Many amateur guitarists have been through the struggle to identify the major differences between bass amp vs guitar amp like us. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we will go over the key differences of these two amps in order to help you distinguish the two.
We think that the biggest differences between bass amps and guitar amps include the usage of power and output size. The model bass amps need more power to perform and much bigger speakers and amps.
Enough with the spoilers. It’s time to give you a full and detailed list of information so that you can see for yourself what the differences are. So stay tuned as you will be diving into the world full of real bass amp and guitar amp knowledge.
Introduction to Bass Amps
Also known as bass amplifiers, they are musical instruments that tend to produce low-pitched sounds, such as hollow or resonant sounds, in the audience. These amps have very low frequency but still are hearable by the audience.
Bass amplifiers do their job by converting the vibrating energy from the strings into a derived sound of perfect quality.
These sounds become audible with the help of complementing bass amp speakers specially designed for them. The bass apps are mostly electric and are made to accompany electric bass for a beautiful sound quality.
Introduction to Guitar Amps
As its name suggests, a guitar amp, also called a guitar amplifier, is an electric device used to amplify electric guitar. It produces high to medium pitched tones that are the main components of a musical track.
The guitar amp works by converting the weak signals from an electric guitar and amplifying its sound and tone to make them audible through the speakersystem.
The high power energy transmission through the amp converts these signals into a powerful sound released through their speakers. These sound waves are evenly distributed.
Bass Amps vs Guitar Amps: What Makes Them Different?
Even though there are many minor differences between bass and guitar amps, we will give you a detailed view of every major key distinction between these two amps so that you can pick the best one for your needs. Here are some of the many features.
One of the key features is that both bass and guitar have different tones that require variable frequency responses.
Bass amp: Bass amps usually have a frequency of 30 Hz to 400 Hz only, making them lean towards lower tones.
Guitar amp: Guitar amps have more of a wider frequency response, majorly mid to high tones, and therefore, have a high fundamental frequency range starting from 80 Hz and going as high as 1.2 kHz.
There’s a clear change in both of their frequencies. It plays a vital role in their performance and output, making it a big and major difference between them.
Both guitar and bass amps have different frequencies, but there’s also a difference in these amps with power ratings. Bass amps use a much higher power as compared to guitar ones. Details are as follows.
Bass amps: As we already discussed above, bass amps use low-ended frequencies and, therefore, need more power to do so because they need extra power to move sound through the air in such a low tone. Keeping this under consideration, bass amps are easily used as high power as much as 100-400 watts of power. These are pretty high-powered amps.
Guitar amp: In contrast, as the guitar amp already has a high frequency, it doesn’t need much movement of air as well as power. The guitar amp uses half of the power of bass amps in watts, only 5 to 100 watts in power.
Due to these power differences, the bass and guitar amps can rarely interchange which we will discuss later. Besides that, the high power of bass amps are intended to give their signature tones easily.
As you must have already guessed, the bigger power requires bigger and better speakers to do the job. As such, bass amps have more requirements. Let’s find out how.
Bass amp: It should come as no surprise that the bass amps speakers are usually bigger than the guitar amp. While they come in various sizes, they are mostly up to fifteen inches in size.
These speakers are usually longer in height. The bass speakers are mostly made of wooden frames to support air pushing and give the amp a better and more authentic sound.
Along with that, you can attach multiple speakers ranging from ten to fifteen inches to improve the sound and aid in better transmission of it.
Guitar amp: On the other hand, as guitar amps are already high toned and consume less power, they don’t need big speakers attached to them. A ten-inch speaker will easily do the job in better production and transmission of the sound of the required quality.
Guitar amps use two speakers and according to the experts, they are pretty decent in getting the job done. Mostly, guitarists use not more than two speakers for this amp.
As there’s a noticeable difference between both bass and guitar amp speakers, these amps have different varities and features in their respective speakers. So bass and guitar speakers are manufactured and sold separately, and you cannot use one for the other.
Tones and Sounds
By far, the difference in bass tones and guitar tones are night and day. As guessed, it is because of their different amps, powers, frequency, and speakers. These different tones play a great part in the melodic base sounds and tunes of music. Let’s find out more about these sounds and tonal ranges.
Bass amp: If we are to describe sounds and tonal range of bass amps, we should do it in simple terms. First of all, the tones of the bass amp lie in the low to basal region, making lower frequency and bigger wavelengths. So when converted to the sound, it is heard as a heavy and dull sound. Some experts also describe it as deep tones having hollow weightlessness, or resonant sound when heard.
