Can You Use a Guitar Amplifier as a Speaker?

If you love playing the guitar, then one of the things that can really frustrate you is the sound quality of your speakers. And if your speakers aren’t producing the quality of sound you want and you don’t have anything decent to play your music with, you could be wondering if you could play your music through your guitar amp.

The short answer is yes, you can use your guitar amp as a speaker to listen to music or even plug in a microphone. Although the guitar amp won’t produce the best sound compared to a proper sound system, you can still get decent results, but with some risks. Guitar amps are specifically designed with a limited frequency range, but if you use them to play music from your phone or any other device, it will sound muddy and low quality unlike if you used a speaker system with a wide frequency range.

Even though there are risks to using the guitar amp as a speaker, if you know what you’re doing you can play your music without any problems. The sound quality will not be the best, but you can still jam.

Turning your guitar amp into a speaker

If you’re doing this for the first time, it can be a bit confusing, but it’s a very simple process with just a few steps to follow:

  • First things first, you’re going to need a ¼ to 3.5mm cable and an adapter with the same measurements. Plus a guitar, phone, or ant device that can use a 3.5mm jack.
  • Take the ¼ part of the cable and plug it into your amp and make sure your volume is turned down completely.
  • Then plug the 3.5mm part of the cable into your phone or other devices, then raise the volume on your guitar amp a bit.
  • Make sure your phone or other device is set to output mono sound.
  • Choose the music you want to play on your phone, but make sure the audio isn’t too loud, especially when playing bass-heavy songs if you don’t want to damage your amp.

Tips to avoid damaging your guitar amp

ReasonExplanation
Play for less than 30 minutesAvoid playing music on it for more than 30 minutes as the sound start to get distorted
Use low bass volumeTo listen to more bass-oriented music, lower the bass using the music software to ensure good sound quality and save your equipment
Play music gentlyIf you use the slapping technique of the bass it can produce pretty high frequencies that could damage your guitar amp
Use an open back cabinetChoose an open back cabinet instead of a closed-back cabinet because it won’t produce as much bass which is something you want when using it as a speaker

What to avoid when using your guitar amp as a speaker

There are some precautions you should take so you can keep your guitar amp in proper functioning condition when using it as a speaker.

  • If you’re going to sing, don’t scream or sing very high octave notes or thump on your mic.
  • Use a moderate volume to play your music.
  • Don’t raise the equalizer knobs and volume to maximum, keep the overdrive at 4, maximum at 5, treble at mid, and bass at 8.
  • If you’re using bass equipment, avoid using special techniques to play the instruments that can cause frequency variations.
  • When unplugging the cable from your instruments and amp, turn the volume down completely.

Can you use a guitar amp to play bass?

You can use a guitar amp with both passive and active bass guitars, but you have to do it at low volumes. Guitar amps are thin so they can’t handle the low frequencies a bass guitar produces. That’s why you need to be careful because excessive recoil will cause a high volume and the low frequencies can distort the sound which can even cause damage to your speakers. However, if you’re still determined to use your guitar amp you should keep it at a low volume and still hear your music. However, if you use mid volumes, you will start to hear some distortions and a bit of rattling which can be uncomfortable to your ears, and at high volumes, you increase the likelihood of damaging your speakers since your speakers cant handle the frequencies you’re playing.

So instead of using a guitar amp that only focuses on the upper mid-range frequencies, you should go for the bass amp that the low-end frequencies that you’ll be playing.

Can you use a guitar amp with a mic?

If you’re playing your guitar and singing at the same time, you can connect your mic into an acoustic guitar amp but not an electric guitar amp because you’ll need a suitable preamp or multi-effect pedal. The acoustic guitar amp can process your vocals through the mic and your guitar signal simultaneously, but an electric guitar amp cant. Your vocals will sound muddy and with the limited frequency on the guitar amp, it will not do your vocals justice. However, you can still use the guitar amp to play vocals, but you’ll need to use a multi-effect pedal that will provide a mic input that will safely process your vocals through the guitar amp. Most multi-effect pedals have a mic input and a built-in mic preamp that will process both your vocals and your guitar signals.

Conclusion

You can play music using your guitar amplifier, but don’t expect great results since the amp can’t handle very high or low frequencies. However, to get the best results, get a speaker system designed for that purpose.

FAQ

Do amps makes speakers louder?

An amplifier will increase the maximum volume of your sound device and also boost the audio signal to make it louder.

How many speakers can be connected to an amplifier?

Most amps can handle 2 speakers so adding more than 2 speakers will overload the amp.

Andrew Gibbons

According to Andrew Gibbons, playing the guitar is fun but it will take a few months before you can come up with a creative expression. Gibbons is a guitar instructor and has been teaching University music programs for over a decade, when it comes to playing the guitar a lot of factors come into play that determines the type of sounds produced. The guitarist must consider the guitar's neck and body shape, weight, and string type, the amp is also a primary determinant of the sounds produced and that is why Gibbons has created extensive excerpts detailing on the delicate topic. Guitarists must also pick a pose, be it the pro, wizard, hipster, or the old master.