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Old June 13th, 2011, 12:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Another in a tweed series: 5D6 Bassman?

Internet's a wonderful thing - the other day, I was oogling the 5f6 Bassman, and find early on, an article that describes briefly, a "legendary" 5d6 Bassman that never made into production and is apparently extremely rare and valuable. The article said that no schematic for the 5d6 was known to exist.

During that same oogle session, I found a link. To a schematic. It says it's a 5d6 Bassman.

Can anyone shed any light on this? Ever see or hear (about) one? Anyone able to read schematics who could say yes or no, or offer an opinion about any differences?
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Old June 13th, 2011, 01:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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ask fox vintage amps, he's a member here, and builds replicas of just this circuit.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Cool, thanks! Mebbe he'll see this & check in while I'm off searching for him....
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Old June 13th, 2011, 12:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Looks closer to the 5E8A than the venerable 5F6A.. Haven't looked at the 5D6 too much before now. though..
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Old February 25th, 2012, 08:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Internet's a wonderful thing - the other day, I was oogling the 5f6 Bassman, and find early on, an article that describes briefly, a "legendary" 5d6 Bassman that never made into production and is apparently extremely rare and valuable. Can anyone shed any light on this? Ever see or hear (about) one? Anyone able to read schematics who could say yes or no, or offer an opinion about any differences?
Hi. I own a 1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassman. It was produced from November 1954 through December 1954. Fender built 173 quantity 1954 5D6 4x10 Bassmans. Only eleven (11) 1954 5D6's are known to exist and only four are nearly original complete ~ meaning original tweed covering, original electrionics without modification (of course capacitors, etc, might be changed), original 1954 Jensen P10R speakers that have not been reconed, original transformers & choke, etc. The other 1954 5D6 4x10 Bassmans are great amps, but have been rebuilt, been re-tweeded, had the original cabinet re-built, do not have the original transformers or choke and/or have had major circuitry redone.

In January 1955, Fender introduced the "5D6-A" as the next version of the 4x10 Bassmans. My guess is that 200/ish were built until Fender finally introduced the 1955 Fender 5E6 4x10 in March 1955 to a national dealer network and within advertising targeting bass and guitar musicians.

Check out this Wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Bassman
for the best & most complete history of the 1952-1955 Fender Bassman amps.

To share how unknown the 1954 5D6 Bassman amplifier has been until late 2011, it is very interesting to note that the highly resourced and widely renown authors John Sprung and John Teagle (Fender Amp: The First Fifty Years 1995) published and stated within their book: "reportedly there is a 5D6 model Bassman". In another very recent 2007 Fender book "The Soul Of Tone - Celebrating 60 Years of Fender Amps" (Tom Wheeler September 2007, page #170), Tom Wheeler, writing about the extreme rarity of the 1954 5D6 Bassman prototypes, quotes Peter Tate (5D6 Bassman owner) as stating that he (Peter Tate) only knows the existence of one other 5D6 Bassman amplifier. The above two published quotes from two highly resourced and respected Fender history books, truly demonstrate the lack of awareness, knowledge and history of the extremely rare 1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassman amplifiers.

Hope you enjoy this bit of Fender history. Read the Wiki Bassman article.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 12:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks, Toppscore - enjoyed that read! And impressed that you own one of the beasts....

I got here by way of getting interested both in tweed amps (via the 5E3) and in building a kit thereof...started wondering how I knew I didn't want to make a different amp instead. That lead to the Bassman, and here we are.

Any chance of you holding forth on the 5D6? I consider myself an 'amp ignoramus' who's only just figured out that there's playing the amp as well as playing the guitar, and I'm currently not living up to the potential in the amps I have. I'm thinking about building an amp one day, though - maybe if I get to retire again.

What makes this one unique? Why would it be a good amp to build/have (assuming I can figure out the building thereof)? Can you tell any differences between the amp you have and the PDF above? How would you compare it to other favorite amps?

Sorry for all the questions (my parents had no idea what they were unleashing when they encouraged me to ask questions)
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Old February 25th, 2012, 01:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Looks closer to the 5E8A than the venerable 5F6A.. Haven't looked at the 5D6 too much before now. though..
That's kind of a tantalizing notion, actually. Suggests that 5D6-A branched to produce the the Bassman on the one line, and the rest of the tweeds off the other.

