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Fender 300PS Bass Amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Nov 12, 2003.


  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi all, does anyone have or use a Fender 300PS? I've been getting some input on another forum that these amps are actually fairly rare. That probably means they're either collectors' items or they're completely worthless! What's your take? Any idea how much a mint condition 300PS is worth?
     
  2. i can tell you a bit about this thing.

    it was descended from the 400 PS, a 435-watt all-tube beast made by Fender between 1970 and 1975. the 400 PS remains, in my eyes from a technological standpoint the baddest bass amp ever despite having three controls: volume, bass and treble. i've never tried one, but the people who own them all agree that even an SVT can't touch them. they have a sextet of 6550A, which normally only makes 300 watts. well, Fender used a special driver design with a 6L6 before the final output stage to beef up the signal - final result 435 watts. this amp was not easy on its tubes and thus you couldn't just put any old 6550 in there...you might melt it! :eek: like, really melt it! Fender used a special high-power 6550 called the 6550A. it was made by General Electric in Owensborough, KY until the late 1980's. this is the finest 6550 ever made by anyone ever anywhere. Sylvania made some 6550A at some point as well, but they are very rare now and you won't find a matched sextet. don't even bother trying. however, some GE 6550A tubes are still available. a few parts value changes will allow you to use new-production tubes without exploding them...you will get reduced output. it had three 4 ohm outputs. if you used one, you got 145 watts. if you used two, you got 290 watts. if you used all three, you faced the full brutality of 435 tube watts. the matching cabinet was a 1x18" W-style folded horn bin that weigh 126 lbs and used a Cerwin-Vega L187F. this amp even had its own wheeled stand because it weighed 84 lbs.

    well, after 1975, Fender decided the 400 PS was overdoing it a bit...i mean, ordinary amp techs couldn't bias it unless they knew how. they might damage it if they didn't know what they were doing. so the 300 PS was created as a successor. it used a quartet of 6550 and didn't quite run them as hard. the driver was a 6V6. it used a single input system switchable betweem guitar and bass unlike the 400 which had a bass input set and a guitar input set. the matching cabinet was a 4x12 with angled speaker baffles and some beefy Jensen speakers. they were called the X somethingorothers, i can't remember.

    they 300 PS is a great amp! tthe 300 and 400 PS were Fender's response to the Ampeg SVT and the Sunn Model T. ultimately not as successful for whatever reason, but in 1970, if you played bass and you wanted to let the world know, literally, you fired up an SVT, a 400 PS or a Model T.

    you can find out more by going to http://timeelect.com/400-PS-IDX.htm

    it is a site dedicated to the 400 PS, and by association the 300 PS.

    [​IMG]

    this is Ronbo's Wall Of Death. he is a forumite at Plexi Palace. in this picture you can see the 400 PS W bin in the middle with a 400 PS on top of it. on either side are a 1970 and 1972(I think) SVTs on top of a pair of SVT-810's. above the 400 PS is a Hiwatt DR405, a 300-400 watt 6x KT88 bass amp made by Hylight Hiwatt and Hiwatt Biacrown in the 70's and early 80's. rare!
     
    kcandme likes this.
  3. oh yeah, don't pay more than $600 or so for one.
     
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Thanks bikehorn! So 500 bucks would be a good price for a 300PS in near mint condition, with a full set of original GE 6550A tubes that all test over 95 percent?
     
  5. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Bikehorn, thanks for an excellent and informative post!
     
  6. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Bikehorn, that's a great link too! I was checking out the melted 6550 that's about halfway down the "Experience" page. Awesome!
     
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You left out a few fun facts.

    The 400 PS was also meant for guitar use :eek:...it had the usual second channel with reverb and tremelo.

    The reason for the three outputs was in 1970 you couldn't find speakers capable of handling 400+ watts. But using a 400 PS with just one cab, it only puts out 145 watts, making it barely louder than a Dual Showman or Bassman 100. Since most bassists were loath to carry THREE folded horn cabinets around for club gigs, the market for these things was limited to touring players working large venues.

