Can You Use A Guitar Amp For Electronic Drums: All You Need To Know 

You’re all set for the jam session when your drummer friend says he forgot to bring his e-drum amp, and you are left alone with a guitar amp!   

Can you use a guitar amp for electronic drums? The short answer is yes, you can! But hold on, don’t go grabbing your drumsticks just yet. 

Electric drums operate in a different frequency range with distinct sonic requirements, and guitar amps might not accurately reproduce these frequencies. However, don’t lose hope! Adjusting the EQ setting can turn the table! Let’s get to know everything about can you use a guitar amp for electronic drums, how to, and alternative ways to amplify, and much more.  

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Can You Use A Guitar Amp For Electronic Drums? 

Connecting your electronic drum kit to a guitar amp is technically possible, but it is not recommended. Guitar amps are specifically designed to handle guitars’ frequency range and nuances. They are tailored to enhance and amplify the unique tonal characteristics of electric guitars, with an emphasis on midrange frequencies. But electronic drums encompass a much wider frequency spectrum, including powerful lows and crisp highs, which may not be accurately reproduced by a guitar amp. 

Furthermore, guitar amps often lack the power to handle the dynamic range of electronic drums effectively. Drums require a robust amplification system that faithfully reproduces their thunderous kicks, sharp snares, and shimmering cymbals without distortion or loss of clarity. Guitar amps may struggle to accurately reproduce the full range of frequencies, leading to compromised sound quality. 

See Also: Can You Use A Guitar Amp As A Speaker

What To Consider Before Using Guitar Amp For Electronic Drums? 

When you don’t have any way to amplify the electric drum, and you need to use a guitar amp, it’s crucial to consider the following things to make the most out of the combo: 

Power Handling and Frequency Response: 

Guitar amplifiers are tuned to enhance the middle-range frequencies of the guitars, so they are not able to reproduce the full-range sound required for drums. However, some amps are capable of such a wide frequency response which treats the low frequencies of electronic drums. Therefore, choose an amp which can handle the power ratings of your kit and that has a flat frequency response to skip distortion and achieve clarity in the drum sounds. 

Power Handling and Frequency Response
Power Handling

EQ and Tone Shaping: 

Since guitar amps are tailored for guitar frequencies, their built-in equalization (EQ) might not be optimized for drums. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t shape your drum sounds effectively. Take advantage of the available EQ controls on the amp to adjust the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. Experiment with different settings to find the sweet spot that enhances the tonal qualities of your electronic drums. Consider adding external EQ pedals or processors to fine-tune your drum sounds further and compensate for any limitations in the guitar amp’s built-in EQ. 

See Also: How To Ground A Guitar Amp

What Happens If You Use A Guitar Amp For E-drums? 

While using a guitar amp for e-drums is not recommended, let’s explore what could happen if you take this unconventional route. 

1. Impedance Mismatch: Guitar amps have a high impedance output, while e-drum modules typically have a low impedance output. Plugging a low-impedance source into a high-impedance input can result in a mismatch, affecting the tonal response and potentially causing a loss of clarity in the sounds. 

2. Frequency Response: Using a guitar amp may not provide you with the full spectrum of the drum sounds and this may distort the frequency response of the sounds, eventually giving you bad performance.

3. Power Handling: Guitar amps are capable of producing loud sounds, but they don’t have the necessary power-handling capabilities to accommodate the dynamic range and output levels of e-drums. Pushing a guitar amp beyond its intended limits could result in distorted sound, speaker damage, or even equipment failure.

Which Types of Guitar Amp Is Right For Electronic Drums?   

Full-range guitar amps are designed to reproduce a wide frequency spectrum, making them suitable for electronic drums. These amps typically have larger speakers and provide a balanced sound across the entire frequency range. They can handle the lows of the kick drum and the highs of the cymbals effectively, giving your electronic drums a well-rounded sound. 

Guitar amp
Guitar amp

Different Ways To Amplify Electric Drums 

When it comes to amplifying electronic drums, three options outshine guitar amps. They are: 

1. PA System 
2. E-drum Amp 
3. Keyboard Amp 

PA Systems: 

Electronic drums cover a vast range of frequencies. For instance, the bass drum resonates between 30-400 Hz, while cymbals can span from 300-600 Hz, all the way up to 18,000 Hz. PA systems can easily handle this wide spectrum of frequencies, far broader than amps designed for specific instruments like guitars or bass guitars. 

There is one drawback, though—PA systems can be quite expensive. Smaller PA systems start at around $300, while higher quality and larger setups can reach several thousand bucks. 

PA Systems

E-drum Amps: 

E-drum amplifiers are specifically designed to handle the diverse range of frequencies produced by drums and cymbals, ensuring optimal sound quality without any risk of damage. A dedicated drum amplifier is a more budget-friendly choice. Drum amps start at approximately $150 and go up to around $500. 

E-drum Amps 
E-drum Amps 

Keyboard Amps: 

Another option worth considering is a keyboard amplifier. While not specifically designed for e-drum kits, keyboard amps still outperform guitar or bass amps in terms of handling a wide range of frequencies. Like drum amps, keyboard amps are less likely to suffer damage and will produce superior sound quality compared to their guitar and bass counterparts. 

Keyboard Amps
Keyboard Amps

Final Words 

Guitar amplifiers are engineered to bring out the subtleties of your guitar’s sound so that every note comes out clean and rich. That’s why, a dedicated drum amp will yield the best sound quality while minimizing the risk of causing any damage. But still, if you need to use a guitar amp with your electric drums, keep the volume low and try to experiment and fine-tune your settings to achieve the best possible sound. Tinkering with the bass, midrange, and treble controls can help you find a balance that works for your specific drum kit. 

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