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fender bassman 50 as a pre?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by django, May 8, 2005.


  1. django

    django

    Dec 20, 2004
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Hi,

    I have an old '66 or 68 (just when they switched to silverface, but when the amps still where made like the blackfaces, i´ve been told) Fender Bassman, 50 W head which I´ve used for guitar with awsome results.

    Nowadaws I mostly play the bass :bassist: and have a BDDI which covers most of my pratical needs when gigging (direct to the PA or I just play through the houseamp). But it sounds kind of hifi and modern, too numetal-ish to me...

    Now I´ve been thinking about getting my own rig. I´m not into hifi sounds or slapping or such things. I´m into good tube sounds, JPJ, Geezer, Billy Talbot, McCartney, etc... so i´m thinking the Bassman would be perfect, right?

    My question is: The Bassman's 50 W wont get me far volume vise... is there a way to hook it up with a poweramp (like a QSC or something similar) and get the watts i need? It will shure need some dummy load or something, there are two speaker outputs, 4 Ohm. I also have a Sholz Powersoak, could it be useful in between the Bassman and the poweramp?

    Or am I just better of buying a new amp, with my budget, say a used Hartke 3500 or something similar and hook it up with the BDDI?

    Thanks i advance

    /Dexter
     
  2. Jack

    Jack

    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    Im sure there are ways of doing it using powersoaks and dummy loads etc. But that would be a lot of weight, maybe you could look into a tubey preamp and mate that with a poweramp. Its just an idea, but look at Aguilar, Demeter etc etc.

    If youre settled on your bassman idea, youll have to wait for somebody more intelligent than I to answer. :)
     
  3. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    yeah you'll need to use a dummy load and have a tech wire a preamp out jack for you. back in the day, alembic wired preamp out jacks on dual showman heads and ran them into high wattage power amps for the dead and others. eventually alembic made their own preamp based on the dual showman and called it the F2B. the F1X is the single channel descendant of that preamp and both are still available.

    you may want to consider picking up a new or used F2B or F1X if you like the tone of your amp. modifying it may devalue the amp, and it would be a lot more convenient not to have to bring out the head as a preamp with a speaker dedicated just for that output as well.
     
  4. I'm surprised that you describe the BDDI as hi-fi. Have you tried turning down the bass and treble and turning up the blend?
     
  5. Jack

    Jack

    Sep 6, 2003
    Newcastle, UK
    I agree with him, the BDDI is a modern tubey kind of sound, nothing like old tube amps, but sort of new Ampeg-ish.
     
  6. Jim Ingraham

    Jim Ingraham

    Nov 14, 2002
    Shillington
    You need one of these: TADpole (Tube Amp Direct). My freind makes these up. Its really just a couple of resistors and Radio Shack case (total parts about 5 bucks) It plugs into a speaker out and splits the signal sending one directly thru to another speaker out and the other to a line out after passing thru the resistors.

    I love the sound of my 68 Bassman and this little thing allows you to either send a line to the PA using your Bassman amp as stage monitor or running the line out into a power amp and more speakers in a stack behind you or doing both by splitting the line out signal one more time. Either way the tone of the Bassman is preserved.... just boatloads louder. The only problem is its a lot of stuff to haul, but depending on the gig its worth the trouble.

    Lately Ive been stacking my 2 Aggie 112s under my Avatar 210. The Bassman dumps into the Avatar, the line out runs into my PLX bridged mono into the Aggies. 1600 watts of Bassman tone!! Killer sounding rig for classic rock and old school sound.

    If your interested in the TADpole i can send you my freinds email and he'll whip you one up for 40 bucks or if your handy with a soldering gun i have some hi res pics of the guts and you can make one yourself.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. django

    django

    Dec 20, 2004
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Thanks for the replies guys!

    First, what I really need to do is test the bassman with a decent cabinet! ive only used it with my guitar 4x12 - being afraid of blowing the speaker - at low volumes. It sound really good though! Warm and sweet! Then, hopefully I will fall in love with the sound of it (through the bass cab. in a full band situation).

    If so, I will really consider (with that TADpole maybe, and a good poweramp - thanks for the advice Jim) using it for rehearsal, and maybe some important gigs. Often the sound men do their job quite well with the house amps and the PA etc, and lugging around a rig isnt really justified...

