Fender Bassman 50, 1972, silver face. Thoughts, please. Discuss!

KeithDavies 100

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Hi all

So... among my pile of guitars and amps is a 1972 silverface Fender Bassman 50 head. I bought it off eBay in 2006. You don't need the really long version of the story, so basically it worked fine when I bought it, but then never got used. Here I am now 15-16 years later and it's still sitting there. I find myself needing a gig amp again, and it's an obvious contender, but I don't have a speaker cab with the right impedance, and I might be inclined to get it serviced before I place trust in it for a gig - so some expenditure there.

When I bought it, I was never able to run it at anything above "bedroom" levels, so to be honest I have no idea what it sounds like. I've read some reviews that slate it, but I don't know how much of that is genuinely "it's rubbish" or whether it's more "well, the older ones were better" - ie the Blackfaces or, going back further, the 4x10s.

My favourite amp sound has been a 1964 Vox AC30, but it's too big and heavy for me to comfortably cart around any more, and arguably too loud for where I'll be playing. (And possibly too valuable!!) I also - for UK-based friends - have an old Selmer Treble n Bass 50 that was my main gigging amp before I got the Vox. That's currently being serviced, and it's a possibility.

The gig will be covers of classics - Stones, some ZZ Top, that sort of thing. A bit of overdrive, but no-one's going to be headbanging in a moshpit!

Is the Bassman worth the investment - servicing and acquiring an appropriate speaker cab - or would I be better off putting it on eBay and buying something else?

Discuss!
 

d barham

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After sitting for 15 years, I’d at least get it checked out. Even if you sold it, you need to know what shape it’s in. If it was me, I’d look for a speaker and cab.
 

Dacious

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The Bassman could sound great but it's no Vox even though Voxes were originally copies of Bassman with different tubes as were Marshalls.

If you ran it with something like a Celestion Creamback you could probably get a Marshall vibe happening. It's certainly not traditional reverb Fender.
 

Wally

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That Bassman 50‘s Normal channel is a hot guitar channel with a 1+2 topography…gain/tone stack/gain/gain. it has very lively cleans and will go into overdrive before any of its Fender contemporary guitar amps.
the Bass channel also has three gain stages, so one can daisy chain them for tonal complexity. This is especially helpful with single coil Fender type pickups if one plays rock. That channel can also easily be revamped into a guitar channel with different voicing and gain than the Normal channel.
15-16 years is a long time fore an amp to sit unused. It needs to be serviced properly before use.
 

KeithDavies 100

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Thanks for that @Dacious

No, it doesn't have reverb. Nor a master volume, so it would be clean, and I'd need to use as a pedal platform, I guess. Ideally, though, I would start with a decent clean tone for that, rather than trying to use pedals to hide a poor base tone, if that makes sense.

There's a potentially suitable cab coming up here on eBay this weekend - an old Fender 2x12 with Fane 12-100TC speakers in. I've got my eye on that to potentially buy and get an idea how it is from there.

Interesting idea on the Marshall vibe. I'd assumed that would be completely out of its range.
 
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KeithDavies 100

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That Bassman 50‘s Normal channel is a hot guitar channel with a 1+2 topography…gain/tone stack/gain/gain. it has very lively cleans and will go into overdrive before any of its Fender contemporary guitar amps.
the Bass channel also has three gain stages, so one can daisy chain them for tonal complexity. This is especially helpful with single coil Fender type pickups if one plays rock. That channel can also easily be revamped into a guitar channel with different voicing and gain than the Normal channel.
15-16 years is a long time fore an amp to sit unused. It needs to be serviced properly before use.
Thanks, Wally - that's useful.

The Selmer that I referred to similarly has a bass and a guitar channel, but they're both great for playing guitar through - just different. That was part of what made me get the Bassman in the first place. My early bands, I used an A/B footswitch to move between the Selmer's guitar and bass channels, and had one of those Real Tube pedals in front of it - gave me 4 channels!

Servicing - yes, absolutely agree. For years, I was living somewhere where I couldn't find that expertise. Recently moved back to the UK and was looking at YouTube videos on servicing/repairing Selmers the other night and one was made by a guy just 40 minutes down the road. The Selmer is therefore with him now, and I'll take the Bassman to him next.

I feel like I'm already talking myself into getting the cab as well.
 

corliss1

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Bassmans sound great. Do all blackfaces sound better than all silverfaces? Nope. I've got a 68 Silverface with the "dreaded" AC568 circuit and it sounds pretty darn close to a blackface sitting right next to it. At a gig, you'd never be able to tell the difference.

You could also get a custom cab made to turn it into a small-but-powerful combo, after it's been serviced.
 

Cosmic Cowboy

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It's a good amp. Had one for a bit. Definitely not a headroom amp for a 50 watter. Getting a cab can be as easy as finding something cheap and used that you can drop a fav speaker or 2X12.

Fenders are fairly forgiving on impedance in my experience. Not sure they really care.
 

BradKM

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I'm currently sitting next to a '74, recently serviced, paired with a Mojotone Lite 2x12 loaded with Webers. It's a great sounding amp, and as mentioned above, the channel bridging options can add a lot.
 

KeithDavies 100

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I'm currently sitting next to a '74, recently serviced, paired with a Mojotone Lite 2x12 loaded with Webers. It's a great sounding amp, and as mentioned above, the channel bridging options can add a lot.
Thanks, Brad. Increasingly looking forward to getting this serviced and operational now. I'll come back at that point for more on channel bridging - it's not something I've ever done.
 

corliss1

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You just take an extra guitar cable and plug into one input jack of each channel. That's it! Your signal now goes to both channels.
 

Wally

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I'll come back at that point for more on channel bridging - it's not something I've ever done.

plug the guitar into #1 input of either channel. then plug a cable into the #2 input in that channel and run to the #1 input of the other channel.
anytime you see a picture of Hendrix playing through Marshall’s, you will see a patch cord between the bright channel and the bassier channel to add meat to the sonics.
 

archetype

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Thanks, Brad. Increasingly looking forward to getting this serviced and operational now. I'll come back at that point for more on channel bridging - it's not something I've ever done.

If you dig the tonal results, put the channel jumper(s) through an A/B passive footswitch to make an old-school 'lead channel.'
 

schmee

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The B50 AA371 circuit is my favorite of Bassman heads. It's one of the few Fender amps I like the SF better than the BF in. Big, full, beautiful cleans. I used one for a couple years with a 1 x 15, 8 ohm speaker, It sounded great, albeit LOUD.
 




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