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Selmer Treble'n'Bass 50 MkI (w/ tube rectifier) - For BASS??? Yes!!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by S.F.Sorrow, Jul 10, 2018.


  1. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    I've got an old Selmer Treble'n'Bass 50 MkI (croc skin). It's the one with a rectifier tube and an extra preamp tube in the bass channel. The extra preamp tube was dropped in the MkII and the rectifier was changed to solid state in the MkIII (although I understand there was some overlap between versions so there are MkIIs with the extra preamp tube and possibly also MkIIIs with the tube rectifier).

    I have no idea how the later versions compare (but judging from the guitar forums they grew progressively harsher by each version).

    Anyway, I got this amp about 10-12 years ago. Mainly as a guitar amp for my studio but it never got much use. Everybody just wants Marshalls/Fenders/etc. I also tried it for bass on one or two rehearsals with my band but it wasn't loud enough to cut through. I never really tried it as a bass STUDIO amp though...

    But recently I brought it home. I thought it might find some use for bass with my home recording setup. And if not I would just sell it. I've been testing it for a couple of weeks now and WOW! Talk about vintage tube tone! I don't know if it's the tube rectifier but this thing makes all my other tube amps feel almost solid state by comparison! Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration there ;) but this thing just feels great! The lows are seriously deep, yet clear. I think the only other vintage tube amp I've tried with similarly deep/clear lows must be the DR201. At lower volumes it is crystal clear, INCREDIBLE detail but not in a cold/sterile way. When pushed it's got this spongy feel that I just love! Not muddy at all, just a bit syrupy and filthy (in a good way). Kinda like a better version of a Bassman 100: warmer sounding, not as scooped, a LOT nicer breakup, but definitely a bit of that vintage Fender vibe. Which may not come as a surprise when considering that the TnB was supposedly based on a Blonde Bassman (as opposed to the classic Marshalls that were based on the Tweed Bassman). But unlike the Blonde Bassman it's got EL34 output tubes. I just LOVE EL34s with bass, especially when they're pushed a bit!

    Has anyone else tried these amps with bass? I mean, they certainly won't be everybodys cup of tea, there's definitely some sag when it's pushed. For someone into ultra tight solid state/class D it would probably be their worst nightmare! And I also suspect that anyone using them "back in the day" HATED them (must have had a serious lack of power/clean headroom for live use, especially in the pre-PA era).

    But as a VERY vintage sounding STUDIO amp it's simply amazing for bass!

    This one is definitely going back to my studio!

    I should probably add that I've put some pretty sweet vintage tubes into it: Mullard+Heerlen ECC83 longplates from the late 50s for the gain stages and a 60s Tesla E83CC (frame grid) for the phase inverter. The EL34s are just TADs.

    Vintage tubes really make a HUGE difference in old amps like these. Those late 50s "Philips-family" longplates have some SERIOUS low extension compared to ANYTHING else I've tried!

    Anyway, I'd love to hear your experiences with these amps. I expect most of you probably hate them but I'd still love to hear about it.:laugh: Especially how they were received back in the day. I expect they must have been considered a poor mans Fender/Marshall and not particularly popular? As far as I can tell the 100w version wasn't released until the MkIV era? So probably a bit late to compete with other brand's more powerful models?
     
  2. bertbass666

    bertbass666

    Mar 6, 2009
    Selmer T & B 50 and a Marshall 4x12 used to be the standard bass set-up in the 60s here in the UK. Always sounded good. I had a Selmer T&B 100, metal case model, and 2 x Goliath 1x18s in 1969. Sounded brilliant!
     
  3. JAKBOUND

    JAKBOUND

    Dec 14, 2007
    Houston
    Mk III was my first bass amp. Best tone I ever got was this into a laney 4x12. Kept up with a loud drummer. Guitar into the treble channel was indeed harsh, especially with single coils, but guitar into the bass channel was fine.
    Sold it and got a 200 watt Fender studio bass combo, with a 15 inch EV speaker. I never could get a tone as good as the Selmer with that boat anchor. It was louder though.
     