Guitar amp: The sounds and tunes of an electrical guitar amp are generally high in medium to high-frequency range, giving you higher pitched or medium sounds that are easily heard with your ears.
In bass amp vs guitar amp, even though bass tones and heavy guitar tones are pretty different, they give a good result in combination. When you combine extremities of these amps, you’ll get a mid-ranged tone with both high-frequency features and the feel of hollow bass tones.
There are different techniques of controlling amps, and they can be difficult or easier to use.
Bass amp: The sound control techniques and the system are difficult, and it takes time to master it to your perfect tone.
Guitar amp: On the other hand, as the guitar amp is simple to use, its speaker transmission is much simpler and easier to learn. You have more control over the transmission of the signals to the speakers.
EQ settings, also known as equalization, are used in the musical niche to improve or alter the sound’s frequencies, tones, and volumes. It helps them in the note element of a musical tone and the permanent removal of flaws or poor sounds. Its main mechanism of working is by altering the frequencies.
Bass amp: Their EQ settings are differently designed from the guitar amp because the base amp targets low frequency and hollow tones, and its settings are made to control tunes and signals to alter these low frequencies easily.
Guitar amp: It is the total opposite. The guitar amp is much more simple to use because it targets high and mid frequencies. That’s why its EQ has changed settings to fulfill this job.
In simple words, the EQ optimization of bass and guitar amps is completely different.
Bass Amp vs Guitar Amp: Why is the Bass Amp Louder?
Even though bass players describe bass amp sound as hollow, it’s very loud for many audiences, even more so than an electric guitar amplifier. It’s not only about the power, EQ, or the size of the speaker. It’s a direct relationship between frequency and human hearing abilities.
We found bass louder to use when it’s playing on the far and frequency range that a human can hear. The lower the frequency, the lower the pitch, and louder the sound. This sound’s loud enough to beat a drum kick easily, which we think is one of the loudest musical noises.
In contrast, the guitar amp frequency is in the normal human hearing range, not being too loud or hollow. Most guitar amps have high pitch rather than loudness, which plays a great part in making good tunes.
Can We Plug a Guitar into the Bass Amp?
Many people ask us the question: what is the most likely result if you plug a guitar into bass amp? The answer is nothing. Your guitar will easily connect to the bass amp and will be able to function as it does.
This is because a bass amp has a higher power supply which prevents overloading and gives adequate results. As the electric guitar won’t use such power more than the bass amp, this device is easy to connect.
The main problem arrives in its tunes. Your guitar might not be as audible as it was with the guitar amp. The reason is pretty simple. It’s just because bass amps are for low frequencies, and a mid to high-frequency guitar tune might not be as clear and amplified with the bass amp in general.
So summarizing the answer, you can use a guitar with a bass amp, but the results won’t be as good as with the conventional guitar amp connection. Still, it will do the job for the time being.
Can You Plug the Bass into the Guitar Amp?
You might not want to do that because it might result in the burning of a circuit. The amp for guitar is constructed differently from a bass amp. We’re not sure that it can support a powerful bass. Why? The reason is mentioned below.
Guitar amplifiers are made with less power consumption, only ranging from five to a hundred watts of power, in contrast to bass amps, which can easily consume up to four hundred watts. In this scenario, you connect the bass with the guitar amp. Two things will occur.
Firstly, your guitar amplifier is not designed to tune and modify low tones. Due to that, your bass would not sound good.
Secondly, it’s about the power. When loaded up with a higher power consuming bass, the guitar amp will either stop working or its internal components will burn due to overloading. Trust me, you definitely don’t want to buy a new one.
Nowadays, many guitar amps are available that easily complement bass due to their similar construction with a bass amplifier, but make sure it provides you with the same results as it does with the bass one.
So, this article should have provided you with some important information discerning the key differences of bass amp vs guitar amp. We shared some key information regarding the most important distinctions between the two and how they operate, what features they have, their power usage, speaker requirement, and more.
Above all, we answered some basic questions about connecting the bass with the guitar amp and vice versa. We hope that the knowledge we were able to share here has helped you in deciding which amp would best suit your needs and, hopefully, we have helped improve your perspective about these two amplifiers.
If you would like some more information on guitar amps, check out the following guide: How to Use a Guitar Amp With an Electric Guitar.
Thanks for reading and happy listening!