1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Why do Fender have guitar amps called BASSMAN amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by de la mocha, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
    I'm confused. I was searching for Fender tube amp combos for bass but all of these guitar amps popped up. I'm like "okaaaaay....."!

    Are these things compatible with the bass guitar or no? I'm just looking for a great practice amp for my new apartment and I'm not too technically inclined here.....
  2. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    They were originally designed for bass players, but guitar players decided they liked the tone and they became quite popular with that instrument. Somewhere along the line I think Fender just realized that more guitarists were buying them than bass players...

    Though I could be wrong. I usually am.
  3. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Hey, watch your mouth my amp might hear you...I use a Bassman for bass. Low volume [jazz] and recording.

  4. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Nice amp! I'm willing to be that there are a lot of bass players who use their bassmans for bass amps - I believe, however, that there are more guitar players that do so. (FWIW, I think B.B. King uses Bassmans.)
  5. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I am sure there are ten guitar plays who use them for every one bass player... ;) They are not too powerful and certainly won't cut it in any rock situations. Although, when you plug in, it is an instant old-school tone. The lows are somewhat muffled and it is a little more polite sounding than a B-15, but it kind of gives that same vibe. I believe back in the day most bass players would prefer the Showman [a "guitar" head] over the Bassman.
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Pretty much the history up there. Back in the 60s a blackface 50 watt bassman was the norm for bass. In the 70s and 80s with the proliferation of solid state and higher power tube amps they were rendered largely underpowered for bass. However, they tend to sound terriffic for guitar, and 50 tube watts is enough to make some serious volume with guitars.

    They still sound unbelievable, though. Most bigtime studios have Bassman heads that are used for recording guitar and bass. I have a '67 Blackface that's been reconditioned and using my modern Eden D210T cabinet it sounds like a million bucks, and is loud enough for my relatively quiet rock band. I don't gig it hardly ever because it's an antique.

    They're generally not valuable like the vintage guitars and basses despite being just as classic and great, because they made about a million zillion of them, people generally didn't modify them, and they were built like a TANK.

    Old and new:
  7. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Did they ever make a blackface combo amp, with single 12" or 15" driver in it? I seem to recall playing through an amp like that which belonged to an old acquaintance of mine. I know it was a Fender, but I can't recall if it was a Bassman. It had great tone, though, I remember that. :smug:
  8. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005

    Interesting! Man, I love music! So much to know and learn....... :bassist:
  9. scootron


    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    I still use a Bassman 60 as a living room practice amp. It is an 80's model, pretty cheap, solid state, combo, 1x15, still has a nice Fender tone.

    My recollection is that the early Bassman contribution to bass sound was the use of 4 10's, a sound that many still seem to love.
  10. The Bassman model that is typically referred to in guitarist's realms is the late '50s model that had 4 10" speakers with an open back, and tweed cabinet, which is available today as a reissue, and also copied, style-wise, by many other amp makers. It was used for bass originally, but as soon as the Bassman models with closed cabs appeared (like some pictured here, as well as the Showman series), their superior bass response pretty much doomed the 4x10 Bassman of that era to history, except that guitarists tried it and liked it. It's circuitry is carried over into many other Fender amps of that time, and into today's models as well.
  11. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    Philbiker , that pic brings back memories. my very first bass amp. it became a popular item for guitarist friends to borrow. gosh, i wish i could remember what happened to it...:meh:
  12. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    That was the Studio Bass combo. Those weigh a friggin' ton!
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    My first bass amp was a 1965 Bassman 50. For bass, it was perfectly rotten. Turn it up past 3, and it was going to break up and sound like crap. Perfect for guitar.
  14. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000
    Sean, that one was made between 1977 and 1980 according to the Fender Field Guide (http://www.ampwares.com/ffg/), not during the early/mid '60s.

    SuperDuck, the Vibroverb is an open back 1x15 guitar combo and was available during the blackface era.

    In the '70s Fender made the Bassman 10, which was a ported 4x10, 50 watt tube combo. They also made the Bantam Bass which had a funky speaker made by Yamaha that featured a styrofoam cone.

    The Musicmaster Bass amp was an open back amp with a single 12...must have been designed for parents so their budding young bassist couldn't turn up too loud...
  15. eedre


    Feb 26, 2007
    St. Louis,MO
    I play out of a Bassman 100 ('80s) tube combo for church. The tone is crap! ;) The only reason I use it is because it's better than my Crate combo with the super glued speaker cone:D
  16. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I still have my '64 Bassman 50w with a 2x12 cabinet. You're right, it breaks up and distorts terribly when driven too hard. I love the sound at low volume, and it's great for practice and recording. I've also used the Bassman head to amplify DB and ABG through my EA VL208 for a warm, organic sound at low volume.

    Because I love the sound of a too-small sealed cab housing two twelves, I can't help but wonder if I'd also enjoy the sound of the sealed Bergantino NV610, but that's a topic for another thread...
  17. de la mocha

    de la mocha

    Aug 20, 2005
  18. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    The late 50's Tweed Fender Bassman circut, is probably one of the most widely copied GUITAR amp circuts out there. They really are one of the true "Holy Grail" of guitar amps. Designed for bass amp, legendary as a guitar amp.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.