Fender Bassmen Circuits - (5E6 vs 5F6)

croakersmoker

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I am considering buying a 1957 Fender Bassman with the (5E6) circuit. I was wondering what the tonal differences are in between this circuit and the later 5F6 circuit that came the following years. I know the 5F6 circuit that the 1959 and 1960 models had is the most desirable, but they are also 12K. I can pick this 57' up for 3k. Is there any love for the 5E6 circuit from anyone that has had experience with them? Thanks in advance!
 

enorbet2

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Hello
Do you or do you have a friend who is handy with a schematic and soldering technique? If you do it isn't hard to convert a 5E6 to an 5F6. The major difference is in the driver design. I've owned many of both over the years and they do sound quite different but I while I have liked the 5F6 better for more "ooompf!" I'm not sure I'd want that for today's stage volumes. It might actually be better to have a bit less headroom and drive. Of coursde this depends a great deal on how you intend to use it - live and loud, bedroom practice, recording, etc. Anyway play it for a few months after it's up to spec and just know you can always alter it and a good tech can do it without "any scars".
 

Wally

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FYI, there are two versions of each of the amps you mention. There is a 5E6 and an 5E6A revision of the 5E6. There is a 5F6 and a 5F6A. There are differences between the original circuit and the A versions of each.
As noted, the two ‘E’ amps use a cathodyne phase inverter and the two F amps use a long tail pair phase inverter. The E’s both use 2 x 5U4 rectifiers....one of which can be pulled for a different output....earlier breakup, differentThe 5F6 uses an 83 mercury rectifier tube wile the 5F6A uses a GZ34/5AR4 rectifier.

all four of these amps are valuable. That value can be affected by non-originality. Ime, it behooves a person to become well-acquainted with the fine points of vintage amps before throwing down big money. If not, one would want to have someone with that knowledge who could ‘vet’ the amp so as to be able to determine a truly fair value. if you want to gain more insight, go to Greg Gagliano bibliography and study the six articles therein entitled ‘Dating Fender Amps’. Print them out for reference??? All of the info you will find elsewhere such as serial number charts are taken from these articles. Much of the info can apply to other vintage amps....dates codes for components for example.

If you post detailed pics....and those articles will inform one as to those details....many here will have insight.
 

croakersmoker

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FYI, there are two versions of each of the amps you mention. There is a 5E6 and an 5E6A revision of the 5E6. There is a 5F6 and a 5F6A. There are differences between the original circuit and the A versions of each.
As noted, the two ‘E’ amps use a cathodyne phase inverter and the two F amps use a long tail pair phase inverter. The E’s both use 2 x 5U4 rectifiers....one of which can be pulled for a different output....earlier breakup, differentThe 5F6 uses an 83 mercury rectifier tube wile the 5F6A uses a GZ34/5AR4 rectifier.

all four of these amps are valuable. That value can be affected by non-originality. Ime, it behooves a person to become well-acquainted with the fine points of vintage amps before throwing down big money. If not, one would want to have someone with that knowledge who could ‘vet’ the amp so as to be able to determine a truly fair value. if you want to gain more insight, go to Greg Gagliano bibliography and study the six articles therein entitled ‘Dating Fender Amps’. Print them out for reference??? All of the info you will find elsewhere such as serial number charts are taken from these articles. Much of the info can apply to other vintage amps....dates codes for components for example.

If you post detailed pics....and those articles will inform one as to those details....many here will have insight.


Thanks for the info above! I intended to bring the amp back to original spec, I was just curious how the circuits differed in tone. This one has been changed over the years. It has had the center of the baffle cut out, most likely to house a small driver of some sort. Also the original speakers have been changed. The original tweed is still intact. Also the amp is currently not working, the store said its making a weird torpedo sound when turned on that makes the amp un-usable. Probably needs a cap job, i see many of the original caps still reside in the amp. See the attached pictures.
 

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Axis29

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Non-original handle? Oh my god, that's just awful, you should send it to me to dispose of properly! LOL

Seriously, that is a cool a$$ amp. I would definitely change out those caps before firing it up. But, I'd love to see that thing put back into service, for sure!
 

Wally

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Nice amp, croakersmoker. As to the tonal difference......the 5F6A will be stiffer and have later breakup. This amp you have is truly not very far fro: the 5E5A Pro/5E7 Bandmaster/5F4 Super and the 5E8A Twin. The 5E8A also runs 2 x 5U4 rectifiers. If you pul one of those 5U4’s, the Twin is very much like those other three guitar amps. There are differences in feedback resistances among all five of these amps, but the basic circuit is very much the same. The Bandmaster is my favorite out of all of these amps.
FYI, that output tranny...model 2820....is a transformer for which I have a note in the charts I have as being correct for a 5E6 amp. That model was used in addition to the model 45249, hitch was correct for all Bassman amps fro: the 5B5 through the 5F6A. That PT number is unfamiliar to me. The Bassman amps used the 8087 PT from that 1952 5B5 through the rest of the tweed Bassmans. Some 1957 5F6 Bassman amps used a 45259 PT...according to a note I have made in my charts. You might do well to put that amp into the hands of a pin experienced tech. It would ben8nteresting to see what goes on with that PT???
As for the caps???? Well, from here I cannot ascertain if those electrolytics are original or if someone has restuffed the cardboard covers! (;^). Some folks do that....and only a close inspection or very deliberate good pics can tell.
If I had that amp and considering its non-originality, I would consider making the circuit into a 5E7. The changes are minor. I would also load it with Eminence ALK 1028’s.
 

