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View Full Version : Bassman/Bandmaster head as a bedroom and gigging amp?


fuzz_factor
08-27-2008, 06:47 PM
Reading jzilla's thread about his Showman got me thinking...

Bassman and Bandmaster heads: They're both 6L6, right? Around 40 watts? You can still find decent ones for $500 or $600, right? Pair that with a 1x12 or 2x12 and you have a decent rig that has good headroom, but can get a little grind at less than insane volumes.

I owned a Bandmaster at some point in the distant past and I remember it sounding great! The thing I don't remember is, how are they at lower volumes? Can you get a decent clean sound at bedroom volume? What I don't like is a volume knob that is so touchy that it goes from 'can't hear it' to 'too loud.'

I'm basically a bedroom player these days, but I'd eventually like to get out and play with people. I have a ton of overdrive pedals for dirt, but frankly, I really enjoy a lively nice Fender clean. I often end up having the most fun and inspiring practice session when I switch off the pedals and just play.

Am I off base thinking that a Bassman/Bandmaster would work at home (gotta keep it quiet)? Should I just stick with either a PRRI or DRRI (or Silverface...)?

Thanks!

captainchair
08-27-2008, 06:51 PM
I've had a bandmaster (66) and I believe it was a great amp for both bedroom playing and gigging. They take overdrive pedals and such really well too :). I ended up going a different route as far as my own personal sound but I still regret having to sell it to fund my current rig. Beautiful head. I still have my 68-70 2x12 bandmaster cab ;) sitting in the basement for whatever reason

dewey decibel
08-27-2008, 07:00 PM
I don't think it is. IMO, you'd be much better off with a Princeton Reverb Reissue. For any of the blackface Fenders I feel like you need to get them to around 2 1/2 on the dial to get them to sound good (I don't mean any break up, just a decent clean sound). Otherwise they sound a bit attenuated an anemic (although that can be cool for some effects). With a pair of 6L6s that's going to be pretty loud. In fact for a bedroom I'd say a BF Champ is a good call, but maybe you're bedroom is bigger 'n mine..

Now you can change the taper of the volume control with a mod or two, but to me this: a volume knob that is so touchy that it goes from 'can't hear it' to 'too loud.', is exactly what you'll get with a Bassman or Bandmaster.

wire 247
08-27-2008, 07:05 PM
the bandmaster sounds really good at low volumes.....

Kelly
08-27-2008, 08:09 PM
the bandmaster sounds really good at low volumes.....So does the Bassman. I used to have mine in my bedrooom with a 1x12 cab.

fuzz_factor
08-28-2008, 12:14 PM
Interesting... couple of differing opinions on the viability of a Bandmaster or Bassman as a bedroom rig.

rockinrob: I think the new PRRIs sound great, and that might really be the way to go. The bedroom in question is pretty small. In fact, so is my whole apartment. If it wasn't such a nice apartment, right next to a park and with a great view, I'd look for something amp-friendlier! Right now I have a Champ 600 that I run into a bigger cab. It's perfect sound and volume wise, but I'd like that BF sound with a bit more EQ options.

I think my problem is that I want one amp that will do it all. What I should probably do is buy the best sounding, small wattage bedroom amp I can get. If I do start playing out, I can always grab a Bassman/Bandmaster, DRRI or HRD off Craigslist.

But the simplicity and beauty of a relatively cheap, hand-wired Fender... <too much choice: head explodes> :o

alivegy
08-28-2008, 12:58 PM
You can get a bassman to sound "good" at low volumes. I have a 65 that I play in my apartment. Anything 2.1 and below on the volume is pretty moderate. The problem comes from that couple of minutes that you push it up to 2.5 or 3 or 4 just to hear what it sounds like. From that point on you will never be content with the tone at low-volume again. Thats where all of the dynamics and harmonics really start to jump out and give you a much more rich overall tone.

FrankieSixxxgun
08-28-2008, 01:00 PM
Have you ever played a 40 watt amp? 40 watts is no way a bedroom amp by any means. Even my 5 watt Valve Jr. is too loud for a bedroom.

AL30
08-28-2008, 02:20 PM
I have a few bassman amps and while I think they will look great in your bedroom I don't think they will sound great in your bedroom.

I agree with rockinrob - that amp won't give up the goods until about 2.5 or 3 on the volume. And that's not quiet. It will sing on 5 but it'll be so loud you won't be able to hear the sirens.


The problem comes from that couple of minutes that you push it up to 2.5 or 3 or 4 just to hear what it sounds like. From that point on you will never be content with the tone at low-volume again.


:agree

Great amps though - you should go get one or two while they're still affordable.

