A keyboard amp produces an accurate sound and helps the band to boost the sound and cover different instruments at the same time.
Whereas a guitar amp is suitable for pronouncing mid-range tones, providing some saturation and distortion.
Many players ask themselves what’s the difference between these two amp types, is it possible to combine different instruments with different amps, and what’s the best choice for playing and practicing.
I was curious too, so I tried to play the guitar through both amp types in order to notice the difference and to see what’s best for my practicing and playing.
This article includes helpful information about these two amp types – they are compared in detail. It hides the answer to the question that many guitarists ask – Is it possible to play a specific instrument through any amp type?
Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
|Guitar Amp||Keyboard Amp|
|Inputs||one input||multiple inputs|
|Tone||coloration||flat and clean|
|Price||usually lower||usually higher|
|Effects||reverb and distortion, amps with built-in effects||a transparent tone reproduction|
Inputs: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
Guitar amps have one input, so you can’t connect several guitars to one amp. Keyboard amps have multiple inputs, and they can handle several instruments at the same time.
In most cases, each keyboard’s amp input channel has a separate volume and EQ, so you can control one instrument’s sound without changing the other’s one.
On the other side, you need several guitar amps for several guitars. But, there are a few multiple-channel guitar amps available on the market, but it’s rare.
Tone: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
Guitar amps color the sound, while the keyboard amp is designed in a way that the sound stays as accurate as possible.
The sound through the keyboard amp stays clean and flat, with no sound quality changes.
So, don’t expect any coloration when using a keyboard amp. This fact is decisive to many guitarists’ dilemma when it comes to buying a keyboard amp instead of a guitar amp.
Frequency Range: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
Keyboard amps have a wider frequency response than guitar amps.
A typical guitar amp has the ability to respond on frequencies between 300Hz and 11kHz because the guitar sound has more high frequencies than low ones.
Keyboard amps can handle all human-audible frequencies. The keyboard, depending on the sounds its emulating, uses seven octaves and overtones.
That means the keyboard produces a variety of sounds. Therefore, its amp needs to be capable of responding to higher frequencies.
If you have to choose between the keyboard and the guitar amp, I recommend you the keyboard amp if you want low frequencies to be heard.
Wattage Requirement: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
A keyboard amp requires more power than a guitar amp because it needs more energy to convert low-voltage signals into those who can power speakers.
To make low frequency into the high one, you need energy. The lower the frequency is, the more power is required.
On the other side, guitar amps have lower wattage requirements because the mid- or high-range signals’ conversion into an audible sound requires less power.
Line out: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
Keyboard amps usually have the XLR line out. It’s not frequent to see a guitar amp having it.
When it comes to guitar amps, you can see the microphone in front of it in most cases. Keyboard amps don’t actually need it. XLR line out helps the amp connect to a PA system for live performances.
Price: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
Because of their properties, keyboard amps are often more expensive than guitar amps but still, there is no rule – the price depends on the manufacturer.
When you compare a keyboard and a guitar amp from different manufacturers, you can see some fluctuations – Fender’s 20W guitar amp is more expensive than Behringer who has 50W.
I also compared two 10W amps from the same manufacturer called Donner, and the conclusion is the keyboard amp is more expensive than the guitar amp.
Effects: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
Guitar amps have onboard effects, such as reverb and distortion, while the keyboard amp translates an accurate sound into the air with no effects added.
The sound is enriched by guitar amp effects, and they are loved among guitarists who love the overdriven sound.
A keyboard amp reproduces the input signals without any changes unless it has some built-in effects, but keyboard amps with that feature are quite rare.
Built-in preamps: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
Guitar amps have a built-in preamp, but you can’t find one of these when it comes to the keyboard amp.
Guitars send an instrument-level signal which is pretty weak to be processed by an amp. Therefore, the guitar amp needs a preamp that boosts the signal and helps the amp finish the processing. Simply, a keyboard amp doesn’t need it.
Speakers: Guitar Amp Vs Keyboard Amp
Keyboard amps include bigger speaker sizes than guitar amps because keyboard amps need them to transmit the sound and make it audible.
