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mid powered tube heads

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lexington125, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. lexington125


    Sep 11, 2013
    hollywood, baby......
    someday I will find 4 or 5 other guys who want to play the blues the way it was played before it became all about guitar heroics
    They ain't making any more old amps and a large number of desirable old bass amps now sit in basements and suburban 'music rooms' never to leave the house again.

    With supply disappearing into closets around the country, I need to expand my search for a mid-powered tube head. Looking for something more than the standard 50 watt Bassman, but no more powerful than a Sunn 2000. Most of the amps in this category have either a quad of 6L6s or a pair of KT88s or 6550s, or, at most, a quad of KT88s / 6550s. In other words, everything in between a Sunn 200s and a Sunn 2000s; I'm looking at Bassman 100s and 135s, Showman / Dual Showman, Ampeg V4bs, the Sunn models.........and that's where my list runs out. I know that there must be various Marshall, HiWatt, Traynor and other brands that offered models in that range, I'm just not as familar with them.

    Did anybody make any other models in that general range that work really well as bass amps? I'm looking for a head that will work well with a pair of Aggie DB112nts for an old blues /r&b band. Going for your basic mid-'60s recorded bass sound. The rooms won't be large, and when they are larger, the PA will handle the house. Any other specific model suggestions?
  2. CL400Peavey

    CL400Peavey Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Ampeg has a new V4B.
    Peavey has the VB-2.
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Yorkville/Traynor have the YBA2 and YBA3.

    of course they're not building old amps. If an amp is built it is a new amp automatically. :D
  4. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    The new Mesa stuff looks pretty cool.
    I use an older 400 (non plus) with 6L6's so it's only about 120 watts.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    New V4B kills. 100w, 20 lbs lighter than the old one and has the same sound.
  6. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    Yeah this one came to mind. 100 watts, half the weight of an SVT.
  7. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    My personal favorites have been a Sound City 120, Ampeg VT-22 (V4 combo I rehoused as a head), and an Ampeg B-12XTC running 6550's.
  8. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I'm loving my VB-2.
  9. Mesa Prodigy does either ~120 or ~250 watts.

    Fender has a 100 watt Bassman out.

    Ampeg has the new V4B.

    Then there's always the custom route from folks like Verellen who will make basically whatever you want.
  10. Lowendtech

    Lowendtech Trending in no particular direction Supporting Member

    I'll cast a vote for a Traynor YBA-1A Bassmaster MarkII. Vintage 1969 @ 90 watts if you like older stuff. I picked it up cheap ($100) years ago when they were out of fashion but the prices have gone up a bit as the vintage craze hit.
    Sat in my basement for 20 years. Finally dusted it off and fell in love with it. Don't have a clue why it took me so long but I play through it every day now through an ML112 cab.
    I tried the Prodigy for a month and it is a great amp but ultimately was too much coin for me with this one sitting here already.
  11. I loved that VT-22 while I still had it. I was a total moron when it came to older gear in the early 90's - if I wasn't, I'd still have that VT-22... and my old GK, two 70's Fenders, an 810, an old, modded Peavey 215, etc., etc.

    100w guitar amp, 212. Basically Ampeg's version of a Twin, but it's just a V4 combo, really. GREAT for bass if you hook it up to a different set of speakers. Sounds great even if you don't, but the room won't shake quite as much, haha.
  12. a mid powered head makes a lot of sense to me,and if you need more a second one can be added....aside from the expense having 2 is always better ...if something breaks in a pre section,just unplug and use the other.............if a power amp goes you still have the other amp....if you need more power and don't have access to foh,use both heads and maybe more spkrs........i have an old v4b and i want to pair it up for stereo with my ric...
  13. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I picked up a Traynor YBA-3 a while back for $400. It's a '71 I think with the master volume, it puts out 130 watts or so. It's a good solid amp, built tough at a reasonable price.
  14. i used those,after yba1a's....never had any problems being heard with a big b or 2x15....iirc those are from the days when they used to drop them from the roof to see how they held together....
  15. lexington125


    Sep 11, 2013
    hollywood, baby......
    someday I will find 4 or 5 other guys who want to play the blues the way it was played before it became all about guitar heroics
    I don't want to start a ruckus here, but a good part of my interest in older gear is that it was made by folks paid a good wage and it was built is such a way that even a civil engineer can follow the circuitry. (I get cross-eyed just looking at a PCB) Its not a flag-waving patriotic thing, its more of an anti-race to the bottom, anti one sided globalization economic thing.

    So, unless i am ready to spend for a custom "boutique" head from one of the custom shops, I'm limited to old gear. But that was my original question - what other old amps fit with the ones i listed. the Traynor heads don't show up often in LA, but I've seen a couple. The older Boogies (D180 and B400) are a bit more amp than I really need; and I was a 20 year plus owner of B400. (non+) Anyone have experience with the Bassman 135? I still see those sell on CL for well under 5 bills.
  16. spankdaplank


    Jan 19, 2003
    My all time favorite smaller venue rig was a silverface Fender Dual Showman into a Mesa Diesel 1X15 (EV15L). Deep and sweet but tight bottom. Perfect for smaller clubs and such. Foolishly sold it.
  17. Haven't played the 135, but I have a '72 Bassman 100. It has absolutely amazing tone. The earlier pre-CBS models are much more expensive because the guitar guys much prefer their circuitry, but the later models (like mine) are actually just a little better for bass, and you're not bidding against the guitar guys who see the pre-CBS head as a "collectible." The 135 has the same circuitry as mine. I paid $650 just a few months ago for the '72 with the original 412 cab, so, yeah, they can be amazingly affordable. The cab doesn't add a tremendous amount, as they are not very popular now, but I find it to sound very sweet - at least at the lower volumes I've had it at. Much like the head: even though it's supposed to be a "bass" cab, it's really more of a full range cab that can do bass.

    One thing on tone: I have to admit that I don't know if other's heads will sound as good as mine, as it had seen so little use that it has all the original RCA tubes. :hyper:
  18. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I'm playing mine as we speak just incredible tone love this amp it's just a giant piece of butter.
  19. Ah, if you're mainly interested in older amps, there are lots to choose from.

    Tons of old Sunns are in that range (though if the 2000S were rated at the same THD as many other tube amps, it would probably be more than the 120/150 watts it claims), plus old Sound City heads.

    The Peavey Mace guitar heads might actually do it for bass. They're really heavy, so I think they probably have some serious iron, and are very powerful for guitar heads, though medium power for bass.
  20. Boot Soul

    Boot Soul

    Feb 10, 2009
    Some of these that you are considering have a characteristic sound and feel when playing. The V4B and the Bassman 100/135 are pretty different. Those particular Fenders have ultralinear OT wiring (earlier model, lower power Bassman heads did not), and stay cleaner, longer before breakup, in the power section. The Fender Studio Bass and many british heads like Hiwatts are also wired ultralinear. Not Ampegs. Neither is better, as the popularity of all these designs has stood the test of time.