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Somebody School Me About Amps of the 60's and 70's

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by de la mocha, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    What are the classic bass amps for rock n roll bassists? What was jimi hendrix's bass player's stage amps was?
  2. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Noel used everything and anything, including Fender, Sunn, Ampeg, Marshall. In the late '60s amps and speakers were constantly evolving, and it was the rare bassist in the top groups who stayed with anything very long.
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Well, they're 27 to 46 years old, and a waste of money, IMO.
  4. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    Watts cost quite a bit back then. It was a pretty good bargain to get power amp at just over $1 per watt. That is why you find so many of the older amps at 80 or 100 or 150 watts. Of course, the speakers matched up well, so you will find (for example) the old Fender Bassman @ 100 watts pushing a 1x15, or a 2x15, or a 2x12, or a 4x12 which were also designed for 100 watts. Perfect match.

    My first "real" bass amp was a Vox Essex. 2x12's, a volume knob, a tone knob, an on/off switch, and a whopping 35 watts. And, yes, I gigged with it for a few years with absolutely no problems - and no problems being heard, either. Of course, the "premium" p.a. was the Shure Vocal Master, the tall columns with IIRC 2x12 and 4x10 in each column, and a whopping 100 watts! (NOT PER CHANNEL! It was mono, so 50 watts per column.) So, the amps didn't have to have 1000 watts to be heard.

    It was a different time, but it was a great time.
  5. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    SVT period.
    Everthing else was a stop gap untill you had one.
  6. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    You're over 50, aren't you? So that makes you more worthless than these old amps!;)

    I'm going to suggest a Bassman, Bassman 100, or Bassman 135. Great amps, and not just for guitars.
  7. even the svt was jusat an attempt using caveman technology to get a certain tone. nowadays that tone (and better) is gotten with the sansamp, so all those amps are obsolete.
  8. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    I didn't mean to imply that these amps were carved out of stone! Geez! Some of them sounded pretty darned good!

    There was quite a bit of great music produced live and recorded using these amps. Think about the changes in RECORDING techniques and then think about how many of those old songs sound great, regardless!
    *young whippersnappers! think we are all just old farts*

    Why, I oughta POUND you! (Bet you don't know where that came from!) :D
  9. hope i didn't offend - i suppose you are right in that some oldies did sound pretty good, even as far back as guns n roses, but i thought duff used gk back then?
  10. ezstep


    Nov 25, 2004
    north Louisiana
    No - none taken.:D However, that crack about "oldies" as far back as Guns & Roses! :p

    I definitely do agree that today's amps are so much more versatile than those several years ago. I also had a Bassman135 with 2x15" cab, and later a MusicMan HD150 with a single (Gibson) LabSeries 1x15" cab. They did sound pretty good back then, but they were definitely limited. I wouldn't trade what I have today for anything available back then.
  11. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    You're telling me you can nail an original SVT's tone with a Sansamp? What about a Bassman? :rolleyes:

    I heartily dissent. Tube emulation isn't to the point yet where it can replace tubes totally. Nothing, but nothing, sounds like a good tube power amp.
  12. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.

    Yup. Obsolete. That's why people are bludgeoning themselves financially to get the reissued original SVT at about $4000 a whack, 'cause a $150 box sounds just like it. Yup. No point in owning the Bassman reissues that Fender can't keep in stock, no point in buying anything at all with tubes in it, 'cause a SansAmp will do it all for you.

    Tell you what, guys, any of you want to get rid of all those obsolete amps you're holding onto, you know, the Bassmans, SVTs, old Sunns, Acoustics, whichever, just send them to me and I'll mail you a SansAmp in return, then you'll be nice and up-to-date, mmkay? :D
  13. Reach for my B-15 and you will pull back a stump.

    Maybe they weren't arena amps but a portaflex could still handle a decent sized theatre show at the sort of levels people played till things got a lot louder at the end of the '60s.

    Peace (unless you touch my Ampeg without permission),
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Oh, Eric. My first amp was a '65 Bassman 50, a genuine POS. I think it might have been a pretty good guitar amp, but as a bass amp, it either totally blew or totally sucked, your choice. The best thing that ever happened to that amp was it got stolen.

    And yes, I am over 50 and, much like fine wine, just get better and tastier with age. Not true for old amps.
  15. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Not all tube amps sound the same. If you don't believe in emulation ... look what's now here

    Take a listen to samples under the Technology tab at:

    And listen to some of the demos at Namm 2006

    And look at the IK VST Ampeg plugin.

    Now close your eyes and really listen - in double blind testing I bet players can hear the difference.

    But - I don't know why anyone would consider tubes as a reference for good sound. Modern processing has the capabilities to sound much better than any tube amp ever could.
  16. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Yeah, players probably could tell the difference... lol.

    I don't get the last paragraph.. I'm sorry, but I have (IMO of course) one of the best sounding amps EVER made, or at least the best sounding for my needs. <- Full stop.

    Why else would I have people offereing trades on their Aguilar DB750's (or any other high end, completely solid state at times, amps) + Cash for my amp? Why else would many bassists (or none bassists for that matter) offer me up to $5500 on the spot at gigs for my amp? Because it doesn't sound good? Ha! Nice try.

    Also note, that a very open minded TB'er (Tom B) who owns more gear than most stores would, loves a few of his well made tube amps, and rates them right at the top with his high end SS amps.

    Yeah, some tube amps can sound bad.. But i've heard more horrible sounding SS amps than tube, sure, that may be my opinion, but to say that tube amps can't be referred to as 'good sounding' is just rubbish. Lets try and keep an open mind on things.

    My $0.02.
  17. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Its all up to personal prefrence. I like the best of both worlds; I run a Boss GT-6B into a Mesa 400+ and it gets tone like no other! But, just like I may think your tons is total crap, you may think my tone is total crap. Again, its personal prefrence, there is no objectively "better" sound.
  18. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    It's not the microchips - it's the software.
    Burn yourself a CD and listen on whatever. Or buy a good soundcard/interface. Many bands actually record on PC's. Next time you record, just take a DI and play with one of these VST plugin's to tune your sound. You'll see why recording engineers do DI.

    Some old bands are really good, even including ones before the 60's. What you're listening to is also artifacts of the recording technology. Analog tapes, whatever preamps were used, Mics, DI used, etc. I wouldn't credit some amp for their recorded sound.

    I would say though that some of today's artist are incredibly talented, even some who aren't in the big arenas. But they probably won't get credit for it for another 30 years, or until they're dead. I'm just glad they're recording digitally (with cheap microchips) so the original signal can be preserved.
  19. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    But recording is taking down the sound produced by other things in the signal chain. I record digitally, and it does do the sound pretty well. But it does not make my sound. The effects and modeling on the recording interface I usually use with my band when we put down tracks sucks terribly; you can't get a single good tone out of it. The delay and verbs and similar FX are pretty good though... On my Boss GT-6B, the amp modeling is the one thing I don't usually use. Its terrible! Modeling has a farrrr way to go to convince me that I can leave my tube power amp behind.
    Analog preserves the sounds just as well; in fact analog gets a more complete sound than digital, which takes samples. It doesn't really matter that much though; the difference between recording analog (on a mini disk or some such device) and digital is so minute that it does not matter.
  20. jz0h4d


    Apr 26, 2005
    Classic Bass setups from the 60's start with the Sunn 200S and later the 2000S. The Fender Dual Showman was popular on the west coast. The killer combination was the Dual Showman head with a 200S bottom. Ampegs were also popular but not in the same league with Fender and Sunn.( at least untill the SVT came along)