standard models.

The output power of the electric guitar amp may vary. If the power of conventional models is 50–150 watts, then the bass amp at the output has a power of 300–450 watts. This provides a loud and clear guitar sound even if the frequencies are low. While the electric guitar sound similar, the bass amp is different.

The bass amps that are used for rehearsals are complemented by small speakers. Their diameter is about 8 inches. Connecting them is somewhat different from guitar amps. The speakers move to cover the low frequencies. Conventional guitar amp does not have this design.

How to distinguish between two amplifier options?

If you want to distinguish bass amps from guitar amps, then you need to look closely at the model. Bass versions should have the letter “B”. The word “bass” must be indicated on the body of the device. There are few knobs on such designs, and it is possible to control the equalizer or volume.

This is explained by the fact that almost all guitarists who play bass guitars use active bass pickups. They are complemented by preamplifiers and an equalizer.

As already mentioned, large speakers complement the bass amp. But on conventional electric guitar models, the speakers have no more than 12 inches. Therefore, the first option is more massive. Even though guitar amps are smaller, they are complemented by different channels for customizing sounds.

The need to connect the bass to the guitar amp

There are several reasons why there is a need to connect such devices. Most often this happens if you need to test the work of the bass guitar sound; however, you do not plan to use a guitar permanently.

Bass amps are expensive. Therefore, it is not always possible to buy them. However, low-cost bass amps perform better, even when compared to expensive guitar amps.

If you connect a bass to a guitar amp, it can cause damage as well as damage to internal components.

In the future, the bass amp may completely break down, and you have to spend money on buying a new device.

The difference between the structures of the amplifiers is quite strong.

Bass amps guarantee more output and make it easier for you to tune the instrument in the future. They are durable and have better sound reproduction.

Can you connect a bass to a guitar amp?

This question comes up quite often. And the answer to it is that you can connect a bass to a guitar amp. However, this should only be done if necessary.

As mentioned, bass and guitar amps are very different in design and are optimized for specific instruments.

Be prepared that after connection, there will not be a perfect sound. Guitarists who play bass guitars use slapping techniques.

This contributes to a sharp change in volume. Before starting the connection, you should pay attention to several factors.

First, during operation, the gain constantly changes. It does not matter how exactly the change or control of the volume is carried out.

Often this connection is the best option for beginners who are just starting to play the bass guitar. Therefore, for them, buying a bass amp not be cost-effective due to the high cost. However, you have to play guitar at the minimum volume.

Optimal guitar amp sizes

It is essential to pay attention to the size of the bass amp. If you choose tiny models, they do not have speakers to support bass output.

Yes, you can set the minimum volume. However, this may cause the bass amp circuit to burn out or damage the speakers.

Medium-sized amplifiers have small drivers. This is the best option for rehearsals; however, the connection is somewhat different when compared to the bass amp.

You’ll have to keep the volume low, as well as adjust the bass knob. This reduces the intensity of the vibrations.

You can experiment a bit with the position of the equalizer. The guitar amp should maintain gain and set the bass volume to a minimum.

This allows you to get high-quality sound, in which there is no distortion. You should also test the equalizer at different frequencies.

Bass should be set to high levels, and sound frequencies should be set to medium or high.

Otherwise, the sound will be unclean, and you risk completely ruining the amplifier. Bass amplifiers are specifically designed for guitars that operate at low frequencies.

Regular guitar amps won’t do this. If the output is a high power, then the amplifier’s speaker is damaged and fails.

Combining a bass pickup with a guitar amp

It is recommended to combine guitars with guitar amplifiers. Basses that have active pickups can control the EQ. The kit includes a pre-amplifier that saturates the sound. It runs on a 9V battery, so basses with pickups work much louder.

You can cut back a bit on a passive bass guitar amp.

If you plan to use active pickups, then it is better to reduce the power of both bass devices, and slightly adjust the equalizer values. This prevents damage to the guitar amp speakers.

Therefore, it is important to remember that the output volume of the guitar amp for bass should be negligible.

You should also set the mid and high frequencies to the minimum position. You should only use a bass guitar amp if you can meet all of these conditions.

Bass amp options

If you plan to combine a guitar amp with a bass, then choose a hybrid model. They are considered universal and can work not only with conventional but also with bass guitars.

However, be aware of their high cost. Such designs provide excellent sound, and the assembly is reliable and tight.

As soon as you connect the bass to the hybrid amp, there is a choice of presets. The same applies to bass.

This version of the bass amp is appropriate for home play. But for the stage, it is inappropriate.

If you plan to perform on stage, the bass must be connected to a special amplifier or directly to the input. More details about the best models will be discussed below.

Amplifier with a tube or solid-state

If you plan to use a classic guitar amp, then it works on semiconductors. However, there are lamp options. They differ in small width and provide high-quality sound. Only they won’t fit the bass output.

If you are looking for a durable guitar amp for bass, look into solid-state designs. Better look for solid-state amps that are complemented by the tone and sound of a tube amp.

This is a universal option that is appropriate for both bass and conventional guitar.

To emulate bass amps, you need to slightly increase the power figures. They consume more energy when compared with classic models.

Thanks to this, the speakers also playing bass notes at a low frequency. High-power amplifiers ensure that the sound is smooth, and the speaker remains functional.

How to connect bass to the computer?

If you plan to play bass and don’t have a bass amp, you can connect your guitar to your computer. The easiest way to do this is through the audio interface. If you plan to replace the amplifier with a computer, you should take care to purchase special software.

