Blackface Bassman tone

Mark C

Member
Messages
4,418
Am I right in assuming that these and the early silverface ones sound pretty much like most other blackface style Fenders, just without reverb and tremolo? Thinking of picking one up as a backup head, or should I hold out for a bandmaster?
 
Messages
2,182
i have the same questions ... i love the clean on the bandmasters ... and haven't been able to plug into a bassman ... i do want to get some like break up @ small gig levels but i don't want a full on overdrive, thats what my orange is for ;). what do you guys think? do the bassmans have enough clean headroom?

btw. i'm really going for a super reverb type sound in head version with a quicker break up.
 

908SSP

Member
Messages
5,801
I have one I like what it does. It is loud and breaks up fairly early has a tone that seems to suit the blues or rock rhythm playing. I don't think the cleans compare well to my Vibrolux but it cost 25%. I do have to caution any blanket opinions of the Bassman. These are old amps mine has had some caps replaced and the tubes I run are Telefunkens and 5881 Tungsols so another Bassman might sound very different. Mine is very thick and warm sounding.
 

doctord02

Member
Messages
1,061
Just remember that the Bandmaster is a different beast all together... It has different transformers and overdrives quite differently. For a blues/rock sound, almost every one I've seen audition a black face Bassman beside a Bandmaster chose the Bassman...
 

garfight

Member
Messages
260
ive got a 66 bandmaster that has has the transformers swapped for bassman transformers.i also tweaked the pi circuit and it sounds very close to a bassman.
you could always pickup a bandmaster on the cheap and drop a bassman output transformer in it and have the best of both worlds :D
 

LSchefman

Member
Messages
13,435
I had a '67 BF Bassman head from new for quite a few years, and also had much experience on a blonde Bandmaster from about '64-ish (?).

But I'm going from memory, here.

The Bassman doesn't have tons of clean headroom, it does break up - nicely IMHO - fairly early. There is a fine line between the amp sounding absolutely perfect and the amp becoming a little bit mooshed.

The Bandmaster I played a lot had maybe what I'd call a chewier tone...thicker, perhaps. Definitely a different sounding amp from a Bassman.

You really need to play both to decide.
 

telelion

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,699
It took me many years to remember how good the BF Bassman was originally as the dark days of the seventies and eighties(amp manufacturing wise) had me mostly playing old Fenders that were not serviced and sounded dull. Try to find a good amp guy back then in a rural area or anywhere. Anyway, a few years back I had a couple fixed up and my jaw dropped. I doubt for what it does there is anything better in the boutique world. If you use it with say a high efficiency speaker like a EV or JBL you will have plenty of headroom with clean, sparkling, wide robust tone though very organic and then use pedals for OD. With lesser speakers it will break down but it would be a pretty good size room to open it up to sound it's best if that was the intention. They have balls. Definitely a true classic. A Bandmaster was the only Fender amp I never liked as it always seemed wimpy but I guess that is not always the consensus.
 

Pedro58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,848
Mark... you're a doofus! Fix my bassman head and then you'll know! :D
 

Swarty

Member
Messages
1,130
Compared to the predecessor tweeds and 6G6# head varieties the non-presence BF varieties are pretty blah sounding. It is definitely a quality amp for the dough and is primo mod bait... for instance, turn it into a 5F6A w/ SS rectifier....now that's an amp with some serious moxy!

To answer the question; a 50w SF sounds very much like the non-presence control BF varieties (AA-864, AA-165, AB165).
 

Laroosco!

Member
Messages
2,604
I'm with Swarty.

Give me a Blonde or Tweed any day.

Blackface Bassmans sound damn great, I just prefer the other 2
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,893
Am I right in assuming that these and the early silverface ones sound pretty much like most other blackface style Fenders, just without reverb and tremolo? Thinking of picking one up as a backup head, or should I hold out for a bandmaster?
The BF AA864 bassman normal channel is AFAIK VERY similar to the 6l6 BF reverb amps in both design and sound (probably closest to a super reverb minus the 'verb and the tube recto). The SF AB165 bassman has a different design that actually has more preamp gain than the AA864. Mine breaks up at around 4 but at this point its LOUD!!!. I just played an out door party and never put the amp past 3. Running through my 4x10 the SF bassman is SUPER PUNCHY with a great clean tone (pop, funk, country all day long). However my Deluxe reverb has it beat for "lushness" and edge of breakup tones (mmm... 6V6's:cool: ) FWIW my buddy has a BF bandmaster and I prefer the Bassman. The cleans are just as good and it sounds WAY better when it breaks up. IMO a SF Bassman is about the best deal going in the amp world.:dude
 

tga-3

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
999
Originally posted by Laroosco!
I'm with Swarty.

Give me a Blonde or Tweed any day.

Blackface Bassmans sound damn great, I just prefer the other 2
I agree. BF Bassmans are cool, but there's nothing like a Blonde Bassman. Great cleans and breakup on either channel, just different flavors, your choice. Push it with a boost at lower volume or crank it and use an attenuator.
Rick
 

bluesbreaker59

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,674
After playing two 6G6 Bassmans, and many BF Bassmans, I can honestly say that I'd take the BF Bassman ANY day of the week. I just wished they could have the same looks as the blondes with the oxblood and creme knobs.

