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New Fender Super Bassman amp

Fender has given some glimpses of the new models they'll be showcasing at NAMM this month, and I've gotta say I'm pretty damn impressed this time around. Fender has been pretty boring in the past several years, with just more of the same ol' humdrum stuff; they've been very conservative (Fender Mexico and USA, that is, Fender Japan's domestic market stuff's been awesome for years). They seem to be spreading their wings a little this year and bringing forth some solid ideas.

With this in mind, they're rolling out some solid material in the amp department, as well as the instrument department. One that I've got my eye on, waiting to hear some demos and to see a pricetag, is the Super Bassman amp head. This thing, from what Fender has told us, has some serious power and interesting technology in its chassis. 300W of power with multiple impedance output to match different speaker cabinets, self-biasing of the tubes/valves, silent output for recording direct to a soundboard without cooking your transformers... it's a machine! I just wonder if it can really produce the classic Bassman tones at that power level!

My current bass amp head is a little messed up right now, having been hit with a surge last summer during a thunder storm... the ground is dead and it sends a terrible electric shock through the instrument into whoever's holding it. I haven't been able to find a technician locally to take a look at it, so I'll need a replacement, I suppose... the Super Bassman looks like a potential contender!

4 blog comments below

Looks like Fender has a product page for the Super Bassman up now. MSRP is $2400, but, that's never what things sell for. I was in at the local music shop and they'll retail for about $1800. Bit out of my price range. Might look into something like an Orange Bass Terror instead, at $1000 less Razz Not as flexible as the Super Bassman should be, but, much more affordable.
Ankhanu on Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:27 pm
Isn't this (is that the picture or picture of the old stuff) like old techno or something? It even has twirly control knobs; how 70's! Not knocking it though because if it has something to do with music "the getting of that certain sound" is definite for what you want? Price I'm not sure about.

Jeans at Sears now go for $70.00 so everything has gotten more expensive except maybe some electronic gear.
Bluedoll on Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:22 am
That's the picture of the new model, which looks pretty similar to the Bassman from the '50s on.
Yeah, the vacuum tubes are old technology, but they've continued to have use even after transistors had become widespread. That said, this thing is also packed with cutting edge modern technology married to the old circuitry, particularly the system that monitors the tubes and adjusts the voltage applied to each tube to maintain the amp running optimally.
The knobs are pretty much an universal means of adjusting settings on an amp (occasionally sliders are used, but normally it's knobs). Even the most modern will have knob adjustments Smile

Tubes behave differently than solid state tranistors; for example, they don't react as quickly to changes in input signal, which, depending on where they are in the signal path, can slow how quickly a note appears, so it has more of a slow volume bloom rather than suddenly appearing at full volume (we're talking millisecond here at most, but it's perceptible). They'll also filter the sound a little differently, often making a "warmer" sound than a solid state amp, which might be more "sterile" or even "brittle"; these are the result of slight differences in the overtone sequence of each note, and what overtones are enhanced/attenuated. A major difference between to two is how a signal clips, or overdrives/distorts; the two clip a signal rather differently, and, in many applications, the warmth of a tube, and the sag make for a more pleasant overdriven signal... it's your classic rock sound. There are other differences, but, yeah, different circuit, different sound characters Smile

For bass, solid state versus tube is a lesser issue than with guitar, and, more often than not, solid state is even preferred for its clarity and clean headroom (you can have more volume without clipping the signal). That said, bass through tubes is delightfully warm and full... and when you want some overdrive, nothing beats tubes. I've loved having a tube pre-amp on my Peavey T-Max... but with it offloading shocks though the instrument at up to 400Watts, it's potentially fatal to use. The tube pre has sounded nice and full, and when I play harder, it reacts organically with some dirt around the edge of the sound... I love it. I want to have this sort of touch-sensitive reaction in my next amp if I can't find someone to fix the one I have now... so tubes are where I need to go Smile
Ankhanu on Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:33 am
I like it but the longest three minutes of my life. Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run Ta ta a t a ttt a ta run

BASS Players .. oh change up at the end and big closer seeeeyahhhh nice sound though!
Bluedoll on Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:10 am

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