    What I´m after is a cheap way of getting a real good tube sound. Since I already got a tube amp, i figure maybe this will be the answer. I really cant afford buying a svt or something... otherwise, if the sound of the bassman isnt satisfying, i guess i'll get a more compact rig, ie SS-head with the BDDI, practical but without THE tone... :(

    As for the BDDI, MuzikMan, i twiddled the knobs for days but cant seem to get the sound i´m after - its good, but not good enough IMO. I actually went somewhat the other way, with the blend at maybe 9 o'clock and the drive up quite a bit. Will try your setting and see if i like it! I found it very useful in the studio however, mixed with a miked signal. And direct to the PA aswell. But I need it in front of an amp... perhaps i've used the wrong amp (ampeg b2r, rehearsal house amp)
     
  8. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    a word on "a really good tube sound"

    actually, two

    first off, using the preamp section of the head won't give you the sound of the power tubes unless you use one of the gadgets that lets you take a signal post power section. the power tubes are where a good deal of the "tube sound" comes from.

    back to my original thought. IMO, a lot of players chase the "tube sound" without knowing what it is. IME, there is no one "tube sound", just tones you like and tones you don't. often players are surprised to find they like the sound of a given head, preamp, or whatever only to find there isn't a tube in in it. ditto for listening to ten solid state units and hearing ten really different tones, and doing the same with ten tube units. tubes are only one part of a much larger picture in a given amplifier circuit. some of the "warmest" sounds i've heard have come from SS units, and i've heard some pretty "chilly" tube amps.

    the point? forget tube or not tube. try a bunch of stuff and see what you like 1st before you ask what the guts are made of. ;)
     
  9. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    IMO, if you really dig the tone of what you have, but need more SPL, have a look at higher efficiency speaker solutions. It did the trick for me.
     
  10. django

    django

    Dec 20, 2004
    Stockholm, Sweden
    IvanMike: you´re absolutely right about the powertubes... i can only relate to their affect on guitar tone, not bass, but just as you say, they sure contributes alot to the sound, perhaps mostly to the distortion? (ie when cranked)

    About chasing the "tube" sound without really knowing how it sounds, and "the really good tube sound"; if i look at what my fav-players (=fav sounds in most cases, mentioned above) play amp-wise, it´s all tube. Players who play SS, i generelly dont like their sound (i can like their playing though of course!) as much. I like the sound of the 60´s/70´s so i figure i should use similar equipment as they did back in the days to achieve that sound, right? If it´s tube or not, i dont care, but i want it to sound in a specific way.

    Then also, in my modest experience with bassamps ive played in a live situation: GK 800rb (ok, bad room though), Ampeg B2r (or maybe b5r? not good at all), some old peavey(ok with BDDI), hartke 3500(ok), ebs fafner (now we´re getting somewhere), and marshall VBA400(totally awsome), some i cant remember and then some direct to pa (through BDDI). It´s the same pattern, tube=sounds good.

    Now, i cant really afford buying the VBA, so i thought, get the BDDI, which i did, and like alot, maybe i should turn the knobs a bit more. Now i need an amp. A cheap one. I got the idea about the bassman which i thought was cool, a little hassle and unconvinience though... Do you have any other suggestions, now that you know what kind of sounds i´m into (remember, cheap)?

    Higher efficiency speaker solutions? I´m not sure I know what you mean, can you give a specific advice? Will it really do the trick with only 50 Watts?
     
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Huh-uh. That power tube / output trannie part of the circuit is a big part of the bassman sound.

    You perfectly-well can do what you're thinking. I'd suggest maybe a regular resistive dummy load and a jensen transformer - then you can feed a nice balanced, isolated signal to the power amp. I bet it'll work great!

    Joe
     
  12. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yes, yes, YES!

    Tubes DO have a certain sound, but I think often it's the case that musicians associate solid-state sound with a brittle, crackly, buzzy sound; and NOT all S.S. amps are like that! I do agree though, that there does seem to be a S.S. 'warmth', and a valve one.

    I think I prefer S.S. warmth-distortion for bass (like GK). and valve for guitar.

    Joe
     
  13. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    There are, of course, many options. Schroeder, Epifani, etc.