I owned a 6G6 for almost a year, and hated it everyday I owned it, some days I just wanted to take it out back and shoot it. It was bright, brash and nasally on the "famous" bass channel, a tone akin to Willie Nelson's voice combined with Albert Collins SUPER TREBLE!!! The normal channel was just "eh", pretty blah sounding amp all around. And yes it was recapped by a very competent tech, retubed with NOS JAN Phillips, I also tried my Tung Sol 5881's, NOS preamps, everything I could think of and that amp NEVER sounded good. I sold it at a $800 loss, and have been kicking myself for that ever since. Never again will I trust a certain well known vintage shop in St. Paul, MN.
 

Amplite

Member
Messages
1,454
I have a 67 Bassman modded by David Allen - the NORMAL channel is now to the sought after AA864 circuit and the normally useless (for guitar anyway) BASS channel has been wired to a sort of 5F6A/Plexi circuit (more aggressive than the normal channel) A great mod and two of the best Fender tones I've ever heard!:dude
 

UconnJack

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
647
Hey Amplite, How's the gain on the Bass channel after the mod? Does the Deep switch do anything? I'm curious because i'm considering the same mod for my 68.
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,893
I'd also like to hear from someone who's had the mod done. At what point on the volume knob does the dirt start creeping in? Is the tweed mode super bassy/woofy? Is the plexi mode thin at low volume? From the allen website I know this mod has an extra gain stage compared to the BF channel. Although judging from the tone stack configuation its not really a "tweed" bassman circuit (tweeds put the tone stack after the 2nd gain stage, Allen's mod keeps it between the 1st and 2nd like BF amps). The deep control is wired as a tweed/plexi switch. It basically switches between two caps that have more bass (tweed) and less bass (plexi).
 

Amplite

Member
Messages
1,454
Here's the info from Allen
1967 Fender Bassman. Regrilled with aged grill cloth. New Sprauge Atom filter capacitors, new Philips 6L6WGB power tubes. Preamp tubes have been tested and screened for noise and microphonics. Grounded power cord. The Tolex is pretty decent with the usual corner scuffs. New chassis straps/bolts. I totally rewired the circuit board from the less desirable AB165 circuit so that the NORMAL channel is now to the sought after AA864 circuit and the normally useless (for guitar anyway) BASS channel has been wired to a sort of 5F6A/Plexi circuit with the deep switch to go between the two cathode bypass capacitor values used in these two amps. This channel has an extra gain stage and is much more aggressive than the NORMAL channel. It would make a great lead channel with an A-B box. Nice and quiet. The chassis is in great shape with no rust or dents. This is a very cool amp head ready for your speaker cabinet. This one is ready to play!

The Modded Bass channel breakup varies depending on the guitar But has a lot of chime, is thicker and cleans up nicely. I had David Allen set mine up with 6V6's because I use it for recording but it's still LOUD! With a Strat I got the Bass channel up to 5 before mild breakup. After all it still is a Fender.
 

straightblues

Member
Messages
9,490
I paly a '65 Bassman at larger venues. For small clubs it is simply too loud to get it to overdrive. I use my '64 Deluxe for that. It does start to break up slightly at 4, but 4 is very loud. You still get a very usable clean sound at 1, 2 and 3. If I need to use it at lower volume, I use an attenuator or pedals for overdrive. It is a great sounding amp. It loves pedals too. I really love it for blues and classic rock sounds. I agree that many of them sound differently based on the tubes and caps they are running; their condition and the speakers you use. I would play before you pay. It took me about 3 seconds to decide that I had to have mine. These are the best bargins in vintage classic amps.
 

tga-3

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
999
Originally posted by bluesbreaker59
After playing two 6G6 Bassmans, and many BF Bassmans, I can honestly say that I'd take the BF Bassman ANY day of the week. I just wished they could have the same looks as the blondes with the oxblood and creme knobs.

I owned a 6G6 for almost a year, and hated it everyday I owned it, some days I just wanted to take it out back and shoot it. It was bright, brash and nasally on the "famous" bass channel, a tone akin to Willie Nelson's voice combined with Albert Collins SUPER TREBLE!!! The normal channel was just "eh", pretty blah sounding amp all around. And yes it was recapped by a very competent tech, retubed with NOS JAN Phillips, I also tried my Tung Sol 5881's, NOS preamps, everything I could think of and that amp NEVER sounded good. I sold it at a $800 loss, and have been kicking myself for that ever since. Never again will I trust a certain well known vintage shop in St. Paul, MN.
Yo! I must have gotten lucky. Email me at rcd41@aol.com to discuss the amp and the store.
Thanks,
Rick
 

QuickDraw

Member
Messages
1,354
I owned a 6G6 for almost a year, and hated it everyday I owned it, some days I just wanted to take it out back and shoot it. It was bright, brash and nasally on the "famous" bass channel, a tone akin to Willie Nelson's voice combined with Albert Collins SUPER TREBLE!!! The normal channel was just "eh", pretty blah sounding amp all around. And yes it was recapped by a very competent tech, retubed with NOS JAN Phillips, I also tried my Tung Sol 5881's, NOS preamps, everything I could think of and that amp NEVER sounded good. I sold it at a $800 loss, and have been kicking myself for that ever since. Never again will I trust a certain well known vintage shop in St. Paul, MN.
did you get a golden ticket at wonka's? ;)
 




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