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Fender Bassman

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by RunPickle, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. RunPickle

    RunPickle TDPRI Member

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    Im soon to be in the market for a vintage Bassman head, but I'm still not 100% sure about it. So I'm not gonna ask why I should buy a Bassman, but rather, what reasons can you guys give me for why I shouldn't? I've heard tons of pros, but never really any cons. Hit me with what's wrong with these amps. Haha.
     
  2. Tarcisio

    Tarcisio TDPRI Member

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    There's one reason why you shouldn't have a bassman: it's called JTM 45
     
  3. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You'll have to spend money on a good reverb pedal if you like reverb... You can mod the bass channel to tremolo or get it modded by a tech. They're excessively loud for many gigs. They can sound too clean sometimes. Now for the pros, they're built like tanks, have simplicity that helps with reliability, are often very cheap for what they are, and are as loud as you'll ever need them to be. If you can find a modded one that's cheap, you can get it blackfaced, add tremolo, maybe even add reverb if you're ambitous, or even turn it basically into any amp you could think of. They're also very fat and creamy sounding as their output transformers were designed for bass use and can handle the lower frequencies with ease. If you wanna get crazy, look into a "tuxedo" brown face bassman, they IMHO look and sound awesome.

    Edit: oh, and they're heavy...
     
  4. RunPickle

    RunPickle TDPRI Member

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    See, a JTM would be awesome if it was half the money like the Bassman...
     
  5. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The original Marshall's were based on the 5f6 tweed bassman...........
     
  6. RunPickle

    RunPickle TDPRI Member

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    Parnell,

    These are great concerns you have listed here! If I buy I'll be looking at mid 60's blackface models. I don't use reverb often and I have a love for pedals, so maybe getting a verb pedal is for the best.

    My honest reason for wanting one is that I obviously play guitar, but I'm also buying a Bass VI, and I want a rig that can run both my guitars and the Bass VI without changing amps and plugging my pedals into a different amp and all that jazz.
     
  7. Edgar Allan Presley

    Edgar Allan Presley Friend of Leo's

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    I have a 1967 Bassman, and it's a fantastic guitar amp, but I've tried it with a bass and it wasn't too good. You may be disappointed in it if you want to use it with the Bass VI. It's worth a try though. I really like my Bassman. It's got a great rich tone, killer attack, sounds great cranked up to about 6 if you can stand it. Mine starts to break up with the volume at about 3 1/2. It's very loud. I have an attenuator on order from Weber that should help me get it to its sweet spot more often.

    I hope you find what you're looking for.
     
  8. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    cons:
    1. only 4 ohm output. you can use 8 ohm cabs fine... but you lose headroom.
    2. no reverb! thats a hurter for me.
    3. with the head/cab format... you have to make two trips
    4. they're loud. sometimes too loud for many gigs

    pros:
    1. best sounding distortion on the planet. big, dark, and mean... doesnt get ratty and harsh like most fender amps
    2. simple layout. volume, treble, bass... the end. hard to screw that one up
    3. built like tanks. this applies to most of fender's point to point stuff... but the bassman is no exception
    4. cheap. i dont know why, but these things still haven't captured the popularity (or price tag) of almost any other vintage fender. i see the silverface heads going for $300-500 all day long on craigslist. $300 for 50 watts of fender clean?!
    5. it really is a marshall and a fender in one. dial it back and it'll spank and sparkle like a deluxe... crank it up and it'll make a jtm45 blush
    6. did i mention the overdrive is killer? itll make you sell half of your pedals

    theres a ton of options in the bassman camp. the ab165 seems to be the most popular, and the dirtiest of the bunch. ac/dc tones all day. my favorite is the aa864 for the cleaner sounds with later breakup. same with the bassman 100... love that one too.

    like mentioned earlier, the beastly transformers make for some great percussive tones when playing clean. its almost like having a bass player thump the root notes when you dig into a riff. i've played, and loved, a ton of old fender amps... but i'll always be a bassman guy
     
  9. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    its called a BASSman for a reason! :D
    the 50-watters dont have the headroom to pull off the bass amp thing very well. i mean you'll hear the bass... but it'll be a distorted mess by the time you get there. thats cool for some people (i like it)... but other people hate it.

    the bassman 100 or bassman 135 have a lot more headroom to play with... and still sound great on guitar. of course you'll have a lot of trouble pushing those into guitar breakup territory.

    when i was first switching between guitar and bass... i had a bassman 100. good, meaty bass tones at 100 watts. pull two tubes and its essentially a 50 watt bassman with lower headroom (perfect for guitar)
     
  10. Edgar Allan Presley

    Edgar Allan Presley Friend of Leo's

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    Mine is an AB165. I like that circuit because it overdrives more than the earlier circuits, like Joe says above. If you're looking to play clean at high volumes, check out the aa864. There were many Bassman circuits. The AB165 like mine are plentiful and still pretty cheap. Earlier ones are dearer.
     
  11. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I have a '76 Bassman 50.... The circuit is s tad different, but the iron's the same as the Blackface Bassman amps.

    Let's see cons.... Doesn't have reverb.... Yeah, that's about it for me.


    Pros is a long list.


    For bass? That might not be enough oomph. 50 watts (which is what the BF Bassman amps are as well)... I honestly don't know if that's enough. But, I don't play bass so it doesn't mean diddly to me
     
  12. RunPickle

    RunPickle TDPRI Member

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    These are the best responses I've gotten to a post so far on this site! Haha.

