Blackface Piggyback Amps...anyone own all of them?

KeepItSimpleTele

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I've got a 65 Bassman (AB165) and a 66 Bandmaster (AB763) which I love. They sound nothing alike but I like the range of sounds I can get between them. Is there any point in looking at a blackface Showman or a Tremolux piggyback amp? I know they use the same basic circuit as the Bandmaster...and that the Showman has the bigger output tranny (plus double the 6l6GC tubes) and that the Tremolux has the smaller tranny and the tube rectification.

I guess what I'm really interested in is peoples' experience who've had several of these piggyback amps. Is there a big difference between Bandmaster/Tremolux/Showman and even a difference Bassman circuit ? (like the AA864)
 

Milspec

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If you own one you pretty much owned them all. The circuit was not that different, just the power and speaker combinations.

I have a 63 Bandmaster and 64 Bassman, but my Bandmaster was modified to a 4x6V6 power tube complement so they do sound a little different when pushed, but the cleans are very similar and pleasant. Heck, the Showman and Bandmaster used the exact same chassis whcih is why it was easy to modify my Bandmaster from a dual 6L6 to the quad tubes like the Showman since the holes were already punched out.

Head room was the biggest differences.
 

eclecticsynergy

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I have a '65 Bandmaster and a '64 Bassman; the Bassman was rebuilt to the blonde/brownface 6G6-B circuit by Billy Zoom using the original iron.

Had let an all-original '64 Bassman go when I closed my studio and sold off the amps. Regretted it immediately and for years afterward. When I saw this one I jumped on it right away.

Wouldn't mind having a vintage Super. The tens make those sound and feel rather different.

Actually, a blackface Super loaded with a 15" JBL D140 is one of the best sounding blackface amps I've ever encountered.
 

Chiogtr4x

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I haven’t looked at a schematic in a while, but I remember that the Showman is pretty much a Twin without reverb. I have a 1966 Showman and it does clean like nobody’s business.
I have a bass buddy of mine ( we used to play together in a blues band, but he doesn't gig anymore) who has turned into quite an instrument and amp collector ( think he has 10 Fender amps now)
and his '66 Showman is his current 'jam at home' bass amp.
Big sound!
 

archetype

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I've owned a Tremolux AA763 and currently own a Tremolux 6G9-A. The Tremolux AA763 will sound approximately the same as your Bandmaster AB763, as the circuits are basically the same. Only if you play the Tremolux dimed will you hear the differences: it may be slightly fatter and compressed from the tube rectifier, lower voltages, and slightly less filtering. I say slightly because the GZ34 rectifier keeps voltage well-supplied. A 5R4GY will produce a greater difference.

The biggest difference may be the 2 x 10" cabinet of the Tremolux. That depends on the speakers, good or bad.
 
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archetype

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I have a bass buddy of mine ( we used to play together in a blues band, but he doesn't gig anymore) who has turned into quite an instrument and amp collector ( think he has 10 Fender amps now)
and his '66 Showman is his current 'jam at home' bass amp.
Big sound!

In the 60s, the Showman head was the bass player's 85 Watt solution to Fender making only 45-50 watt bass heads.
 

klasaine

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'64 Bassman that I converted to a 2x10" combo.
Great amp!
 

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Wally

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The AB165 Bassman and all of its descendants through the Bassman 50 have a Normal channel that is unlike any BF/SG guitar amp in that it has 3 gain stages. The non-reverb guitar amps all have only 2 gain stages….they do not do what that Normal ch. in the AB165 Bassman does. The reverb amps have three gain channels in the effects channels. However, the reverb and trem eat gain, so these amps are not as hot as that AN165’s Normal Ch. The Princeton Reverb has a bit more preamp gain than do the two channel reverb amps since the bias vary trem does not suck gain as does the opto-isolator circuit.
The gain suck of the trem circuit is also why the Normal channel in your Tremolux and Bandmaster is hotter than the Vibrato channel.
 

ampking300

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Great topic, Yes I own all of them---great responses----Many years ago I used to bring a blackface/brownface Showman/Dual Showman or same Bassman, depending on the venue, as my spare amp, in case my larger, more powerful bass amp crapped out. At the time I played hard rock and blues, really loud. I usually played thru an Acoustic 360, Sunn Coliseum, Ampeg SVT or Hiwatt DR405----The Showmans are a bass players dream, just loud enough and super clean tone. I couldn't agree more with most of the responses on this topic.
 