As I said, the keyboard amp can reproduce low-frequency tones, and they are so hard to hear. Therefore, they need bigger speakers to make it audible, especially during live performances.
Guitar amps reproduce mid- and high-range frequency tones, so they don’t need bigger speakers as keyboard amps do.
Can I Play My Bass Through A Keyboard Amp?
You can play the bass through a keyboard amp without any issues, and you can expect the bass sound to be pretty good.
Bass requires an amp with wide frequency response, so the keyboard amp is suitable for bass signals. Also, lack of distortion won’t be the problem as the bass amp doesn’t provide that either.
The only problem is the bass sends instrumental-level signals that are weaker than line-level signals the keyboard sends. You will not hear yourself playing. So, you have to boost the signal and, one of the ways for doing that is the preamp.
As I said, there is no preamp in the keyboard amp, but you can use a preamp pedal instead. Some preamp pedals have a built-in EQ for better bass sound control.
If you don’t own a preamp pedal, plug your bass into the mic input because that input usually has a preamp built-in.
I recommend you not to play too loud because most keyboard amps are not powerful enough for bass. So, don’t play the bass through live performances if you don’t want to hear clipping and damage your amp.
Can Guitar Amps Be Used For Keyboards?
Guitar amps can be used for keyboards, but it’s not the best possible option because the guitar amp won’t play back the sounds coming from the keyboard adequately.
In the following text, you’ll find out why the guitar amp can’t be an ideal option for reproducing the keyboard sounds.
As I said, guitar amps have a lower-frequency response than the keyboard actually needs. So, you won’t like the keyboard sound at all as the guitar amp frequency range doesn’t fully cover the frequency range of the signals coming from the keyboard.
Getting A Not-Wanted Sound
The actual keyboard sound will be changed as the guitar amp does the sound colorization, and the sound will stop being flat and clean.
Also, you can get an overdriven or distorted keyboard sound. Most of the keyboard players don’t want the sound to be dirty and crispy.
Therefore, some things need to be adjusted if you still want to play the keyboard through the guitar amp.
So, I recommend you to:
- Low the keyboard volume
- Use Effects Return port
- Avoid bass-heavy sounds
Is It Bad To Plug A Keyboard Into A Guitar Amp?
Plugging a keyboard into a guitar amp can be bad because keyboard signals can damage the guitar amp’s speakers.
A loud signal from the keyboard is going to travel to the preamp for the boost, which will result in an extremely loud signal. Probably the guitar amp’s speakers won’t survive that stress.
The speakers are definitely going to blow out if you play a lot of bass-heavy sounds.
If you still want to plug the keyboard into a guitar amp. Besides every con of doing it, avoid bass-heavy sounds and low the keyboard volume to prevent damage.
Before plugging the keyboard into the amp, make sure the keyboard output and the amp volume are zero. After plugging, turn the amp volume to 1 and turn the keyboard volume up until you hear the sound.
Can You Use An Acoustic Guitar Amp With A Keyboard?
You can use an acoustic guitar amp with a keyboard, but the thing is whether or not you’ll enjoy what you’ll get out of it.
An acoustic guitar amp is different from an electric guitar amp because it has a wider frequency response, and it’s designed to reproduce a clean sound. They can be considered as small PA systems. They can also have an additional mic input.
I bet these things make you think the acoustic guitar amp is really similar to the keyboard amp.
Some guitarists think the acoustic guitar amp gives the keyboard’s sound a special dash, while others argue that acoustic guitar amps are better for keyboards than keyboard amps. Therefore I can say it’s a purely subjective thing.
Still, I recommend you to be careful and save your acoustic guitar amp’s speakers from blowing out.
A guitar amp is suitable for amplifying the guitars’ signal. They colorize the sound, add distortion and overdriven effect. You can plug one guitar into the guitar amp.
On the other side, a keyboard amp amplifies the signals coming from the keyboard and reproduces the flat, clean, and accurate sound. It can be used instead of bass amps but with caution.
Also, other guitars can be played through the keyboard amp, but the sound won’t have any effects, and it will be plain and too clean, especially for those who love distortion more than anything.
I recommend you choose the amp according to its purpose – that’s how you can get the sound you want!