    I have the DR250a and Tuba24 designed by Bill Fitzmaurice and built by one of his authorized builders. I have been using my Ampeg B15 Portaflex amp (uses 2 6L6GC and tube rectification, so 50W would be a generous output rating), and still have a bit of room to spare, SPL-wise. If you have access to an experienced woodworker, they can be built pretty cheaply. They are not a kit for the first-timer, though.
     
  14. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    wehile i think the efficient speaker idea is a great one, i think the 50 watt thing might be a big obstacle to overcome.

    as far as "all your favorite players use tube amps" - maybe so, (and keep in mind i'm not bashing tube amps, just providing a little insight), however, when you're talking about recordings, both live and studio, in most cases you're hearing the sound of the bass going direct. this could be thru a direct box alone, but more than likley it's thru some kind of mic preamp (SS or tube) compression (again a high end SS or Tube unit), and then it gets the treatment from the producer him or herself. occasionally a mic'ed cabinet track is added, (which may have run thru a tube amp), but the vast majority of times the bass you hear on albums never wenmt thru an amp. not only that, but often what a player uses live and in the studio are quite different.
     
  15. django

    django

    Dec 20, 2004
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Well... lets not have another tube/SS debate ;) but, of course youre right IvanMike, mostly what we hear from recordings are expensive SS/Tube/tube/compressed/eqed things. But the sounds i´m talking about, the JPJ, McCartney, Geezer and Talbot sounds (although very different , i thought they were mostly miked it, right? I´m confident i will find a sound that works for me in the studio, but what i´m after is the plug-in-play-and-smile amp that makes rehearsals and maybe even gigs so much more inspiring!

    I hope so! Not sure about that "jensen transformer" though... what´s that? Should i have a dummy load connected to one output jack and the Jensen to the other, and then into the poweramp or all in one chain?

    Ben Clarke: Actually i´m a woodworker myself, or a student anyways, so maybe i should just build my own cabinet, huh? But i´m a little sceptic about the 50Watts handling them low freqs... If it works it would save me the money on the poweramp. Great!

    Backup plan is to use the BDDI as pre. Just found out reading

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=175794

    it will work without mod (+10db in line mode XLR, i have the newer one with the switches). But the Bassman idea is so much cooler if it works. :D Both ideas seems cheap though. Just have to find a decent poweramp and cab. For about $500 that is :(
     
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I LIKE tube/SS debates!
    I guess I should have said 'Jensen TYPE'; it would convert the amp output to an optimal impedance/voltage that the amp would like. I suppose you could use a not-optimal - but high-quality - one, and then add a T-pad or L-pad to get the voltage just right. There's a pretty big range that would be OK, I'm sure.

    You'd calculate or measure the peak output voltage of the amp head, and then use the pad/transformer to get the voltage to what the amp wants to see at it's input. I'm sure the straight output voltage from the Bassman is too high as-is. You could probably use just the pad, but I'd be afraid of ground-hum or the like. The transformer would isolate the grounds and provide a balanced signal to the amp; that'd be the best.

    Just to check-out the sound, you could use a simple pad alone. Schematically-speaking, an adjustable one would look like this: the chassis-ground/cable-shield side would be a direct connection. On the hot-side, you'd put a resistor in series between the 'hot' amp output and an un-balanced input 'hot'; then there'd be a pot connected from the point between that resistor and the power amp input, down to the common 'ground'. the pot would be interconnected as a variable resistor instead of a potentiometer, and would let you adjust what the amp sees from just about zero, up to a value that would depend on the ratio of the fixed series resistor, and the total pot resistance. Once you imperically picked a perfect amount attenuation, then you could disconnect one end of the pot, measure it with an ohmmeter, then replace it with a fixed resistance, but it might be kind of cool to leave it adjustable. In that case you could use a 1:1 transformer after the pad (one that would be designed for the full range of voltage and frequency that it'd see), and you'd be in buisness!

    If you have two speaker outputs to start with, then I guess it would be handiest to just use one jack for the dummy load, and one for the pad or pad/transformer.

    Bingo. Easy-beans.

    Joe
     
  17. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    I think most guys would be surprised by what horns can accomplish with low power tube amps.

    The traditional tone you're after wouldn't be so easily achieved with the DR250a/Tuba24 rig, so it's probably not worth pursuing anyway.