It should simulate a guitar amp for bass. It is allowed to use different programs. However, AmpliTube, Neural DSP, or Positive Grid are in the highest demand.

They work perfectly with bass. They do not differ from the amplifier. The only difference is that they are presented in digital format.

In such programs, plug-ins for pedals are provided. They are efficient and easy to operate. At the same time, their cost is much less than a classic bass amp. Such programs are appropriate if the dedicated bass amp fails during a concert.

Therefore, you can immediately connect the musical instrument to the computer directly. For the computer to be able to replace the bass amp, a few rules must be followed.

First, the audio interface must be complemented by a high Hi-Z. The output and control speakers should work well with low frequencies.

High impedance is appropriate for long cable runs to which a large number of speakers are connected.

Considering that the bass needs high power output, you can additionally take advantage of the high impedance. This guarantee excellent sound at low frequencies.

A high-impedance input signal prevents damage to the speaker. After all, it handles a lot of output power. This is also the best option for emulating the input of a conventional bass amp.

Bass through a guitar amp

When connecting a bass to a guitar amp, be prepared for the sound to sound a bit like a real bass amp. The guitar amp, as already mentioned, is only appropriate for guitars. In combination with bass, the sound is not very high quality.

If you play the recorded sound with headphones, you notice the density and richness of the sound. If you use a guitar amp, it makes the bass clearer so that the bass tone is clear. If you listen to a bass recording with a guitar amp, the sound is a bit muddy.

Therefore, it takes a long time to try to make it more clear. Yes, you can adjust the bass tone using the EQ knobs. In this case, the sound is as close as possible to a great bass tone. However, you cannot achieve the same sound as with a real bass amplifier.

For the home, an inexpensive guitar amplifier suffices. If you plan to play bass professionally, you have to find better models with a certain direction.

Is a bass amp required?

  1. It may seem to many that such a tool is considered optional. This is a very important device. It helps preserve the tone and sound that the bass guitar produces. It also prevents bass guitar amps from burning out when you start playing bass.
  2. Even if you plan to save money and buy an inexpensive bass amplifier, you can still enjoy playing guitar. The sound performance is much better when compared to expensive guitar amplifier models. If you play bass and regular guitar at the same time, it makes sense to get hybrid models.
  3. Even if you’re just getting started with a bass guitar paired with a guitar amp, the internal system is constantly stressed. Due to the constant accumulation of overload, you risk damaging internal parts, and the device fails altogether. It happens before you notice it.
  4. As already mentioned, connecting a bass amp to a guitar amplifier should only be done when necessary. If you are going to a concert, it is better to take a computer with an audio interface with you. This solution is the most win-win.
  5. The combination of a computer and an audio interface gives you the ability to control the sound quality and volume, depending on your preference. In the program, you can choose the number of pedals that you need. This achieves the desired sound. If there is no computer, then you can not get the desired effect.
  6. The guitar amp is not suitable for bass. If you notice that the high notes on the bass sound crisp when combined with a guitar amp, then this may change the decision. After all, the main purpose of a guitar amplifier is to reproduce frequencies that correspond to high notes on the guitar.
  7. If you’re working with a guitar amp, you’ll have to constantly make sure that the bottom notes are selected on the bass. If you are a bassist, try to carry a bass amp with you at all times. Use electric guitar amplifiers only when necessary, when there are no alternatives.
  8. Also, be prepared for a long practice without connecting to the network. This prevents damage to the bass amp. In the future, this will have a positive impact on the budget because you do not constantly buy new devices.

Using a guitar bass amp

If you only have a guitar amp and want to hook it up to a bass, there are some basic connection rules to follow. First, you need to check that the device is set to a clear channel. If there is no channel selection, you need to set the gain to the minimum level.

This ensures that the device does not overload and distort the sound. All effects from the tone must be removed. After connecting the bass at minimum volume. You can experiment with the volume to find the maximum value without sound distortion.

To improve the tone performance, you should start adjusting the equalizer knobs. Pay special attention to the bass to determine the maximum number of bass frequencies possible.


When it comes to combining a bass with an electric guitar amp, there are a lot of questions to ask. The answers to them will be presented below.

What happens if you plug a bass into a guitar amp?

As already mentioned, guitar amps are tuned for negligible power. If you connect them to a bass guitar, the sound is amplified. However, you run the risk of damaging the guitar amp, as well as spoiling the performance of the speakers.

Are guitar amps compatible with bass?

Yes, you can connect the bass guitar to the bass amp. However, be prepared that there is always a risk of damaging the tool because productivity increases. The connection is quite simple due to the identity of the wires.

Is a bass amp the same as a guitar amp?

The main difference between the two amplifiers is that they have different power, speaker size, and operating frequency. You may think they are identical. However, they are different.

Do I really need a bass amp?

No, it is not necessary to use a bass amp. However, in some situations, it is very useful. You get a clearer and brighter sound for your performances in a concert hall or at home.


As you can see, you can connect a guitar amplifier to a bass if the situation is extremely difficult, and you have no other option. However, it is better to spend a little money and buy a bass amplifier. This guarantees the best sound quality as well as the durability of the device.

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James/ author of the article

If you got to my page, it means that you are fond of music and are trying to record songs on your own. In my blog, you will find out exactly which options for sound equipment will be appropriate, depending on the specific case.

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