Which would make 5D6-A, well, Eve...in an amp-design sense....
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Old February 25th, 2012, 07:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks, Toppscore - enjoyed that read! And impressed that you own one of the beasts....

I got here by way of getting interested both in tweed amps (via the 5E3) and in building a kit thereof...started wondering how I knew I didn't want to make a different amp instead. That lead to the Bassman, and here we are.

Any chance of you holding forth on the 5D6? I consider myself an 'amp ignoramus' who's only just figured out that there's playing the amp as well as playing the guitar, and I'm currently not living up to the potential in the amps I have. I'm thinking about building an amp one day, though - maybe if I get to retire again.

What makes this one unique? Why would it be a good amp to build/have (assuming I can figure out the building thereof)? Can you tell any differences between the amp you have and the PDF above? How would you compare it to other favorite amps?
Zatochi: "Any chance of you holding forth on the 5D6?" What do you mean?

I am not an electronics amp scholar. I have had to learn from the ground up and I only barely understand components and some sort of how the signal flows from the guitars pick-ups and on through past the speaker's voice-coil.

What makes my 5D6 unique and the other 5D6 amps unique is that they have not been exactly duplicated. Frank Roy & Ken Fox (mentioned in the Wiki Bassman article I researched and wrote) claim to have each taken a 1954 December 5D6 "DL" 4x10 Bassman and backward engineered the circuit board to make 5D6 December "DL" copies. I have chatted with them both. There may be 5D6 schematics available by both Roy & Fox. But again, they are making copies as close as possible. Ken Fox makes a good amp.

The 1954 November 5D6 "DK" 4x10 Bassman is the first 4x10 Bassman, or the first "anykind" of a 4x10 speaker combination in any form. The 1954 November "DK" 5D6 Bassman is different than the 1954 December "DL" 5D6 Bassman is different than the 1955 January "EA" 5D6-A Bassman, and is different than the 1955 March "EC" 5E6 Bassman.

There are known schematics of the 5E6 Bassman and the 5D6-A Bassman. As best as I understand, only Ken Fox and Frank Roy have each independently made separate & different schematics for the 1954 December "DL" 5D6-A 4x10 Bassman. Fender made 89 of the December "DL" 5D6 Bassmans, of which only six survive.

Nobody has ever made schematics nor knows about the original 1954 November "DK" 5D6 4x10 Bassman EXACT electronics circuitry. There were 83 of the November "DK" 1954's made, five survive and I have a complete working one, with three of the four 1954 Jensen P10's still intact and working. It does not have an original handle, but I just purchased a NOS leather handle. Also, when I am ready, I have purchased a 1955 P10R to install. Everything else is au-natural :)

As per the sounds, those who know and those who have played both the 1954 5D6 4x10 Bassmans and the 1957-1960 5F6 4x10 Bassmans, say the 1954 5D6 Bassmans just sound better. Why? It is a matter of taste and love of tone. I have seen the two demo'd, but I have only played mine, and not a 5F6 of 5F6A. But, my 5D6 Bassman is strong, crunchy with a bite and has great tone.

From what I understand, the 1954 5D6 Bassmans are the best to record sound. The 5F6A Bassmans and the 1962 Fender 2x10 6G4A Super Amps are also great. Some blues lovers like the 1953 Fender 1x15 5B6 Bassmans. The Fender Tweed Twins are very popular, but very loud.

Seems to me that the best sounding amps (by majority thought) are Fender Tweed amps between 1954-1960, have 2x10 or 4x10 speaker setup, have 50watts OR LESS, and do not have reverb. This is just an observation. People will argue. But, the 1950s Jensen 10" speakers matched with 1950s Fender guitar amplifier electronics seems to be an enduring excellent producer of great tone & sound. Don't you agree?

Does this help? Toppscore :)
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Old February 25th, 2012, 07:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Toppscore

It sounds like you should post some pics.
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Old February 25th, 2012, 07:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Toppscore. It sounds like you should post some pics.
I have. I will see where they are. Toppscore
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Old February 28th, 2012, 11:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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5D6

I have one of Ken Fox's 5D6 bassmans, he calls it the 5D6B. It is one sweet amp. It puts out about 32 watts with the stock tube configuration. You can push it up to 50 watts with higher gain tubes. I haven't had the chance to A/B it with an original 5F6-A. I did get to play a few of those that belonged to friends back about 25-30 years ago but I don't trust myself to try and discuss any differences in tone. Let's just say they were all great sounding amps.

