1965 Fender Bassman

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Mayas caster, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

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    I bought this 1965 (month of March) a year and a half ago. My tech made sure both channels were working as they should. The speaker cab, wich came with the amp, is a period correct 212 Bandmaster cab. This is my question/remark. From what I had read, I tought those blackface Bassman would stay clean until a certain point, then begin to break-up.
    Mine has lots of headroom. It will only begin to break up around 8-9 on the vol knob, and that’s with my 6119 Gretsch! I tried the amp with other cabs:112, 212...and it won’t break up until killing volumes (I knew they were loud).
    Don’t get me wrong, the sound is superb but I am wondering if I should’t have waited for a piggy back Bandmaster instead???
     

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  2. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Here, read this...

    http://fenderguru.com/amps/bassman/

    There are lots of things you can do, many that are quite simple and not considered modifications.

    I use tube substitutions to obtain the sound I prefer in both of my blackface 67 amplifiers. It's perfectly doable.
     
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  3. mudbelly

    mudbelly Tele-Meister

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    I have a late 70s bassman and matching cab with 15 inch speaker. It's a different beast than your amp and I use it mainly for bass but it kills with a guitar and a fuzz pedal.
     
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  4. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mine's a modded '65. It's still very clean, but I don't roll it up very far.

    I'm not vastly experienced, but my impression is that those old Bassman heads all tended to be fat and clean until you rolled them way up - sort of like a Twin or Super.

    One of the mods on mine is a master volume. It's good for digging up dirt at low volumes. I hardly ever use it, since I like clean and I like overdrive pedals. But it's there.
     
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  5. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hilo Trons are weak pickups, if you have the most common version of the 6119. Not that Filtertrons are a lot hotter.
     
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  6. AlbertaGriff

    AlbertaGriff Tele-Afflicted

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    Bandmasters are definitely cleaner than Bassman amps.
     
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  7. Bellacaster

    Bellacaster Tele-Afflicted

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    I've read an interview with Mike Ness of Social Distortion. He uses a 60s Bassman. His one complaint was that it has to be cranked to deafening levels to get the goods. Perhaps try an attenuator?
     
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  8. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

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    I used to have a 66 Blackface Bassman, and it would start to break up around 5-6.
     
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  9. Les H

    Les H Tele-Holic

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    I had a 66 Bassman head.

    My hands down favorite Fender amp because of what has already been mentioned: the fattest cleans. I could never get mine to distort on its own at a reasonable volume. In my opinion and my experience it's going to need help.

    Brian Setzer sets the volume on his blonde at 4. But once upon a time he also used 2 tube screamers. He also uses Celestion Vintage 30 speakers in his cab and those speaker's inherent midrange are another piece of the puzzle. I like those speakers with Fender blackface amps myself.

    Mike Ness from Social Distortion used a Boss Super Overdrive.

    The midrange on those amps is set by a fixed resistor soldered to ground across the bass pot. It's been many years ago now but I think the stock resistor is a 6800 ohm resistor. I remember playing with different values and it helped achieve a little more natural overdriven sounds but nothing significant. I had the resistors wired to toggle switches and I could flip different values to a-b them against each other for fun. I eventually went back to the stock resistor and used a Boss SD 1. At the time I was into early Aerosmith and the tones Rick Nielsen had on Cheap Trick's debut album. I remember being in the ballpark with my Bassman.
     
  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One would want to know exactly what circuit is in that amp. There are some...not many but some...actualAA165 circuits out there. These have only two gain stages in the Normal(guitar) channel and do not get the overdrive going as soon as do the AB165 amps, which have three gain stages in both channels. Yesterday I did another mod process on a three gain stage Bassman...a 1969 head. That Bass channel is now a HOT guitar channel...very different from the Normal channel. Fwiw, the Normal channel of this type of circuit is more eager to break up than are the Reverb guitar amps, which also have 3 gain stages in the Vib channel. However, in these Reverb amps, the gain is sucked down quite a bit by the reverb and trem circuits.

    got pics of the circuit???? Did your tech understand what ‘65 circuit he had in front of him...and share that with you?
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    They are quite clean and loud for sure, as Wally said :depending.. I really cant use one clubbing. The BM are a bit more controllable.
    Have you tried cranking the Bass up some? On most Fenders the higher the bass, the more grit. Above 5 or so they really don't add a lot of Bass in the process.... just grit.
    Also-You can try that bass boost with using input 2 which is less "hot".
     
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  12. t-luxe

    t-luxe Tele-Afflicted

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    I toned my '66 down a bit by using 6L6WGB power tubes(5881s), and running low sensitivity speakers at 8 ohms.
    That being said, my PS2 is the ticket for break-up at low volume.
     
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  13. Stax1

    Stax1 TDPRI Member

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    My band master starts to break up about 4.5 on the volume dial when playing a strat. Its still super loud, but I find it doesn't get a whole lot louder from here, just dirtier.
    You could try running a different speaker cab with less efficient speakers in front, otherwise roll some different tubes through the preamp and see how that goes. Lastly, get a booster pedal in front - not an OD or distortion, a booster. It effectively ups the output of your guitar's clean tone, which can push the amp into natural overdrive a litter earlier. it'll still be super loud though, so enjoy!

    Edit - further, exactly as t-luxe says above - when it comes time to replace the power tubes, replace them with 5881's instead of the 6L6's - these are shorter bottles and will lower the output to about 32W instead of 40W..
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  14. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

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    imagine how clean it stays with single coils...
     
  15. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

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    Or an other one of my amps...
     
  16. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

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    not the case with mine. I would have to try it with a Les Paul.
     
  17. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the info Wally. The circuit is the AA864. Actually my tech is a pro with almost 50 years of experience in the field, but I never discussed this « issue » with him. He explained that the amp was working as it should. My goal here is not to mod or change anything. I am just suprised to read and hear some people playing 1965-66 Bassman saying that they break up nicely.
     
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  18. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Pics,,please. And AA864 Bassman is more than likely not a 1965 amp. It could happen, but I have never seen it. Tube charts are meaningless in many cases. if it truly is an AA864, than it is a clean machine....only two gain stages. The AB165 and the descendants of that circuit are hot amps....not that they are not loud.
     
  19. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    If you've any doubts about the "official" date of manufacturing of a blackface Fender amp, AND possess the skills...

    There's a number stamped inside the chassis, the last two digits represent the year of manufacture.

    looks like this:
    Screenshot_2019-11-14-19-15-44_kindlephoto-1558075981.png Screenshot_2019-11-14-19-15-44_kindlephoto-1558041303.png
     
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  20. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    Your amp is working just as it should. If you need dirt, they respond well to attenuators and boost or overdrive pedals. Those amps are making nearly 50 clean watts, so...
     
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