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'59 Bassman for Bass?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by amusicalperson, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. I was interested in getting a Bassman amp for my Bass until my cousin told me that the Re-Issue of the original Bassman was only for guitar and I was very disapointed. I know Fender has a new line of Bassman stacks for Bass but I wanted an original Bassman combo. Now I know guitar amps aren't designed for the use of basses but it does work. Does anyone have any experience or opinion on using this amp with a bass?

  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I'm curious also.
  3. Let's hope someone with more knowledge than us comments and shines light on the subject. Lol
  4. MHensleyJr


    May 5, 2008
    Redlands, CA
    I used to own this amp. At low volume, it worked just fine for bass. Didn't sound spectacular, but it worked. It started to rattle with the volume up at around 9:00, so I could never use it in a band setting.

    I sold it and bought an Ampeg B100R shortly after. It delivers everything that the Bassman could not.
  5. I used to have one that I used for guitar. It'll work for low volume practice for bass, but you won't be able to keep up with a drummer unless you mic it. You could potentially change the speakers and make it more usable, but you'd have to close off the back of the cabinet, and it's still only 50 watts so yeah
  6. Geesh, I've always heard that the original Bassmans were ungodly good amps, all this news is very dissapointing..lol
  7. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    The open-backed 4x10 Bassmans do not make very good bass amps for most players today. In 1959 they just barely worked- that's why Fender eventually went with the piggy-back amps with the sealed back speaker cabinets.

    Now, I did get a great sound out of an original '59 RI Bassman amp when they first came out- using my VS '62 Precision (strung at the time with LaBella Old Originals) while my very talented and soulful buddy was playing his VS '57 Strat through the same amp. BUT we were playing VERY quietly- like talking to each other over the instruments without raising our voices, no drummer, and in a fairly small room.

    But to gig with one at volumes most people would need these days? No way.

  8. headband


    Oct 18, 2013
    Lake Havasu City
    These amps were evolving - I have a 1961 Bassman with 6G6 circuit, it is Blonde, 50watt and is one of the very early ones as it has a tube rectifier plus a closed back cabinet with 1 12" speaker and a tone ring. Again, terrible for bass, but a killer guitar amp.
    Fender didn't make too many of these before switching to a SS rectifier and the 2 12" speaker arrangement that it used for several years.
  9. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I've played through a Silverface Bassman 100 watt with an enormous 4x12 sealed cab, no idea what year, at it sounded absolutely heavenly and was loud as hell.
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The 59 Bassman is a 50W amp. It can be run with a tube rectifier or a solid state rectifier module. The capacitance in the power supply is at par with what Ampeg used in the Heritage B15. Both amps have chokes in the power supply which gives it a stiffer power supply. This helps with the low end. That's where the similarities end. The power supply voltages are not the same. The basic design is different.

    The problem with the 59 Bassman is that the speakers aren't suitable for bass. Use a different cabinet and it isn't a bad little amp. The problem is, you need a 2 ohm cab.
  11. Nothing wrong with the head portion for bass, besides maybe lower power than many would prefer.

    The cab portion though, of the combos, is the weak link. Guitar style open back cabinets don't work very well for bass at anything other than low volume.
  12. bushwhacker


    Dec 17, 2011
    If it was the tweed look and Bassman name you were looking for, and not an original, the Bassman TV is a very nice alternative. I have a TV 12 that I play a P Bass through and it has great tone and volume. They also made a more powerful TV 15 and a 210. They stopped making them a year or 2 ago, but you can find them used.
  13. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    at low volumes the original '59 bassmans (and the RI's) are okay for bass, but not when played loud due to the open back cabinet.

    the RI's have more filtering in the power supply, making it sound stiffer/more harsh so I always modded those back to original specs.

    also, the '59 bassman is the same circuit that James Marshall used to create the JTM45 watt marshall heads. even the layout is nearly identical, however due to it being made across the pond, he used a different brand of transformers and the UK equivalent to a 5881/6L6, giving it its own tonal character.

    more info I here:

  14. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Here is an interesting book on the 5F6A Bassman and Marshall that goes into a lot of circuit detail. Not an easy read but everything that you wanted to know about the amps but were afraid to ask is in there.

  15. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Indeed it did. It used the GEC KT66. It's a wonderful tube but very large when compared to a 6L6GC.
  16. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    Despite the name playing through an original Fender Bassman combo sounds like playing bass through a guitar amp.

    A good guitar amp, but a guitar amp non the less.
  17. Would you care to explain why being an open backed cab is bad for bass? I'm curious honestly.
  18. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I will leave the open-back question largely unanswered except to say that closed-back enclosures prevent sound waves from the back of the speaker from interacting with sound from the front. These waves are largely out of phase, and may affect low frequency compliance. In addition, sealed and ported/reflex cabinets offer various pressure and resonance characteristics that can be designed and tuned to improve a driver's bass and low mid response.

    Bottom line: IMHO the open-back 410 Bassman is a total failure as a bass amp due to the enclosure, poor drivers, and weak "Medium-FI" tube amp. Skip it. Add it to the list of stuff from the good ol' days that sucked.
  19. MODELL


    Aug 30, 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I was going to mention the same thing. If you can find a used 2 -10" 350 watt combo of this discountinued series, it will look similar, and sound much better and louder. I also use the TV 12 with a P-bass and love the sound.
  20. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003

    I've used one of these for recording.
    At low volume, mic. it sounds good. Nice tone played with a pick. This amp will not cut it live. Only 40 watts. and the cab is open back.