History of the Beatles Amplifiers

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Spectrum, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. Didn't see this in a search, so posting it here. Some neat information and cool photos.

    Interesting to see the frankensteined bass amplification Paul used in the early days, and Vox's efforts to keep up with them as they got huge. Also, that he used the much-maligned Fender Bassman later on. Not much choice for the electric bassist in those days I guess.

  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    The old Fender Bassman amps are fine amps if you don't need to be crazy loud. The maligning is because the cabs were too small to be as efficient as they could be for bass, and you couldn't get them up too loud before you start pushing the speakers too hard. The Beatles were studio-only by the time they switched to Fender, and by the time Paul went out again, PA technology made using amps like the Bassman onstage much easier, so he used them because he liked the sound.
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  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Those were the days my Friend
    I thought they'd never end.

    Thank the powers that be that they did!
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  4. Oatis


    Nov 6, 2018
    My first amp was a Bassman (black panel 50w ) . On Ed Sullivan Paul had 100 watts . John and George had 50 watt Voxes. On the Roof Paul had 50 watts and John and George had loud 85 watt Twin Reverbs. I think the bass player deserves the biggest, loudest amp- maybe several of them !
  5. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Just a point about the video, the T60 cabinet housed a 12 and a 15 in the same airspace NOT two fifteens. That came later as the T60 imploded. The twin 15 was the cabinet for the AC 100.

    Seeing Hessy's again, Mathew Street?, was a blast.

    Walked in there one day to se my stolen Gibson EB0F on the wall. As there were only two in the UK at the time I knew it was mine.

    I remember a guy trying out a Precision but was focused on my stolen bass. I ended up buying that precision from the guy, who turned out to be a friend of mine that I worked with. I still have that '63 Precision and I was playing it when I met my wife to be. :D
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  6. catalin gramada

    catalin gramada

    Dec 25, 2014
    This was an AC50 cab found to a dutch guy for sale for 400 bucks.Very compact for an 18". What is not clear for me is how the speaker was rated...:whistle:


    Attached Files:

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  7. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    That's the Foundation cabinet. The AC 50 Foundation was my very first bass amp. It was indeed a crappy cabinet!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  8. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    I also liked the microphones they were using. The lil' square Reslo, Rezlo?, Ribbons and the black/silver AKG. I owned both. The Reslo mics suffered from premature failure when sone twerp would blow into it to see if it was on!!! :( I repaired them using a razor blade and foil from a cigarette package. Hey it was rock and roll! :D
  9. catalin gramada

    catalin gramada

    Dec 25, 2014
    Interesting how Goodmans rated the speaker: 110W-USA, 50W - rest of world...:woot: Not to sure how it play ...in Canada, for instance ?
    dkelley likes this.
  10. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Mine had a tannoy driver.

    In fact I never saw a VOX amplifier with stock drivers from Goodmans. They were always Celestions
  11. Guess they felt that USA watts were inferior. How judgemental!

    Seriously though, if it's 110 versus 220 volts, USA does NOT include mexico, canada, Hawaii (which back then was not yet part of USA?)..... all 110 volt systems.

    Ignorance is not always bliss (pointing my finger at Goodmans)
  12. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I used to own a Bassman-Export only head exactly like Sir Macca's in the rooftop concert (A friend had it in his shop - I didn't ask how it made it out the back door at Fender). The aluminum trim was one year only, I believe 1968. As stated above, even though it had great tone, it was only 50 watts, so by that time, with the development of more high-powered PA equipment, it became more a recording or monitor or small combo gig amp than a hard-rockin' amp. It also makes a great guitar blues head, with just the right breakup in the right spots with a paper-coned speaker cab. Yes, I sold it as playing needs changed, and at the time I got a pretty penny for it. Yes, fun times!
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  13. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    I wish someone would come up with a clear "watts to SPL to cone surface to perceived loudness" table... It would make things so much easier, physics be damned!
  14. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I had a 1966 Fender Bassman that I bought new in 1966 for $449. It was the first year they used the bigger cabinet on it with the cab designed to be stood up with the two 12" speakers aligned vertically. 1965 and earlier they were designed to be used with the speakers horizontally aligned. When stood on end, which almost every band who had those '65 and earlier ones did, the amp overhung the cab a bit giving it almost a "T" profile. So mine was designed to be stood on end without overhanging the edges and the Fender logo was mounted appropriately for it.

    I found that to be a great amp until late 1971 when I was touring with a nightclub group. Originally everything was fine and then both the guitarist and keys bought Vox Super Beatle amps. Cranked up they were way too loud for me. When I tried to turn up, if I turned the volume over #7, the speakers would start farting out. I blew out three speakers before I replaced the amp with a Standel that totally outclassed it and could easily bury those Vox Super Beatles - "Dan, you're too loud! You need to turn down". My response was, "I only have it on #3 (9 o'clock)."

    You have to remember that this Fender cab was made before the Thiele-small info was out so cab design was basically a pig in a poke. In 1966 they had so many problems with the speakers that they put two 15" speakers in the cab in the 1967 Bassman to replace the two 12" Jensen speakers that my cab came with. Was very frustrating to have this great looking amp and cab, being told to turn up when I couldn't. Thus, I came to the conclusion with my new Standel, that it would always be better to have more available than you really need. Few things worse than needing more out of an amp than it can give.

    If that Silver-Faced Fender is a Bassman, it has the 15" speakers in it. It was pretty common back then to go with a Dual Showman and it's D130F or D140F speakers when you needed more power (80-watts instead of 50-watts). In any case, it was loud enough to get the police to come to the roof to shut them down.;)
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  15. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    I had a 1966 Fender Bassman that I bought new for $449. When I traded it in towards my Standel piggy-back amp with powered cab in 1971, I got $400 in trade in. The Standel amp was last year's model and on sale from either $1,100 or $1,150 down to $950. It had a snag on the cloth cover of the head and they dropped it down to $850 for that. So out the door, I paid $1 more for it than I had paid for my black-faced Bassman amp. 1966 to 1971 and its value only decreased by $49. The salesman was quite excited to get it. He re-tubed it (one of the tubes would intermittently go microphonic) and played it himself. There was a huge demand for black-faced Fenders at the time.
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  16. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    I had one of these back in the '80s. So horrible it makes me cry to think of it. I ditched it for an EV 15 TL as soon as I could. On the other hand, the AC50 head is a total winner, and still lives in my practice space.
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  17. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Too funny Paul. I remember back when cars had points and condensers instead of electronic ignition systems (pre-1975 or so). If the points in your distributor were burned, you had to replace them. Then you had to set their gap using a dwell-tachometer. If you didn't have a dwell-tach, you could use a book of paper matches. Open the macthbook, adjust the points so they just hit each side of that open cover, and you could drive it. Wouldn't be ideal, but would certainly work OK until you could put it on a dwell tach to set it correctly. I got a number of cars going again with that technique...It was backyard mechanics!
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  18. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010
    My uncle taught me this years ago. :thumbsup: I'll tell ya what, more often than not, the matchbook was as close to ideal as you could get with the right equipment. :cool:

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  19. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    At one time you could buy NOS Reslo mics for under a hundred dollars. These days they can reach a thousand. They were horrible sounding with a low output, but looked cool.

    reslo mic.jpg

    reslo 2.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  20. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Beatles Gear by Andy Babiuk is the definitive book on the subject. Very highly recommended.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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