I think it is a stretch to say that any one amp is the "best" sounding or anything like that. I think if you got all the different fifties bassman models in one room, they would probably all sound pretty great. But different examples of the same models would vary some and "great" sound means different things to different people.

I think there has been some over-promotion of the 5D6 legend. My new recreation of the 5D6 is one of the best sounding amps I have ever played. The original may well be one of the best....etc etc.. But I don't agree that you can make a blanket statement that it is "better" than the 5F6A based on a few comments by owners who may or may not be biased by the fact that they own one of the amps.

Toppscore, it would be cool if you could have schematic made of your 5D6 since it is a rare amp, for historical sake and for amp builders to learn from.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 05:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I am really interested in these amps. I hope to own a Fox Vintage Bassman some day.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 08:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have one of Ken Fox's 5D6 bassmans, he calls it the 5D6B. It is one sweet amp. It puts out about 32 watts with the stock tube configuration. You can push it up to 50 watts with higher gain tubes. I haven't had the chance to A/B it with an original 5F6-A. I did get to play a few of those that belonged to friends back about 25-30 years ago but I don't trust myself to try and discuss any differences in tone. Let's just say they were all great sounding amps. I think it is a stretch to say that any one amp is the "best" sounding or anything like that. I think if you got all the different fifties bassman models in one room, they would probably all sound pretty great. But different examples of the same models would vary some and "great" sound means different things to different people. I think there has been some over-promotion of the 5D6 legend. My new recreation of the 5D6 is one of the best sounding amps I have ever played. The original may well be one of the best....etc etc.. But I don't agree that you can make a blanket statement that it is "better" than the 5F6A based on a few comments by owners who may or may not be biased by the fact that they own one of the amps. Toppscore, it would be cool if you could have schematic made of your 5D6 since it is a rare amp, for historical sake and for amp builders to learn from.
Hi, Shakerman! Yes! Ken Fox makes great amps from what I hear and have read. He gets as close to the originals as possible. Real nice guy. One day soon, when I am going to get a giggin' 4x10, I am going to give his amp the highest priority. Congratulations on owning one.

How do you like your Fox 5D6B 4x10 compared to Tweed 2x10 amps? I have made it a hobby to collect thoughts and ideas about the best guitars and amplifiers. Because most amps fit into three categories = Loud, 30w-60w and 10w-22w, and, IMHP the middle group of 30w-60w amps get more rave reviews quality tone than the other two sectors. And, I have noticed that the amps with 2x10, 3x10 & 4x10 get more votes for sounding the best. There definitely are great 1x12, 2x12, 1x15 & 2x15 combo amps and speaker cabinets that produce great tones & sounds, but not nearly as many as the amps with ten inch speakers.

Next, I've noticed the most popular amps such as Vox, Fender, Peavey & Marshall, etc; are world wide ~ so they'd have to be considered the group to choose from for best amp, because they are known and easy to get consistant supplies, sounds, tones, backups, etc. Of course some boutique amps are great. Fender has to be the sound/tone leader of the national brands, and Fender Tweed and Fender Blackface amps seem to out-distance the Fender Brownface & Fender Silverface amps. Don't you agree?

So, we are down to Fender Tweeds and Fender Blackface amps as having most of the best sounding amps. The advantage of the Fender Tweed is that they are all combo amps and can dedicate electronics, circuitry, speakers, tubes, capacitors and transformers better than amp heads could do with independent speaker cabinets. Maybe 50% of the Fender Blackface guitar amplifier lineup are "amp heads". Also, the Blackface amps have many more powerful and louder models than the Tweed amps, leaving the Tweed amps with a better selection of amps that produce great tones/sounds at a bearable volume than any other group or style or manufacturer of guitar ampifiers.

So, there you have it. The Tweeds are a natural place to look for the best sounding amp or amps of all time. Not saying the Fender Tweeds have it all, and there are many other great non-Tweed amps. Within the Tweeds, you have your Ivy League smaller amps, your 30w-50watters and the more powerful Tweed Twin.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 12:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Where are the pics ?????????????
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 11:41 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Where are the pics ?????????????
I will make a note. Toppscore
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 10:47 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Toppscore View Post
Zatochi: "Any chance of you holding forth on the 5D6?" What do you mean?

