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'59 bassman as a bass amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MammaryVest, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. MammaryVest


    Oct 18, 2006
    Stoneham, MA
    I know questions like this get asked all the time, but a quick search didn't really give me anything.

    I just got a '59 bassman reissue. I'm planning on using it for guitar mostly, but it has also become my only bass amp. I know they can obviously be used for bass, but I just don't know what to do with it. is the point just to embrace the distortion and just live with it? is there a way to set it that would give me a more "traditional" bass sound? If anyone has any experiences, I'd like to hear them.
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    you can play it at a lower volume and have a clean sound, too. you just have to accept that it will be a lower volume. or you'll have to live with the distortion if you have to run it loud.
  3. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    my buddy has an original 63 blonde bassman wiht matching cab...it sounds good for bass on a recording, but isn't much to work with live. Just not loud enough IMO
  4. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    If your amp is the open backed 4x10 version you should be very careful putting a bass through it. It's easy to damage the speakers.
  5. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I've played these in stores and thought they sounded very nice, particularly for roots rock / blues... As I also play some guitar, I've seriously considered getting one so I could use it for both - but ST is right - they won't put out enough volume to do anything more than small gigs on bass. I assure you, it will fart out.
  6. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    I owned one for a weekend. It went back because it really was a terrible bass amp. What BOH states is quite right.
  7. I had a 59' Bassman just up until a few months ago. I used it for light rehearsals with my bands, it did the job. But like was mentioned before, you really can't turn it up a whole lot without it beginning to distort. As far as live use, I never brought it because it wouldn't get as loud as I needed it to to perform to my standards of live performance.
  8. I know an old guy from small town Sask. who has an original 59, and it's his primary bass amp, but I've only ever seen him play polka at nursing homes, it sounds good at nursing home volume. OTOH I know another young guy who has a silver face with matching cab, and it has one of the best distortions I've heard, but still not very loud.
  9. How many watts is the bassman?
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The key to getting a better sound out of this amp with a bass is to use a different set of speakers. The 4 10's are guitar speakers.

    The output transformer tap is 2 ohms. There are four RCA type connectors all connected in parallel. Each of the 10's is 8 ohms so in parallel they sum to 2 ohms.

    If you can, try connecting the amp to a 2 ohm bass cabinet or two 4 ohm cabinets in parallel. It'll sound much better.
  11. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    50W RMS
  12. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Four times what the speakers will take before farting out. :crying:
  13. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Inactive

    Mar 19, 2008
    I wouldn't equate "traditional" tone to "clean". Lots of old recordings have driven bass tones. If anything clean equates to modern to me. If you want a clean modern bass tone, obviously the bassman isn't going to be your cup of tea, it's about as vintage as it gets.
  14. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Inactive

    Mar 19, 2008
    Do you mean fart out or exceed xmax? Or are they the same to you? Because decent speakers add a nice musical dirt and compression when pushed hard beyond xmax, which I don't believe the term "fart out" applies to. The only speakers I've ever made fart out were in crummy combo amps, and I've played the RI 59 Bassman on ten with my Jazz Bass and it didn't fart out. Sounded good though.
  15. MammaryVest


    Oct 18, 2006
    Stoneham, MA
    Do you think I could just get all the speakers switched out for bass speakers? What kind?
  16. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I suggest getting and extra bass cab and running the Bassman through it. If you change the speakers to bass speakers, you may not get enough highs for your guitar playing.
  17. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    not true . . . IIRC they were Jensen's, maybe blue in color . . .

    FWIW, I used a real '59 4x10 Bassman (original, not re-issue) in the early '70's in some of the recording studios in LA . . .
    I later got a pair of copies of the '59 Bassman, but with 4 6L6's instead of the Bassman's 2 6L6's (also with a pair of open-back 4x10 speaker enclosures) . . .
    that's what I used for all of my recording sessions after 1973 . . .
  18. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Before going to the expense of swapping speakers, I would try it with a bass cab and see how you like the amp. Since you have the amp with the alnico blues, you can easily compare the two.

    I'm not sure what bass speaker would be well suited to an open back 410 configuration. Fender uses a Jensen P10R in their current version. I use mine with some old sealed EV 15" cabs.

    Fender markets this amp as a guitar amp. It does make a good bass amp. I'm not saying that you can't play bass through these speakers, just that the amp will sound a lot better with a different cab.
  19. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    What you call musical dirt and compression most of we older crowd called out and out distortion. We had to live with it because we had no choice. Now you young guys go looking for what we were trying to get rid of. Ironic isn't it.
  20. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    You say tomato, I say tomahto.
    Not quite. We could never get full output down low back in the day, today you can. I like a gritty tone, but gritty in the mids, as opposed to farty in the lows.
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