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Old January 7th, 2013, 03:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fender tweed Bassman question

Hi. I'm interested in Fender Bassman (tweed) but there are a few versions, so I'd like to know more about it...

I played one in store and it had rubber over the stand by and on/off switches.

But then I checked some online second hand stores (not sure how to call them, but like eBay or something...) and I found a Bassman with ground switch and no ruber on switches.

Can anyone tell me the difference? Is one 'LTD' and the other '59 reissue'? What exacly does ground switch does on newer amps?

Thanks.

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Old January 8th, 2013, 07:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Anyone, please?

I can show some pictures of the 'ground-version' one.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 07:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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As I recall the 1st version had the ground switch, it's for looks only, it's not wired to anything.
1st version also had Fender blue frame alnico speakers by Eminence. Also had a solid state rectifier, but one could use a tube rectifier in place of.
1st version didn't have a bias pot as I recall.

The LTD is tube rectified, bias pot, and Jensen alnico speakers and tweed is lacquered.
Probably some other things, but that's off the top of my head.
Hope it helps.

Link to LTD version, (current version)

http://www.fender.com/amps/guitar_am...9-bassman-ltd/
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Old January 8th, 2013, 10:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks.
The ground switch confused me a bit on the old version. When did they stop making old ones?
How does the old version sounds compared to new LTD?
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Old January 8th, 2013, 03:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The first reissues have plywood cabs, solid state recs, and blue frame alnico speakers (Eminence). The LTDs have pine cabs, tube recs, and green frame Jensens. IMO, the the LTD is smoother and more responsive because of the pine cab and tube rec. However, the speakers are too harsh for me when cranked up. The clean sounds are great though. The blue frame speakers are much much better for my needs.

So my answer is that the LTD amp is better, except for the speakers. If you get an early reissue, then I suggest swappaing the rec and playing around with v1 tube. If you get the LTD, the weak link is the speakers.

I've loved my Bassman LTD since day one, but I switched out the speakers, tubes, and some of the circuit to get it back to vintage spec and make it better for my needs.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 03:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Used Reissue Bassmans, early or late, are maybe the best bargains available in a giggable tube amp. Numerous tweaks to either can optimize them. The early ones are as noted a bit off song with their SS rectifiers, and both run a great deal of internal B+ & plate voltage. Fender duplicated the original 8087 power transformer, didn't voltage compensate for todays higher wall current. I recommend running them at 117v line, which brings the B+ down to under 450vdc. There are kits available to install a bias pot on an early one. I ended up lacquering the tweed on my '91, and eventually just yanked the PCB and installed a PTP board. The thing is a killer, if I loan it out I have to go get it back.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 04:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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THe reissue P10R jensens are not that great, I dunno. THey have this thin plasticy tone, never seem to get broken in, & get worse at high volume
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Old January 9th, 2013, 12:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Putting a tube rectifier in an early 90s bassman is simple enough.

I own one of the early reissues it sounds pretty good. I think changing v1 to a 12ay7 and adding a tube rectifier made it sound close enough to what it attempts to be for a gigging amp. Does it sound exactly like a 59 bassman? Not really. Can you get some pretty great tone out of it? Definitely.

The eminence blue frames blow the doors off the modern Jensen reissues. No question
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Old January 9th, 2013, 12:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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THe reissue P10R jensens are not that great, I dunno. THey have this thin plasticy tone, never seem to get broken in, & get worse at high volume
+1

