Fender Bassman 100 Opinions

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by Patrick Bateman, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Patrick Bateman

    Patrick Bateman Member

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    Hello all,

    The bass player in my band recently acquired a 1972 Fender Bassman 100 with the matching 4x12 cabinet. After opening the cabinet up, it's got the stock Utah Fender speakers. Miles, the bass player, is loving the tone out of it. But he wants to know what can be done to get just a tad more headroom out of it. We both agree that the speakers appear to be pretty worn out, also we don't know the last time it was serviced. I've had good luck here on the Gear Page getting advice so I figured I'd ask you guys about it. He basically wants to emulate Paul McCartney's tone on the rooftop performance. That's exactly what he wants. And he's close, but not quite there.
    What are some good speaker replacement options?
    Also, the cab rattles a lot, which when reading up about these, appears to be a common problem. What can be done about that?
    What are some good tube choices for this amp?

    Keep in mind, he really does love the tone out of this amp. It gets him where he needs to go. I know a lot of people either love or hate the Bassman 100 for bass, but he certainly loves it. He wants to sound exactly like McCartney on the rooftop.

    Should he look into acquiring a 2x15 Dual Showman Cab? What would that do to his tone?

    He has a good bit of cash ready to be put into this amp, and he wants it to be in top touring shape.

    Thanks.
     
  2. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    Dunno about advising concerning the specific sound he is looking for, but the Bassman 100, if it one of the 4x6L6 Bassmans, is a great bass amp. Maybe retube with 7581A's for max headroom.

    I would lose the original cab entirely and go with the 2x15 Showman cab or a coupla single 15 cabs. EVM15-L or JBL D-140 speakers.
     
  3. AprioriMark

    AprioriMark Supporting Member

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    I actually use the Bassman 100 as a gigging amp quite often. I had mine reworked by Brent at Solderhaus recently (Tacoma/Seattle area), and it was worth having done. With the right cab, this amp will put out just enough to power through most gigs.

    I will say that I use bass cabs with it (2x12 Bag End and 2x10 generic cab with Carvin speakers) for a total load of 2 ohms. The way that this drives the amp is absolutely heaven for a P-style bass guitar. I go back and forth with my modern rig quite a bit, depending on the venue.

    To be clear, I also have the matching crazy 4x12 cab, and it sounds like pewp. I don't like it with guitar or bass, but I'll still keep it around since it's stock and matches the head. Hook that bad boy of an amp up to some legit speakers, push it at a 2 ohm load, and you will NOT be sorry.

    PM me if there's anything you don't want to ask publicly. I'm happy that someone else is giving this great amp a shot.

    -Mark
     
  4. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    You will get the biggest bang for the buck by running it into modern cab with high efficiency bass drivers / speakers with the correct impedance load for the amp.

    Also like any old Fender, be sure to have good tubes in it biased up proper and fresh electrolytic caps / grid resistors. If it has the hum balance circuit it will probably be worthwhile to install a good solid BF style bias arrangment.

    If you still need more headroom at that point, you might be able to get a less spongy feel / slightly more solid bass response by going up in value on the filter caps (100uF or 220uF), but this may also change the tone / response in a way that you don't like.
     
  5. Patrick Bateman

    Patrick Bateman Member

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    Appreciate the responses folks. Keep 'em coming. Are there any suitable replacements for 12 inch speakers to put in the cab? The Utahs are pretty worn out. Shockingly, Miles loves the cab. Plenty of volume for him, it's just the speakers leave a little to be desired.
     
  6. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    I repeat (as others have agreed): dump the cab. If the spkrs sound like sh*t, what could Miles possibly "love" about it?? If Miles is anything like me, Miles will "love" not carrying that oversized boat anchor around. Two single 15 cabs will make life so much easier! Even a 2 x 15 Showman cab will be an improvement.

    Beef up the head, replace the cabinet.
     
  7. Patrick Bateman

    Patrick Bateman Member

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    I misspoke. Miles loves the way the cab sounds. Including the speakers, as is. It's just apparent by looking at them that they're pretty worn out. I was just wondering if instead of having them reconed, there might be better options for a similar sounding speaker. Maybe a Weber or something?
     
  8. swa

    swa Member

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    Hmm,

    I used to love my bassmann 100 cab, I think I used it more for guitar than bass and when playing bass I was playing at lower volume, but I remember it as a great cab.

    Sorry OP, I don't have a speaker suggestion, I'm just suprised to see the cab get dismissed.
     
  9. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    "...I'm just suprised to see the cab get dismissed."

    How many 4x12 bass cabs do you see on the market? I am not suggesting one should conform to the majority, but that cab is bulky and probably not as well ehgineered for bass.

    OP: if Miles is hell-bent on keeping the cab, I am sure there are plenty of replacement drivers available (Eminence, Weber, et cetera). Has anyone employed that google-thing to this end?
     
  10. Endr_rpm

    Endr_rpm Member

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    The 4x12 for bass is making a big comeback as the new "big cab" alternative to the 810 or 215. Aguilar, Eden on the high end, Avatar in the value section, and Peavey kicked out a fair few in its time. They're popular with the 5 string rockers seemingly.

    I prefer a 215 :)

    You COULD run something like a Eminence Basslite in it, but I doubt the cab will be well suited to that. They're likely guitar drivers, and if he likes how it sounds now, maybe something in the higher power handling section of Eminence? Texas Heat or Swap Thang may work. Just have to be careful how much low end you push through to avoid speaker death.
     
