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Good amp for jazz
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
Posts: 670

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:44 pm    Post subject: Good amp for jazz Reply with quote

Today was amplifier maintenance day around my house. I had the day off (couple, actually), so I hit the "to do" list. I've had some amp repair chores accumulating. Nothing major, just some nagging things...an old Fender Champ that needed a tune up; a 5e3 Deluxe I built some years back that needed a tube socket retensioned; and an early 90s Fender Bassman RI that I had parted out the speakers of needed to be dealt with.

The first two were quickly restored to great playing order. The Bassman is a curious story. Years ago, I built a point-to-point 5f6a Bassman clone. Since then, I just haven't played the Fender. Also, at about the same time, I provided an early-90s Fender Pro Junior with the blue-frame Eminence alnico speaker to a guitarist in a touring/recording rock band. Soon, his buddies wanted the same rig. One thing led to another, and I ended up installing the blue-frame Eminence speakers from the RI into amps for rock guys.

Well, today, I cleaned up the old chassis of the now neglected RI amp, brought up everything slowly on a Variac to re-form the capacitors, and installed four P10R speakers into the cabinet. I hadn't played the Fender RI amplifier in many years (I bought it in 1992). Turns out, it is a VERY HAPPY amp. I put a Mullard 5AR4 rectifier tube in to bring down the wattage to about 40 watts, or so.

This amp sounds quite good with my ES-175, Telecaster, and ES-335. Although I tend to play Polytone amps all the time, this Fender amp would work just fine on the bandstand. Has anyone else played the '59 RI for jazz?

Sorry for the long post.
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Secret2goodtoneispractice



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been awhile . . . I recall a 2 6L6 Leo circuit with tube rectifier . . . It was loud and clean, with solid basic tone and good presence for a jazz application. Rock guys probably wouldn't like it because of lack of breakup, except at mucho grande volume.

It's probably a great straight-ahead jazz amp, assuming that one is willing to transport, setup, and return with a 4x10 combo guitar rig.

Also, I believe it lacks reverb, trem, and fx loop. The lack of "features" could be considered tonally superior in an unaltered, basic- and pure-circuit tonal sense. Or, it could be considered a drawback for the bell-and-whistle type.

Regardless, if you're happy, then you're happy. That means a lot for any piece of gear. Enjoy!
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mr. beaumont



Joined: 10 Apr 2006
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Location: chicago

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Fender tube amp with good headroom is a lovely thing for a jazzer.

I'm at the point now where I gig solid state (Henriksen) and play at home most of the time through a princeton. However, as pleasing as that princeton is, I've been experimenting with mixing the sound of it with the henriksen for recordings, and that seems to be my ideal sound--clam and cod. (Melville fans)

But there's nooo way I'm dragging all that to a gig!
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trotsky



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 438
Location: Sarnia Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love fender amps...and always have.
I bought the wine red tolex Fender deluxe RI and I am really diggin it but I do freely admit that it pales in comparison to my buddies original Black Face.
I have been thinking about buying a second amp and running stereo but have yet to pull the trigger...only because I cannot decide on an amp.

I thought about adding a Princeton RI ...or ..(gulp) an original but the idea of blending the solid state sound and the tube honk might be interesting as well and Mr B's post reply has me thinking now LOL!

Henriksen you say????? hmmmmm?? lol

I haven't had the joy of plugging into the amp that GT mentioned but it doesn't surprise me at all that the sound is cool...I have yet to meet a old style fender amp that didn't appeal to me on some level. Rolling Eyes

I love the quote in this video where Jim says that a fender amp is a symbol of goodness like a Christmas tree...very funny but pretty much the way I look at it too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHVG4kDurtY
Clam and cod indeed....
Call me Ishmael
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should have identified the amp better. This is the '59 Bassman Reissue Tweed amplifier with four 10" Jensen speakers. A classic design, it is the amplifier that Jim Marshall and Ken Bran copied in making the Marshall JTM 45 amp in the 1960s--the rest is rock and roll history.

The amplifier will overdrive in a very classic--indeed, iconic--way, but played clean it is strong, glassy, and has an enormous amount of low end.

Because the cabinet isn't made of MDF (medium density fiberboard), and because the speaker baffle is a thin, floating baffle, the amp is actually comparatively light. Still, it IS heavier than my solid state Polytones.

