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N.A.D. - 1977 Fender Musicmaster Bass - Speaker Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Simon Langley, Oct 6, 2013.


  1. Simon Langley

    Simon Langley

    Jun 19, 2007
    Chico, CA
    Picked up this little gem at a yard sale today. Been looking for a low wattage tube amp for a while to use as a living room practice amp and it seems that this will fill the bill with one exception. As most other owners of this amp have found (from what I've read so far) the speaker will require an upgrade if you actually want to play bass through this thing.

    Been researching possible candidates for replacement speakers but it is difficult. Most threads others have started about finding a decent bass-centric speaker for these amps are usually quickly derailed with responses about how this amp is no good for bass. I'm not looking for a miracle, just really want to know what others have put into this amp to get the best bass sound and low end response out of it.

    So far the two best candidates I have been able to narrow my search down to are a Jensen MOD 12-50 or possibly an Eminence Alpha 12. Thinking the Jensen would be 50/50 good for guitar and bass and the Eminence more for just bass. I realize that the Beta or Delta Eminence speakers would be better than the Alpha but don't really want to spend more than $60 and considering the cabinet it's going in to the Beta or Delta might be overkill.

    Anyone out there have any thoughts or opinions? Any other speakers I should consider? Are the Beta and Delta Eminence speakers worth the extra scratch given the application?
     
  2. Simon Langley

    Simon Langley

    Jun 19, 2007
    Chico, CA
    I realize that a new amp day thread doesn't count without a pic but since the talkbass app barely works with the new iOS 7 update I can't post a pic. You are just gonna have to take my word for it. Hopefully the powers that be here on talkbass get it figured out soon.
     
  3. zacmac

    zacmac

    Dec 10, 2012
    Put a weber alnico in it and sell it to your guitar player! They have the classic fender guitar tone and an open back 12 is not a good design for bass IMO.
     
  4. Put in in a head case and play it through your gk112! These things really sound good through a real bass cab!!
     
  5. I had one of the 6AQ5 versions for a while. It was pretty thrashed when I got it, so after doing the little I could do cosmetically I tossed the original speaker and put in a Weber Signature 12B. Great match, and I think it's the best option for getting the most out of it for bass and still keep it attractive as a guitar amp. Tight bottom end, plenty of highs without being shrill. I had that speaker in my Ampeg SB-12 for a while and it did a fine job in there too.

    Note that I say had a MMB, not have... Ultimately the SB-12 took its place, and once I found a cheap B15 my low power tube GAS ended. The open back of the MMB isn't going to give you the fullness of a proper bass cab, but it is definitely a cool piece. I was super excited to find one after scouring CL for years, especially when I talked the guy down to like $80. Needed tubes, grill, and speaker, but all told it was still under $200 fixed up.
     
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    My first bass amp was a Musicmaster, in 1977. I used it in the middle school jazz band. "It is what it is" because of the open back speaker. For this reason I wouldn't suggest any heroics to make it into a bass amp, but just enjoy it as-is.

    When I moved up to a bigger amp, we used the MMB as a guitar amp in my band, then I eventually sold it to a guitarist.
     
  7. Simon Langley

    Simon Langley

    Jun 19, 2007
    Chico, CA
    Now here is the kind of helpful response I was hoping for. I too once owned an SB-12 but didn't appreciate it at the time and sold sold it. Wish I never did.

    Was thinking that a guitar speaker with better low end than OE would be a better choice for exactly the reasons you list here. Ironically I am the guitar player who I would want this to still appeal to.

    Again, I realize that the design of this amp will never give the ultimate low end rumble and that isn't what I am looking for out of it. Just looking to beef it up as much as possible and get the most out of it I can.
     
  8. Simon Langley

    Simon Langley

    Jun 19, 2007
    Chico, CA
    I am the guitar player I would sell it to.
     
  9. Sounds like we're in the same boat. I've gone through a lot of gear swaps over the last few years as I've slowly transitioned from bass to guitar. Strange situation, but there is a much bigger pool of competent bass players than there are guitar players where I'm at now.

    My original intent with the MMB was to steal the cab for my Vibrochamp, but literally the weekend before I found it I built two dovetailed pine cabinets with the same dimensions. My cabinets were better made than the MMB cab (deeper, better joining), and I had maybe $100 into the cabinets after all the hours of work put into them. Lots of flipping ensued in the 18 months after that. The MMB helped fund the SB-12, and the SB-12 helped fund the B15. Now that I think about it, with the prices I bought and sold things, my out of pocket for my beat up '64 B15-NC, even after fixing it up, is well under $500.