    S.F.Sorrow and bobyoung53 like this.
  4. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    The Selmer TB 50 was always a bass amp and not a bad one at that - for the time. I have fond memories of that amp. It was much better than the VOX AC50. :)

    Edit: @bertbass666 you must be really old to remember the Sixties! :D
     
    S.F.Sorrow and BassikBrad like this.
  5. webmonster

    webmonster

    May 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    Ive got a 1970's T'n'B 50 s.v.
    Solid state rectifier by then.
    I think it sounds great for guitar and bass. I have used it live and it works well with one or two TL 606 cabs.
     
    S.F.Sorrow likes this.
  6. BassikBrad

    BassikBrad Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2018
    Las Vegas. New Mexico
    My very first decent rig in 1963, the T'n'B 50 with the matching 2x12" cab & Framus Star bass.
    I'd just turned 17 in my second band & thought I was the 'bees knees', Bill Wyman had nothin' over me!!
    To this day I wish I still had that set up, real bass for ever, solid, full & rich. Oh well, the good old days.
     
    S.F.Sorrow likes this.
  7. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    Thanks for your replies everyone! I seems this amp was more highly regarded back in the 60s than I thought! No wonder, it sounds absolutely amazing for bass, although a bit limited in clean volume by todays standards!

    Interesting that some of you seem to like it better for bass than guitar. That has been my experience too, a little uninspiring for guitar but really cool for bass. That might explain why I assumed it wasn't much popular back then. I searched the guitar forums first for info and no-one seemed to like the T'n'B there (although they seemed to love the Selmer Zodiac, the AC30-sized combo).

    Like I said, I originally got this as a guitar amp but what a nice surprise when I finally plugged a bass into it! I'm really glad I did before selling it. This one will stay in my studio!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  8. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    That's pretty cool, I never realised! I absolutely LOVE British music from the 60s, that's the music that shaped me as an artist, so maybe that's why I love the tone of this amp so much. I'm not quite old enough to have experienced the 60s myself so what I know about gear and such is just from reading about it.

    It's interesting that people typically used Marshall cabs rather than Selmer cabs with these amps back in the 60s. Did they use regular guitar cabs or were the cabs designed for bass? I mean, I've HEARD about some early Marshall cabs designed for bass but I've never actually seen one, not even for sale, so to me they're in the same cathegory as unicorns...

    You wouldn't happen to know what speaker elements they used? I mean, I know there weren't any bass speakers by todays standards but had the "bass cone" speakers arrived yet? Or did they just use regular guitar speakers, blow them to bits and replace?
     
  9. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    Ahhh, that sounds like a REALLY cool rig! I LOVE old Framus basses! I don't see many of the matching Selmer cabs around though, even on ebay and such. Perhaps because most people used Marshall cabs, like bertbass666 mentioned? The Selmer cabs look so much cooler though! 17 years old and a rig like that? No wonder you felt great!!! :)

    Do you have any idea what speakers theSelmer cabs used? Were they actually designed for bass? I think I read on a guitar forum that Selmer used Goodman speakers? Or I could be completely mistaken...
     
  10. BassikBrad

    BassikBrad Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2018
    Las Vegas. New Mexico
    The lead guitarist & I purchased the matching rigs from a little shop in Burgess Hill, Sussex, England & only
    recently drove past it & couldn't believe it was still a music shop ! The lead rig was the same in appearance
    but was indeed different in sound, but don't recall it being called the Zodiac. At 17, sadly I wasn't into
    messing with the equipment....... plugged in, turned up the volume & that was it, I was in another world ! Not a lot different than now, some might say! Well, not completely true, I do know what I'm doing with my gear now
    & what makes them work & sound the way they do.
    The woofers started rattling & were replaced after a couple of years, but I have no idea who made them, sorry.
    They were probably rated at about 50watts a piece, you couldn't over do it, although it held it's own in an
    8 piece band, with organ & horns etc.
     
