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Speaker Recommendation for Fender Bassman Cab

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Josey, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. Josey

    Josey Tele-Meister

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    Hi guys! Need your Help!

    I am searching for experienced opinions on speakers to install in a Fender Bassman cab so that I could use it to actually play bass. I have a '66 Fender Bassman head and matching cab that I would like to use for playing bass. I realize it isn't the most ideal setup for bass playing but it's what I've got and I'd like to make it work. It currently has the original Jensen C12N's in it and I don't want to take a chance damaging them. Also not sure if it really makes a difference it helping with your suggestions, but this particular cab is the vertical type design where the head clamps down on the end of the cab versus on the side like most of the horizontal cabs I've seen that accompany the Bassman amps.

    I've seen one other local musician who actually used a Bassman for playing bass in his gigs. He told me he installed some sort of neodymium speakers in his cab and he never had any fear of damaging them, however he couldn't tell me exactly what model. Not saying that's what I'm particularly wanting as well but I would like something that I wouldn't have to worry about. Please help. All opinions welcome.
     
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have that exact same cab....39" tall, correct? It is also outfitted with C12n's. Fwiw, these are an intermediate sized cab...a bit shorter than the cabs that came with the SFTR amps a few months into 1967. These intermediate cabs were built only for a few months.
    If you had some EV's, that would be my choice. Eminence makes some fine bass speakers that would handle whatever that Bassman head would throw at them.
     
  3. Josey

    Josey Tele-Meister

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    Yep. 39"x26"x11.5". Are the horizontal blackface cabs the same dimensions? I know the cabs got larger once they entered the silverface era.
     
  4. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Weber Californias might also work. You'll probably need clean-type, high efficiency guitar speakers - bass drivers are usually very low efficiency. Many could not even be driven above a whisper with that head - I had an Acme Low-B cabinet that wouldn't work with a 100W bass head.
     
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  5. backline

    backline Tele-Afflicted

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  6. Josey

    Josey Tele-Meister

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    Yes I figured bass speakers would be a no brainer. Thought someone might have tried been down this road already with this particular setup and would like to share their experiences.
     
  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Josey, the 6G and the early BF cabs that sat with the long dimension in the horizontal were smaller cabs.
    The SF Bassman cab was maybe 3 inches taller than this intermediate BF cab.
     
  8. Fred Rogers

    Fred Rogers Tele-Afflicted

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    This.
     
  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    An EV is not a low efficiency speaker. Neither are some of those Eminence Speakers that are pointed toward bass or full range. The Emi Delta Pro is a 99db speaker...cast frame....high handling capacity...
    The Weber California is their take on a JBL....not my choice for guitar or bass unless it has something other than a metal dust cover. YMMV....
     
  10. Josey

    Josey Tele-Meister

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    Please explain to me the dividing line between low efficiency and high efficiency.

    Also when you speak of EV's and JBL's exactly what models are you referring to.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  11. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Bassman with a WGS Veteran 30 which is their Celestion Vintage 30 type speaker. It works great.
     
  12. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Yeah, I should have mentioned the California with a felt dust cap - it ca be ordered with felt or aluminum. My bad.

    The EV's are a good choice - The Weber is often less expensive; I've also used it with tube bass amps in the 40-50 watt range so I know what it does.

    There are several models of EV's and JBL's; most of the EV speakers have large voice chills, heavy frames and heavy magnets. In a 12" I have only seen a couple of lighter-weight speakers in 50 years of ding this stuff, so any of the big, heavy ones shat are not hi-fi-speakers should work in this situation.

    The best JBL here is a D120F. I don't recommend it myself, though, as it's only a 60-watt speaker (the designer has spent years trying to clear up JBL's oddball marketing of it as a 100-watt speaker!) that will likely ave lost some power handling over the years. In a bass application even 2 of them may nbc a a bit age-stressed, even though the power handling seems to be OK (roughly 80 watts of RMS clean signal for the pair). I've just replaced or had to recone far too many of them of them over the years to recommend them (plus they have an aluminum cone that in a 12" speaker can make the treble bit a bit nasty, especially for bass!)

    As far as efficiency, it's measured in "db" (decibels). Most speakers are rated from 91-102db in efficiency; 3db different is normally where a listener's perception of volume is) significant. Look for something with a large voice coil (to handle bass) with a large magnet that's rated 98+db (roughly).

