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Sinclair
01-20-2013, 01:44 PM
Hi. I am planning to buy a bass amp this week. Is there any way playing my ukulele through it will damage it? Thanks in advance for any help.

lennymac
01-20-2013, 02:15 PM
To my knowledge there shouldn't be an issue.

Harold O.
01-20-2013, 04:11 PM
No issue at all. In fact, we (Guitar Merchant in LA) sell more bass amps to uke players than the standard guitar amp. People try both and pick the sound that suits them. Usually the bass amp wins out, typically a Fender Rumble 15.

~dave~~wave~
01-20-2013, 04:31 PM
No conceivable way you could damage a bass amp playing a uke through it.
I state that categorically, without reservation, based on 45 years of experience.

They're not the optimum match, since the speakers are tuned two octaves lower than the range of a uke.
But a good bass amp has more utility than vice versa, i.e. trying to play bass through a guitar amp. You might want a u-bass someday. ;)

I use my old G-K bass amp with a 12" speaker often for uke. It has a high boost eq filter switch that sounds good. You'll want to dial down the bottom eq knobs to get rid of objectionable thump from the piezo pickup. As I said above, no musical sound from a uke down in the bass range, only noise.

Another downside to bass amps is they have no reverb or chorus effects, you'd need outboard processing for that.

Brad Bordessa
01-20-2013, 04:53 PM
A keyboard amp is probably even better if you are buying specifically for 'ukulele. But if you play bass too then charge... They usually sound pretty darn good.

itsme
01-20-2013, 05:47 PM
In fact, we (Guitar Merchant in LA) sell more bass amps to uke players than the standard guitar amp. People try both and pick the sound that suits them. Usually the bass amp wins out, typically a Fender Rumble 15.
Interesting. Some years ago I bought a small Fender RAD bass amp to use with a flamenco guitar. The salesman had said bass amps were the way to go for acoustic instruments.

BassGuyukin'
01-20-2013, 05:58 PM
Yeah, bass amps are best for any instrument you want having a clean sound. I am a bassist and certainly don't need to buy any other amp for playing the uke! Actually a small bass practice amp is plenty.

Harold O.
01-21-2013, 04:57 AM
...Another downside to bass amps is they have no reverb or chorus effects, you'd need outboard processing for that.

The guys who have come in looking to amp their ukes are looking for a loud ukulele sound as opposed to a sound-effected ukulele. As you say, you can always add a pedal or other effects inline to the bass amp. Either way, it will not hurt the amp. Your ears, maybe, but not the amp!

kapahulu50
01-21-2013, 06:25 AM
Playing my koaloha tenor w misi pickup through my Hartke 350 w head and 2 4x12 cabinets caused no damage (other than to eardrums).

Plainsong
01-21-2013, 06:31 AM
The guys who have come in looking to amp their ukes are looking for a loud ukulele sound as opposed to a sound-effected ukulele. As you say, you can always add a pedal or other effects inline to the bass amp. Either way, it will not hurt the amp. Your ears, maybe, but not the amp!

Aren't the on board effects generally not as good as a quality pedal anyway.... I mean very very generally speaking. I'd rather choose the pedal myself. I've not plugged the mxr analog chorus + uke into my husband's Peavey bass amp. I gotta try that sometime. Various ukes have done well through that amp though. You have to change the EQ from his bass settings obviously, but otherwise... :)

OldePhart
01-21-2013, 06:36 AM
Bass amps make great acoustic guitar amps so I imagine most of them would work well for ukulele, too, though probably requiring some fairly heavy EQ for the thud. Many people don't realize that a good bass amp has to be able to reproduce tones quite high up the spectrum to keep a crisp bass sound and not go all flabby and muddy, especially when playing slap.

If you're using a simple bass amp without much EQ offering you may want to consider an EQ pedal between the uke and amp to tweak out the "thud" from piezo pickups. I've noticed that this "thud" is much more noticeable with large (12" or larger) drivers. I.e. a 1-12 cab tends to be "thuddier" than a 2-10 cab when driven by the same amp, even though the 2 X 10 actually has better bass response (I know, puzzles me, too). Many bass combos have large drivers so you'll probably have to do a bit of tweakology to minimize the thud.

John

Mercury
01-21-2013, 11:58 AM
Hi. I am planning to buy a bass amp this week. Is there any way playing my ukulele through it will damage it? Thanks in advance for any help.
Yep, my first uke amp was a bass one. Only one problem though. Possession of bass amp + I.A.S = new bass!

OldePhart
01-21-2013, 12:00 PM
Yep, my first uke amp was a bass one. Only one problem though. Possession of bass amp + I.A.S = new bass!

I don't see this problem of which you speak...

Mercury
01-21-2013, 09:18 PM
I don't see this problem of which you speak...
Why, yes of course, you're entirely correct!

kissing
01-21-2013, 09:26 PM
They're not the optimum match, since the speakers are tuned two octaves lower than the range of a uke.

Are the speakers really "tuned" to only play bass notes?
I actually don't think so.

Bass amps appear to simply accomodate for a wide range of frequencies, both high and low tone.
Just about every bass amp I've run ukes through play the high end superbly. Does not sound bassy at all.

OldePhart
01-22-2013, 07:04 AM
They're not the optimum match, since the speakers are tuned two octaves lower than the range of a uke.
But a good bass amp has more utility than vice versa, i.e. trying to play bass through a guitar amp. You might want a u-bass someday. ;)


Are the speakers really "tuned" to only play bass notes?
I actually don't think so.

Bass amps appear to simply accomodate for a wide range of frequencies, both high and low tone.
Just about every bass amp I've run ukes through play the high end superbly. Does not sound bassy at all.

No they aren't tuned for only low notes (I suspect your question was rhetorical). A good bass amp needs to have its resonant point much lower than a guitar amp, but a good bass amp also needs to produce the higher frequencies very well - otherwise the bass will sound muddy and indistinct. This is why some of my favorite bass cabs use aluminum cone speakers - they are tough enough to handle the very low frequencies of a five string bass yet light and responsive enough to handle frequencies up to 5k or better. Some bass cabs even use horns! (Though those aren't my favorite, by and large, as it can be quite difficult to dial in good tone in a wide arc with horns.)

That said, you do sometimes need to apply some careful EQ when playing higher-register instruments (ukes, mandos) with piezo pickups through a bass amp because the low response does do a superb job of amplifying the "thud" of the attack of the piezo sensor. This isn't so noticeable with guitars because the "thud" is within the range of, and therefore covered by, the guitar. WIth the higher-range instruments the "thud" is well below the frequency of the instrument and therefore can be quite noticeable.

John