    S.F.Sorrow likes this.
  11. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    I know what you mean, nobody cares what speakers they use when they're 17! :laugh:

    The Zodiac I was referring to in another post was a completely different Selmer amp from the same era, an AC30-sized combo. The MkI/croc skin version of the Zodiac is possibly the most beautiful looking guitar amp I've ever seen! Sadly the Zodiac is very highly regarded by guitar players and insanely expensive these days.

    If the Selmer lead rig you are talking about was diffent in sound but same appearance it was probably the same model T'n'B. I don't think Selmer made any other amps with similar appearance to the T'n'B. I think they may have offered different guitar/bass versions of the CAB though. Or it could have been just the difference between the normal/bass channels. The channels sound VERY different with guitar.
     
  12. JAKBOUND

    JAKBOUND

    Dec 14, 2007
    Houston
    I got to try a zodiac when I was in college, with a 1963 Strat. Pretty awesome clean tone.
    Back to bass my cab was a Watkins Electric Music 1x15, probably a pa bass cab originally. The keyboard player in our band went through a sound city tube pa amp into the laney. On day at rehearsal we swapped. The improvement for both parties was immediately apparent.
     
    S.F.Sorrow likes this.
  13. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada

    I did! The driver in my VOX Foundation cabinet was an 18” Tannoy unit!
     
    S.F.Sorrow and BassikBrad like this.
  14. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O)))) Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Jack Bruce used one of the Croc skin versions early in his career, and possibly (though unconfirmed AFAIK) used one to record Fresh Cream.
     
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  15. BassikBrad

    BassikBrad Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2018
    Las Vegas. New Mexico
    It definitely looked the same but was not called T'n'B & did not have Treble & Bass inputs, strictly lead
    guitar only. I am still in contact with my old buddy, so will ask him if he remembers what it was called.
     
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  16. BassikBrad

    BassikBrad Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2018
    Las Vegas. New Mexico
    Yeah, Jack heard mine & had to have the same,LOL.
     
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  17. bertbass666

    bertbass666

    Mar 6, 2009
    The Marshall 4 x 12 cabs at the time were generally anything you get your hands on, usually a slanted top cab loaded with Celestion 25w, G12Ms, known as greenbacks now and rated at 100w. After all, in the 60s a 100w cab was 100w cab regardless of whether it was for guitar or bass. My Goliath cabs had Goodmans 18s.

    Here's a good site for more info, Selmer Truvoice Amplifiers

    Interestingly, A 4 channel Selmer P.A. 100 and a pair of Vox 4x10 columns seemed to be the PA of choice and what was aspired to in the 60s. I always wanted that setup but couldn't afford it.
     
    S.F.Sorrow likes this.
  18. S.F.Sorrow

    S.F.Sorrow

    Dec 6, 2014
    Great stuff, thanks!

    Greenbacks for bass... :woot: Must have been a lot of blown speakers (and eventually output transformers...). At least SOME thing have improved gear-wise.;)

    Actually, the output transformer on my T'n'B was on it's last legs, only worked at 8 ohm, sounded horrible and blew the fuse at 16 ohm. I've replaced it with a Mercury Magnetics "Tone Clone" and went for the one with an additional 4 ohm tap to make it a bit more versatile with todays bass cabs. Had to drill an extra hole in the T'n'B to get 4/8/16 but it was definitely worth it. I don't really care about collectors value anyway, I just want gear that WORKS and sounds great!
     
    BassikBrad likes this.
  19. bertbass666

    bertbass666

    Mar 6, 2009
    You're right. A lot of blown speakers in the 60s and as we didn't know any better, a lot of different combinations of speakers in cabinets. Any 12" will do in a 4x12 as long as it works.
     
    BassikBrad likes this.
  20. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    You know, try as I might I can’t really recall too many cases of blown drivers. I did have the Marshall 100W 4x12 16Ω bent baffle cabinet. With the low power tube amplifiers of the time it was hard to damage those cabinets.
     

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