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Fender Dual Showman enough power?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by johnetrotter, Feb 23, 2005.


  1. johnetrotter

    johnetrotter

    Feb 22, 2005
    I play in a three piece loud and dirty/grungy rock band with a guitarist who plays a 50 watt Bassman head cranked to "10", a 4x12" marshall cab, and fender Mustang guitars.

    I am currently using an old fender 2x15" bassman cab with carvin 400 watt speakers, a gallien krueger 400rbIV head @ 280watts, and a Gibson Ripper bass. I like my tone to be aggessive, but clear and punchy, not distorted.

    It would be nice to get a head that matches my CAB and the the other vintage gear in our band, but i dont know if the dual showman has enough power at 85 tube watts, i already feel like i dont have too much headroom with this current set up but it definately sounds good and gets the job done.

    THe other idea i had was to get a gallien krueger 800rb and use its bi-amp capabilities to power an additional 2x10" cabinet which may give me more power if needed as well as a good sound mix from the 10's to go with the two 15's
    let me know what you think...
    Thanks,
    John T.
    john_trotter@umail.ucsb.edu
     
  2. I love my BF Dual Showman paired with the proper JBL D-140Fs in the studio, but I'm fairly certain that it wouldn't cut it onstage for you. Can't really comment on the GK, although they have a good reputation for service and support on here. Sorry that I couldn't be more help. Best of luck!
     
  3. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I second the comments on the Dual showman, great in the studio, I doubt it has enough power to even practice in a rock setting. You have to remember it's a gutiar amp ( a very good one at that) and it will break up fast. The 800RB was the standred a few years back and there's probobly some great buys out there used, in the new market there's probably some better stuff.
     
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yep. Not enough power for live work. 85 watts is "nothing" for bass, even for a tube amp. However, you can slave the output to other amps, to get "the sound" and still have plenty of power. There's a couple of ways to do that, ranging from tapping the line out, to running a "poor man's line out" (which is just a couple of resistors across the speaker terminals), and so on. That way, you can display the tube amp, and hide the SS amp behind the speaker cab. :D
     
  5. R Briere

    R Briere Bass-ically Yours

    Yo Trotter,

    Another line of thought for you to consider. While the Showman head can work in many situations, one of the problems that you're looking at is actually the cabinet. Remember when the Dual Showman was THE way to go for high quality bass amps? I remember seeing Tim Bogert and Vanilla Fudge and he used two heads and four cabinets. Watching those "silver domes" dance was as good as ---well, it was REALLY good. :^>) However, once better cabinet designs entered the picture (I happen to like the designs of one, Conrad Sundholm/SUNN--but there were a few), the entire landscape changed for bass players.

    If you're able to find one, take your Showman head and plug it into a SUNN 200S cabinet with D-140's. You'll hear things come out of your Showman that you never thought possible. While it won't help your "matching look" on stage, you could possibly look into an alternative cab.........or maybe someone has a formula for porting the Showman bottoms. IMHO, 85 watts--when used with an efficient cabinet, can usually do the job. :D
     
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Only way a Showman is going to work for you is if you have it modded for DI out and drive a power amp with it. OK - now that you've stopped laughing - that's how Alembic got started - installing a line out in Fender amps for folks like the Dead who loved the Fender sound but wanted more volume.

    Another bet would be an old Ampeg V4B which has a line out already. Nobody will see that Crown or QSC in the rack behind your cab ... Then junk the Carvin speakers and drop in a couple of EV's or JBL's and you'll be thumpin' hard.

    I absolutely love the Showman Amp but for me, even using a couple of very efficient 15's, it's a coffee house, blues band amp. It's at it's best with a nice mic in front of it.

    I've been pre-amp hunting for a bit now and I'm strongly considering the line out mod for a Showman. I found a local tech who say's that it is pretty straight forward. He'll use pretty much the same Jensen stuff that is in my Demeter pre. Now if I can find someone who'll swap their Showman for my Demeter ...
     
  7. johnetrotter

    johnetrotter

    Feb 22, 2005
    Thanks for the replies!
    I have a 50 watt Fender Bassman Head that i use for guitar that i can try that "slaving thing" with. I'm not sure how to do that... i'm afraid of frying somthing... do i put he bassman first, and connect from its output to the GK input? Do i use an instrument cable or a speaker cable? I didnt see any line out on the bassman, does that mean i cant do it unless i got the mod?
    and a big reason why im keeping the old 2x15 fender cab is because its got a lot of sentimental value and its got a cool history behind it. So as supid as it may sound, im going to be using this cab for awhile... thanks for the suggestion... maybe upgrading the speakers is a good idea. most people have been telling be ev's are the way to go...
     
  8. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Slow down ....
    You can't take the power off one amp and use it as the input to another amp. To accomplish anything here you'll need two cabinets and that may not bring you much as your GK should drown out the bassman.

    If you have a second cab, then take the lower powered cab and pair it with the Bassman. Jack into Input 1 on 1 channel of the' Bassman and then run a standard guitar cable from Input 2 of the same channel to the input on the GK. Now you're in 'dual-mono'. THe GK drives a cabinet, the Bassman drives a cabinet. As the GK is stronger than the Fender, you'll probaly want to have that behind you and the drummer put he Bassman's cab near the guitarist as a monitor. It may help, it may not be loud enough to really accomplish much though.