    My ultimate plan is to run the bad boy into a 2x12 and 1x15 while also running a Bad Cat Unleash to attenuate/reamp. Figure that'll let me run it cranked and get some good dirt but at manageable levels, then keep it clean but get as much volume as I need.
     
  13. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    the bad cat seems like a cool product. i dont know if you really need it with a bassman though. one of the great things about the head/cab setup is you can adjust your cab to what you're playing. for most gigs, a 50-watt bassman and a 2x12 will give you that growling, edge-of-breakup tone at good stage levels. if you need to be quieter, grab a 1x12 or disconnect a speaker on the 2x12. if you need to guitar battle with van halen, grab a 4x12 :D

    i've got a switchable 2x10 for 99% of my gigs. i disconnect a speaker and i'm down to basically a less than 50 watt combo amp. plug into the other input and i've got the full 2x10 and 50 watts. if i really need to rattle walls, i've got the bassman 100. and if that's not enough (never has been), theres a giant bassman 4x12 at my house collecting dust.

    if you're playing bass a lot, those bassman 4x12 cabs are perfect. they're huge... and people sell them all day long for $150-300. they sound good with guitar or bass... even with the crappy utah speakers. a lot of people will load them with 2 bass speakers and 2 guitar speakers and have separate jacks for each... allowing you to pick which set you use

    and like axis29 said, the silverface bassman is 99% the same as a blackface... but for a lot less. i think i paid $600 for my blackface bassman... vs $350 for my silverface. the tones are the same to my ears, except maybe the blackface bassman breaks up a hair earlier. even the weird UL bassmans like the 70 and the 135 sound pretty damn great. make sure to post pictures when you get your baby
     
  14. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    The Traynor YBA-1 Bass Master is a "Poor Man's Marshall". It's a juxtaposition of JTM45 and metal panel... or a 5F6A preamp with a solid state rectifier depending on how you look at it.

    It's an exact, exact, exact rip of a 5F6A / JTM45 except for the rectifier. The control labeled "Low Range Expander" is actually midrange while the "High Range Expander" is presence. They go for $600 for a nice one, as low as $400 for a ratty one or $800 or so if you like to overpay. Still one of the best vintage amp deals out there.

    The old non- reverb Bandmaster head is the odd man out in the '60s Fender line. They have trem but no reverb and oddly prices trend slightly lower than '60s Bassman heads. It's another of those pricing anomalies like the Twin Reverb. A Twin Reverb is easily twice as much amp as a Princeton Reverb (by weight :twisted:) for half the price. Both channels of a Bandmaster are already voiced for guitar with no tinkering. The only advantage a Bassman head has over a Bandmaster is the Bassman has a chunkier output transformer.
     
  15. RunPickle

    RunPickle TDPRI Member

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    Alright, here's another question to throw out there... If I'm interested in a Bassman because of the versatility and price, I plan on getting the Bad Cat for use with multiple amps(not just this one) and I get most of my dirt from pedals, then what would be an alternative to the Bassman?
     
  16. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Alternatives spelled out above. Want more? There are weird old Univox bass heads that are vaguely based on Marshalls. They're often cheaper than Fender or Traynor.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/PICKUP-ONLY...724?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ad6ab134c

    Cool, innit? :cool: Price may be a little high and it's pickup only. That's why it's been on eBay for a month.


    Vintage Traynors are built like tanks. They're one of the few amps as well built or maybe better built compared to vintage Fender.


    Way I figure it an attenuator is redundant if I don't buy an amp that's too big to begin with.
     
  17. erratick

    erratick Tele-Holic

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    I am a bass player that sometimes plays guitar. I have a silverface bassman for an amp. I also have a GK solid state for bass.

    The pros have been covered: tone, simplicity, etc. etc. I love this thing. It sounds amazing for guitar or bass.

    The cons for a bass player/guitar combo: You will probably need different cabinets- for bass I use a very efficient 1x15 bass cabinet. For guitar I use a 2x10 that is not as efficient speaker-wise. I like my bass with a little growl and even with the 1x15 having 93db speakers it breaks up pretty early from the bassman.

    The tone is better for guitar than bass. It does have a nice sound for bass though.

    Also maintenance and reliability- you have to take care of the bassman a little- tubes, caps, etc sometimes go. I've had tubes go during gigs or get bounced around. So I take the GK to many gigs anyway- that thing has been the same for 20 years- replaced one fuse.
     
  18. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    muchxs laid out the bang for your buck fender amps.

    the twin reverb... the mighty ultimate clean machine... gets tossed around all day for $300-500 in my area. they're too heavy and too loud for all our aging rock-n-rollers. i mean, yeah, they ARE pretty damn heavy. but 100 watts of vintage fender WITH reverb for about the same price as a dumpy tube amp from peavey or crate... seems like a no-brainer. take the guts out and toss it into a head cabinet and you have the portability of the head/cab setup... plus reverb and trem for less than what some champs are going for...

    really, any of the big iron fenders are bargains right now. everybody wants the little champs and princetons it seems... leaving those giant clean machines dirt cheap
     
  19. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    A Twin Reverb chassis in a Dual Showman Reverb head cabinet is the way to go if you can't find a Dual Showman Reverb head... downside is your pedal steel player will die of jealousy! :D

    Twin Reverbs are inexpensive here compared to any other Fender. I view that as a sad commentary on human nature. :rolleyes:
     
  20. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Odd, because on craigslist around my area, bassman heads go for half as much as twin combos... I should buy a bassman while they're cheap.....
     
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