    I use my Vibrochamp in the MMB sized cab with a Weber 12A100 for everything, since I can mic anywhere I go. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing :)
     
  10. astack

    astack

    Nov 12, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    Could you add a removable back to it to make it a sealed box? Then throw in a Beta 12A or similar.

    There are a couple other Eminence speakers (can't remember of the top of my head, Delta's maybe?) that often get used as bass and guitar speakers. But they have really low xmax, so I've over looked them in the past as bass-only speakers. They might be fine with a low wattage tube head, though.
     
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I considered that idea at one point, but the problem is that the open back is how the tubes are ventilated.
     
  12. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    I have the 6V6 version which I've used as a guitar practice amp. For that, I swapped in a Weber, Alnico 12A125-0. But when I recently started noodling through it with a Mustang Bass RI, I put the stock speaker back in, not wanting to trash the Weber with the extra excursion. I plan to put the Weber back in and return it to guitar-only use as soon as I save up enough ducats to purchase a decent, small bass amp.

    Google "Musicmaster Bass amp mods" to find the common ones people do when using these for guitar (if that's what you wind up doing with it).

    As others have suggested, the Musicmaster's stock cab has a lot to do with the amp's sound "limitations" as a bass amp. But there's only so much you can accomplish by running the brains through a better speaker housed in a better cab. Doing that is fine just so long as you don't set yourself up for disappointment by expecting utter miracles. Example: I run my 5F1 Champ through a 12" Weber in a tweed Deluxe cab and while it sounds far better than it did through an 8" Weber in its stock cab, a 5E3 Deluxe still blows it away hands down. All I'm suggesting is there's only so much a better speaker and cab will do before you run up against the circuit's inherent limitations.

    Of course, in the end, your own ears, not mine, will be the judge that matters.
     
  13. astack

    astack

    Nov 12, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
  14. I once had a combo with a 15" that attempted to do that, and it was mediocre at best. That, and the MMB cabinet would probably bust at the seams after a while :) I'm not exactly sure, but I think mine may have been glued and stapled. Better to run it through a different cabinet than try to make it something it's not.
     
  15. If this was meant as a joke then OK otherwise a very, very bad idea.

    Edit: Personally I see disappointment in your future. Even with the finest bass driver in your amp it will be mediocre for a bass. Problem is it will then be the same for guitar use.
     
  16. Simon Langley

    Simon Langley

    Jun 19, 2007
    Chico, CA
    To me running it into another cabinet would be making it something it's not. I want it to sound like it wants to sound, just better. Like my original post I am not expecting miracles. Just want it to perform to the best of its potential. I already like the way it sounds, ratty speaker, open back cab and all. It is just obvious that the speaker is the biggest thing holding it back. Remember, the question wasn't should I or shouldn't I replace the speaker. It was a question of what speaker I should replace it with.
     
  17. Simon Langley

    Simon Langley

    Jun 19, 2007
    Chico, CA
    See, first response and already derailed.
     
  18. rllefebv

    rllefebv

    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    I had a 6QA5 version that I sold a few weeks ago. For a time, it was used as a rehearsal guitar / backup harp amp in my roots/rock band. The stock speaker was replaced with an Eminence Patriot speaker which added depth for the guitar and harp, and was surprisingly adequate as a bass speaker! For bass, I rather liked the amp for it's decidedly lo-fi sound which is sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered! Gigged it several times as a bass amp. In the right situations, with the right band mates it can hold it's own..

    As long as your expectations are in the ballpark and you're not asking it to be something it's not, it's a great amp IMO/IME... Also, don't discount jacking it into a proper bass cab for a bit of an eye opener. As I always kind of joked, that's 12 watts of soul-searing tone, and with a proper cab (such as my TL-606) it really delivers the goods :D

    Enjoy!!

    -robert
     
  19. Simon Langley

    Simon Langley

    Jun 19, 2007
    Chico, CA
    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1381104700.752600.

    Finally able to upload a pic. A quick snap I took on the way home from the yard sale.
     
  20. astack

    astack

    Nov 12, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    Indeed it was, sir.
     

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