I understand that you should use an amp that was meant to be used with your instrument, but sometimes maybe you just don't have the money, or your amp is not around when you need it, or for whatever reason you would like to make use of what you do have at the moment..

So, how safe is it to plug an electric bass guitar into a guitar amp? I remember some people saying to me that it would eventualy break the amp. Is it true? If it is, why? The same question goes to plugging it into your home hi-fi system..

I gues it also probably isn't a very smart ide to plug your electric guitar into your hi-fi neither?

6 Answers 6


It is actually nowhere near as dangerous as you might think, as long as you keep the volume relatively low. You won't get an ideal frequency response, as a guitar amp is designed for the frequencies a guitar produces, but it will do as a stop-gap until you get a suitable amp.

The reason for keeping the volume lower than you might want to is that the large transients produced by a bass guitar could damage the electronics or the cone.

My experience has been that most amps cope with a lot more than they are officially specced for:-)

-oh, and depending on where you hook in, you can use a hifi as an amplifier. I have previously modified a 1956 radiogram and an original Sony Walkman to be guitar amps - both worked fine. In fact the radiogram had a wonderful sound!

  • I use a home stereo for bass training too. But to do it, you must be careful not only with the volume setting, but also the 'Bass' or 'Tone' setting (or equalizer, depending on the model). My 80's stereo performs great, but if the settings are too high, it starts to sound strange, and I'm afraid of damaging the speakers.
    – Doug
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 0:36
  • My parents' home hi-fi system is a very old Pioneer tube-based system, and it's got a lovely clean sound, but it has circuitry that cuts power to the tubes if you push it too hard, so like all non-bass amps you have to be careful with the volume.
    – KeithS
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:50

With regard to hi-fis, one option that's not yet been discussed here is to use an amp-modelling pedal, such as the ones made by Line 6 and Zoom.

These take instrument-level inputs, and have line-level outputs. So you can safely connect them to the phono inputs of a hi-fi, or PC speakers, etc, while getting the sound of a "proper" bass amp.

Hi-fi speakers and amps are designed to play back recordings of bass parts, so they should be able to handle actual bass parts. Just don't crank it up louder than it's designed for.


Keep the volume low if your using a guitar amp for a bass. Last thing you want to do is crack the speakers in your amp if your playing the bass with high volume. Try to lower the bass on the amp as well.


I used a Line 6 Pod and a Midi-Man 6 channel mixer to get Line Out and piped it into my stereo system for over 10 years when I didn't have room for an amp for my Bass.

It sounded awesome with the sub that I have, it would shake the walls of the house. And a bonus I was able to run my drum machine and a few other things through the mini-mixer and get a clean balanced mix just like it was recorded. Way better than an amp in my opinion.

Now that I have more room, I still don't have any amps, I have a Bose L1 Model II instead, personally I don't have any use for bass or guitar amps.

I use a Roland V-Bass now and only use my Bass Pod Pro for when friends come over with their bass, but the idea is the same, as long as it is a Line Level output it is safe to run into a home stereo amplifier.


Keyboard amps and Electronic Drum Amps will work fine for bass. They both produce frequencies in the same range that a bass does. I'll leave the discussion of guitar amps and hifi's to what has already been contributed.


I was rehearsing at either guitar amp or home hi-fi. First of all, you should low down all your switches, and only after that slowly add all of them. You should decide for yourself then to stop, generally you should simply avoid extraneous sounds from your hi-fi or amp.

I've switched into small Fender amp, something like that: enter image description here
and standard hi-fi system, switched into the microphone hole,
and there were no problems at all, just in somewhat strange sound (not very bass).

This level is good for rehearsing, but if you are going to make some show, do not use this way - it's not worth.

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