Can You Use A Guitar Amp For Electronic Drums? 5-Minute Read

There was a time when like every drummer lacking a decent drum amp I used my headphones to listen to myself play drums. I had a spare guitar amp lying around but I wasn’t sure if you could use that for amplifying drums, so I did some research.

So, can you use a guitar amp for electronic drums?

Technically, a guitar amp can be used for electronic drums, although it could damage the speakers. Guitar amps are designed to handle mid-high frequencies whereas electronic drums produce everything from low-end notes to ultra-high frequencies, which only drum amps are designed to handle. 

Whether you can use a guitar amp for your electronic drums or not, the answer is yes, but with conditions. In this article, we look at how you can use a guitar amp for your electronic drum.

Since electronic drum sets don’t have built-in speakers, you can either use your headphones or buy an external amplifier to be able to hear all the sounds of the drum module. 

The Alesis Strike Amp 8  is a great portable drum amp for your electronic drum kit. It has all the versatility and features needed to fit in anywhere and it’s a snap to set up and use alongside your drum set. 

Which Guitar Amp to Use for Electronic Drums

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, although the guitar amp can be used for electronic drums, I will not recommend using ANY guitar amp to amplify drums. Doing so may ruin your amp as not all guitar amps can withstand the pressure from your electronic drum. 

Most guitar amps don’t produce the range the electronic drum requires, causing distorted sounds or, worse, damage to the amp. 

However, of all the guitar amps available, the bass guitar amp has been adjudged the most compatible with the electronic drums

This is because the bass guitar and the electronic drum share similarities in their volume and frequency, meaning that the bass guitar amp is built to meet the electronic drums’ standards.

Bass Guitar Amp Can Be Used for Electronic Drums

Not everyone has the need or means to get a drum amp. So the good news is that all amplifiers share many of the same components and functions, and if you’re a multi-instrument musician, a lot of your production and recording equipment will have a lot of cross-compatibility.

If you are lucky to have a bass guitar amp in your possession, you will be pleased to know that you can use it for your electronic drum. 

Both instruments produce low octave sounds, causing them to possess similar sound demands.

Therefore, in most instances, your bass guitar amp is often equipped with the exact sound standard to meet the electronic drum’s low equality pitch.

Make sure that you understand the respective settings that can give you a fair sound. 

First, you should understand the bass guitar amp settings and find an acceptable sound range to play. 

You should always see that you strike a good balance between your guitar amp and your electronic drum to achieve the best sound possible.

How To Manage Guitar Bass Amp Sound Settings for E-Drums

There isn’t much to manage here, just make sure that you ALWAYS KEEP THE VOLUMES AT A MODERATE LEVEL.

Keeping the volume at a moderate level is highly recommended while using a bass guitar amp for electronic drums, not just for the safety of your guitar amp but also for the proper functioning of your ears. 

Always keep in mind that the bass guitar amps are designed to handle medium-range to high frequencies that are produced by the guitars. However, drums are capable of producing everything from low-end to very high frequencies.

If you will use a bass guitar amp at a very high volume to amplify the wide frequency range of an electronic drum, it will not just distort the sound but may also damage and render your guitar amp useless.

So, keep the volume down!

What’s the Best Guitar Amp Volume for E-Drums

The speaker cone of your guitar amp can tell you if the volume is high or just appropriate.

Before you finalize on a guitar amp sound level for your jam session, observe the speaker cone and make sure it’s not vibrating excessively and there is no distortion of sound.

In case you do hear distorted sounds and notice the speaker cone moving or vibrating excessively – that’s a clear indication that the guitar amp speaker is being strained.  

This happens when the guitar amp speaker is not able to handle the broad frequency range being produced by the electronic drums at that volume level.

If you see the speaker cone vibrating excessively, immediately turn down the base volume on the amp.

To find out the best guitar amp volume for your electronic drums, slowly turn up the volume/base settings on the amp until it seems close to its limit, then keep it at a level or two lower than that. That’s your safest guitar amp volume setting for electronic drums!

If you play your drums at this volume setting, there shouldn’t be any danger to the safety of your amp or your eardrums!

Careful If You Use Pedals

Pedals can really strain a guitar amp at higher volumes, so make sure you follow the safety guidelines above if you plan on using any.

A guitar amp is not designed to recognize sounds emanating from a pedal, so it’s imperative that you use pedals properly so as not to damage your guitar amp.

Again, always keep the volume at a reasonable level while using pedals to ensure the safety of your equipment.

Best Amp Options for Electronic Drums

Drum Amp

As you can guess, using a drum amplifier is the most straightforward way to amplify electronic drums. They perform excellently with drum sets as they are specifically designed for them; you can expect much better sound than you might get with other amplifiers.

For personal use in the home, a small amp or a personal drum monitor is normally the best option.

This will allow you to practice out loud by yourself and perform for family and friends.