    I wouldn't bother doing the line out mod to a Bassman. The Showman Amp has a better sounding pre and that's what I'm after. YMMV.

    By the way - Fender sold that cabinet loaded with JBL D140's. I would highly recommend that you find a pair of them. Unfortunately, sentimental value or not, that isn't a great sounding cab. Loading it up with JBL's will make a world of difference though. EBAY has D140's most of the time. E140's would work as well. Do not use 130's and I'd back off the 145's. The 2205a would work as well. I believe that 2205a is the 'pro-sound' version of the D140 ... I have a few of each and I can't hear a diff between the 2205 and the D140 so it maybe factual

    DO NOT CONNECT THE POWER AMP OF ANY AMPLIFIER TO THE INPUT OF ANOTHER AMPLIFIER. SOMETHING WILL SMOKE IF YOU DO THAT!!! (Ampli - Fire !?)
     
  9. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Which model Showman is it? I'm assuming that since you said 85 watts, it's one of the "early" versions. You can find all the schematics here:

    http://www.schematicheaven.com/

    One of the really easy ways to do the "line-out" thing, if you're handy with a soldering iron, is to attach a couple of resistors across the speaker terminals. Kind of like this:

    https://schematicheavencom.secure.powweb.com/gibsonamps/ga19rvt.pdf

    Look on the upper right of the schematic, where the speaker is. You'll see a couple of resistors hooked up across it, in this case a 4.7k and a 470 ohm. That's about the right ratio. The line out "hot" gets tapped at the midpoint of the two resistors, and the ground is to the chassis ground. If you want, you can replace the bottom (lower value) resistor with a pot, that way you'll have a poor man's "line level control".
     
  10. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Well, that's pretty cool. I actually am pretty handy with the iron, but I have a recently discovered local tech who is also a TB'er. I still don't have a Showman but I'm leaning towards dumping my exiting pre to fund one...

    Are you still using the Rane EQ as your pre ?
     
  11. R Briere

    R Briere Bass-ically Yours

    4 Mal......sounds like you might be a good candidate for Fender's new bass preamp. It sounds A LOT like the oldies and it's priced right. Quite a few players that have been trying them are buying them. Who'd a thought that Fender could pull that one off? lol. ;)
     
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA

    As "one" pre, yes. :)
     
  13. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    What is your main pre these days if there is one. I'm in the pre hunt and from what I've read of your posts, we have similar tastes.

    As for the Fender pre, I'm skeptical. I'm a big fan of vintage Fender ampifiers but they haven't done much impressive since the Silver Face era IMO. I'm also a long way from any Fender dealer who would be likely to have one in stock for an audition and I sure wouldn't ask a dealer to bring one in on the off chance that they really did get it right this time.

    I guess for guitar I'd have to modify that a little. I did mess about with a Prosonic combo and thought it was pretty good. I never have had the opportunity to do the same with the custom shop amps (Tone King, etc ...)
     
  14. (sorry for snipping your quote to shreds...)
    I had a 66 Showman that I dinked around with for attempting to get a good guitar sound or a good bass sound with, and it just didn't work for me. For guitar it was still scary clean around 8 and ear drum rupturingly loud. For bass, I tried getting a sound that you describe (I took the liberty of bolding)- and I guess I'd describe it as a loud, aggressive GK sound, but with a touch more of a 'full' bottom end. The Showman didn't have enough in it. I did end up selling the Showman and a matching Bassman 2x12 for a big profit, but it would have been cool to use that head.

    The GK 800 would give you more power in any way you wished to use it- whether 300w to the 2x15 or adding the 100w for the 2x10- it gives you nice options. Again, they're good heads, take a good pounding and there's a lot out there so finding a good used one shouldn't be too much of a problem.
     
  15. johnetrotter

    johnetrotter

    Feb 22, 2005
    Thanks for the posts guys... that helps me narrow my options. Now i just need to find some ev's!
     
  16. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    My 60 watt sunn would say otherwise.
     
  17. What's everyone else in your band playing through?
     
  18. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    A Bassman 135 with a pair of power tubes pulled (so around 70 watts) CRANKED.


    As long as you keep the mids dialed way up and the lows conservative, you'll be fine as long as you like overdrive in your sound.
     
  19. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    If you like it clean 'n' full sounding, 60 tube watts is pretty much coffee house, light blues band material. Great tone at that volume though.
     
  20. R Briere

    R Briere Bass-ically Yours

    With all due respect, what Ox said above is right on the money.....but you actually have to experience it to believe it because with what we're used to in todays 60 watt amplifiers, 60 watts is "kids stuff". Hoever, a Sunn 200S with its 60 watts was THE KING of bass amps and still mauls 9 out of 10 amps at three times the power.

    Sunn 60 watts---Can you say WOODSTOCK? As I recall, that wasn't exactly a coffee house. ;) When the 200S came out most of the BIG bands were using them and they weren't mic'd at places like the big clubs in LA where the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, and hosts of others were running 60 watt bass amps. Just a touch of history from an old geezer who still compares EVERY new purchase to his 35 year old 200S.