Yes, the Fender Bassman was first advertised and designed as a bass amp back in the 1950s. The first two models, 1952 and 1953 models were advertised as bass amps. However, musicians started using it as an amp for other instruments like the guitar and discovered that it was doing a great job amplifying them. That’s when they stopped advertising it as a bass amp, exclusively.
In this article, we will learn what a Fender Bassman is, a brief history of it, and clear your doubts of the question ‘is fender bassman a bass amp‘. Moreover, we will discuss the different Fender Bassman models to see the best model and if it really is a good bass amp, in general, or has fallen off the list.
What Is a Fender Bassman?
The Fender Bassman was introduced in the market by Fender in the 1950s. Initially, the first Fender Bassman model was meant to amplify bass guitars; however, people started using it to amplify other instruments like electric guitars, harmonicas, etc. Its design is the world’s first solid-body electric bass guitar which was huge back in the day because there were not many amplifiers for bass guitars.
The 1952 model was a TV-front barebone equipped with 2 knobs to adjust the tone and volume, two input jacks on a top-mounted controller, a bottom-mounted copper-plated steel chassis, and a well-designed Jensen P15N speaker. Another unique design of the first Bassman was its closed-back since it was the first Fender amp with this feature.
The 1952 model was a big hit; however, people favored the new wide-panel-designed amps as new technology emerged. Thus, the 1953 model was born, which was just a wide-panel version of the previous 1952 model.
With this new model, Fender was still considering it as a bass amp, saying that the Fender Bassman was not just a “rehashed guitar amp, but an instrument that has been designed for the reproduction of bass, and bass only.”
However, people have gone off and tried using the Fender Bassman as an amp to different instruments like guitars and harmonicas. Soon after, Fender decided to stop pushing the bass only label of the amp to reach a more versatile market. That’s where it started to become more of a versatile amplifier rather than an exclusive bass amp.
What Is the Best Model of the Fender Bassman?
Since it has been a long time since the Fender Bassman has been released in the market, there have been a lot of models that have been released through the years with modifications and redesigns.
Despite this, people still prefer the vintage model which was released in the late 1950s, specifically the 5F6 Bassman models. The first model, 5F6, was released back in July 1957. The model had the same 4 Jensen P10R speakers as previous models. This model’s new features are the single 83 mercury vapor rectifier tube for the power supply and the preamp circuit that includes a three-knob tone stack with different controllers for the bass, mid, and treble.
In 1958, Fender released the 5F6-A model of the Fender Bassman. This is the final 1950s Tweed Bassman model with the 83 mercury vapor rectifier and changed it to the GZ34 rectifier tube.
Another change that they made when the early 1960s rolled in was the Jensen P10R speakers; they started using the Jensen P10Q models. The reason for this switch is because the P10Q was able to wield more power and provide “cleaner” tones compared to the P10R ones.
With the changes implemented on the 5F6-A model, it has been quickly regarded as the best guitar amp in the industry by many musicians. With the high distinction that the model has, Fender decided to reissue it during the 1990s.
The reissue of the 5F6-A model has four Eminence-made 10-inch blue frame AlNiCo speakers as well as a solid-state rectifier. After a little while, the reissued 5F6-A model was renamed to “59 Bassman LTD” and was, yet again, redesigned to be equipped with four Jensen P10R reissue AlNiCo speakers and the original 5AR4 rectifier tube.
Even if most musicians prefer the Fender Bassman 5F6-A, it is still subjective to the person who is going to use the amp due to certain preferences. If you are looking to get a Fender Bassman, you should do your research to compare these models and choose your preferred model.
Is the Fender Bassman a Good Bass Amp?
During the time where the Fender Bassman was just new in the market and technology was not that advanced, the Fender Bassman was the bass amplifier that paved the road for bass amps because the previous amplifiers were just not good at amplifying bass frequencies and sometimes not loud enough to be able to push the bass sound out for the audience to hear.
It was a revolutionary idea at the time and was executed rather well that it became a solid foundation for Marshall and other big companies to build their high-gain tube amplifiers. If we are considering the 5F6A model, then it would be a great guitar amp. However, there are some problems when it comes to using it for bass guitars, but given the limited options for bassists back then, there was no doubt that this model was the best bass amp they could get in the market.
Nowadays, there are a lot of great bass amps out in the market due to the ever-progressing technology that we have. You can be able to choose from a wide array of models from several different companies.
What Does a Fender Bassman Sound Like?
As we might know now, there are a lot of Fender Bassman models that have been produced over the years. However, if we are going to talk about the 5F6-A model specifically, then it does not do bass guitars justice, according to a lot of bassists.
This is because of the model’s design, with its open back cab, which does not allow a good volume and let the deep bass sounds come through. Moreover, the speakers that the stock 5F6-A are not up to the task to become a great bass amp, but it did an okay job as a bass amp if you are mindful not to have too much volume low end or heavy-handed slapping, thumping, or pulling.
Some people have tried switching out the speakers of the 5F6-A model before, and they seem to have been pleased with the result, so this might be an option to be able to fix the issues brought about by several bassists who own this model.
The last thing to take note of is that it is also meant to be a guitar amp, and it seems like it does well as a guitar amp since it has been named as the best guitar amp.
Should You Get a Fender Bassman?
Being regarded as one of the best guitar amplifiers by numerous musicians in the statement that should have convinced you to try Fender Bassman amps. Musicians are very crucial in terms of choosing their equipment because they want nothing but the best to be able to produce tracks.
With the widespread use of new technology, you can try and consider different models, even companies. However, there are still new Fender Bassman models that you could consider if you do not think that even the 5F6-A model would do you no good. So, you can try out other models from the line or different Fender amps.
Some musicians really seek out these vintage Bassman amps, especially the 5F6 and 5F6-A models that are not even produced by Fender anymore. But, of course, it all boils down to what your situation is and what your needs are to be able to get a perfect amp for you.
For example, some people say that the 59 Bassman LTD is a great amp for guitars. However, when it comes to bass guitars, they say that it does not produce great volume and a deep bass sound since it has an open back design.
We hope this article has answered your question of ‘Is the fender bassman a bass amp‘ .The Fender Bassman was initially designed to be a bass amp in the 1950s. It was a trailblazer for bass amps back then and still holds that position today, but with time, there have been many improvements for bass amps that the Fender Bassman 5F6A just did not keep up with, even with the reissue.
However, there are other Bassman models out in the market that could be great with bass guitars, if you want to specifically get a Fender Bassman. But, if you are not that set on getting them, then you can get other models from Fender, or even several companies that produce high-quality amps.
If you are a guitarist, it might be a good fit for you to get the 59 Bassman LTD model as it still holds up to the standard that the original Fender Bassman 5F6-A model has. It was and still is a great guitar amp and is still produced by Fender to date.