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What amps did bassists use in the 70s?

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56 minutes ago, BassBod said:

a lot of TV’s still had valves and were rented 😳

My dad used to rent out TVs until the early 80s.  Many were still valve B&W sets!

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Posted (edited)

Ah, the '70's. I pretty much grew up as a bassplayer then, so....

My first 70's rig was an Eko Violin Bass through an Impact (Dallas Arbiter) 60w valve amp, into a couple of 2x12"'s. Add in Rotosound Trubass strings and a cheap fuzzbox and I was able to get......one of the worst bass tones known to mankind.:sad: But at least I moved on to...

My second 70's rig a couple of years later. Fender Musicmaster bass into a Sound City 120 Head, and a no-name 1 x 18" cab. Took me from my School Band era into the Playing In A Proper Band level. Managed a much better sound, at the same time as I was becoming a better player.  Even better, I changed bass to a 1974 Fender Jazz during this time, and it all started to sound pretty damn good - but when I was getting ready to go to Uni, I finally traded up to.....

My third 70's bass rig, towards the end of the decade. Same Jazz Bass, into a silverface Fender Bassman 50 Export and matching 2 x 15" cab.  Until I acquired my current set-up, 40-plus years later, this rig gave me the best sound I ever had - warm, full, from reggae to punk, just everything. Heavy cab, but such a sweeeeet sound. Wish I still had it all...except now I know how to use it, I couldn't carry it around!!    :dash1:

Edited by mangotango
wish I could type......

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60s I used a Selmer valve amp into a pair of Selmer 18 inch cabs (and used to fit them into a mini countryman). I’ve still got some tapes of live gigs, and the bass sounds better than it ought to.

I the 70s, short of cash, I used H/H into a Marshal angle guitar cab. Fairly horrible sound.

Much the best sounding amp that I got to use in that era, and possibly still the best sounding amp I’ve heard, was an original Music Man valve amp, into 4x12. Not specifically a bass amp, but that certainly didn’t matter. Much better than the Ampeg SVT which I got when I had some money.

In the 80s I went with a series of Trace Elliots, amps good, cabs not.

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Posted (edited)

In the 1970's (1974-82) there was only 1 amp I used. I don't remember the model number or whatever but was an Ampeg (the SVT hadn't come out yet), 100 watts and was a thing of beauty, looks and sound. I had it coupled with an Ampeg 2x 15 speaker cab, the one with the cut at the back to allow for the built in wheels to work, and the handle(bar) tat the top to flip it like a sack truck to move it about. '82 -'86 I used a Marshall bass head with 2, 4  x 12 cabs. Don't remember the wattage but it was seriously loud. I'd been growing up in Canada during these years. Late '86 I moved to the UK.

 

Edited by Shutterbug

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I had a solid state Peavey, I think it might have been a Mark 3, and an 18" Bass cabinet. THis would have been around 1978/79.

Burman was available at that time, Muir Music in Manchester had several of them, but they were certainly out of my reach as an impoverished student. Even so, some people thought they were too cheap: Dave Lunt remarked at the time that, given the cost of the components, he wouldnt even plug his soldering iron in for the profit margin.

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Looking through this fabulously resurrected thread, it's amazed me how many people made their own cabs and how many people bought and played through an 18" speaker. As I said in an earlier thread, I made my own cab and covered it in black vinyl when I was just 16 mainly out of necessity because I couldn't afford a factory made one. I loaded it with an 18" Goodmans after reading in the brochure that it was perfect for Organ and fairground applications. Just hilarious when I look back though:)

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On 07/06/2019 at 20:25, Woody1957 said:

Looking through this fabulously resurrected thread, it's amazed me how many people made their own cabs and how many people bought and played through an 18" speaker. As I said in an earlier thread, I made my own cab and covered it in black vinyl when I was just 16 mainly out of necessity because I couldn't afford a factory made one. I loaded it with an 18" Goodmans after reading in the brochure that it was perfect for Organ and fairground applications. Just hilarious when I look back though:)

Same here. 18" Goodmans 100w driver into a homemade 'sealed' cab. I had no knowledge of sealed/ported at that point. It was just a box. Head was a Marshall Super Lead like so many above. 70's P Bass. Actually it was quite a good sound in general, but the room acoustics could wreak havoc every so often.  Graduated to a HH VS Bassamp into a 15" PA cab.  and then on to Peavey MKIII into a Megabox with a 15 & 2x8. Under-powered at the time, I thought. 

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Any cab builders remember the ARU, Acoustic Resistance Unit? Not sure what it did but the cab designs had it fixed in the back panel, approx 10”x10”. It was meant to allow a smaller cab but my 2x12” was huge! It took up all the load area of a Mini van on its back. That huge.

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1 hour ago, bassace said:

Any cab builders remember the ARU, Acoustic Resistance Unit? Not sure what it did but the cab designs had it fixed in the back panel, approx 10”x10”. It was meant to allow a smaller cab but my 2x12” was huge! It took up all the load area of a Mini van on its back. That huge.

Ah! The Acoustical Resistance Unit. I seem to remember this being linked to a Goodmans catalogue. The idea being that it gave a smoother low-bass roll-off than a ported enclosure with a touch more extension. The odd hi-fi brand also made use of the idea. Celef Audio was one.

Specific size was not as precise as a port for tuning. If you had an 18" speaker then you probably needed a 10"x10" ARU; smaller hi-fi style speakers only needed a 6"x 6" or even smaller.

