I am moving and have sold my guitar amp, but still have my electric guitar. I've been playing it unplugged and I'd like to plug it into my bass combo amp.

Am I right in being afraid of damaging either the speaker or amp by plugging it in?

I realize that a similar question has already been asked, but it asks about plugging an electric bass into an electric guitar rig.


3 Answers 3


No, it will not damage the speaker. The high tones of a guitar are simply not capable of damaging your bass amp. Even if the amp isn't really suitable for these high tones (and in many cases, they can actually play them just fine), the amp will perfectly survive them. No harm there. The other way around is a much worse idea, because deep bass tones tend to be quite destructive to amps that can't play them!

If you're looking for a decent sound though, you'll notice that a bass amp probably sounds too plain for a guitar. A guitar amp has several effects that make the guitar sound better, which are absent in a bass amp. Unless you're really looking for that specific sound (or going to alter it with floorboards), there isn't really a reason to specifically use a bass amp.

  • There are some songs that use bass guitars plugged into amps for the distortion (overdrive off; clean signal distorted because that's what the amp does)
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 3:29

Speaker damage is caused by either the cone moving too much, or the voice coil overheating from distortion. Most sounds from modern amps will not cause either, regardless of the instrument you connect. There is nothing that says you cannot plug a synth or a guitar into a bass amp, or a bass or synth into a guitar amp. If it sounds good, you can use it. Generally the sound of a good speaker is what you want in front of a microphone, or as a part of a band.

  • Can't see why this answer is being questioned.
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 7:30
  • 3
    My coffee is all over my keyboard and screen now. Playing a bass guitar through a guitar amp can definitely damage the amp in case you turn it up a bit too much. Speakers can suffer from trying to play sounds that are too low for them, so it's not a good idea to try this.
    – Lee White
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 15:33
  • 2
    @LeeWhite: It should certainly be possible to design an amplified speaker in such fashion that the electronics would never drive the voice coil beyond its safe mechanical limits, and I would expect that many are in fact designed in that fashion. An amp driven hard enough that the electronics had to restrain the output would probably sound lousy until the volume was reduced, but not as bad as one with a blown voice coil. I don't know if manufacturers clearly indicating whether amps will be robust in the face of any remotely-reasonable input signal, but it should be possible.
    – supercat
    Commented Jul 17, 2014 at 16:37
  • 1
    I guess it would be possible to design a guitar amp that couldn't be damaged by playing a bass through it, and given enough clever circuitry or DSP could even still produce the kind of sound when overdriven that guitarists actually want, but it's a lot simpler for the manufacturer to say 'this is a guitar amp, for guitars - if you want to play bass get a bass amp'.
    – nekomatic
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 8:07

Buddy Holly used a Fender Bassman Amp feed by his Stratocaster. Great sound and and that is why I also use a Fender Bassman, but also, I play bass and need only the one amp undistorded and that suits my use right down to the ground.


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