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Thread: Fender Bassman 50, in need of amp advice.

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    Fender Bassman 50, in need of amp advice.

    I bought this amp head a few years ago because, my recently ejected from the group, keyboard was too "hard up" to buy his own amp. At the time it was cheap, it sounded fine with his fender Rhodes. Well, I am stuck with the amp now that he is gone and we have decided to add another guitar player instead of dealing with another keyboard player. The problem is the guy we decided on doesn't have an amp here in the U.S. I guess it is Ireland somewheres abouts Donegal. So I had the new dude plug into the Fender Bassman 50 and it just didn't deliver with his gretch. It sounds quiet. The Irish dude described the sound as Wishy Washy. So the question is 1) Are these amps known to not deliver much punch with guitars? I mean it is a bass amp after all. 2) If so is modding it worth it? 3)Would it simply be more logical to sell or trade for a more appropriate amp? 4) There seems to be different circuits with these amps. What resource is available that will reliably assist me in Identifying what I have exactly. I appreciate any insight anyone reading this can afford to donate.

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    It probably needs regular maintenance. Also, what kind of speakers are you using it with?

    It <IS> a bass amp every bit as much as it's a guitar amp. Note, two channels? Funny enough the Normal sounds better for bass usually & the Bass for guitar, but whatever.

    What matters most is, has it been taken care of? Maintained? And, if you plug it into a "bass" speaker, of course it will sound mushy and weak. So the answers to these questions would determine any advice from me moving forward...

    Justin

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    "... If an older Boogie and classic Marshall had a (clearly illegitimate) child and you baked it in an oven set to clown shit crazy." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Which channel was he using? The Normal channel looks better for guitar. The Bass channel looks like it would be too muddy but both channels have large capacitors in parallel with their first stage 100k plate load resistors. Try removing the first stage plate load caps.

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    Hey Dave,

    I won't argue from an electronics standpoint as to what "looks" better," but the speakers are a HUGE deal with these old Bassmans.

    They were issued with paper&glue low-powered efficient speakers and if you look at these as "well, it's a Bassman, so it needs 'bass' speakers," then it will definitely sound like mud for guitar OR bass. And no amount of mods can be done to unmud a bass speaker... I use a Fender CTS-loaded 2x15" with mine, with more than satisfactory tone for either; I've also had keys run through that cab to rave reviews from the keyboard player. And those old drivers slice right through a mix, too. Rarely am I miked or lined out, with my measly little 50W Bassman head...

    Just all for the consideration by the OP.

    Justin

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    "... If an older Boogie and classic Marshall had a (clearly illegitimate) child and you baked it in an oven set to clown shit crazy." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by discocorco View Post
    So I had the new dude plug into the Fender Bassman 50 and it just didn't deliver with his gretch. It sounds quiet. The Irish dude described the sound as Wishy Washy. So the question is 1) Are these amps known to not deliver much punch with guitars? I mean it is a bass amp after all.
    Plenty of guitarists have used Bassman heads successfully. True that they are not "high gain." But a healthy Bassman ought to "holler real good" with the volume set at 7 or 8. Don't be afraid to turn it up there if it does sound good. If not, one has to wonder what ancillary equipment is used with the amp. Speakers for instance. Efficient speakers make the most of every watt. Inefficient speakers may sound OK with a very powerful amp, but naff with a lower power, low gain amp. Bassman likes to drive a 4 ohm load. If your speaker cab is 16 ohms, Bassman can't turn out much power into that. Last but not least what kind of condition is the amp in? Knackered old tubes don't deliver the goods. There might even be the wrong tubes - low gain types - in the preamp sockets. Bias set incorrectly can leave the amp sounding weak too. All these angles should be checked before giving up on the amp. With everything running right, a healthy Bassman to my ear compares well to an early 70's 50 watt Marshall, the 4 input type.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    Hey Dave,

    I won't argue from an electronics standpoint as to what "looks" better," but the speakers are a HUGE deal
    Good point, I shouldn't be listening with my eyes
    I just saw that 10n cap across the 100k plate load and thought "no treble" and the OP said it was a head so I assumed guitar appropriate speakers were being used. I'm used to V30 speakers. They are loud enough for me with a 15-30W amp but I suspect not for you

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    Not high gain, but will crunch like a Mofo if given the chance...

    Justin

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    "... If an older Boogie and classic Marshall had a (clearly illegitimate) child and you baked it in an oven set to clown shit crazy." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Not a particularly useful post but....

    I "think" I like Bassman amps... I don't own one, I wish I did, even tho I don't play bass...

    I'd like to have one to tinker with.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galaxiex View Post
    Not a particularly useful post but....

    I "think" I like Bassman amps... I don't own one, I wish I did, even tho I don't play bass...

    I'd like to have one to tinker with.
    You might be able to find a traynor bassmaster in your area.

    nosaj

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    Perhaps, but it seems those arenall derived from the 5F6-A. The Bassman started to deviate from that pretty quickly in 1961 and got farther &farther away as the series progressed. So if galaxiex wants a Bassman like this Bassman 50 we're discussing in this thread, he'll need an AB165 or later to get anywhere close to the same circuit as the Bassman 50...

    Justin

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    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    You might be able to find a traynor bassmaster in your area.

    nosaj
    True, true...

    But then it's probably out of my current budget range.
    For that matter, so is a Bassman.

    Oh well, someday...

    Sorry for the O/T.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galaxiex View Post
    True, true...

    But then it's probably out of my current budget range.
    For that matter, so is a Bassman.

    Oh well, someday...

    Sorry for the O/T.
    I paid 150 about 2 years ago for a non functioning one. Now functioning.
    My rule has always been buy it broken
    nosaj

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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    I paid 150 about 2 years ago for a non functioning one. Now functioning.
    My rule has always been buy it broken
    nosaj
    Yep,

    I'm always trolling eBay and Reverb for broken stuff.

    I love fixing things....

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galaxiex View Post
    But then it's probably out of my current budget range. For that matter, so is a Bassman.
    Keep an eye on your Craigslist & anywhere else. Getting a bit late in the season for garage sales, but there are jumble sales, rummage sales, sometimes sponsored by churches & civic organizations, also take a peek at your Salvation Army etc. Traynors are still in the "sleeper" category around here, unrecognized as the gems they are. Can't be much different where you are. I know the population's a bit sparse, and that means slim pickin's, don't let that discourage you. Keep some cash at the ready, you never know what you'll find.

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    Enjoy. Every. Sandwich.

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    Don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galaxiex View Post
    Yep,

    I'm always trolling eBay and Reverb for broken stuff.

    I love fixing things....
    Let me know if you're ever driving in the vicinity of the 'Peg.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    Let me know if you're ever driving in the vicinity of the 'Peg.
    Will do.

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