Clueless Question: Playing bass through my guitar rig? Dangerous?

ChicknPickn

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I finally learned (to some degree) how to use my Boss RC-5 looper which was given to me two years ago. Illuminating in many ways, mostly good.

I've never owned a bass. Never thought there was any reason for me to try playing one. Now, though, I can see how it could be cool with looping.

If'n I DID get a bass, would I need a different amp/cabinet? Will I blow up my guitar rig (which is solid state into two 12 inch speakers)?
 

Tmcqtele65

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Well, first off if you did get a second rig for the bass, you could use the A and B channels of the pedal to control them separately.
At lowish volumes you are not likely to Harm anything....the most vulnerable part of the system would be the speaker, trying to reproduce the low frequencies of a bass at higher volumes.
 
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Killing Floor

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The guitar speaker has different design criteria.

I can say from experience it works just fine. You just can’t play it very loudly. Be mindful when you do it. If your speaker is farting turn down a little. Simple as that. Because the mechanical energy can cause damage. And you’re smart enough to recognize what that sounds like.

Turn down. Plug in. Turn up until it sounds bad. Turn down a little.

FYI Carol Kaye famously used a Fender guitar combo for most of her sessions. I have a couple nice bass rigs but sometimes when I’m writing I just plug into my guitar amp because it’s already on. No problem just use judgement.
 

ChicknPickn

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Thanks, all, for the guidance. Will start the search for the bass in the Squier and Ibanez realms? Under $400? Maybe $500 if I think louder than my conscience speaks?
 

W.L.Weller

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Is your 2 x 12" speaker cabinet closed back or open back? Not that it really matters, everyone else's answers are spot on. But if your guitar cabinet is closed-back, it'll work slightly better for bass.

Alternatively, you can do what a bandmate of mine did with his Peavey Bandit, play bass through it at whatever volume you want and then replace the speaker once it's shredded.
 

Vegetable Man

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Thanks, all, for the guidance. Will start the search for the bass in the Squier and Ibanez realms? Under $400? Maybe $500 if I think louder than my conscience speaks?
I saw a Squier CV P Bass for under $300 recently. The CV Jazz bass could also be good. Hofner Ignition Violin basses are decent too.

Regardless of which one you get, try it with flatwounds. LaBellas are nice.
 

Swirling Snow

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Just keep in mind that to reproduce the low E on a bass, the speaker has to move 4 times further than for the low E on a guitar.

You'll also likely be on the wrong side of the speaker's resonance so you won't get as satisfying a thump from the low fundamentals as you would with a real bass speaker.
 

ChicknPickn

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Just keep in mind that to reproduce the low E on a bass, the speaker has to move 4 times further than for the low E on a guitar.

You'll also likely be on the wrong side of the speaker's resonance so you won't get as satisfying a thump from the low fundamentals as you would with a real bass speaker.
Now that's interesting.
 

memorex

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Not as dangerous as playing through this:

giant-ampeg-jpg.3148271
 

Dismalhead

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Not as dangerous as playing through this:

giant-ampeg-jpg.3148271
At least no one will mess with your settings.

I'm gonna go against the majority opinion here and say get yourself a cheap used bass amp. I've got a Fender Rumble 40 and I see them used on CL for a little over $100. Decent guitar speakers ain't cheap anymore.
 
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mexicanyella

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At least no one will mess with your settings.

I'm gonna go against the majority opinion here and say get yourself a cheap used bass amp. I've got a Fender Rumble 40 and I see them used on CL for a little over $100. Decent guitar speakers ain't cheap anymore.
And another option: Does your guitar combo have an extension speaker out? You could disable the internal speaker and power a bass cab instead.

if you are on CL or FB Marketplace or wander into a pawnshop and a great deal on an orphan bass cab smacks you in the pie hole, maybe grab it and power it with your guitar amp. Then you could play loud too.

I have done this with my (4-ohm) Peavey Special 150 as a backup solution a few times: once into a 4-ohm bass cab and once or twice into a pair of 8-ohm Scorpion 15-loaded Peavey PA cabs, with the horns disabled.

It worked pretty well and was loud enough, and had flexible enough EQ, to do the job (in my case, keeping up with a loud drummer and a guitarist with an LP and 100-watt Marshall).

I’d read of others doing the same with Peavey Bandits in a pinch, and a Special 150 is essentially a Bandit with a big block swapped in, so...

The Special 150 does not have an extension speaker out, so I made an adapter cable with a male 1/4” on one end and two male spade terminals on the other, and just plugged the twisted pair speaker wires into the spade end of the adapter cable and away I went. Now I keep that cable in that amp, so it can pull backup bass amp duty if I ever blow part of my actual bass rig.
 

nickmsmith

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I play bass through my guitar amp all the time. In most cases, you would have to blast it to damage anything. You don’t have to have a bass amp. You can EQ it with a little less low end, and make it work just fine.


If you want a lot of low end thump, of course there are better options. But I play bass quite a bit, and never intend on buying a bass amp. I play at home through my katana 50, and for recording/gigging, I would run direct out of it, and bypass the speaker.

Guitar speakers are designed for certain frequencies, but you can set your EQ to where it’ll sound fine through a guitar speaker.

I’ve had cheap bass amps that sounded way worse than my Katana with a bass run through it.

The K50 has a single 12 inch speaker. Your 2x12 would really have to be pushing it hard to damage anything. As long as you aren’t doing gig, earth shattering levels with it, you should be more than fine.

Just set the EQ right. On mine, I set the lows about 5, the mids about 8, and the highs, about 4 or 5.

Definitely not a necessity to spend additional hundreds of dollars on a bass amp.

Here’s what I recorded on my phone last week just capturing an idea
 
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