Fender Bassman TV Ten, Fifteen and Duo Ten
By Brian Fox
Wed, 1 Jun 2011
rss

bp0611_gearfend_6067Duo Ten

  

SINCE KNOCKING IT OUT OF THE PARK with its Precision and Jazz Basses, Fender has had a somewhat tougher go banking home runs in the bass amp field, bringing to the plate designs that have gotten more mileage among tone-savvy guitarists than gigging bassists. But the company has really begun to hit its stride in recent years, offering a range of bass amps that deliver the goods for pros and hobbyists alike. One of Fender’s more recent lines, the Bassman TV series, is a nod to the company’s 1950s heyday—a time when the nascent electric bass was more commonly referred to as the “Fender Bass,” and when amps came dressed in tweed for a look as warm and woolly as their sound.

The Bassman TV series includes four models: the 150-watt 1x10 Ten and 1x12 Twelve, and the 350-watt 1x15 Fifteen and 2x10 Duo Ten. They all feature XLR LINE OUT jacks, rear ports, and the classic passive Fender tone stack—an interactive circuit where “flat” is best approximated with BASS and TREBLE set around 2, and MIDDLE around 10. The larger Fifteen and Duo Ten combos, which also boast DEEP and BRIGHT switches, ship with removable casters. To test the Ten, Duo Ten, and Fifteen, I played a range of passive and active basses in small rehearsal halls and mid-size clubs.

TV GUIDE

In the style department, the TVs have it dialed—their lacquered tweed covers and brown grille cloths give the amps killer stage presence, and their top-mounted control panels boast cool vintage-style “chicken-head” knobs. Unlike the open-back designs of the original Bassman, the TVs feature solid enclosures with rear ports, giving the combos a tighter low-end response. The compact Ten was a cinch to schlep, and while I’d normally expect cabinets the size of the Duo Ten and Fifteen to have side-mounted handles, I found the topmounted handle made rolling the combos on their casters much more manageable.

bp0611_gearfend_6069Fifteen

 

The TVs’ passive tone stack gives the combos a warm, organic character that sets them apart from the crystalline hi-fi sound of many modern amplifiers. Flat settings had a strong fundamental with a solid bump in the midrange frequencies. Dialing in a more mid-scooped sound was easy, and although the TVs don’t have tweeters, I was able to get my highs happening for a hip old-school slap sound.

PRIMETIME PLAYERS

It may be the runt of the bunch, but the 150-watt Ten proved itself no mere practice amp. In a five-piece rock rehearsal setting, I felt as if I were pushing it a little beyond its sweet spot—yet with PA support through its XLR LINE OUT, the Ten would be able to keep up in a mid-volume live setting. The combo’s size and weight make it the ideal rehearsal companion.

Bassists looking to play a Bassman TV on gigs will no doubt be drawn to the larger Duo Ten and Fifteen. Even though 350 watts may not sound like it would be sufficient for midsize gigs, these TVs were definitely up for the task, and could easily handle larger gigs with PA support. The additional GAIN control allowed me to push the preamp hard for tasty overdriven tones, and the additional DEEP and BRIGHT switches offered additional tone control. The only difference between the Duo Ten and Fifteen is their speaker confi guration, but each combo definitely has a character of its own. The Duo Ten has a quicker response and a tighter low end—especially at higher volumes—while the cranked Fifteen has a wondrously woofy, affably flatulent quality that sounds almost like a tube amp pushed to the brink. While it sounded a little too flabby for a hard-rock setting, the Fifteen would sound righteous on any blues or country gig.

 

 

bp0611_gearfend_6071Ten

 

Hi-fi tweakers, well-heeled tube purists, and headbanging heshers might steer clear of Fender’s Bassman TV set, but the combos are a great option for those looking to spice up the stage with some vintage mojo. If you’re a lover of that round, old-school bass sound, be warned: This TV series is addictive.

 

 

 

FENDER BASSMAN TV TEN

Street $800
Pros Perfect for rehearsals and coffeehouse gigs
Cons None

FENDER BASSMAN TV DUO TEN

Street $1,000
Pros Tight lows
Cons None

FENDER BASSMAN TV FIFTEEN

Street $1,000
Pros Cool old-school sound when pushed hard
Cons None

bp0611_gearfend_6072TECH SPECS

BASSMAN TEN
Power 150 watts
Speaker 1 x 10" Celestion Green Label
Controls VOLUME, BASS, MIDDLE, TREBLE
Dimensions 20" x 18" x 12"
Weight 38 lbs

BASSMAN DUO TEN
Power 350 watts
bp0611_gearfend_6068Speaker 2 x 10" Eminence
Controls GAIN, VOLUME, BASS, MIDDLE, TREBLE, VOLUME, DEEP switch, BRIGHT switch
Other Casters included
Dimensions 25" x 23" x 14"
Weight 61.5 lbs

BASSMAN FIFTEEN
Power 350 watts
Speaker 1 x 15” Celestion Green Label
Controls GAIN, VOLUME, BASS, MIDDLE, TREBLE, VOLUME, DEEP switch, BRIGHT switch
Other Castors included
Dimensions 25" x 23" x 14"
Weight 59.5 lbs

Amplifier type Class D hybrid
Preamp tube 1 x 12AX7
Jacks input 1, input 2 (–6dB), XLR line out (with ground lift)
Input impedance input 1, 1MΩ; input 2, 136KΩ
Warranty One year limited
Made in Mexico
Contact fender.com

HEY, MR. BASSMAN

Designed in 1951 to amplify the fledgling Fender Precision Bass, the original Fender Bassman was a 26-watt 1x15 combo powered by a pair of 6L6 tubes. In 1954, the amp was bumped up to 50 watts, and its 15" speaker was swapped for a more robust 4x10 confi guration. From 1961 to 1979, the Bassman was offered as a standalone head with accompanying 1x12, 2x12, and 2x15 cabinets.

Register / login to rate articles and leave comments.



What's your take on keyboard bass?
 Love it
 Leave it alone
 Got it covered via stompboxes
 
 
 
 
 
Guitar World Guitar Player Guitar Aficionado Revolver Mag Bass Player Keyboard Mag Emusician
Bass Player is a trademark of New Bay Media, LLC. All material published on www.bassplayer.com is copyrighted @2014 by New Bay Media, LLC. All rights reserved