Tracking Doom Metal Guitars Through Bass Amps

Doom metal and stoner rock bands know that a great, heavy guitar tone comes from lots of fuzz and lots of low end, but less common in their setups are bass guitar amps and cabinets multiplying those characteristics and pushing them to the forefront of a song.

After all, aren’t bass guitar amps intended for bass guitars?

Well yes, but that doesn’t stop them from being an ideal solution for heavy, sludgy electric guitars that drone on in your mixes too.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using bass amps the next time you go to track guitars…

Whole Lotta Headroom

The first place I like to start when introducing someone to the concept of using bass guitar amps for electric guitar parts is the wattage of the amp. Regardless of if you’re talking tube or solid state, bass amps push some serious wattage. It takes a lot of energy to push those lower frequencies, so all of those watts are put to use when you crank up a bass amp.

For guitarists, this translates to more headroom. The additional wattage stands at the ready, but without the pickups capturing anywhere near as much low end content, the guitars have a much more focused sound with plenty of headroom to spare.

Bigger Speakers (and More of Them)

While most guitar cabinets top out around four speakers at a maximum of about 12” per speaker, there’s a lot more variety in bass cabinets. You can have speakers as large as 15”, 18”, or more – all for the same reason your amp will have more headroom. These speakers and their cabinets are designed to push the lower frequencies hard and the more speakers there are to do that, the easier it becomes.

For guitarists, this can mean a massive wall of tone. Just look at some of the biggest names in doom metal and you’ll see exactly how large we’re talking with most of their rigs. Anyone who tells you hardware is dying clearly hasn’t been to one of these shows – but it’s also not the only way you could go.

In-The-Box Bass Amps

Virtual bass rigs are one of the fastest growing categories in the music industry right now and it’s easy to understand why. Bassists are seeing a revolution in in-the-box capability similar to what guitarists have seen over the past decade and the flexibility is better than ever.

Take Bassforge Hellraiser as an example. Our first virtual bass rig was designed from scratch with perfectly matched features for simple operation. Inside, we’ve got a fuzz pedal, clank control on the amp, and a selection of cabinets to choose from that compete with any bassist’s dream rig. Combining all of these elements sound amazing on bass, but they can also give you an incredibly present guitar tone that fits well in the mix.

Check out this video of Joshua Lopez as he walks through using Bassforge Hellraiser on guitars for a production he worked on with stoner metal band, Lore:

As you can hear, massive sounding guitars can be achieved through a bass rig when mixed correctly – and you don’t need to worry about masking your actual bass guitar in the process.

Unholy Bass Tones

If you’re looking to get the most out of your favorite virtual bass rig plugins, look no further than the JST VIP section of our site. We recently released our new eBook, Basscrusher: An Unholy Guide to Bass Tone. Inside you’ll get nearly 100 pages of tips and tricks to get the perfect bass for any song.

From tracking to editing and reinforcement to mastering, Basscrusher is a master’s guide to getting the ideal bass for your production – and it’s available exclusively to JST VIP members for a limited time.

Sign up to get your copy.