Playing guitar is awesome. It’s a life enrichening experience that leaves players begging for more every time they stop playing.
But do you know what’s even better than playing guitar? Playing guitar with a drum base.
That’s pure power there! Not only do you sound amazing, but also helps you follow a rhythm and feel more professional.
Of course, playing both instruments simultaneously is impossible. Unless you are excessively talented and play the drums with your feet, that being said.
I bet that, most probably, the feet drum is not something you can apply, so you decide to use a drum machine instead. Cool, I like that.
But oh no, hold on a second! Don’t use your guitar amp to amplify the drum machine!
Technically, a drum machine can run through a guitar amp. However, it is not recommended since it may damage the speaker in the long run. This is especially the case when playing at high volumes. Better to use regular amps or PA systems.
My idea is not to ruin your party, but to prevent you from ruining your amp.
However, if you keep reading, you’ll find ways you can do both. As long as you follow these guidelines, you won’t find any permanent issues.
Can drum sounds damage a guitar amp?
The sound of the drum machine cannot damage the guitar amp, but only if it’s used on rare occasions, and handled the right way.
See, the low-frequency rattling of the drum machine could affect the speaker in the long run. Therefore, you must set everything the way it should.
In other words, the drum machine must be handled at low settings. This is in part due to the low frequencies of the drums, which the guitar’s amp is not made to stand.
On the contrary, keyboard amps or bass amps do support low frequencies. Their construction supports the low equality pitch, so you could give those a chance instead.
To sum up, playing at low volumes with the amp should be fine, especially if you do it once in a while.
How to set up your guitar amp for a drum machine?
So, now that you know that the setting is key for not pulverizing your amp, let’s find out how to do it.
We could say that the lower, the better (and the safer too!), but the truth is that “moderation” is the key word here.
Even if you feel like turning the knobs to ten, hold on for a second, and think about the consequences.
Find a balance between enjoying the sound without it being too loud.
Also, control the volume of the drum machine too. Try to keep them at an intermediate level.
In any case, start with a low setting. As low as you possibly can.
Then, little by little, turn the volumes up a bit, until you find the right spot.
Lastly, here’s a little secret to noticing if you crossed the line: keep an eye on the speaker.
When there is too much vibration coming out of the cone of the speaker, then that’s a clear sign the setting is wrong.
Any strange distortion in the sound should be taken as a warning.
Better safe than sorry. Reduce the volume of the amp and notice whether it stopped or not.
All in all, consider that the only rule here is keeping a modest level of sound. The rest is up to your preferences.
Would a drum machine sound good through a guitar amp?
The guitar’s amplifier is not the very best choice to work with a drum machine.
It serves as a backup solution maybe, but other than that is not a quality guarantee.
After all, there are two reasons that support this idea.
First of all, guitar amps are not designed to handle low frequencies. Their designs serve a different purpose.
Thus, the outcome will rarely fulfill expectations.
The second idea is that drum machines have their own set of amps, designed to work with their sound frequencies.
A regular amplifier is a good option (notice that we are not talking about guitar or bass amps here). If not, a PA system will be fit.
In addition, PA systems can be connected to a mixer for overall better control of the sound and setting.
Can you use guitar effect pedals with a drum machine through an amp?
One can use an effect pedal along with a drum machine. However, attention needs to be taken at all costs.
The pedal can damage the amp if you play with the three too much. Just as with the drum machine itself, reduce its use as much as possible.
Also, and exactly just like with the drum machine, keep an eye on the sound (or keep an ear). Maintain it on a regular level as well.
Are there amps specifically for electronic drums?
Special amps designed solely for electronic drums exist.
Drum manufacturers make drum amplifiers that go well with their frequencies and sound.
These are especially convenient for those who want to hear themselves playing without bothering others.
In other words, you can fit your headphones to the amp and hear the drum sound coming through the speakers in your ear.
However, just about any FRFR speaker or amp will work for electronic drums with no problems or limitations.
Now you know. If possible, avoid using normal guitar amps for playing drum machines or electronic drums.
You’ll avoid future regrets.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.