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Post subject: Using Guitar Amps as Keyboard Amps?
Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:05 am
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:54 am
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Location: Clifton, NJ
I just picked up a 1980's JC-120, and I've heard that it's great for keyboards. I've also heard that playing bass through a guitar amp can damage it. But since a keyboard can play bass patches, and various ultra-low frequency sounds, isn't that dangerous too?

On a related note, standard 4-string basses are one octave below guitar, yet guitarists regularly use octave-down effects to get bass effects, without worrying about blowing their precious guitar amps. What's the deal?


Last edited by Ithelkel on Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Fender Play April 2019
Post subject: Re: Using Guitar Amps as Keyboard Amps?
Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:57 am
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A straight electric piano (Fender-Rhodes, Wurlitzer, etc) sounds pretty good through a Fender Twin Reverb. However, for a multi-voiced synth keyboard that can simulate a Hammond B3, clavinet, or other bass-heavy instrument I'd recommend an amp with a bass-reflex speaker system (ie: a seal-back cabinet). A Fender Dual Showman or equivalent would be ideal.

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"Here's why reliability is job one: A great sounding amp that breaks down goes from being a favorite piece of gear to a useless piece of crap in less time than it takes to read this sentence." -- BRUCE ZINKY


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Post subject: Re: Using Guitar Amps as Keyboard Amps?
Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:48 am
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You will have an impedance mismatch if you plug a powered keyboard into the guitar input. Unpowered pianos will be fine.
Powered keyboards put out 250 mv line levels. Guitars only put out 25mv.
For powered keyboards, use the effects loop. On the JC120, its a stereo loop that should accomodate keyboard signal levels.

Keyboards can drive bass notes just fine. You will find the limitations of the open back cabinet down there somewhere.
The big problem with bass guitar into regular amps is that low frequency attack gain at string drop wants to accelerate the voice coil right out of the frame. Bass amps are built with low gain to accomodate that kind of attack. While guitar has as much attack, its usually at a higher frequency, so the duration and cone excursion is shorter.
Keys can't get that kind of attack with most patches.
Still, its an old amp. If the speakers are original, they may not hold up to a lot of bass.
But that Roland is a good score, treasure it.


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Post subject: Re: Using Guitar Amps as Keyboard Amps?
Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:07 am
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I play keyboards and my take is that a vintage clavinet, electric piano, or combo organ sounds incredible through a tube guitar amp - Pro Reverb, Bandmaster, etc. An analog or digital synthesizer really needs a good sized powered monitor or two (or keyboard amp). A digital Hammond type organ (clonewheel) through a Leslie sim. definitely needs a couple full range powered speakers


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