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1965 bf bassman

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 137h4lone, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. I have a chance to buy a blackface fender bassman for around $600. I have not played through it yet but was wondering what people who have played one have to say about it . I know its a 50 watt model but i don't know what circuit it has. I've read it came in 3. Id also like to know if this is a pretty good deal. Any info would be appreciated :hyper:
  2. Also , I know the amp calls for a 4 ohm cab would it be dangerous to run an 8 ohm cab ?
  3. Anyone :O
  4. excellent amp. But for guitar really. It's 50 watts so you'd have to use efficient speakers (plural, yes) get sufficient sound out for anything other than quiet rehearsals, really quiet gigs, or recording.

    If you're looking for the old Fender tube bass sound and want to have a fighting chance gigging it I'd look more at the Bassman 100 or 135 (100 and 135 watts). Again, couple that with efficient 4/6/8-10, 2-15 etc. You need a lot of speaker to get the most firepower, really.

    There's also the Showman (which I have) that has 85 watts and I will gig that with a good 2-15 cab in quieter settings, eg RnB, blues in smaller bars where it doesn't/can't be 150 dB.

    You can run 8 ohms with those no problem, Fender OTs were/are quite robust and forgiving.

    Don't know what the current value is on BF Bassman these days, sorry I can't help you there.
  5. you can go lower but not higher.
  6. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    If head is 100% original ? They are selling between $500.00-$600.00. depending on condition.
    The 50 watt Bassman is great for recording, and small, gigs with a good 2x15 cab.
    I prefer the Dual Showman, with it's original 2x15 cab. To me they just sound better.
  7. AL30


    Oct 15, 2009
    That is about the going price for a Bassman. Not really a good deal - not bad either. But, if you have to put in new caps and do some general maintenance you're going to be out another $100 or so.

    Those are great guitar amps but, to my ears, really underpowered for bass. If it's the ab165 circuit (and there's a good chance it is) you're not going to get much headroom out of it.

    I've got two Bassmans (used to have 3). I've run them all at 8ohms with no problems.

  8. Fender OTs you can go 100% higher in rated impedance value w/o issues. Done all the time for decades. With many other makes that's not necessarily the case, though.
  9. 1bassplayinfool

    1bassplayinfool -Nowhere Man- Supporting Member

    I'm pretty sure running 1 or 2 8-ohm cabinets with this head should work, however a single 4 ohm cab would be fine. 2 4-ohm cabs will likely burn up the output transformer. (4-ohm min.)
  10. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I love mine for quiet use, like practicing at home, and every guitarist who has used it wanted to buy it, but it's not an amp I would consider gigging with except, perhaps, on a quiet duo or trio gig.

    Edited to add: My comments pertain to my blackface used with the companion 2X12 cab; for a bassist, the cab is definitely the weak link.
  11. here's a good explanation on what Fender OTs can and can't handle. Head down to the Extension Cabs section if you want to skip the guitar speaker stuff. Obviously geared towards guitarists but it covers the Bassman and let's face it: ohms is ohms ;)

  12. rhp335


    Aug 3, 2006
    Kansas City
    I have a 66 BF Bassman, as everyone is saying they are terrific guitar amps.

    They're no match for modern basses or the volume of today's stages. What I have discovered over the years is that they produce a lovely low-fi analog bass tone when recorded at low volumes with passive basses.

    If you record or have a home studio they're well worth the investment.
  13. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    as has been said, you can get that great Fender tone stack sound out of this amp, but its not going to compete well with a crazy loud band. Run it into 2 efficient 15' drivers (or some other multi driver combination) and you should get very decent volume. More drivers is the key, but only you know your real volume needs.

    In the mid-late 70's I ran a Bassman 70 (not really that much more output) into 1 or 2 reasonably efficient 15" JBL D140 loaded cabs and covered all kinds of gigs with no issues at all.

    And, to all those who say 50w is not enough, please see all those here who use 25/27w Ampeg B15N's into single 15 cabs.

    good luck.
  14. I had one of those 50w BF Bassman amps when it was new, with the accompanying cabinet. It sounded good but it didn't have much power. I 'upgraded' around 1970 to a Dual Showman amp w/ a 2-15 cabinet.
  15. thanks for everyones input ! I've also read that showman's make pretty good bass amps because of their head room. How do the 100/135 bassmans compare to the bf bassman tone wise ? I really want that vintage tone but id also like to gig with it also.
  16. mrtorian

    mrtorian Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2008
    Austin, TX
    To, pfschim's point, I use an Ampeg B-15 Heritage on the '64 channel--25 watts. I mic it with an Audix D4. Works just fine--completely gig worthy.

    Do it!
  17. ping Will33, he has a 135 and used the regular (50 watt) Bassman's before so he'd be a good reference. Actually a little surprised he hasn't chimed in on this thread yet :ninja:

    My own experience with the Showman is that it's a good bass amp as long as you accomodate the power limitations with efficient speakers. I appreciate the extra headroom as I used to own a SF Bassman and found I prefer the Showman for gigging.

    I agree with the B-15s owners that mic'ing the amp will take good care of you in gigging, but at least with 85 watts you'll find you won't need to do that as often.
  18. Jungy


    Jun 9, 2011
    Have a look into Trace Elliot V-Type Heads. V4, V6, V8. All have the Fender tone stack and are all tube. I gig a V-Type 220 (Same as the V4) and it keeps up superbly in a loud rock band.

    The Bassman 100/135 are both great too. I prefer them through the 215s than the 412s that they came with too.
  19. ill look into those trace elliot heads ! that 65 bf bassman is pretty tempting but i think i should wait till i find a 100/135. Or a good looking showman around the same price . I also found a bassman 50 silver face with a matching 212 cab for about 550 bucks that has me thinking :O oh no haha
  20. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    It's my remembrance that the larger Bassmen heads suffered from the improved engineering that CBS brought to Fender.

    The Dual Showman or Showman heads were great. I had one with 2 15 JBL K150s (?) and it was great for the time.


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