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Gris

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I’ve owned them all. Liked the Bandmaster better than Tremolux, but loved & kept the BF Tremo cab. I also loved the BF Showman, but it was a clean machine. Big piano sound bass notes. In fact my keys guy played an old first gen Fender Rhodes thru it that came from Chrissy McVie.
 

KeepItSimpleTele

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I have a bass buddy of mine ( we used to play together in a blues band, but he doesn't gig anymore) who has turned into quite an instrument and amp collector ( think he has 10 Fender amps now)
and his '66 Showman is his current 'jam at home' bass amp.
Big sound!
Yeah I’ve heard Showmans or Twins into bass cabs sound really good actually
 

Paul G.

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At different times I have owned a Bandmaster, a Bassman and a Dual Showman.

They are different. The Bandmaster was more polite than the Bassman. The Dual Showman is different, fat, deep, full, clear and clean up to earsplitting levels. In today's times, it is pretty useless because at low (well not really low, but let's say normal) volumes it sounds like the Bandmaster.

I maintain a Dual Showman for a friend of mine who uses it for his Hammond in an Alllman Brothers tribute band. Ooh doggie does it sound good!!
 

RoscoeElegante

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Great topic, Yes I own all of them---great responses----Many years ago I used to bring a blackface/brownface Showman/Dual Showman or same Bassman, depending on the venue, as my spare amp, in case my larger, more powerful bass amp crapped out. At the time I played hard rock and blues, really loud. I usually played thru an Acoustic 360, Sunn Coliseum, Ampeg SVT or Hiwatt DR405----The Showmans are a bass players dream, just loud enough and super clean tone. I couldn't agree more with most of the responses on this topic.
A room in Heaven has been glimpsed.....
 

KeepItSimpleTele

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Great topic, Yes I own all of them---great responses----Many years ago I used to bring a blackface/brownface Showman/Dual Showman or same Bassman, depending on the venue, as my spare amp, in case my larger, more powerful bass amp crapped out. At the time I played hard rock and blues, really loud. I usually played thru an Acoustic 360, Sunn Coliseum, Ampeg SVT or Hiwatt DR405----The Showmans are a bass players dream, just loud enough and super clean tone. I couldn't agree more with most of the responses on this topic.
That stack of Fender amps heads is amazing! I have been pondering a set of all the blackface piggyback heads as I already have two of the four :) I don’t have space for all the matching cabs though and by the sounds of it—much of the differences between the AB763 circuit piggyback amps is the speakers/cabs.

These blackface heads and a good matching blackface reverb unit would be a dream collection
 

Milspec

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Great topic, Yes I own all of them---great responses----Many years ago I used to bring a blackface/brownface Showman/Dual Showman or same Bassman, depending on the venue, as my spare amp, in case my larger, more powerful bass amp crapped out. At the time I played hard rock and blues, really loud. I usually played thru an Acoustic 360, Sunn Coliseum, Ampeg SVT or Hiwatt DR405----The Showmans are a bass players dream, just loud enough and super clean tone. I couldn't agree more with most of the responses on this topic.

I have to say that my OCD is screaming at seeing all those amps stacked on the wall. I am always worried about stacking even 2 heads on top of a cabinet for fear of them falling. Are those wood planks just spacers or do you have them mounted to the wall for support?
 

ampking300

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I have to say that my OCD is screaming at seeing all those amps stacked on the wall. I am always worried about stacking even 2 heads on top of a cabinet for fear of them falling. Are those wood planks just spacers or do you have them mounted to the wall for support?
Just 3/4" x3"x12" thick baltic birch plywood spacers to protect the original plastic Fender dog bone handles, they also can support a bit of weight, hence the stacking, have never had a problem with them falling.
 

Milspec

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Just 3/4" x3"x12" thick baltic birch plywood spacers to protect the original plastic Fender dog bone handles, they also can support a bit of weight, hence the stacking, have never had a problem with them falling.
I sure would like to stack like that, but too scared to do so. I have a coal train that runs about a mile from my house and at least once per week is so over-loaded that the upper floor will shake some. I have considered building shelves that anchor to the wall, but just concluding that it wasn't worth the work.
 

KeepItSimpleTele

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Covers a lot of ground between my two amp heads. The 66 Bandmaster I usually run into a large 1x15” JBL D130 cab. The 65 Bassmaster I run into a smaller 1x15” with a Celestion Fullback.
 

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