Bass amp as guitar power amp for pedalboard?

What is your opinion on this?
Played a show with a relatively big name Brit NWOBHM band few weeks ago and the guitarist ran a pedal controller on the floor, rackmounted effects in a drawer and a solid state bass amp for clean power.
It sounded pretty good…maybe not a 100% fantastic tone but probably pretty good for the road.

I have a TC bass head that just sits here and this thing is a class D so very light, been thinking that I could attach to my pedalboard and call it a day. I think only problem I’d have would be the plug as it is Neutrik so I’ll need a 1/4 conversion to hook it up to my 2x12 Orange cab or my smaller 1x12 Jensen loaded cab.

What do you think about this?

For the time present I am using a Mesa combo amp on its clean channel, which sounds great but for smaller gigs I can forego the big amp, only thing that I’d really miss would be the Mesa spring reverb, …and this is a maybe, but the TC amp might have a bass patch (toneprint) that I can load that has reverb on it.

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It depends on your setup, I guess - Are you running your guitar into a preamp of some kind? The preamp in the bass would be more suited to a bass guitar, but for truly neutral amplification it might be best to bypass the preamp of the bass amp and run straight into the effects return of the effects loop (if your bass amp has one).


Guitar Rule #1. There are no rules.
I mean, the Fender Bassman is the prime example of bass amps used by guitarists. It’s certainly my amp of choice in my own rig.

However, @ColdRoomStudio has a solid point in this case. I’d agree with bypassing the pre-amp since you’re likely getting all your tones from pedals, and just use the power section for your clean power. No harm in trying both ways. If it sounds good… well, you know the rest.


Hi It would be kinda fun to hear how everyone sets up to record. I have so many questions in that department. I put my boss 70 processor on tune. I get it tuned and then use it as is. I am never sure if I should put the guitar thru a channel like reverb, flanger etc. I haven’t ever put a thing on the bass except an occasional EQ setting. Seems like there are too many other instruments that take up too much space already.

Don’t be afraid to try a bit of overdrive on bass. It can work wonders sometimes!

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The best studio sound I ever got was straight through a Marshall 100 watt bass head and a single 12” closed cabinet. The headroom allowed you to get a very distinct sound with no sag no matter how hard you hit it.
I don’t know why combo amps with tube pre amps and class D output haven’t replaced tube amps by now. You can get very predictable results with a pedalboard and a good preamp, and your power section is light and as big as you need it.

There are some out there and I think fender even tried it a couple times, but they never seem to sell that great. Too many “purists” out there :roll_eyes:

You are probably right. Any amp with a master volume that sounds good at lower volume could benefit from a class D amp. I would think you could design one to sell for about what two EL 84s go for, since you don’t need to hit audio specs in freq response and distortion.
There is a difference between power amp and preamp distortion of course, but bar gigs typically won’t let you hear it.

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Nothing stopping you to do tube pre into solid state power amp.

Our bassist is actually currently doing that. I did an Engl E530 into power amp, in my case it was tube power amp, but I could try solid state. I played solid state PSA-1 preamp into solid state amp for a while and my sound wasn’t bad by any means. I found that I do like tube coloration, so switched to tube power amps and kinda stayed there for a while, then eventually moved to all tube.
The reason I am doing a pedalboard these days is the fact that there are many varying shows, and I don’t feel some of the small pub gigs warrant carrying all the heavy amps.

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I have seen that term used often, never been able to pinpoint a definition! Is it someone who avoids change? or someone who is rooted in old ways?

btw: Nice photo! though there can only be one nerd in glasses in black and white per forum! :innocent:
joking ofcourse! carry on

haha! Thanks :slight_smile:
Yours is better. I’m just trying to keep up :stuck_out_tongue:

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In the guitar world, the “purists” are of the opinion that only an actual 50’s electric guitar, directly (no pedals, etc) through a 50’s or 60’s all-tube amplifier is true electric guitar tone. I’m generalizing, but basically, purists tend to argue that no new technology can be better than that. Certainly nothing digital.
Of course, purists are found in the recording world too. Doesn’t take a lot of digging in other forums etc to see that. lol

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I wouldn’t mind going back and recording something new on a 16 or 24 track tape machine like we did in say 20 years ago. For me - it was 2002 when I recorded and mixed all analog. 5 song EP was all done in 2 days, from tracking to mix & master. We did lots of pre-production and preparation, so essentially went in the studio and miked our live rig and “go”. Mostly first takes with some small overdubs, even half of the leads were keepers :slight_smile:
It was a great experience. On the other hand, we keep on second guessing things now…recently went back to reamp one track, just because :slight_smile:
Nowadays, you can’t find a decent tape op to do that, even while we have some local studios that still have running 24 track Studer machines.
“Purists” be damned…if it sounds good, it is good. I just keep on piling tape machine plugins on everything now…if you look at my plugin folder it’s mostly tube emulations and tape machine emulations, everything else pretty much is stock from the DAW maker :slight_smile:

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Purists, when it comes to guitars and amps, is pretty much OCD. It amounts to chasing the perfect tone without being open to trying any new solutions.
For recording quickly and quietly I’ve been using S-Gear software a lot recently. It’s so easy to dial in a great guitar sound and go straight into the project that using a real amp is reserved for solos or a few sweetening tracks.
I’m a little skittish about using it live, mostly because I haven’t tried it, but it would just be a matter of using a laptop connected to a powered speaker. A purist would scoff at that notion, saying that it was artificial sounding, and that perfect tone comes from driving your power tubes into distortion, not from your preamp.
Of course, finding a place you can play loud enough to get your stack into power tube distortion is pretty rare, so I would say the definition of “purist” today is someone going deaf in Mom’s basement because he’s been fired from every gig around trying to get the perfect tone.


Haha :rofl: Coffee-spitting-worthy! :rofl:

Not so hard to get power tube saturation, lots of load boxes popping on the market…but would purists enjoy that?

Which band was it? Asking for a friend…

Raven, back in the day they gave Metallica their careers.


i don’t want to hijack your thread but - well actually I do, LOL.

My friend and I are promoting a NWOBHM festival in our home town. (We both play in Salem UK, our own NWOBHM band). Raven was one of the bands that didn’t reply to us. Anyway, this is where we’re at:

Oh man, that’s fantastic!

Raven are old school - by that I mean non-digital era crap guys so maybe try reaching out to their managements or record label directly via phone. They’re super cool guys and very much in touch with their fans, so don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t get a reply.

We’re about to sign to a German label maybe in a week, and are interested in talking further if you need another band.