Many drum manufacturers make drum amps or monitors which pair extremely well with their electronic drum sets.

For example, my Alesis Strike Amp 8 delivers PA style clarity, punch, and more than enough headroom for any electronic drum kit with audio outputs.

It has 2000 watts of explosive bi-amplified power which ensures that it will always play loud and clear, in any space, in any situation – whether you’re performing, recording, or rehearsing.

Keyboard Amp

Keyboard amplifiers are also a common alternative for a drum amp. Keyboard amplifiers are designed to handle a wider frequency range so they can handle the drums input and they can handle the transient attacks that are coming with drumming. 

There are plenty of keyboard amplifiers that have very high power ratings so if you have a situation where you need very high power because no other PA system exists where you are practicing or performing, a keyboard amp might be a good alternative.

In fact, if you invest in a keyboard amp as your electronic drum amp, you can use it as a complete substitution for a small PA system. 

The Donner DKA-20 Keyboard Amplifier is one such amp that offers soft and stable sound, less tone dyeing, strong reduction, and it’s very convenient for playing and singing performances.

Headphones

If you’re looking for an affordable way to listen to yourself playing – headphones are normally the correct choice over amplifiers.

A good pair of headphones will respond to the full range of frequencies an electronic drum kit can produce.

Apart from simply connecting to an amp, using headphones is the easiest process out of all of them. You just need to take a set of headphones and plug them into the headphone port on the drum module. 

I got my first headphones for free alongside my first electronic drum set and didn’t bother about these things at all…Until I got a pair of brand ones much later and was blown away by the difference they made.

If you’re looking to get the best out of your electronic drum kit, then I would highly recommend my favorite Alesis DRP100 Electronic Drum Headphones.

The Alesis DRP100 electronic drum reference headphones incorporate accurate sound reproduction and extreme audio isolation for monitoring electronic drum kits in the studio, during practice, and on the stage.

PA System

A PA system (public address system) is always a little more expensive than a drum amp, yet many drummers use it to amplify electronic drums. 

This is because a PA setup is much more versatile than an amp. A mixer (part of the PA) will have plugs for many inputs, while an amplifier is typically limited to just one of two imports. 

This multitude of inputs is hugely beneficial for drummers who work with bands. 

Every band member will be able to plug his device into the mixer, unlike an amp that is only limited to you.

You could even use it for performances in small and mid-sized venues. It also has better connectivity, and you will be able to plug your phone or a turntable into it if required. 

Another advantage is that it can also produce a much higher volume than an amp.

Using a PA also has benefits other than just powering your kit. You can connect it to your phone or even a turntable.

The Knox Dual Speaker and Mixer Kit is a perfect portable PA speaker & amp kit that includes everything you need to pump up the volume and deliver clear, loud, and powerful sound. Designed for travel, you can carry the entire set easily in one piece.

How To Connect Electronic Drums To a Guitar Amp

Connecting the drums to an amp is the most popular way of amplifying an electronic drum set. All you need to do is run a cable from the module into the amp and you’ll be good to go. Using an amp alone is one of the easiest ways of doing things. 

However, it depends on the amp you’re using. Some amps have a multitude of settings and allow more control over the sound while others just have a volume knob. 

If you have more settings to work with, you’ll be able to tweak the sounds to get the best mix possible from your drum set.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need An Amplifier For Electronic Drums?

You don’t need an amplifier for electronic drums. You could just use headphones to hear what you’re playing. However, you need an amplifier if you don’t want to use headphones and if you want the sound of the drums to be heard by more than just yourself. 

If you want the drums to be loud, you need to use an amplifier. The best way to get them as loud as possible is to use a mixer as well as an amp. The mixer gives you more control, allowing you to push the volume.

Can I Use Speakers For Electronic Drums?

Speakers can be used for electronic drums if the speakers have an audio port that fits a big jack connector. If they only fit a small aux cable, they won’t be compatible with the electronic drums.

If the speakers are very powerful, you may end up getting an amplifier-quality sound. If the speakers aren’t powerful, the drums may end up sounding quite weak and it would be better to just use headphones to get a high-quality drum sound. 

Conclusion

So since you were wondering if you can use your guitar amp for an electronic drum set, you now know that the answer is “probably”, as long as you keep the volume at a reasonable level.

As we discussed in the article, guitar amps are not designed to handle frequencies produced by electronic drums.

Also, not all guitar amps can work with your electronic drum, as most produce sounds out of the drums range. 

However, you can use the bass guitar amp to achieve desired results, as the bass guitar and the electronic drum share a wide range of similarities.

If you don’t have something to amplify the drums, you’re going to have no way of hearing them. I recommend using your headphones or you can also find some reasonably priced drum amps on the market. 

Written by:
Amit Gupta
Amit Gupta

Hi, my name is Amit Gupta, and I am the owner and contributor at Radaudio. My passions include guitar, bass, and piano, as well as a range of classical instruments that I have been playing since school.

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