Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Fender Bassman 50 W/2x12 or Fender Bassman 135?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BassGreaser, Jul 10, 2004.


  1. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I want to buy an old Fender Bassman head and cab. I have a couple options.

    1. Buy the Fender Bassman (50watt) w/matching tall 2x12 late 60's that is at GC for $900......I've been playing this amp at GC for a week, and love the sound.

    2. Buy a Fender Bassman 135 (135watt) late 70's off of ebay for $400 + finding a cab later

    which way would you go? will the 135watts be alot louder than the 50watt head? I'll be using this with my Pbass. I've heard the late 70's Bassman's are cleaner sounding than the earlier ones. I would really like to hear what everyone thinks. :confused:
     
  2. titanic_tony

    titanic_tony

    Aug 17, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Bassgreaser,
    Your Option #1 is a good one for pretty quiet stage volumes - my guitar player uses that exact setup. McCartney used that setup in the Let it Be sessions. A real classic bass tone.
    Option #2 - I have read that the Bassman heads are underpowered and their watts overstated. So even though they advertise 135 watts, it was really more like mid 90's.
    My experience was with a 70's Bassman (100 watts) that sounded great for a while, but then would get a bit too distorted for my taste. My recommendation? Get a MusicMan HD 130 or HD 150. This will get you the Fender tone but with more oomph. Music Man didn't overstate the wattage.

    Tony
     
  3. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thanks Tony.....how did you like the passive controls on the Bassman 100, was the midrange control any useful?
     
  4. titanic_tony

    titanic_tony

    Aug 17, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    To be honest, I don't believe I ever had an issue with it. It just sounded great no matter the settings. I ran it through an Ampeg SVT cabinet, and there aren't too many amps that don't sound good through an SVT.

    Tony
     
  5. My tiny club gig rig is a 50W silver-face Bassman head and a 1 X 15" cabinet. I can tell you I wouldn't pay $900 for the head and the 2 X 12" set-up, though. I'd look around first. I have no experience with the Bassman 135.
     
  6. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Yeah I just won a Bassman 135 off of Ebay for $350, and I'm bidding on a NOS Bassman tall2x15...the cab looks so clean
     
  7. MrBonex

    MrBonex

    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    I gigged in the NYC area with a 135 for a couple of years, so here's my take:

    Tone: flat-out great. This amp cured me of my solid-state rack system and made me a tube-boy forever.

    Volume: My top suggestion would be to find a very very efficient bin for this amp. Those old Fender boxes are cool looking, but the 135 will really fly with a great one. I used a Bag End 2-12. The extra efficiency really paid off with much greater potential volume (especially clean headroom).

    Reliablilty: Flawless. I never had a failure. I almost never carried a back-up (BLASPHEMY!!!), but when going to gigs in NYC, I always just took a cab. No room to carry extra stuff. Just have fresh tubes and carry extras.

    Good luck!
     
  8. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    MrBonex how would you think a Eden 4x10T would sound with this head? Site says it has a sensitivity of 105DB SPL @ 1w 1m
     
  9. MrBonex

    MrBonex

    Jan 2, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Good question -- of course everything I say is strictly MY opinion -- but here goes:

    The speaker's job is to (as accurately as possible) reproduce what comes before it in the music chain. By choosing an amp like the 135, you are wanting a warmer, phatter, and more vocal tone. So any really good speaker will give you that.

    Even though I've never heard that combo, I have a tremendous respect for Eden stuff, and my rather fertile imagination is projecting a great fit.

    Intellectually, I know that the speaker is perhaps the most important single component of any chain, I think that speakers should not be used for "character development" the same way that an instrument or an amp does. Get a great speaker that "translates" that beautiful bass and amp and I think you get pure happiness.

    That said, why not bring that nice 135 into your Eden dealer and give it a test? If you don't have an Eden dealer, you might find some other similar brand that will give you an idea how your amp matches with a modern bin.
     
  10. i´ve been playing with a bassman 100 / 2x 15 and it sounds good with the right speakers(the 2x 15 didn´t). i got the best sounds using it with an EBS-115 with horn and it´s true that there not so loud and u shouldn´t think u could do so much with the tonecontrolls.
    but if u want to tweak it rather use some kind of eq-pedal with it and as someone else wrote the music man 130 is truly louder and better sounding.
    go for the head or an MM130 for the right price!