You can really get a nice jazz tone, however, from this amplifier.
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trotsky



Joined: 24 May 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This it?
http://www.legendarytones.com/fenderbassman.html
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trotsky,

Yeah. Actually, mine is the older version of this amp. The LTD replaces the '59 Bassman Reissue. The LTD has a lacquered cabinet and a 5U4 rectifier tube. The first Reissue came with unlacquered tweed and a plug-in solid-state rectifier. Both amps, however, sound and perform much better with a good NOS 5AR4 rectifier tube in place. That's what the schematic calls for.
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Encinitastubes



Joined: 02 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realize this is an old thread, but I too fired up my Bassman RI with my P-90 175 and found that I had to turn the bass, treble, and presence almost to 0 to get a good sound, but a good sound it is. Is this normal?
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Gorecki
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Encinitastubes wrote:
I realize this is an old thread, but I too fired up my Bassman RI with my P-90 175 and found that I had to turn the bass, treble, and presence almost to 0 to get a good sound, but a good sound it is. Is this normal?


Sure it's normal. Think of it this way amplification is just that, it's power. Tone shaping is in a preamplification stage. So tonal qualities shaped by the preamp and the resulting speaker are really what dictates its for bass and as jazzers go, a flat or rolled off tone works out pretty well. Wink
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gnappi



Joined: 05 Dec 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Encinitastubes wrote:
I realize this is an old thread, but I too fired up my Bassman RI with my P-90 175 and found that I had to turn the bass, treble, and presence almost to 0 to get a good sound, but a good sound it is. Is this normal?


An amplifier amplifies or attenuates what comes in. If the incoming signal is rich or lacking in one or more frequencies the pre-amp should have enough range to adjust the final to your liking. If you can't do that, then it's abnormal. If you have any other guitars, how does the amp EQ work with them the same?
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you use the Duncan Tone Stack Calculator you can see why your result makes sense. The Fender tone stack exhibits a strong midrange notch with the tone controls set "flat," i.e., with the knobs set at the middle of their ranges. This will sound like a bass-heavy and treble-heavy or "Fender" sound.

When you pull the bass control and treble control down almost to zero, say, "one," while leaving the middle control at about mid-range, the Duncan calculator shows that this achieves the flattest response that a Fender tone stack can produce. If you reduce the middle control, too, the response remains flat, but the overall sound level drops many decibels--which is seen in the calculator.

It makes sense that your ear would tell you that the best jazz tone is achieved when you have the tone controls pulled back.
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trotsky



Joined: 24 May 2007
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Location: Sarnia Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey...
Been a while since I posted.
I have had quite a bit going on but things are starting to loosen up a bit.

I am on a bit of a tone quest which is pretty exciting.

I have sold two guitars and my Fender Deluxe RI and I am about to pull the trigger on a hand wired boutique amp.

It is a toss up between the Louis Electric KR12 or the Louis Electric Buster.

Neither of these amps are JAzz amps but I am kind of looking for less than typical jazz tone these days.

Just thought I'd share that with the forum.

Hope alls well with everybody.

Gene
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greentone



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gene,

Nice amps. They can really cover a wide range of scenes. They will do "warm and dark," but they will also brighten up and they will bark and scream just fine, too. The fixed-bias, 6L6 power amp part of the set up really has some heft in the smaller amp, and the EL34s in the larger amp are screamers. [I build amps myself and have experience with these two designs. They are winners, and Louis is _no slouch_ (understatement here) in the quality department.] Enjoy.
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trotsky



Joined: 24 May 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to hear your opinion on these GT. I know you know your stuff when it comes to gear.

I went over to a buddys house recently and got a chance to try my guitar through a great number of hand wired modern beauties as well some vintage stuff.

..There is a difference..at least to me.

You can feel it as well as hear it...very musical and it inspires me to play better.
I had a bit of a heath scare recently Rolling Eyes ...everything turned out fine. ...But through that I have come to the decision that I am not waiting any longer for some of the things I 've wanted.
Life's to short...I am gettin er done and I am pretty excited about it!
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greentone



Joined: 31 May 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trotsky wrote:
I went over to a buddys house recently and got a chance to try my guitar through a great number of hand wired modern beauties as well some vintage stuff.

..There is a difference..at least to me.

You can feel it as well as hear it...very musical and it inspires me to play better.
I had a bit of a heath scare recently Rolling Eyes ...everything turned out fine. ...But through that I have come to the decision that I am not waiting any longer for some of the things I 've wanted.
Life's to short...I am gettin er done and I am pretty excited about it!


Trotsky:

I am glad everything turned out fine. Let me say that I sure do understand what you mean about sound inspiring you to play better. _GOOD TONE_ make a world of difference in how I play. I find that I can actually play "above my pay grade" when the tone sounds great. This actually makes more of a difference to me than if the guitar is set up to play effortlessly. That is, I would actually rather fight a guitar that isn't set up so great, but get a great sound, than to play a spankin' hot guitar through a mediocre amp.

After 25 years of playing almost nothing but a Gibson 175 into a Polytone MiniBrute, I have spent the last 10 years playing through hand-built tube amps that I made for myself. I certainly agree with you that there is a difference.

[I still enjoy my Polytone amps though. Smile]
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