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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Bigger than a 65 Bandmaster?

Contributing Member


Apr 9th, 2012 07:04 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

first things first: I love the sound of my 65 Bandmaster through a 63 Bassman cab loaded with a pair of 12" 200w EVM's. Everything played through it sounds wonderful. Plenty loud enough for guitar (Jaguar, E-XII, Coronado XII) and with the vibrato and an external Fender reverb tank, have _that_ sound.


my main instrument at the moment is a Fender Bass VI, played like a bass and baritone guitar ... and at 35w, just isn't enough for the low end. Big low notes soak up the power and die.

Bass always needs more power to keep up and I got rid of my late 70's Bassman 100w head because it couldn't keep up with Marshall Double-quad stacks.

Now-a-days the guitarists are using 35-40w combo amps but still, 35w to hold down the bottom end isn't cutting it.

What's bigger than a Bandmaster that still has THAT sound, and THAT vibrato? I don't need reverb (I have 3 external tank reverbs to choose from).

Fender didn't move into the 100w space until the mid-70's, yes? And by that stage, the classic sound I hear with my Bandmaster was gone... yes?

I've got a fall-back plan to try out by running a P.A crossover before the amp, sending all frequencies below 100Hz off to another (power) amp and cab (not much growl definition below 100Hz, just fundamental note/air pushing) thereby reducing the burden of the Bandmaster to power all that "push", but it won't be the same.



on the rhine

Apr 9th, 2012 07:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

hi barry!

you need to take a look at the Fender Showman!
it was fenderĀ“s "secret weapon" for loud + clean.

cheers - C.

Contributing Member


Apr 10th, 2012 01:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

thanks Carsten

they're 85w? Using 4 6L6GC's (like a Bassman 100)?

Is the difference between the Showman and Dual Showman just the output transformer and ability to run different loads? I ask because I'm happy with the 4 ohm Bassman cab and the 2x 200w EVM's.

(quote from somewhere:)
4 ohm OT is either 022889 or 125A29A
8 ohm OT would be 022897 or 125A30A.

Sadly, the Wikipedia entry for Showman amps is a bit "lacking"

(This message was last edited by barry.b at 01:15 AM, Apr 10th, 2012)



Apr 10th, 2012 07:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


Your right the only difference is the showman is a single speaker
(8ohm OT) dual showman 2 speakers(4ohm OT).

So if you like your cab look for the Dual Showman



Fender power to the people!
Apr 11th, 2012 04:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Barry, part of the problem is that the EVs start to fall off around 80Hz.
Fine for guitar.
Not so much for bass.

Back in the 60s, the Dual Showman was 'it' for bass, espiecially with D140s.

Contributing Member


Apr 11th, 2012 07:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

thanks for chiming in, 6L6. Appreciated.

In my case, the bass sound I use doesn't have much subs - think of it as more a low baritone guitar (twangy). I've got my regular bass rig and P/Mudbucker/Jaguar/Steinberger basses for more "traditional" bass sounds.

I do take your point, though - in the effort to try and get a big rounded bottom-end, I ask a lot of the amp to compensate for the deficiencies of the EV speakers, drive the amp harder and it runs out of puff. I might try the Bandmaster this weekend through my pair of EV 15" TL boxes (for 4 ohms) and see how the Bass VI sounds then.

It's a nasty compromise - I'm striving for a nice top-end for guitar, but it comes with a cost to the bottom end.

"especially with D140s"

I'm curious (and risking going off-topic on my own thread): is there much sonic difference between D140's and, say K140's? I ask because I have a few K140's and E140's lying around (used to be in old foldback wedges that I took to the rubbish tip).

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Ain't turned 60, but I got my blinker on
Apr 11th, 2012 07:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The bottleneck is the small output transformer in the Bandmaster. It saturates way too easily. A common mod was to replace it with a Bassman transformer. Even with guitar it will just drop in volume and squash, slowly opening back up when pushed and allowed to recover, as if a compressor was being used. You can chase speakers all you want, but the head is the issue. I used "coffee can" EV SRO 12's in the 70's with bass and I had no problem with low end (huge ARP cabinet with four EV's). With a Bassman head, I couldn't keep up with a country band. With an SVT head, no problem.

I modded one of my 100 watt Bassmans to use 6550's and increased the B+ filter capacitance by 5 times. No problem keeping up with anyone now. Stock, it was sorely lacking in a band situation. But that head has a lot of iron and benefited well from extra filtering and stouter tubes.

I've modded many Fenders with extra capacitance to increase headroom for use with bass, but with a Bandmaster, the transformer is still an issue.

I did one 50 watt bassman with a pair of 6550's and extra capacitance. The bass player owner was thrilled, but he will have to take the chassis out of the cabinet to replace the power tubes (too tall and barely fit into the cabinet.)

Contributing Member


Apr 11th, 2012 05:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

@Steve Dallman

thanks for the great technical advice. You've confirmed my suspicions that I'm trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.

I'm not dissing the Bandmaster: that OT saturation-based compression is wonderful for my E-XII and Coro XII (where compression on a 12 string evens it out a bit). And it tidies up my sloppy Jaguar rhythmn playing. I'm very happy to leave the BF Bandmaster just the way it is.

Which means looking for "that sound" in another powerful amp, and seriously looking at the suggestion of a BF Showman/Dual Showman.

PS (@ SteveD): I wish I'd known about performance modding 100w Bassman heads back in the day - I mightn't have offloaded mine.

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Bigger than a 65 Bandmaster?

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