Gearbox tips & tricks: Using bass mics with guitar amps.

It is no secret that you can mix and match guitar amps with bass cabs and bass amps with guitar cabs on any Line 6 modeler that has both guitar amps and bass amps. A more subtle side effect of this is the ability to use the guitar mics on bass cabs and bass mics on guitar cabs. Since it is pretty easy to mix and match the cabs, this article is going to focus on the cabs that allow you to mix and match the microphones. You can use this technique on POD X3, POD XT (with bass model pack), TonePort, and even the Gearbox Plugin. There is also a hidden benefit if you have a unit with only guitar or only bass models.

Guitar and bass model duplication

Line 6’s feature set tells you a fully loaded POD X3, TonePort, POD XT, or Gearbox comes with 78 guitar amp models, 28 bass amp models, 24 guitar speaker cabs, and 22 bass speaker cabs. Add it all up and you get 106 amp models and 52 speaker cabinets, right? Not quite. Some of the bass and guitar amps are the same amplifier, speaker cabs too! There are five overlapping amp models and four overlapping speaker cabs. So you really have a grand total of 101 amp and 48 speaker cab models to play with. This is still a staggering number, so it is certainly nothing to get worked up about.

Amp model mixing

You can certainly use this knowledge to mix and match amp models. Use the corresponding bass version of an amp on guitar or the guitar version on bass. I have not been able to detect any appreciable difference in amp models though. So this is not an especially interesting way to use this knowledge. The models duplicated between bass and guitar are:

Amplifier Guitar Bass
Fender Bassman 1958 Tweed B-man 1958 Tweed B-man
Fender Bassman head 1972 Silverface Bass 1967 Silverface Bass
Marshall Super Bass 1968 Brit Plexi Bass 100 1968 Brit Bass
Marshall Major 1969 Brit Plexi Lead 200 1969 British Major
Hiwatt DR-103 1973 Hiway 100 1973 Hiway 100

You may notice a few of the names differ, and in the case of the Fender Bassman head, even the year of the model differs. In spite of the name of the Bassman head containing different years for guitar and bass, I still believe this is the exact same amp model. Listen to this riff played through the guitar and bass versions of the Silverface Bass amp model.

  • listen – guitar version of the Bassman is on the left, bass version is on the right.

Reversing the phase of one of the soundclips in my DAW resulted in silence, further proof the amp models are identical even when they claim to represent different years of the original amp.

If you start mixing and matching these duplicate guitar and bass amp models you will notice the controls have different names. The controls are listed as:

  • Guitar amps: drive, bass, middle, treble, presence, volume
  • Bass amps: drive, bass, lo mid, hi mid, treble, volume

However, each control has a direct correspondence to the other version. So the lo mid of the bass amp maps to the middle of the guitar amp, hi mid on bass amp to treble on guitar amp, and treble on bass amp to presence on guitar amp. This can get confusing if you start switching between the guitar and bass amp models a lot so be sure to keep it in mind while tweaking.

Speaker model mixing

Here is how the duplicated speaker cabinets break down:

Speaker Cabinet
Guitar Bass
4×10 Line 6 4×10 2001 Line 6 4×10 Line 6
4×10 Fender 4×10 1958 Tweed B-Man 4×10 Tweed
4×12 Marshall 4×12 1967 Green 20s 4×12 Green 20s
4×12 Marshall 4×12 1968 Green 25s 4×12 Green 25s

This is where things get interesting. Where the duplicated amp models offered the exact same tone, these duplicated speaker models give the capability to use any of four guitar mics or four bass mics on the same speaker model! That’s right, when you use these four speaker models (with guitar or bass) you have eight mic choices instead of four.

Special note to fellow metalheads: Be sure to dig the 5150 guitar amp through the bass mics with the 4×12 Green 25s. CRUSHING!

Bonus functionality

At the beginning of the article I promised a hidden benefit to those of you who do not have a Line 6 product with both guitar and bass models installed. That benefit is the ability to use your unit with only guitar models to record decent bass tracks or to use your Bass POD XT to record guitar tracks. On your guitar only Line 6 hardware you can bring up one of the five crossover amp models with one of the four crossover speaker cabs and other than the microphone model, you are getting the exact same sound on a bass as you would with a Bass POD XT. No one ever said you couldn’t use a 57 or 421 on a bass anyway. The same thing is true if you use a Bass POD XT and don’t have access to a guitar POD. Call up one of the crossover amps and cabs and you can get the same guitar tones other POD owners have been enjoying. It is only a minor difference of mic models and all eight of these micropohones I’m sure have been used on guitar and bass recording throughout the years.

Suggestions

Get creative with this information. Try things like making dual tones where one side has an SM-57 and the other side has an RE-20 for microphones. Use the bass mics for heavy guitar tones or guitar mics for lead type bass tones.

Your home recording studio is a playground limited only by your level of creativity!

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4 Responses to “Gearbox tips & tricks: Using bass mics with guitar amps.”

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  1. Chris says:

    looks interesting but how the hell do you do that with a Toneport UX1? Thanks.

  2. Chris says:

    Sorry, I just understood, you cannot choose directly the mic but since the cabs are similar…

  3. bvesco says:

    Cabs are not just “similar” they are the exact same cabs.

  4. bassist2000 says:

    Brilliant analysis and explanation! All of my questions are answered! Much respect and gratitude!