Can You Plug a Guitar Into a Bass Amp?

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Picture this. 

You go to rehearsal with your band. 

You get into the rehearsal room with your friends, and everyone starts taking their gear out. 

The bass player plugs in his instrument and starts to tune it. 

The drummer struggles by placing carefully the crash, the ride, the tom-toms, and the hi-hat in their corresponding place. 

The singer hasn’t appeared yet. He won’t, cause he’s having a hell of a hangover. 

Well, it seems that’s going to be a power trio for this session. 

You plug your guitar in and time to rock. You zap for 15 minutes and it sounds cool, but you cannot stop thinking that there’s something off with the sound. 

You don’t know what it is but you feel it. You hear it. 

Your bandmates perceive the same; there’s something off. You play with the settings to no avail. 

Who cares? Let’s keep on rehearsing. 

The playing session ends and it was awesome, but that minor inconvenience bugged you the entire practice. So, you reach once again to the gear and OH, you just discovered the issue! 

You’ve plugged your guitar into a bass guitar amp! 

Who the hell would place two bass amps in a rehearsing room? But most importantly, how did it happen? 

Who would have thought you actually can plug a guitar into a bass amp?  

You can plug a guitar into a bass amp. The bass amp is designed to handle low frequencies, which means that neither the amp nor the guitar will get damaged at all. Naturally, it will provide a different sound compared to plugging the guitar into a guitar amp. 

It’s time to find out whether this fusion is a good idea or a bad decision to take. 

Which one will it be?  

Will a guitar work if plugged into a bass amp? 

An electric guitar will work without any issues when plugged into a bass guitar amp. 

However, plugging in directly will create a dry sound, and you might find it unpleasant. We’ll be covering more of that later in this article. 

In the meantime, we can tell you that a guitar does indeed work on a bass amp. 

The truth is that some guitarists even use bass amps to play and record their materials. 

On the contrary, plugging a bass guitar into a guitar amp could damage the amp. After all, guitar amps are not designed to handle bass input. 

So, guitars will work on bass amps. Let’s dig into this topic more thoroughly. 

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Can you damage a bass amp if you plug a guitar into it? 

Bass amps are tough devices. They will resist the guitar’s frequencies and no damage will be made. 

It seems that bass amps are made of steroids. Chuck Norris doesn’t use a pillow, he rests his head on a bass amplifier. 

The frequency response of a bass guitar amp covers both high-frequency and mid-tones. In other words, the guitar’s high tones will not make a single scratch to your amp. 

Just think about it. The guitar frequencies are a piece of cake compared to the super-low frequencies of standard bass guitars.

There are some rare occasions in which the speakers get damaged because of the voice coil overheating from distortion. However, bear in mind that this happens only on rare occasions. 

You’ll be fine playing guitar with a bass amp. The amp will be okay. 

But what about the other way around? 

Can you damage a guitar if you use it with a bass amp? 

The good news is that you cannot damage a guitar by using a bass amplifier. 

The only setback is that the bass amp is not ideal for a guitar because it doesn’t provide enough overdrive and distortion, and they are not properly voiced for guitars. 

Other than that, you can expect no damages neither to your instrument or to your gear. 

How would a guitar sound when plugged into a bass amp? 

Now, time to discuss the sound of this peculiar combination. 

First of all, we have to point out a silly but necessary fact: a guitar plugged into a bass amp will not sound as if it was plugged into a guitar amp. 

It’s obvious, but there’s a whole point hidden there. Some guitarists actually play like that on purpose, because it provides a unique sound. 

Some huge names from the world of music experiment (or experimented) with this mixture. 

We can mention Josh Homme (Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age), Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Jimi Hendrix. 

So, the sound of a guitar coming out from a bass amp will be bigger, deeper, and lower. If there’s a word that can describe the combination of these three features, then that word is “dry.” 

It seems that this combination could fit certain genres like stoner rock. Will you give it a try? 

Oh, sure. Bear in mind that this hybrid provides certain disadvantages too. 

For example, such a dry sound will be perceived as monotonous by some players. Unlike guitar amps, bass amps cannot supply versatility to the instrument; at least not as much as the guitar amp. 

Also, the overdrive and distortion that characterize guitars will disappear when the instrument’s plugged into a bass amp. 

So, although the sound is bigger and deeper, we cannot say that it’s louder or more powerful. 

Consider, though, that these pros vs cons in sound are nothing but characteristics. That is to say, the player will decide whether it’s better to use a bass amp or a guitar amp. 

Some guitarists will prefer having a lower guitar sound that lacks distortion. Others will not. 

What’s important here is to find your sound. Use the gear that you feel the most comfortable with, or use a variation of these to switch between styles. 

The world of music is yours. 

Is it a good idea to use a bass amp for your guitar?

So, in conclusion, we could argue that using a bass amp to play guitar is a good idea, but not the best idea. 

Suppose you lack the money to buy your own guitar amp. Luckily, you already have your electric guitar and your brother’s friend will borrow his bass amp. 

In that case, the bass guitar amp will come in handy for band rehearsals or for practicing on your own. 

Not to mention, you may use this combination to forge a band with a more unique sound that stands yours above the rest of the groups. 

Lastly, plugging the guitar into a bass amplifier could bring wonderful results in studio recordings. 

Other than that, there’s a reason why guitar amps exist. 

If you are a guitar player, then a guitar amp will most likely be the go-to choice. 

On the contrary, the bass amp exists because they are designed to be played with a bass guitar. If you have a bass, then a bass amplifier is a must. 

Remember. Combining a bass amp and an electric guitar will not damage the gear at all. 

So, we cannot say that it is a “bad” idea because there is no risk at all. 

But is it totally a good idea? 

Our final word is… it depends on the player. 

You might find some guitarists using a bass amp, but we assure you, it will be nothing but a minority.