croakersmoker

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Nice amp, croakersmoker. As to the tonal difference......the 5F6A will be stiffer and have later breakup. This amp you have is truly not very far fro: the 5E5A Pro/5E7 Bandmaster/5F4 Super and the 5E8A Twin. The 5E8A also runs 2 x 5U4 rectifiers. If you pul one of those 5U4’s, the Twin is very much like those other three guitar amps. There are differences in feedback resistances among all five of these amps, but the basic circuit is very much the same. The Bandmaster is my favorite out of all of these amps.
FYI, that output tranny...model 2820....is a transformer for which I have a note in the charts I have as being correct for a 5E6 amp. That model was used in addition to the model 45249, hitch was correct for all Bassman amps fro: the 5B5 through the 5F6A. That PT number is unfamiliar to me. The Bassman amps used the 8087 PT from that 1952 5B5 through the rest of the tweed Bassmans. Some 1957 5F6 Bassman amps used a 45259 PT...according to a note I have made in my charts. You might do well to put that amp into the hands of a pin experienced tech. It would ben8nteresting to see what goes on with that PT???
As for the caps???? Well, from here I cannot ascertain if those electrolytics are original or if someone has restuffed the cardboard covers! (;^). Some folks do that....and only a close inspection or very deliberate good pics can tell.
If I had that amp and considering its non-originality, I would consider making the circuit into a 5E7. The changes are minor. I would also load it with Eminence ALK 1028’s.

So as far as the originality, you think the output transformer looks original, but as for the power transformer, you are not familiar with the numbers, correct?

Also, as far as the caps go, with an amplifier of this vintage you can expect to change the caps and various other components to get the amp in working condition, correct? At least this has been the case with all my other vintage Fender amps. It seems this amp has a few things going against it from a collectors stand point.

The Bad:
1.)Obviously the speakers are not original
2.)the baffle board cut out is something that cant be reversed
3.) The Power Transformer possibly is not original
4.) Caps will obviously need to be changed.

The Good:
1.) Tweed and grill look to be original
2.)......well thats about it lol

I guess my question is, what do you think would be a fair value for the amp assuming the above is true. Lets assume the PT has been changed and the caps will need to be changed.

Thanks for the detailed response.

Michael
 

Wally

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I am not taking a position on the PT other than to say that the number that I see is not what I would want to see. Is that the only number? What do the solder joints look like? The ‘patina’ of that transformer matches the rest of the amp. I can’t see the solder joints from here. If it is not OEM, it has been there a while. If it appears to be original, I need to make another note in the transformer charts I have.
Value? Good question. I would have to do more research although I do have my own ‘guess-timation’’..which I will keep to myself at this time....as to what I think it is worth. Note: in comparison to what I often see in the general market these days, I am harsh when it comes to non-originality...imho, the lack of OEM P10R speakers and the hole in the baffleboard hurt the vintage value. My suggestion to make it a 4x10 5E7 Bandmaster amp is indicative of how I view the value....and how much I like the 5E7. Of course, that big OT would change the result somewhat, but the changes to the circuit would be minor and totally reversible, it appears to me. It would overdrive earlier. Ommv...
 

wstrnswingster

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I'm looking around at Bassman info online and stumbled on this post. This amp looks good really, outside of the corners, handle, hole and speakers. The stuff I look for first look right 7993 PT, 2820 OT, Can't tell exactly but the choke's probably right. Don't know what the silver trannys from? The caps look right w/ no evidence of hanky panky. But....it doesn't work?
Well, I had just put this amp on lay-a-way at GC last week. I guess I'll be calling to get a refund or serious discount maybe.
 

harpking0911

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I am considering buying a 1957 Fender Bassman with the (5E6) circuit. I was wondering what the tonal differences are in between this circuit and the later 5F6 circuit that came the following years. I know the 5F6 circuit that the 1959 and 1960 models had is the most desirable, but they are also 12K. I can pick this 57' up for 3k. Is there any love for the 5E6 circuit from anyone that has had experience with them? Thanks in advance!
LOVE MY 5E6
 

Wally

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Big differences in the tone stack, the phase inversion, and the negative feedback circuit. The 5E6 also uses two 5U4 rectifier tubes versus the single GZ34/5AR4 in the 5F6A. The 5F6 that followed the 5E6 and was produc3d for only a short time used a 83 rectifier tuse.
i have never seen a 5E6 or a 5F6. I have worked on a 5d6, which was the first 4x10 Bassman and have owned a 5F6A.
 
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Antoon

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Old thread but the type and placement of the choke is also a significant difference. The cabinet of the 5D- or -E6 is also smaller (and more convenient IMO). And of course the tonestack.
 

JRapp

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I had a 5E6 back in the 80s and it sounded very good if a little underpowered for the size. Like a lot of the E series, it broke up pretty fast. Also had a 5E8A but I tend to gravitate toward the 5E5A and the midsize tweeds.
 

Wally

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I had a 5E6 back in the 80s and it sounded very good if a little underpowered for the size. Like a lot of the E series, it broke up pretty fast. Also had a 5E8A but I tend to gravitate toward the 5E5A and the midsize tweeds.
My favorite 6L6 tweed is the 5E7 Bandmaster. In the 6L6 amps, I have owned two of those 5E7, a 5E5A, 5B5 and 5C5 Pros, a 5F6A Bassman, and a 5E8A Twin. The 5E8A is very similar to the 5E5A and the 5E7. If you pull one of those rectifiers from the 5E8A, it becomes even more similar. In fact, it has the same local feedback and global feedback as in the Bandmaster. Between the Bandmaster, the 5E5A and the 5E4 there are differences in those two aspects.
 




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