    The 300PS was a step in the right direction delivering full power into one cab but it was too late, by the mid 70s Fender had lost their grip on the amp market. As a result mid to late 70s Fender amps aren't that common in the used market...how many Bassman 70 or Bassman 135 heads have you seen?

    I used to own one of those 4-12 bottoms, and it sucked. It was big, though! Taught me to buy with my ears not my eyes :meh:
     
  8. hey thanks guys! i am really interested in owning a 300 or 400 PS at some point, i just have no money right now. i have the plans for the W bin, i think i might build it over the summer. anyway, you should also join http://groups.yahoo.com/group/400PS_group

    this is a group run by Richard Koerner, who worked on the GE 6550A when it was in development. the page is linked to by the Time Electronics page, but i figured i'd repost it. if anyone online knows about these old beasts, they do.

    nonsqtr, i think you are getting a killer deal!




    NB: i forgot to include a small piece of info. Ei makes a tube called the KT90. this is a souped-up KT88/6550 and it can definitely take the heat of the 400 PS. sadly the production quality of late has been quite low, but if they start making them well again, they are a good replacement in this amp.
     
  9. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Bikehorn,

    I can tell you from experience that you can build that folded horn and it will kick **s. I got my hands on the specs for building an Acoustic 301 folded horn cab when I was a senior in high school (that's the cab that came with the 370 head). My friend's dad was a carpenter and he said that he would build it for me. All I had to do was buy him a case of beer. What a deal! Naturally, I loaded it with a Cerwin Vega 18". That cab served me well for a good number of years. It was loud and kicked butt. No highs, but what great thumpin' low-end and mid bass punch!!!
     
  10. yeah, i'm pretty bent on building it. i think i will use a Celestion G18Q-400 if i can't find an L187F. i found some plans for a JBL W bin from 1976 or so, but it's got a ported speaker chamber and seems very vague about the length of the ports. also found plans for the 70's EV Eliminator...but it wegish more and it uses a 15" speaker as opposed to an 18". not that ihave any problem with 15s, i love them but i just want to be able to say "you want a real 18 inches?". also found a place selling a book published by Fane speakers with plans for various speakers including a W bin, but that's about it. i think i will buld the Fender. i only wish i could also fnd plans for the 301, or hell maybe even the 361.
     
  11. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've played through an EV 15" folded horn called the Eliminator a few times in the '70s. I remember that it had much less balls than the 18" folded horn, and it did not have as much of the "long throw". Of course it was almost 1/3 the size.
     
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
  13. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Good going Nonsqtr!!!

    One other thing that we did is to apply fiber glass on the inside "reflecting wall" of the folded horn. Back then, we heard that Cerwin Vega was doing this on the inside and outside of their folded horns. We thought that this might help reflect more highs from that 18", which as you know had no highs. It made the cab seem more solid too. What do you expect from high school kids making a homemade cab?
     
  14. thanks nonsqtr! i've just got to figure out how to look at the front-facing drawing now relative to the side profile...i'll figure it out by looking at some pictures.
     
  15. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
  16. i thought you were buying it...:(
     
  17. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Nah, but I got the Acoustic 370 anyway. I still have GAS for those old amps, just 'cause I could never afford 'em when I was young. These days I use a Walter Woods MI-100 almost exclusively (along with Stewart 2.1's if they're needed for reinforcement). I'm gettin' too old to be lifting these 100 pound amps all the time. :)
     
  18. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
  19. p58

    p58

    Dec 17, 2005
    Slovakia
    does 300ps need 6550a or just any 6550? i have a chance to buy one in original condition, but needs new tubes and I dont want to pay 600bucks for 6550a tube.
     
  20. blown240

    blown240

    Dec 10, 2004
    I just bought one that has KT88s in it. It sounds AWESOME and is REAL loud!