Do Bass Guitars Need Different Amps [Reason & Solution]

Playing bass guitar is always fun and with the connection of the amp, the sounds become more defined. However, there are a lot of myths regarding bass guitars and amps. First of all, you don’t even need an amp to play the bass guitar unless you are in a set with more than 300 people.

Furthermore, questions like “do bass guitars need different amps” only confuse people who want an exact answer. But the answer to this question is important to a very great extent. While selecting amps, you will have two options – “bass amps” and “guitar amps”.

Do Bass Guitars Need Different Amps

That means yes, you are going to need a different amp when you play bass. But there are some other aspects that you need to know before connecting the bass amps with your bass guitars. Let’s learn about those aspects at once.


Difference Between a Bass and Guitar Amp –

Before you get to learn why bass guitars require different amps it is important you learn the differences between bass amps and guitar amps. It is accurate to connect the two types of guitars to the two types of amps, otherwise, severe internal damage to both guitars and amps can happen. And we will talk about why you cannot alternate these two instruments with two different amps in the latter segment.

Difference Bass Guitar Amp


Details About Bass Amps –

Bass amps are specially designed to catch lower frequencies that a bass guitar produces. To catch this minimal range of frequency, bass amps come with a higher range of output power. This range starts from 100 watts to 500 watts to more than that.

Also, the feature of a bass amp is so robust in nature that it endures the extreme pressure of the frequencies. Besides, the strength restrains the speakers from malfunctioning or blowing out. You will find less resemblance between bass amps the guitar amps with guitar cabinets.

Even though these amps come with a bold structure, they are very easy to control. With plain control settings, bass amps don’t have so many disadvantages. But their size is really bigger than any guitar amps. It is because they carry transformers that are comparatively bigger than other transformers.

Guitar Amps –

Guitar amps are less robust than the features of bass amps. It is because they have a comparatively low range of output-gaining ability. They are designed in that way so they can provide the ideal output for normal electric guitars.

The range of output power of these amps remains between 15 watts to 100 watts. This range is perfectly suitable for guitars that produce frequencies from the mid to upper range. Also, these amps are capable of enduring lower frequency-based sound with distorted tone.

That’s why, if you want to have a bass and guitar amp combined sound, then these guitar amps can provide you with that too. Not only that, but guitar amps also possess some other magnificent features. They greatly take responsibility for channels, passing, adjustable effects, and so on.

All these together determine the versatility of guitar amps big time. There are a lot of scopes for you to experiment with sounds that you cannot be able to find in bass amps.

Differences Between Bass and Electric Guitars –

For your own convenience, you should learn the basic differences that a bass guitar and an electric guitar. That is how you can understand the importance of choosing the right amp for these two different musical instruments.

A) Bass Guitars –

These guitars come with a total of 4 strings. They start with the E string, then A, then D, and then end with the G string. All these strings are designed to produce very low-frequency sound.

The deep, grim, and serious tone of a bass guitar adds a tremendous flavor to a song. You will hear the beating sound in the background that will beat your heart and your car too.

B) Electric Guitars –

You must be more acquainted with this type of guitar. An electric guitar possesses a total of 6 strings. They also start with the same strings as bass guitars and end with two more strings called B and again an E.

These strings together produce the most melodious sounds, rhythms, and whatnot. Electric guitars are the most used and most accepted instrument for solo singers of almost all music genres. The specialty of the electric guitar is it can produce a sound of any frequency between 80 Hz to 5000 Hz.

Can I Connect Bass Guitar with Electric Amp?

Only the right bass amp can save your bass guitar from having any internal damage. Also, to get the right track of sound, adopting the right bass amp for playing bass is ideal. Though it is also true that you can connect your bass guitar with an electric amp, the consequences this idea follows also need a mention.

Play Bass Through A electric Guitar Amp


The Consequences:

1) Produces Thinner Sound –

Electric amps are featured with a system that can support high frequencies of sound only. As bass guitars come with low-frequency sound, you will get a thinner sound through an electric amp. This is because an electric amp can only sort out and filters the higher range of frequencies.

2) Distortion of the Sound –

It carries high-pass filters. And with the help of the filters, the amp cannot progress in detecting and filtering low-frequency-based sound. They actually cut out lower frequencies to detect the higher ones only. And that’s why the sound gets distorted and clipped.

3) Blows out the Speakers –

Besides, connecting bass guitars with electric amps can bring instant damage to the speakers of guitar amps. They can be blown out to some extent if the volume of the bass guitar is in the high range.

Can I Use the Same Amp for Electric Guitar and Bass?

Yes, still you can use the electric amp for your bass but with the right precautions. You cannot just connect these two together and let a burst happen on a set. Make sure you are maintaining the following instructions.

Use the Same Amp for Electric Guitar and Bass


First of all, use an electric amp for a bass guitar only when it is a crying need. If you have left out all the choices and regular bass amps, then you are allowed to use the electric amp.

Secondly, play the bass at the lowest volume possible when you attempt to connect it to an electric amp. Otherwise, you will damage the speakers of the amps.

Thirdly, don’t pressurize the electric amp for a thick sound, and keep your expectation lower when you connect it with a bass guitar. Set the label of “gain” at a lower position. This will prevent distortion and as well as overdrive of channels too.

Fourthly, for bigger gigs, don’t apply this idea of connecting a bass guitar with an electric amp for the pressure would be too much for the speakers of the amp. And the consequences might bring intolerable situations. For practice parts, this idea will work to some extent.

Fifthly, adjust the amp beforehand. You can use the headphone socket of the amp and use it instead of pressurizing the speakers of the amp. This way, the speakers will be safe and sound too. Besides, you will get a clear sound through the headphone while practicing.

Bass and Guitar Amp Combo:

Bass and Guitar Amp Combo


There is another amp that is a bass and guitar amp combo. This amp allows both bass and electric guitar to be connected with this. It is good riddance that you will not have to buy two separate amps for playing both bass and electric guitars together.

This type of hybrid amp comes with the ability to take input from three different instruments – bass, acoustic, and electric guitar. Besides, this amp maintains the quality of different tones of different instruments.

However, the downside of this amp is that for a gig adopting this amp is not a good idea. For home practice with both electric and bass guitars, this combo amp is suitable. Apart from that, for a bigger set, a dedicated bass amp is what you need the most.

Lastly, bass guitars know how to make your heart beat with a melody. And that’s why the quality of the sound should be maintained by adopting the right bass amps for the bass guitars.

FAQs –

Question 1. Do I need a special amplifier for a bass guitar?

Answer: A bass guitar requires a dedicated amp solely designed for the desired sound of the guitar. The thick and drumming sound of the guitar makes the speaker of the amp move frequently and aloud. For a background sound, the bass amp provides the best service.

Question 2. What kind of amp do I need for a bass?

Answer: A bass amp with a power output of 100-150 watts for the practice section and more than 300 watts for the gig section is what you need for your bass guitar. Also, you need to see if the speakers are bigger enough because that is one of the primal specialties of bass amps.

Question 3. Can you play bass on any amp?

Answer: You can play bass on a guitar amp with some risks in hand. But if you maintain the instructions that we have mentioned earlier then the situation will be a little risk-free.

Question 4. Do electric guitars need amps?

Answer: It is not necessary all the time to play electric guitars with an amp. You do well without it. But for larger spaces, an amp enhances the quality of the sound and that’s why you should keep it for bigger performances.

Last Updated on February 28, 2023 by Perry Garner

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