|Fender 5F6A Bassman Project
Author: Frederick R. Vobbe, W8HDU
Started: April 16, 2010
April 16, 2010
This is is a Fender "Bassman" model 5F6A. The Fender Bassman was introduced in 1952 and discontinued in 1983, so there are not many around. If you have one, they can go for as little as $1,000 and I've seen pristine ones go for as much as $16,700 on Ebay. The 1959 Bassman model 5F6A, was known to a lot of people in the business as "The '59 Bassman", or the "Tweed Bassman" because of its stylish 50's cabinet. The Fender Bassman amp was paramount to the success of many in early rock and roll.
My son is a bass player, and (lucky for me) he appreciates the sound of the "old school" tube bass sound. So after reading some postings on GearSlutz, I decided to embark on building one of these classic amps from scratch. I think when I get done with it, and present it to him, he will have a lot of fun playing it.
One of the reasons I love building this kind of stuff is the challenge. You can buy anything when you have the money. But if you built it, you also have the satisfaction of seeing something go from parts to performance, and it's a great feeling. I started building stuff like this when I was 10, partly because I didn't have the money for what I wanted, so I looked for dead equipment and either brought it back to life, or parted it out to build things that I wanted.
First, I had to find information about the amp. There was lots of confusion about the amp, and the first task was separate the good info from the speculation, (wild ass) guesses, and personal opinion. The schematic is pretty easy to follow.
The transformers were my first purchase. Because someone had presented me with a crossreference for the transformers to a company called Hammond, I purchased their model 1760K for the output, and a mode 291DX for the power transformer. As a side note, if I had this to do over, I would not purchase Hammond transformers for several reasons. First, I'm very disappointed in Hammond for their lack of support and outright rudeness in trying to talk with them about this project and two other projects. Second, apparently others have had this same issue, but someone in the GearSlutz forum suggested a company called Mercury Magnetics in Chatsworth, California. I still need to order the choke, as soon as I refresh my project fund.
The next purchase was the Fiberboard. This is where all the parts are mounted, and the controls, transformers, and other devices are connected to.
The fiberboard can be purchased stuffed with parts, you can buy the board and find your own parts, or make your own. I decided to make my own, but I purchased a cheap fiberboard to use as a template.
When I make my board I thought I would make it out of ridgid teflon or some type of plexiglas. I ordered the turrets from Mouser Electronics. When I get the material I'll use the turret board as a template, then drill, and mount the turrets, and then comes the task of finding all the parts and populating the board. As a side note, you can search the Internet and find some very nice boards that look like a million dollars, and they come in several colors, but they come at a premium price.
The one thing to consider is that once they board is assembled and installed in the amp, only you will know it's there and see it when you open the amp. Therefore I'm not looking for a real nice looking board, but one with some quality and durability.
TO BE CONTINUED..............
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