You can still get them today - SEAS the Norwegian hi-fi loudspeaker manufacturer offer a small round version.

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For almost everything I did until 1987, I used valves. 15W Selmer TnB combo, 50W Selmer TnB combo. Then Vox AC50 into Roost 1x15 folded horn. Then a solid state 120W head into the same cab. Then nothing at all until 2003!

:D

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In the late 70s I used a WEM Westminster 15w Bass combo. Louder than you'd think. I then moved on to an HH 100VS bass head and home brew 1x18 cab. Slightly louder farty woof tone.

At the music shop I worked in at the time Acoustic and Ampeg were considered the ones to aspire to.

 

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Posted (edited)

I have two HH 100Watt bass heads that were made in the early 70s. They were extremely well designed, rated at 80 watts in to 8ohms and 120 into 4 ohms. They were built like brick shitehouses. 

The electroluminescent panels were a sight to behold, especially in the dark. iThe wiring was beautifully laced. Being solid state they did have PCBs but they really were engineered. Bloody heavy by today’s standpoint but still louder than most  so called 200 watt amps today. 

Integtrated circuits of the time were much noisier than those of today and one day I will change the 741 for something a little quieter. 

The only problem today is they are Soooo wide. Over 2ft or 600mm so so they overhang every cabinet. 

Edited by Chienmortbb
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Through the early 80s I used a HH ic 100s with a 215 HH cab , it was a superb setup, and I love the green lights,  but I unfortunately moved into a smaller flat and had to sell it , but I still have an old HH vs , and it still works 🙂

58985BF7-1C5C-4E1E-B195-2357739C6F30.jpeg

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Reggaebass said:

Through the early 80s I used a HH ic 100s with a 215 HH cab , it was a superb setup, and I love the green lights,  but I unfortunately moved into a smaller flat and had to sell it , but I still have an old HH vs , and it still works 🙂

58985BF7-1C5C-4E1E-B195-2357739C6F30.jpeg

Yes I have one of those and a Bassamp,100. They are approaching 47 and 48 respectively.

Edited by Chienmortbb
Added info
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I had one of these. Bloody useless, except for bedroom practice.
(Photo from net - not my amp)

ybzl99qcbs8tkss6bhrg.jpg

Then I got one of these. I had it for quite a long time. It was NOT in the slightest bit portable.
I think there's a family, somewhere, with about seven children living in it now.
(Photo from net - not my amp)

$_86.JPG

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On 07/06/2019 at 20:25, Woody1957 said:

Looking through this fabulously resurrected thread, it's amazed me how many people made their own cabs and how many people bought and played through an 18" speaker. As I said in an earlier thread, I made my own cab and covered it in black vinyl when I was just 16 mainly out of necessity because I couldn't afford a factory made one. I loaded it with an 18" Goodmans after reading in the brochure that it was perfect for Organ and fairground applications. Just hilarious when I look back though:)

Pah, Vic Reeves (or Rod Moir as he was known then) used an 18 foot Goodman!O.o

109d212e-be83-46dd-aa78-63ab45bee466_zpsf6c848bd.JPG

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2 hours ago, karlfer said:

Pah, Vic Reeves (or Rod Moir as he was known then) used an 18 foot Goodman!O.o

measuring his speaker in willy-inches 😲

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Well, this was my rig in 1973 -

A Wallace bass amp (new, bought directly from Wallace in Praed St mews at Paddington)

Pair of 1x12 exponential horn cabinets

Pair of Carlsbro 2x15 cabs

It was vast, and needed a small truck to move it about, but was err...a bit loud.

 

Bass rig 1973 001.jpg

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11 hours ago, musicbassman said:

Well, this was my rig in 1973 -

A Wallace bass amp (new, bought directly from Wallace in Praed St mews at Paddington)

Pair of 1x12 exponential horn cabinets

Pair of Carlsbro 2x15 cabs

It was vast, and needed a small truck to move it about, but was err...a bit loud.

 

Bass rig 1973 001.jpg

Bet you needed your own transit van and a team of specially trained roadies to lift that lot mate.....must have looked awesome on stage though. Did you manage to fit anyone else on stage?

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On 07/06/2019 at 20:25, Woody1957 said:

Looking through this fabulously resurrected thread, it's amazed me how many people made their own cabs and how many people bought and played through an 18" speaker. As I said in an earlier thread, I made my own cab and covered it in black vinyl when I was just 16 mainly out of necessity because I couldn't afford a factory made one. I loaded it with an 18" Goodmans after reading in the brochure that it was perfect for Organ and fairground applications. Just hilarious when I look back though:)

Back in the 70s and early 80s amps and bass cabs were very expensive compared to todays prices in real terms. Also while guitarists could easily make to with a small(-ish) combo, bassists needed a lot more gear to compete volume wise (especially if you weren't going through the PA).

My first proper bass rig in 1982 consisted of a no-brand 100W transistor amp which I got as a straight swap for a Shaftesbury resonator guitar a 1x18" cab and 2 x12" cab both home made (although not by me) which I acquired for minimal outlay from their previous owners who were moving away from Nottingham and couldn't be bothered with the hassle of taking the cabs with them. I can't remember exactly how much the total cost was (including what I originally paid of the guitar I swapped) but I have a feeling it was about what I paid for my first bass (£60).

Back then there wasn't a lot of science to building a cab unless you were going for a folding horn design. You simply went to your local musical instrument retailer and surreptitiously measured up a similar cab and cobbled one together at home out of whatever wood you could get for free.

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