AL

Han Solo
08-28-2008, 02:25 PM
I live in a small apartment too and think my Bandmasters can definately be used at home for fender cleans with the volume on say, two. When playing out I use an efficient 2x12 and when turning the volume up to get some breakup with a strat ( +/- 6 on the dial) they are LOUD.

I think almost ANY amp can not be turned up at home to the sweetspot, but I prefer a Bandmaster on 2 over a Cube or something.

Both my Bandmasters have a gradual volume-increase btw.

GuitarsFromMars
08-28-2008, 02:28 PM
I have both a 67 Bassman and a 65 Princeton.I use the Princeton a lot,the Bassman not as much.The Bassman is a loud amp.I have never used it at live gig volume.I would buy one,if you can afford it.

fuzz_factor
08-28-2008, 04:31 PM
I live in a small apartment too and think my Bandmasters can definately be used at home for fender cleans with the volume on say, two. When playing out I use an efficient 2x12 and when turning the volume up to get some breakup with a strat ( +/- 6 on the dial) they are LOUD.

I think almost ANY amp can not be turned up at home to the sweetspot, but I prefer a Bandmaster on 2 over a Cube or something.

Both my Bandmasters have a gradual volume-increase btw.

Thanks Han, good information, especially about the volume taper. I remember owning a SF Super Reverb years ago that sounded decent at apartment volumes.

fuzz_factor
08-28-2008, 04:35 PM
Have you ever played a 40 watt amp? 40 watts is no way a bedroom amp by any means. Even my 5 watt Valve Jr. is too loud for a bedroom.

I have played a 40 watt amp. My first amp was a little Squier Champ, my second a 100 watt Marshall JCM 900. Never really got much use out of the Marshall; it was always on loan to a friend who gigged regularly (even then, it was too loud and he used a distortion pedal...). I eventually learned that smaller can be better.

But, I'm not talking about cranking the 40 watt amp! Heck, even my little Champ 600 is loud enough to piss off my girlfriend. :drink

Tone Loco
08-28-2008, 04:51 PM
The volume difference (clean) between a 20 and 40 watt amp isn't really all that much. Definitely not 1/2. Going down to a Champ vs a 40 watter does make a noticeable difference but depending on the cleans you like, the guitar, and your idea of bedroom volume a 40 watt fender could be great. I have a BMR and think the cleans are great at household volumes.

For that matter you can get a good acoustic guitar loud enough to wake somebody in the next room if you put your mind to it... so context is everything.

sickboy79
08-28-2008, 04:54 PM
I gig and play at home with Blonde and BF Bassman heads - usually through a 4x12 (wired to 4 ohms) too! Attenuators come in pretty handy!

blackba
08-28-2008, 06:44 PM
Of the 2, I think the Bandmaster is a bit better suited for home. I have a '69 Bandmaster reverb and used to have a '67 bassman. Both great amps, but I found the Bassman more touchy on the volume knob and harder to keep in check volume wise. Plus with the bassman you kind of missed out on the cranked bassman sound, which is really nice.

Both do take pedals well. Keep in mind both will sound better through 4ohm cabs than 8ohm cabs IMO.

Dexter.Sinister
08-28-2008, 10:00 PM
I have one from '64 that sounds great at home and greater on stage. There are some tricks to making an amp with that much power work at low volumes. Hit front end with flat clean boost to make first gain stage sweat, then use amp volume to set volume. I set it to JUST break up...sounds and feels great at apartment-friendly volumes. Sounds better loud, but that is F-M effects, too.

DS

sixty2strat
08-28-2008, 11:45 PM
bedrooms are for ****ing n sleeping ....get the amp and put it in the basement grage or a jam room. GOT one and my BF bassman is the only amp that I'd let sub for my old marshalls

bmcmusic
08-29-2008, 12:05 AM
I have built and modded a number of Bassmans and Bandmasters. I take out the ground switch and I install a PPIMV. You can switch it out of the circuit or when in bring the volume down to bedroom levels with a nice tone and singing lead sound. You can hear a few sound clips on my amps and cab page if you like. the harmonic texture when you push the input in wonderful. Without the mod I would go with a 5 watt amp.

www.mcmusicsound.com (http://www.mcmusicsound.com)

Bob

Bob

E Baxter Put
08-29-2008, 12:05 AM
I have a 66 or 67 bassman and it is my home practice amp as well as gigging amp. I play it into a fender repro cab with 2 ev12ls for the extra OOOMF. It sounds great quiet and really farking awesome cranked. I used to use my trusty 69 deluxe reverb, but that really needed to be turned up a bit to hit the sweet spot. The bassman seems to sound better than the deluxe at low volume and it takes pedals better as well.

I say go for the blackface bassman!!!!