At low volumes, the clean sound is pretty good to my ears, but the louder overdriven tones are harsh. I tried and tried to dig them, but never did. Maybe for an amp I always play clean... but I needed the loud dirty Bassman to have smoother tones. The Emi 1028k (blue frame Fender alnico) is a great speaker for this amp. The Weber Sig "S" 10 is pretty nice as well.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 01:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Early BMRIs came withsome utterly wretched Chinese tubes that run at way too much voltage and are biased cold. Helps to re-glass the amp, install a GZ34 rectifier, a bias pot and if you can, use a buck transformer to run it at around 117vdc. That will drop the plate voltage closer to the original 440vdc. The BMRI uses 5 much more preamp filtering than did the original 5F6-A, 44uf vs 8 uf. You can tame it a bit by snipping out one of the two 22uf filter caps on the preamp. I eventually gutted mine and installed a PTP board, but you can CAREFULLY remove those two 22uf caps and install a single 8uf / 450v cap.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 11:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Buy an early used one. The ground switches are even hooked up. That little feature occaisionally comes in handy for noise reduction when playing in weirdly wired old buildings.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 02:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Buy an early used one. The ground switches are even hooked up. That little feature occaisionally comes in handy for noise reduction when playing in weirdly wired old buildings.
The ground switch would be completely illegal this side of the pond and bloody dangerous as well, which is why they were removed.

Always ensure you are properly earthed and use an RCD/GCI device on your plug. If the mains is noisy, too bad, but you ain't dead.
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Old January 10th, 2013, 12:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Does anyone maybe know when they started making LTD version?
I found a 1995 LTD online...is that correct? It says LTD on the back on the plate, but I can't see serial number clearly.
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Old January 10th, 2013, 01:27 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Yeah, it was in the '95 time frame. LTD doesn't mean "Limited", it means "Lacquered Tweed". Easy to tell the the early and late ones apart at a glance.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 02:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Ok.
I didn't know LTD stands for "lacquered tweed".
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Old January 11th, 2013, 02:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I think the jensens need a longer break in period myself. They Soundpretty awful right out of the box , but if you hang in there they get better. Speakers re very subjective anyway. I have heard great results by just swapping two speakers out for some ceramic webers, not too pricey and it really opens the amp up. +1 for new glass , ay7 in v1, nos tube rectifier and a rebias .
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Old January 11th, 2013, 03:24 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Early early reissues had leather handles.

Too much weight - most broke.

I had one 15 years ago and when I sold it I told the guy don't pick it up by the handle - it could break and it might be collectible some day.

He didn't listen and I heard a nasty crack from the front of the house.

Went to the window and he had dropped it on its corner - when the handle broke !

He was pissed...
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Old January 11th, 2013, 03:42 PM   #18 (permalink)
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There are some non-LTD Bassman RIs that come without the ground switch and loaded with Jensen P10Rs; I happen to own one of those. The Jensens do take a while to break in, but they sound pretty good once they are. Don't let the plywood description of the BMRI cabinet trick you into thinking it's of inferior quality; it's actually high-grade Baltic Birch ply. The only thing the LTD has over the BMRI objectively speaking, is that it comes with a bias pot installed. The SS rectifier can be easily swapped for a 5AR4 since they're both similarly spec-ed. You can swap out V1 for a 12AY7 to make the amp sound more like the original '59 Bassmans, but make sure that your plate resistors(R8 and R9) are rated at 1/2 watt due to the increased current draw of the 12AY7. You can swap out the power tubes for real 5881s like the new reissue Tung Sols but it'll require serious rebiasing. What I did was to use the Tung Sol 6L6GC-STR which was advertised as a 5881 tube with true 6L6 power handling. Another good choice would be the JAN-Phillips 6L6WGB, albeit at a slightly higher cost.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 04:54 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I owned an early reissue. I couldn't ever get it to sound like a real old tweed bassman. I tried a bunch of tubes - even a set of NOS Tungsol 5881's - but it would never sound warm and sweet. I sold it, saved a little more cash and bought a Victoria... No contest. The Victoria is worth the extra money, period.
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Old January 12th, 2013, 01:53 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I owned an early reissue. I couldn't ever get it to sound like a real old tweed bassman. I tried a bunch of tubes - even a set of NOS Tungsol 5881's - but it would never sound warm and sweet. I sold it, saved a little more cash and bought a Victoria... No contest. The Victoria is worth the extra money, period.
That's probably because the reissues aren't exactly faithful replicas circuit-wise. That and the Astron caps' mojo is required
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