1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Cab advice for Fender Showman tube amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SactoBass, Dec 28, 2011.


  1. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    TB'ers,

    A guy at my work has an original 1964 Fender Blackface Showman amp head (no cab). It's not a "dual" showman head....just a regular showman. He says it has the AB763 circuit. I think it puts out 100 watts RMS. It is in excellent condition, and works perfectly with no issues. I know the guy as I have worked with him for years, so I trust him.

    I have been toying with the idea of buying the amp from him to use for bass. (I remember playing through a friend's Fender tube amp back in the 70's, and the tone was excellent.) The question is, what bass cab would be a good match with this Showman amp? That is where I seek input from my fellow TB bretheren.

    The back of the amp has two quarter inch speaker outputs: one labeled "speaker" and one labeled "external speaker", but it doesn't say what the impedance is. I presume 8 ohms?? (If any of you Fender amp experts happen to know the answer to that, please chime in.) But what I really seek by this post is input from TB'ers on what bass cab would be a good match for this amp. I have read that tube amps have much less damping factor than solid state amps, so I would presume that the cab would need to have drivers that are made to work well with a tube amp (can be vintage or something new).

    I look forward to receiving your input on cabs. Thanks!
     
  2. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    The Showman ran a 1x15 cab, so its transformer is rated to run one or two 8 ohm cabs. I know from experience it's just as happy with one or two 4 ohm cabs. Damping factor is moot.
     
  3. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    Most those Fenders wanted 4 ohms. My bassman135 probably isn't the same circuit but it is 100 or so watts worth of Fender. I love their sort of warm but clean sound although it doesn't get very loud before it starts getting out of that and into grit.

    Look for speakers that give up high excursion and ultra deep response in exchange for higher spl. Eminence delta15's (non-LF) are good. The best mine sounded was through an old Dietz cab with EV 15L's in it. Again, high spl in exchange for high excursion in the low bass.

    Plug a P in it and enjoy.
     
  4. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Thanks Bill!
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    the non-"dual" showman was made for one speaker (that single 15 cab with the "tone ring" thing), so it's looking for an 8Ω load.

    old fenders are famously tolerant of mismatches, but you'll get the most wattage out of it at the correct load, so 8Ω in this case.
     
  6. Interceptor

    Interceptor Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    Madison, WI
    I used one or two (venue based choice) EV TL606 cabs with a Bassman 100 for a year recently. Outstanding pairing, punchy and defined.

    I also ran that head through a pair of Epifani T-112 cabinets with great success. That pairing with a J was textbook Broadway tone.
     
  7. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    Agreed.

    The old Dietz 215 was basically 2 tl-606's built in one box.
     
  8. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Thanks Walter!
     
  9. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    Also didn't know the Showman was an 8ohm amp, learn something new everyday.

    And yes, all the old Fenders were pretty robust. I ran my bassman at 8ohms a lot not knowing better with no issues although it is best to match impedance.
     
  10. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Yeah, based on what I have read (particularly from TB'er johnk who knows alot about amps), the only difference between a Showman and a Dual Showman is the impedance for the output transformer (the dual at 4 ohms and the "non-dual" at 8 ohms).

    What seems kinda weird is, the regular (non-dual) Showman has two speaker outputs (with no impedance selector switch), yet was designed to connect with just one 8 ohm cab back in the day. That lends credence to Bill's (and other's) comments that although the output transformer is designed for an 8 ohm load, it can "handle" a 4 ohm load.
     
  11. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    I used to run a Dual Showman anywhere from 1 ohm to 8 ohms and it never complained a bit. Fender transformers were pretty much bulletproof.
     
  12. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Any other TB'ers have bass cab recommendations to go with a vintage Fender Showman amp?
     
  13. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    What are your goals for it? Only recording/small gigs, etc. Or get it loud enough/enough speakers to bring it to bigger gig?
     
  14. I have a '65 blackface Showman, it's 85 watts supposedly. Just fine for recording and reh, not so sure about gigs unless it's for DB. Excellent tone for either DB or BG.

    I agree w/the above suggestions of high efficiency 15s. I'm currently running a single EVM-15B but will be switching to two JBL D140Fs in properly tuned cabs shortly. Look for old Sunn cabs that have those, I think the 200S and 2000S used to use those to good effect.
     
  15. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    Should add....you looking to keep the warm but clean sound at higher volumes or do you like/want it's pushed, grittier tone?
     
  16. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    Ya, any of the JBL's sound good with it. I liked my bassman with 15L's. More of a louder but sort of heavy duty guitar driver. Breakup seemed nicer than cranking it into clean speakers. A pair would still handle whatever bass the Showman has to throw at it but it should get a bit of that speaker breakup pushing it into a single.
     
  17. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Thanks Will for asking those questions.

    I wouldn't intend on trying to achieve high SPL's with this particular rig. So, just lower volume scenarios. This rig would be targeted for quality of tone, not quantity of volume.

    As for grit, I really enjoy the tone of power tubes just at the edge of breakup, but I'm not into fuzz bass at all.
     
  18. will33

    will33

    May 22, 2006
    austin,tx
    "Paging JohnK.......JohnK to the front please"

    Having the 8ohm tap opens you up to a lot of great stuff. If you can find just the right match, it will be a beautiful thing indeed.

    My goal with the bassman135 was to get the bouncy "warm but clean" sound loud enough. Failed without hauling a literal truckload of speakers. I keep saying 15L not because they actually did it, but were the best of what I had to try and the "edge of breakup" sound was pleasing instead of ratty.


    The 135's were a different animal from the other bassmans and your showman. I would imagine yours has a nicer sounding breakup to it. I wouldn't hesitate to swap mine for a blackface bassman but alas, for the first time in years a problem has popped up...one of the tubes isn't heating and it's not the tube.
     
  19. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Thanks Will.

    Funny you should mention JohnK.

    A few weeks ago, he was selling a beautiful Fender Showman/JBL D140F tone ring cab combo.

    I'm still trying to locate the short circuit in my brain that caused me to not buy that rig. :meh:
     
  20. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    For volume, check out any high output, efficient.

    Check out BFM cabs or the Barefaced Bass cabs. Two each of those would move some air. You probably could gig easily with 100 watts.



    What's your budget?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.