(Toppscore, holding forth on the 5D6...snipped, with respect)

Does this help? Toppscore :)
Indeed it does - and thanks!
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Old March 4th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #17 (permalink)
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1954 Fender 5D6 "DK" 4x10 Bassman * SN#0769

As promised, some pictures of: 1954 Fender 5D6 "DK" 4x10 Bassman * SN#0769
Please let me know if you'd like to have a dedicated thread for the
1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassman history, rather than at the bottom of this particular thread.
Also, in a dedicate TDPRI thread, I could add many more pictures in Photobucket
and more general info of the 1953-1955 Fender 5B6, 5D6, 5D6-A & 5E6 4x10 Bassmans.
Maybe it'd attract more Fender 1950s Tweed Bassman awareness and more info being contributed???
PLMK. Thanks. Toppscore


Based upon nearly a year of research, documentation and interviews, I wrote
the following Fender Bassman article posted within the Wiki Encyclopedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Bassman
I wrote from the top of the page to the "Reissues" section. I'm very open to making changes, cleaning up mistakes, etc. But, until this year of 2012, I've noted large amounts of inaccurate information regarding the 1954-1955 Fender Bassmans. Not saying the Wiki/Bassman artical is perfect, but it is very close towards being extrememly accurate.

I want to give some credit for gracious help & direction from the many members from another vintage amp & guitar forum. It was one year ago this month I discovered I owned a rare amp. With very little technical knowledge, I started a monster quest to better understand my 1954 5D6 Bassman, Fender history and Fender Bassman history. Most forum members took valuable time to share & help. The Wiki/Bassman article reflects upon known, newly uncovered information and fresh insights towards the 1954 5D6 4x10 Bassman; including the transition from 1953/1954 Fender 5B6 1x15 Bassman, as well as the transition forward towards the 1955 Fender 5D6-A 4x10 Bassman and the 1955 Fender 5E6 4x10 Bassman. Undoubtedly, there will be forthcoming more technical schematic, circuitry & component source information yet to be added until their facts are known. I am willing to use my 1954 5D6 "DK" Bassman amplifier as a great source for more analysis.

As written within the Wiki/Bassman article, Fender manufactured only 172 total quantity 1954 5D6 4x10 Bassman prototype amplifiers. There were 83 of the first run November "DK" series and only 89 quantity of the second December "DL" series. Of the total 182 Fender 5D6 Bassmans, only eleven (11) survive today. Five are from the first November "DK" production run with the #0700-#0783 serial numbers. Six are known to exist from the second December "DL" production run with serial numbers between #0001-#0089.

One item of note is that the 1954 5D6 Bassmans were produced during "DK" November 1954 and "DL" December 1954. The very first production run of the "DK" November Bassmans used serial numbers and date code charts influenced by the 1953/1954 5B6 1x15 Bassmans. The 5B6 Bassmans last known serial numbers were in the SN#0670 range. The "DK" November 1954 4x10 Bassmans continued with serial numbers SN#0700-SN#0783. Then, during the "DL" December 1954 second production run of the 5D6 4x10 Bassmans, Fender used a new serial number range for the new series of Bassmans, SN#0001-SN#0089. Starting in January 1955 Fender continued with the serial number range of SN#0100(+) for the next and "new third production run" of the 1955 5D6-"A" Bassmans.
===============================================


Pictured below is the third (3rd) oldest known 4x10 amplifier and the oldest known speaker cabinet with a 4x10 speaker setup. That this particular guitar amplifier just happens to be made by Fender, the world's greatest manufacturer of guitar and bass amplifiers; that it is the world's most popular guitar amplifier (Fender Bassman) and not an unknown discontinued amplifier makes it all that much more excitingly interesting & extremely unique!

At this moment, installed in my Fender 5D6 Bassman are three matching original 1954 Jensen P10R speakers and one 1961 Jensen P10Q speaker. All four speakers are strong and sound great with awesome tone. This is how I purchased the Fender 5D6 Bassman during the mid/late 1970s from Leo's Professional Audio in Oakland California. Part of a future project is to install another 1954 or 1955 Jensen P10R speaker.

