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Bass through a guitar amp

This is a discussion on Bass through a guitar amp within the Music Man Basses forums, part of the Gear Talk category; I know this sounds like an abortion of an idea and I should be summarily beaten... but I was wondering ...

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    paranoid70's Avatar
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    Bass through a guitar amp

    I know this sounds like an abortion of an idea and I should be summarily beaten... but I was wondering if you guys had any advice about playing a Stingray through a guitar amp.

    Here is the story. The chior director at church asked if I would play along with the chior on Easter. I have played guitar and bass with them a few times, and it's pretty fun.

    This time, I tried to follow along with the guitar chords written on the music sheet... but it just doesn't sound right. (Guitar chords always seem to be an after thought when writers make music sheets for piano.) Thus, I figured I would just play the bass guitar along the root of notes of what the piano is doing.

    OK, back to the original question. I have a Cerwin Vega bass cabinet (2 x 15") that I *could* use... but the church is upstairs and there really isn't much room. This would especially be true on Easter. The church is rather small too, so I certainly don't need that much volume. Plus it is for only one 4 minute song during the service and two rehearsals, so it doesn't really seem like it is worth the effort to lug around the big bass amp rig.

    So, I was thinking about just using my Fender combo practice amp (2 x 10"). It's a lot lighter and smaller. If I was to use said Fender Amp, you guys have any advice about how I should set up the amp and the Stingray to get a somewhat decent sound?

    Hopefully you guys aren't going to make me return my SR for merely suggesting such an idea.
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    Jim_F's Avatar
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    The advice I have always been given is don't play bass through guitar amps - different speaker construction - bass speakers are designed to cope with bass frequencies which could damage less robust guitar speakers.

    Dunno the implications of only playing for a few minutes and the likelihood of causing damage - some of the fender amps are not cheap - no chance of borrowing a bass practice amp or something a bit smaller for the gig?

    Otherwise I would suggest turning the bass EQ down on the amp and don't crank the volume to 11 ...
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    I think JimF is right. Keep the low EQ flat and don't crank it, and you should be fine.

    You may have to knock down some of the high EQ to keep it from being too harsh, but I'm not sure about that.
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    Pop! Boom! Thwap! Basically.....
    Fried an AC30 in my youth doing exactly the same thing.
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    The first thing I ever fried was a guitar amp with my bass...

    The second thing, please keep in mind that I was 14, was a set of walkman headphones. After I fried the guitar amp that someone had given me, I saved up my cash and bought a 350w Peavey bass head. I would have to wait for a couple more paychecks before I could afford the cab, but I couldn't wait to hear it. It didn't have a headphones jack, so I got an adaptor and plugged them into the speaker out on the amp. I heard about half a note through the headphones and then nothing...then I started to smell smoke.
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    play through the PA, you'll sound much better when you crank the mids and bass...i did that for over a year with a church i played with until they got an amp for a monitor...i don't know about that church you are playing with but my church that i played with had a full on 6 poweramp system for the 6 speakers they mounted and had engineers eq everything...
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    chilix's Avatar
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    i suggest if the sound equipment is decent, play the bass in the PA...it is made to handle much more low end than a guitar amp...and will sound better too in most cases...
    1988 EBMM Stingray 4 - 2EQ Trans Teal
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    i'm serious bout using the PA
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    Jim F said it best. It's difficult enough not blowing bass speakers as it is.
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    There is no PA. To be honest, it isn't needed as the church isn't very big - the pastor doesn't even use a microphone. I ain't buying a PA to play a four minute song for easter.

    Thanks for the advice guys. I guess I'll have to figure something out. I really don't want to carry the big old bass speakers up those stairs. Who's idea was it to put the church upstairs anyway? Sometimes when we get old folks in wheelchairs we actually have to carry them up the stairs!

    I hate to admit it, but I am having a pretty difficult time coming up with a bass line for the song. I can't read music very well, but it seems that when I try to play along with the bass clef notation, it doesn't sound quite right. So, I am just trying to come up with something that just sounds good with the piano.
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    If you have no drums, then you will have to keep time as well as outlining the harmony. I suggest you keep things simple. Root notes mainly, with a bit of rhythmic variation to add some interest.
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    There may be drums... we have never done drums before, so it would be interesting. In the past, I have always followed the piano for timing. The pianist/organist is such a great musician, I feel like a serious n00b playing along with her.... and I have been playing for over 20 years.
    Vintage Sunburst Silhouette Special, '06; 20th Anniversary Silhouette, '06; Honeyburst Sterling '00

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    If you have a decent relationship with a local music store, you could ask them for a loner out of their used stuff...I've done it in a jam...they are usually pretty cool about it since I buy stuff there regularly.

    Or you could buy one from GC and return it after the gig...I've never done that, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mynan View Post
    Or you could buy one from GC and return it after the gig...I've never done that, though.
    Then go back and buy it at a cheaper price because it's used!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mynan View Post
    Or you could buy one from GC and return it after the gig...I've never done that, though.
    And you shouldn't suggest that anyone else do it, either, IMHO, especially a church-going guy. It's flat-out unethical.
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    Tangerine Pearl F28251 2011 Big Al 5 SSS

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