  11. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass Member

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    A lot. While it isn't near as common as say a 4x10 or a 1x15, it's getting to be more common than say a cabinet with 2 different sizes of drivers, like say a 1x15 w a 1x10 in the same cab.

    I say "viva la difference", but ymmv.
     
  12. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    I flat would not do this.

    A 4x12 may be the thing for some, but with a 4x6L6 Fender head, I would still recommend a coupla 15's. But I have said my piece...
     
  13. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass Member

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    Dude - really?

    I've used several of those through the years - I had a Peavey 1820 (118/210), a Peavey 1516 (115/28), a Mesa Boogie 1516 (115/110/16), and a Mesa Boogie Powerhouse (115/410). All of these were pretty popular cabinets. Some of them still are very popular even now. A good sounding cabinet is a good sounding cabinet in my book. As I said earlier, YMMV.
     
  14. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Member

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    I'd definitely want to check out some Weber Ceramic Bass 12"s if I were you. Check them out:

    http://taweber.powweb.com/weber/bass12f.html

    No idea how this would sound in your cab, but I'm currently trying out an Eminence Beta 12A-2 in a 1x12" configuration. It's decent enough that I haven't sprung for a Weber yet. And it's loud, perhaps louder than the Weber (they don't publish their specs).
     
  15. Vaachek

    Vaachek Member

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    I believe OP said that the cab currently has some vibration issues, I think new speakers with more efficient drivers may make this issue worse, IMHO
     
  16. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    Respectfully, there are many well documented arguements against mixing different sized spkrs, powered by the same amp. But as you say, whatever sounds good to the user.
     
  17. Endr_rpm

    Endr_rpm Member

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    Ah, over looked that bit.

    In that case, change my recommendation to "new cab". Keep the old one for recording at non-band volumes, and the new one for rehearsal and performance.
     
  18. swa

    swa Member

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    Yup, that thing is bulky, I was not thinking of moving it often. When I had one it just lived in the practice space and was more of a utility piece than anything else. A spare guitar amp (with a '69 bassman) or a change of pace for bass. And like I said, I was using it at low volumes so the efficiency was not really relevant. I also got the pair dirt cheap, $300 or 350 I think, so the bang for the buck aspect probably factored in as well.

    Maybe I didn't read the OP closely, I don't know if I'd want a bassman 100 as my only cab if I was gigging, but I certainly would have no hesitation about gigging with the bassman head and cab I used to one. YMMV
     
  19. joeford

    joeford Member

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    im a huge fan of the bassman 100 (i own the head and 4x12). its been the only consistent element of my rig since i was 16. ive played bass through it, played rock guitar through it, and now i adore it for the super clean jazz tones. the 4x12 is a monster to haul around... but sometimes its worth it for the extra headroom (the more portable cabs break up at lower volumes).

    i switched those crappy utahs out for celestion greenbacks, and i love the way it sounds. its a very musical, woody tone on bass. and with guitar... i dont think they make a better 12" speaker. my cab has also come to settle in the practice space as a utilitarian cab... but i doubt ill ever sell it.

    as for the rattle, i had that same problem. grab some fiberglass strips and seal off those joints... slap some black paint on it... and problem fixed. hope this helps
     
  20. GuitarTampa

    GuitarTampa Member

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    I just did a couple of decent length tours playing bass, and it's in the indie / garage revival scene. Club sizes are about 500 cap.

    So I have actually been using the sorts of rigs that you are talking about on the road, with the bass tone you are looking for...

    Here's the rigs I have been using (all pretty much 85 - 100 watt 6L6 heads) all Fender schematic clones or real.

    Earth Sound PA Head (basically a Fender 100 watt PA)
    Plush G2000 Head (Basically a 85 watt Showman)
    Just got: Silverface Fender Twin Reverb (chopped into head form and tuned for headroom)

    The cabs (All Cabs 4ohm and properly rated for the heads... remember you have to use a 4ohm cab):

    1970's SUNN 4x12 Transducer Cab. <---this one was the best, but one of the speakers went... this cab sounded huge and warm and was properly rated. Just a speaker failure. Getting it reconed.

    1980's SVT 8x10 <--- thicker than the SUNN but not as round sounding. It was a PITA to get around.

    1990's SVTHLF4x10 <---- one of the USA made SVTs basically a "baby 8x10" with a low range boost. Different speakers, and a bottom bass bin port. This is a great cab. Not as nice sounding as the SUNN but it was sincerely abused.

    1990's JCM900 stereo cab (run mono at 4ohm) <---- this 300w cab sounds great. But doesn't have the low end whomp of the SVTs.

    I have used the 2x15 CTS speaker cabs that you see with Showmans and Bassmans (the ones made by Fender and also the heavier duty ones made by Plush and Kustom). I honestly don't think they sound right if the band is loud at all. They do sound great. They just don't sound right. For example: a band from NYC I toured with, their bassist and I both had the same rig (80-100 watt 6l6 tube amp Fender derived) and the only difference was the speakers... I had the 410HLF SVT and he had the 2x15 rig. He sounded maxed out all the time, I still had headroom. Same heads. Similar basses. (P bass or Jazz bass)

    I feel, bang for the buck wise, I would take the SVTs (either of them) back out on the road again. They are bullettproof, and have the right sound on the stage, and add the headroom that I need by being higher wattage. That's my 2c.

    And right now I see SVT 4ohm cabs here in Florida for $250 and up. No joke. Best of luck on your tone quest!
     

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