The power transformer, choke & output transformer are original. Since this Bassman is part of the historic very first production run for the experimental prototype Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassmans, there is a question if the power transformer, a 1954 original Chicago Standard Transformer CST, was installed by Fender. Fender did have a reputation for installing different parts and suppliers. The Chicago CSTransformer could have been from one of many competing vendors at that time, seeking a Fender supply contract. Fender could have been testing to see how CST compared to Triad, Fender's main transformer supplier.

Eventually, I'll take this Bassman to a vintage amplifier professional for review and seek advice regarding component originality & condition of all tubes, capacitors, filter caps & resistors. At that time I will take photographs of the potentiometer date codes, and more of the original 1954 5D6 "DK" November circuitry. I believe that Ken Fox and Frank Roy have only worked on or seen the 1954 5D6 "DL" December circuitry. Which makes this November "DK" Bassman a mystery, so far.

Last year I took the 1954 5D6 Bassman to a well known amp repair professional for a tuneup. He replaced absolutely nothing. The Bassman played strong, bright and energetic. No problems at all. What is known, is that the original Astron filter capacitors are in place and working perfectly. Two signal capacitors, one cathoid capacitor and some resistors have been changed. That is all. He changed the cord to a three prong for safety. He trimmed the BIAs.

OK, let me know your thoughts, ideas, comments, questions and observations. Feel free to correct any part of the Wiki/Bassman artical. Maybe we should repost this information onto a brand new TDPRI forum thread dedicated to 1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassmans. Please let me know if you are interested. I will pull out the amp and shoot tons of Photobucket Pictures. Just let me know if you are interested.
Thank you.Toppscore
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Last edited by Toppscore; March 4th, 2012 at 04:12 PM.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 06:06 PM   #18 (permalink)
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1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassman * Known Schematic History

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Originally Posted by zatoichi View Post
Internet's a wonderful thing - the other day, I was oogling the 5f6 Bassman, and find early on, an article that describes briefly, a "legendary" 5d6 Bassman that never made into production and is apparently extremely rare and valuable. The article said that no schematic for the 5d6 was known to exist. During that same oogle session, I found a link. To a schematic. It says it's a 5d6 Bassman. Can anyone shed any light on this? Ever see or hear (about) one? Anyone able to read schematics who could say yes or no, or offer an opinion about any differences?
Zatoichi, it may be the schematic to the 1955 5D6-"A" 4x10 Fender Bassman. Frank Roy & Ken Fox each have made their own schematics (I believe) of the 1954 Fender 5D6 "DL" December 4x10 Bassman. But, I truly believe they are not the ones you have pictured. There is a great misconception about the 1954 Fender 5D6 Bassmans and the 1955 Fender 5D6-"A" Bassmans. There are absolutely no known official Fender Factory engineered schematics of either the November 1954 nor of the December 1954 Fender 5D6 Bassmans.

By request above this comment, I have uploaded five pictures and a fairly extensive "quick brief presentation" of the two different 1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassman amplifiers. The first production run series were the 83 quantity 5D6 "DK" November 1954 Bassmans; and the second production run of 89 quantity 5D6 "DL" December 1954 Bassmans. I believe Ken Fox and Frank Roy may have made and possibly published their own version schematics from their time working on a 5D6 "DL" December Bassman. But, again, the schematics do not look like your pictured schematics, which is probably a photo of the 1955 5D6-"A" 4x10 Bassman. I do know that Ken Fox produces a great boutique copy (as humanly possible) of the 1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassman.

There are absolutely no known original Fender Factory produced schematics, or schematics produced by any Fender enthusiast trying to copy the November "DK" 1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassman.
I hope this helps you. Toppscore

Last edited by Toppscore; March 4th, 2012 at 06:24 PM. Reason: minor cleanup
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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:07 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Toppscore, it would be cool if you could have schematic made of your 5D6 since it is a rare amp, for historical sake and for amp builders to learn from.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 12:39 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Toppscore, it would be cool if you could have schematic made of your 5D6 since it is a rare amp, for historical sake and for amp builders to learn from.
Shakerman, not by me until I compete my MSEE and get some schematic experience.
But, someday in the future. Would be a good idea. Not now. Maybe by a close friend.
What amps do you have, Shaker? Toppscore
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