    Another thing you might do (in addition to finding the right speaker ) is use a lower-gain preamp tube - I normally install 12Ay7's or 12Au7's as V1 when a Bassman is going to actually be used for bass. You also should use the cleanest 6L6-type tubes you can find, and bias them on the colder side to avoid output stage saturation/breakup.

    That being said, I've found 40-50 watt Bassmans to be very deficient volume-wise for bass without upgrading the transformers and making some unfortunately irreversible circuit changes (such as modding it for 6550 output tubes); I only like doing it on ones that have been hacked and are not good vintage pieces.
     
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  13. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    For bass? It must be a very low-volume situation; also, I've found that speaker to be far too mid-heavy for Bassman in bass application as the Bassman has scooped mids - for bass the amp ends up fighting the speaker and essentially be self-canceling. OTOH, I like that combination for guitar with the amp biased hot!
     
  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Silverface, in these days when guitarists are using small amps, the 50 watt Bassman might just be a likely candidate for bass players who want that warm tube tone. Some time back on the TDPRI someone asked a question about the amps the guitarists for J. Couger Mellencamp were using.
    Fwiw, they were using a Tone Master with a 2 x 12 cab and a Super Sonic 100. While looking at the picture of the stage, I noticed what the bass player was using....a vintage Ampeg B-15N. OF course, they were all miked...but still....the bass player was using the amp that gave him the tone he wanted, and the guitar amps 'out-watted' him.

    Josey, take a look at the Eminence Delta Pro.....99db...750 watts of handling capability....overkill for sure...but they are $100 per. Yeah, they are cast frame, so they are heavy. Eminence also makes the BassLite, which is a neo speaker....light and fairly efficient.
     
  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I don't disagree - as long as the drummer plays with control; unfortunately few do, and having been a full-time bass player for 8 years I've been in both good and bad situations (using a '66 Bassman - stock with Webers - a '65 B15N or a little SWR baby Blue most of the time). I had a 1200 watt Crest rig with Alembic preamp and 2 Acme low-B cabinets (and a 5-string Sadowsky) for situations with truly brutal drummers. :confused:

    I'm glad you brought up the B15N - it's a great example of an amp where power (30 watts in mine) has little relationship to volume or projection. I had a very efficient Altec 15 (I don't remember the rating) and could use it unmixed anywhere if the drummer was decent - I used a backline one at the Gram Parsons Memorial Festival out in the desert in a 500+ seat auditorium with a 6-piece electric band (pedal steel with a Twin Reverb, two Teles with Super Reverbs and an acoustic direct - plus drums, me & vocals) and didn't have to turn it up all the way!

    OTOH the Bassman has smaller iron and doesn't hold up quite as well in stock form - but a good tech can do some reversible mods to really tighten it up. But I agree it sounds incredible for bass *if* the band has good control of volume and dynamics.
     
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  16. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Silverface...that is good personal experience with that B15N.
    Re: tightening up a BF/SF Bassman...ime, simply upping that first stage of filtering will yield a much 'punchier' amp...thump your chest type of result with 2 x 220mfds in series.
     
  17. mudbelly

    mudbelly Tele-Meister

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    I stuck one of those Eminence 15 bass speakers in a late 70s ported Fender bass cab that goes with the Bassman 70. I use a sansamp bass driver also and get a nice string bass tone.

    Stick a fuzz pedal in front of it and switch to guitar and it kills.
     
  18. Josey

    Josey Tele-Meister

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    What about the Electro Voice EVM12L? I've read they are heavy as hell but will they work for bass and do you think they would fit my application. I've read were some people love them but not sure if they would be suited for bass. I only ask because a guy locally has a pair for sale for cheap.
     
  19. powerwagonjohn

    powerwagonjohn Tele-Meister

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    I think the EVM12L would be great. they come either in 200W or 300W configurations and are very efficient so you could get a bit more SPL out of your rig. I use a pair with my 67 Bassman for guitar and sometimes bass when a friend is over.
    Thanks John
     
  20. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    The Bassman is a great guitar amp in addition to being designed for bass. I think using modern "bass" speakers would lessen its abilities for guitar.

    I'd look at old-school bass speakers. The Celestion G12-H30 was a "bass" speaker that has come be loved as a great guitar speaker as well. Eminence's sound-alike is (I believe) the Wizard; it's a bit cheaper and probably a few dB more efficient. I think there's a neo version of it, too if you want to keep the weight down.
     
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