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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,401 Member Since:04/02/2011

#1 [url]

Apr 28 17 11:34 AM

Short answer-- No.

I'd generally advise against putting too much stock in infotainment listicles like this. That particular one apperas as though it may be a cleverly-disguised advertisement for some new PRS amp.

While we could go on and on about all the things "wrong" with this piece, in reality it probably served its intended purpose rather well.

The (most likely) kid who wrote it may have gotten "artist pricing" on that PRS amp he shills for at the end, GP got a few clicks and shares, and life goes on. Everybody wins, (except, maybe, the folks who hoped to learn something about guitar amps!)

It's very interesting, now that I've existed on both sides. I sometimes do writing for print magazines and sometimes for online blogs. With the online blogs I often have to be VERY vigilant and make myself a TOTAL pain in their ass to avoid having my writing altered too far in service of click-bait appeal.

Thing that get clicks: maximum over-selling of the concepts, disingenuously positioning the author as an "authority," packaging complex concepts as one-size-fits-all solutions, distilling complex inter-dependent strategies down to oversimplified buzzwords, and removing all trace of uncertainty and nuance. Things that do not generally get clicks-- subtlety, appropriate circumspection, acknowledgement that there are no "easy answers."

When I face pressure, I fight back, hard, and usually win (or at least, win the things that matter). Sometimes I lose on a minor point, and have one of my pieces titled in a way that makes me cringe or something, but I usually manage to win on content.

I'm able to make myself a nuisance and insist on what I want because I can take it or leave it. But if I were writing primarily for the money, I might face different pressures.

Anyway... it's a jungle out there. "Don't believe everything you read" and "consider the source" apply now more than ever, not just in music either.

brad allen williams

Last Edited By: soapfoot Apr 28 17 2:49 PM. Edited 3 times.

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trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 361 Member Since:11/10/2013

#2 [url]

Apr 28 17 11:38 AM

All good Brad! I like reading your info alot. i also figured this was just a list someone put together and I did see the PRS at the end and thought, what? I have become more interested in the innards of amps as I have gotten back into them. Some of the classic vox's, marshall's, fenders, certainly are intriguing to me with what made them get their sound.

and then as you can see, I am reading as much as I can on them, even new ones like the one I got

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,401 Member Since:04/02/2011

#3 [url]

Apr 28 17 11:42 AM

trock wrote:
All good Brad! I like reading your info alot. i also figured this was just a list someone put together and I did see the PRS at the end and thought, what? I have become more interested in the innards of amps as I have gotten back into them. Some of the classic vox's, marshall's, fenders, certainly are intriguing to me with what made them get their sound.

and then as you can see, I am reading as much as I can on them, even new ones like the one I got

I think you might like the 3 Gerald Weber books.

Many "real" engineers would CRINGE at these books. They're "awful" on the theory-- they contain many inaccuracies in terms of electronics engineering theory.

But I enjoyed them, and they are full of schematics and other things that continue to make them useful references, for me.

I think of it sort of like... there's the old guy down the street who builds killer hot rods in his garage, and then there's the MIT grad who engineers cars for major auto makers. G. Weber is DEFINITELY the former. He's got plenty of "horse sense" and has tinkered with amps long enough to know what works and what doesn't... even if he sometimes falls flat when he's trying to explain exactly what's going on in terms of the physics.

brad allen williams

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,181 Member Since:23/10/2013

#5 [url]

Apr 28 17 2:45 PM

What Brad said.

...that said, after seeing the article, it brings to mind that Paul Reed Smith used to do a mod on JCM800s that sounded amazing. I wonder if the PRS 50 watt model with EL34s is in any way related to that. Not holding my breath, but I hope so.

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,181 Member Since:23/10/2013

#6 [url]

Apr 28 17 2:51 PM

Side note - that Fender Bassman reissue was a big bummer IMO. :-)

For the artists that they are associating with that amp, I'm not sure how many really played even the original version regularly.

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,401 Member Since:04/02/2011

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Apr 28 17 3:02 PM

Also, there were several versions of "the original!"

The 5F6-A is widely thought of as the "cream of the crop," but in reality it was just the last tweed version.

Many of the earlier ones were cool, too. The 5F6 (with the cool mercury vapor "83" rectifier tube) was pretty badass. The 5E6 and 5E6-A (with its PAIR of 5U4 GB rectifiers... what, you mean you thought Mesa invented the "dual rectifier" concept?!) was also particularly cool. And then there were others! The 5D6 was interesting, if perhaps a bit more primitive than the others.

