Will an attenuator (z brake lite) be bad for my amp?

matt83yl

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
73
I have a blackface bassman head but its too loud in some venues like at church. Want to be able to keep the volume lower but still have a good tone. I have talked to some people who have used them (hotplates mostly) and said to not use an attenuator because it will mess up your amp. I dont have much experience with this, I just know that if an amp messed up, I dont want it to be my vintage bassman. A friend told me that if I got one and it messed up my amp that he wouldnt fix it because well...."he told me so". Let me know what you think.
 

lynchpin

Member
Messages
94
I think those where made for the low wattage amps. I use an Air Brake Light on my Budda SD18 and as long as I don't use the full attenuation it sounds great and no problems.
 

matt83yl

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
73
I see thanks for the advice. Anybody else have experience with this? I dont want to buy something harmful to my amp.
 

TubeStack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,852
There are dozens of multi-page threads on the topic, do a search for 'attenuator,' you'll find lots of helpful info.
 

Deaj

Member
Messages
4,674
The Brake Lite is designed to work with amps up to 45 watt output power. I believe a blackface Bassman is rated for 50 watts. You'd be wise to choose an attenuator built to handle the output power of your amp.
 

stratman89

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,025
You can some great info about the Brake Lite on the Z site, but as Deaj says their only good to 45 watts.
Maybe check out the Air Brake.
 

Rumors of War

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,060
As stated above, the Brake Light might not be sturdy enough for a Bassman. To answer your question, an attenuator will not hurt your amp. It puts the same amount of wear on your tubes as they would normally have at the volume you use. Diming your amp will burn through tubes faster than playing it at 3. The attenuator just cuts down the volume, allowing you to crank an otherwise un-crankable amp.
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,442
I actually used an Air Brake on my old Bassman head for years. No problems at all. It sounds better WITH it than without it in my opinion. I liked the THD Hot Plate better with the Bassman, but like the Air Brake with my 60W Supersonic a lot and with my 38 watt Dr. Z a lot. I won't play without it. (I also play in church, btw.)
 




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