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66 bassman

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by harley_ou812, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. I have a 66 bassman that has never been retubed and desperatly needs work. I am thinking about getting it up and running and using it for guitar and for recording. it has the original 2x12 cab with it wich also needs work. What would you guess I need to get done to it and how much would you guess it will run me? I am guessing the speakers need to be reconed or replaced wich would you suggest. I dont want to ruin the value of the amp but I dont see ever selling it as it was my grandfathers. Thanks for any info you can provide.
  2. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    If it's never been retubed, my guess is the electrolytic capacitors are stock, as well.

    Fender (like everyone else) used paper/oil electrolytic caps back then, and they have a shelf-life around 8-10 years, those will need to be changed. Film capacitors should be fine, as should the resistors.

    Some of Fender's stuff in the 60's used diode rectification vs. vacuum tube rectification. Obviously a tube would need to be replaced at this point. The diodes may also be in need of replacing, as well.

    I have a vintage fender reverb tank, and I did the work myself, armed with my soldering iron, braid, DMM, and spare parts from the local hobbie store. As such, I can't tell ya how much it cost.

    If you aren't comfortable looking at all of this, I'd def. take it to a competent tech. Find someone who knows vintage stuff, as there is a certain amount of art vs. science in getting the right components to replace the old ones. Diodes and Electrolytic caps have a shelf-life, so the idea of NOS really isn't a good idea.
  3. And you probably shouldn't be comfortable working on tube stuff unless you're trained. There are very high voltages lurking around in there waiting to bite you - hard. Like 314 said the caps probably need replacing along with the tubes.

    As for the speakers, there is a good chance they are ok. They shouldn't go bad sitting there, so unless the amps was abused, or the grill cloth got kicked in, I wouldn't be surprised if they work. If they need it, reconing will probably be a cheaper option, and the amp will probably retain more of it's value that way.
  4. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    My .02,

    That Bassman restored will be a fabulous amp. You'll need to re-tube and recap an amp that old. There are a number of tech's in the East that participate on the www.tdpri.com and also at WeberVST.com. Get a hold of one of those and have them do the recap and test your tubes. They will be able to tell you which need replacing and probably can sell you the replacements. I'd start with JJ's as they are a good tube that is inexpensive. There are better for sure but the bucks add up quickly and I'd rather live with an amp for a while before I start blowing large dinero on exotic tubes. Then you can at least get a decent idea of what those large tube bills are bringing you ...

    Far as the cab goes. Find a high quality set of efficient, older vintage 12's. I'd highly recommend Altec 471's. Not easy to find but just about a holy grail spkr in that 2x12 cab. I lucked into a pair last year and in a Fender amp they absolutely sing. The parts for Altecs began to run dry a while back and because parts were hard to get folks stopped using them. Bill Hanuschk (?sp) was withAltec back then and has started making parts for them. I had my local reconer put new dust caps on to replace the old finger damaged original's. The Altec's are just about the most efficient 12 I've ever found. They'll make about as much volume as can be made in that cabinet when driven with your Bassman.

    Speakers, redux. My second choice would be JBL D or E 120's. Great sounding but a little less efficient so lower volume. Still great tone though. Much more available than the Altec's so they'd probably be in better shape and maybe a bit less expensive.

    Speakers redux, redux. My third choice would be redoing the baffle board and mounting a JBL D140 15". That was a stock Fender configuration at one point, in a sealed cab. Great sounding cabinet. A D130 would work too but is more Guitar oriented (SRV used them, among other things in his back line at one point rumor has it). Pedal Steel guys drool over D130's and Fender amps ... sweet and efficent.

    I guess my last choice would be WeberVST. Nothing wrong with them, just not period correct and Ted (Weber) isn't high on bass speakers. If you were going guitar exclusively though that cab, I'd be considering Weber's on cost alone. You'd need to talk with Ted about which are the best fit. He has about a gazzilion different models and options ... Great guy and great service.

    What I wouldn't do - Emminence/Utah/Oxford/Fender Blue Labels. Get the original's reconed if necessary ... My reconer is in Portland, Oregon (www.speakerreconing.com). Ted Weber is closer to you in central Indiana. I can highly recommend either.

    You won;t be knocking the house down with even the strongest 50 watt Bassman but what you will have is one of the sweetest old school tones you can imagine. Properly tuned and speakered that will be a hell of a recording amp.

    Two tech's you might want to check with.
    Tom Pierce (PA somewhere)
    Tim Swartz (Michigan)

    You can find either with messages on the Amp Central Station forum at www. tdpri.com. Pierce hangs over at the WeberVST board as well I believe. Both have very good reputation on those sites. If I didn't have a local guy, I'd be using one or the other even though I'm a long UPS ride away)

    Dude, you are in for a serious treat! I am jealous ... and I want pic's!
  5. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    recap definitely. retube? maybe, maybe not. tubes arent the fragile things people think they are, and some still sound really good after a ton of years.

    as far as the speakers go, googling for vintage fender amp dealers, repair, etc can get you in touch with places that can recone the drivers to original specs, which helps the amp retain its value. however, the speakers may still be ok, and you also may want to take the original drivers out for safekeeping, and use replacement speakers.
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    The operative there is to test. BF Bassmans aren't easy on tubes. Not as rough as a Deluxe, but they do go through them faster than many other amps. Maybe as they tendto get driven hard. A Bassman at low volume is OK but a Bassman running hot is a thing of beauty. Pretty much buying an old tube amp, I plan on the retube and once in a while I get lucky.

    Far as the speakers go. The original Fenders are pretty substandard however much they retain 'vintage' value. First thing most of my contemporaries did to their shiny new Fender, was replace the speakers. It made a huge difference tonally and volume wise. To get the most out of a Bassman, you need a good high quality speaker to drive. YMMV

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