All "tweed bassman."

brad allen williams

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 4,181 Member Since:23/10/2013

#8 [url]

Apr 28 17 3:12 PM

Yeah... night and day compared to the reissue with the solidstate rectifier. YUCK. Original Bassmans can be awesome. The Blackface Bassman heads were cool too.

The tube rectifier probably isn't as big of a deal in something like a Twin Reverb Reissue, where it's so damn loud that you're probably not playing it for the overdrive. But what I expect from a Bassman really calls for a little bit of the tube rectifier sag...and I guess the sum of all of the other parts that are apparently missing.

I was similarly disappointed with the Super Reverb reissue...actually much moreso, though I'm not sure what's going on with that on the inside.

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John Eppstein

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,273 Member Since:31/05/2015

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Apr 28 17 5:23 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:
Yeah... night and day compared to the reissue with the solidstate rectifier. YUCK. Original Bassmans can be awesome. The Blackface Bassman heads were cool too.

The tube rectifier probably isn't as big of a deal in something like a Twin Reverb Reissue, where it's so damn loud that you're probably not playing it for the overdrive. But what I expect from a Bassman really calls for a little bit of the tube rectifier sag...and I guess the sum of all of the other parts that are apparently missing.

I was similarly disappointed with the Super Reverb reissue...actually much moreso, though I'm not sure what's going on with that on the inside.

Twin Reverbs and Showmans have always had solid state rectifiers. I don't think they have room for tubes on that chassis.

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,401 Member Since:04/02/2011

#11 [url]

Apr 28 17 11:08 PM

The solid-state rectifier in the reissue bassman... like the urethane finishes and 3-bolt necks of 70s Fenders... is the easiest thing to identify about those amps that's different from original.

And perhaps because it's such an obvious difference, it usually gets most of the blame.

But you know what? In my opinion the solid-state rectifier was one of the more minor issues with that first bassman RI.

Right off the bat, the 12AX7 input stage (rather than 12AY7, as on an original 5F6-A) was a deal-breaker. Wrong gain structure for that amp, wrong sound from the front end. A 12AY7 is a very different tube from a 12AX7, even though one will "work" in the other's spot, to some degree. Yes, the AX7 offers roughly twice the voltage gain, but it also has a somewhat different transfer characteristic and audibly different character. Big miss. No new production 12AY7s when it was introduced, so they had to do something, but... it just didn't work.

Then, of course, while the Eminence speakers were actually decent for their time period and price point... they were no P10Q, that's for sure. So that was another BIG one, along with the overall quality of available parts.

But another HUGE one was the cabinet construction. Original narrow-panel tweed Fender cabinets were PART of the instrument. Not just "a box to hold the speakers." 1990s Fender missed it, big time. They apparently saw the cabinet as a good place to cut corners, perhaps wrongly assuming it wouldn't impact the sound much.

They were wrong.

A narrow-panel tweed cabinet is solid finger-jointed yellow pine with a plywood baffle. The baffle is skinnier ply than it rightly SHOULD be-- 3/8" on the bassman (1/4" on the Princeton and Champ!), and is hung by four screws-- two on the top of the cabinet, and two on the bottom.

As a result of the ply being SO skinny, and being TOTALLY free on the sides... it vibrates WITH the speakers almost like the top of a giant plywood double-bass, or enormous guitarron or something. The baffle itself is almost like a fifth "speaker" in a way. This motion, in addition to producing sound all its own, also influences the sound of the speakers that are mounted to it.

The rest of the cab, being solid pine, is also pretty damn resonant. You can crank one of those bassmans (bassmen?) up and almost bounce it off a chair, it shakes so much. This is part of the amp's characteristic sound.

The reissue had a thick MDF cabinet and thick baffle made of who-knows-what. It exhibited none of those behaviors.

Yeah, and I guess it had a solid-state rectifier, too. I mean, not that the 5AR4 "sags" that much anyway. It's not exactly a 5Y3. The 5AR4 was a damn stout rectifier, top state-of-the-art until tubes themselves fell by the wayside. It was chosen precisely to AVOID sag, and I never personally felt an original Bassman "sag" too much (sure as hell not with a guitar through it, anyway).

But the input stage and the cab were deal-breakers for that amp being anything like an original.

brad allen williams

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trock.lucasmicrophone

Gold Finger

Posts: 361 Member Since:11/10/2013

#12 [url]

Apr 29 17 7:49 PM

Is it true the bassman started out for bass? and once guitarists liked them were they continued to be used by bass players as well? any other amps that were used for both successfully?

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