Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > 59 Bassman RI LTD
59 Bassman RI LTD
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Chris West
11 posts
Sep 06, 2018
1:52 PM
Had posted in here before on Feb.8th with "Harp amp upgrade" topic. Still trying to get more dirt from Bassman for our harp player. Current tube set up is GZ34S....6L6GE...6L6GE...V-3 is 12AU7....V-2 12AU7A (switching back to a 12AX7 soon ??) and V-1 has a 12AY7. Speakers are the factory Jensen Special Design PR10's, but will more than likely stay with these for awhile. Have also read about jumpering Normal channel 1 to Bright channel 2 and then plugging into Bright channel 1 for harp mic. We are using the Lone Wolf Delay and are kicking around the idea of adding Lone Wolf Harp Attack or their Octave pedal to see if it helps. Was fortunate enough to see a fellow Bluesman, Brandon Santini, over the Labor Day weekend and he was playing through a Bassman Reissue as well. Did not get a chance to see what he was running, but he sounded great and the Bassman had all the dirt ya needed. Asking for help again guys....appreciate it very much. He is also still using his Shure 520dx Mexico for a mic. Thanks again!

Last Edited by Chris West on Sep 06, 2018 2:03 PM
hvyj
3621 posts
Sep 06, 2018
6:43 PM
I’ve never used a Bassman, but I have experience blowing harp through relatively big guitar amps and your harp player is tubed down WAY too far. Try AT7 (ECC81) v1 / AX7 (ECC83) or 5751 v2 / 12D/W7 (ECC832) or ECC828 v3.

The AX7 tube I really like is the JJ ECC83MG. Great timbre and not too gainy.

Now, you can drive an amp much harder before feedback if you DON’T use a bullet mic. Driving a tube amp hard is the key to what you are trying to do. Try a 545 Ultimate (high impedance w/ vintage element helps) .Roll the volume control down a little and cup the mic tight to take full advantage of its proximity effect. The cooled out input volume from the mic will allow you to crank the amp up much more before it will feedback for better dirt.

Last Edited by hvyj on Sep 06, 2018 7:40 PM
TetonJohn
330 posts
Sep 07, 2018
8:54 AM
I think you are on the right track in considering the LW Harp Attack (or their Harp Break) if you are seeking dirt from such a large amp (and are not getting the dirt you want from technique). I do also like the LW Octave pedal for this, but the others are a bit more dirt-oriented. They have a great return policy, so you could try them all! Lately I have been using their BoogieMan as you get multiple pedals in one (and can go straight to PA if/when you want -- very sweet!)
I also agree that you have too many 12AU7s in there.

Last Edited by TetonJohn on Sep 07, 2018 8:58 AM
Harpaholic
919 posts
Sep 07, 2018
11:33 AM
If your running a 12AU in V3 then your really cutting the watts. So you should be getting crunch at lower volume.

The danger running a 12AU in the PI of a stock RI Bassman is the 1 watt plate resistors can't handle the current.

Hvyj is on the right track, except I run a Nos Jan 12AT7 in the PI. The perfect tube for that section.

If you cant get a good crunch/tone out of a Bassman, its not the amp.
hvyj
3622 posts
Sep 07, 2018
1:06 PM
I’ve got a 12AT7 in the PI slot on my Peavey Delta Blues 1x15 and it works and sounds great. The 12D/W7 (ECC 832) has unbalanced triodes: one half 12AX7 and one half 12AU7 which helps control feed back while still allowing the front end stages of the preamp to drive hard. Some players claim using this type of tube in an amp with that type of PI not only cuts feedback but also fattens tone for harp. I had an ECC832 in my SRRI and it works and sounds great. TRUE STORY: I was changing the preamp tubes on my SRRI, replacing the tubes I had been using with new ones. Anyway, I broke the new ECC832 and didn’t have another one. But I did have a new ECC823 laying around. So I put that in the PI slot of my Super, figuring it would sound the same as the ECC832. Guess what? It sounded BETTER and very pleasantly fattened the tone. I guess the unbalanced triodes being in the opposite order made a difference but I have no idea why. Go figure.

Btw, I use an ECC832 in v2 of my DB and it makes the drive channel usable for harp which is what I use to get high distortion from that amp when I need to for certain gigs. But I don’t usually set up for distortion.

I have a regular sideman gig with a guitar player who uses a Marshall half stack and plays very loud, but very musical with good use of dynamics and funky rhythmic breaks. The drummer also plays with real authority. The guitar player wants me to get a “raw” harmonica sound. So I use the dirty channnel of the DB (which can get louder before feedback than my SRRI) and use a Squeal Killer. I don’t normally use an anti feedback pedal, but at these volumes, it’s essential. The other thing I do is put a Mesa Boogie 5 Band EQ First in chain right after the SK. It has the right freqs to help me fine tune the distortion so I can keep the “edges” of my notes well defined which I call “tight” distortion. I don’t find a distorted tone that obscures the contours of the notes to sound particularly musical, (which can be a problem with many bullet mics) but YMMV. The guitar player who is the band leader must like what I’m doing because he keeps calling me back..The EQ pedal is the same as the EQ used in the Mesa Boogie Mark series amps but it also has Input and Output controls so you can also use it as a preamp as well as an EQ. I only use it for this gig, but it stays on all the time when I do.

Last Edited by hvyj on Sep 07, 2018 4:52 PM
Adam Pritchard
132 posts
Sep 08, 2018
3:45 PM
By dirt, do you mean break up? I use a Bassman RI LTD for gigs and it sounds pretty damn good to my ear (although my playing could always be better). I tried tube swaps but the lower gain tubes always made it sound muddy and harder to cut through the rest of the band, so I switched back to the stock 12AX7 configuration and bought myself a Squeal Killer.
That allows me to turn up the volume to get the break up I want without worrying about feedback. I then use a TC Electronics Flashback Delay pedal rather than the Lone Wolf Delay as I found the Lone Wolf again muddied the sound too much. If I want a bit more break up than usual then I do have a Lone Wolf Harp Octave which works nicely for that purpose. I used to have a Harp Break but I couldn't get on with it.

If you want a lot of break up though, why not play through a smaller 5 watt tube amp and mic it through the p.a?
Chris West
12 posts
Sep 08, 2018
7:25 PM
Adam...I think that is what he is looking to hear....break up....We have run him through the PA with a small Carvin Sweet 16,,,,cranked,,,and it sounds great! We bought the Bassman so he could have a lil' more on stage volume, but in the process he has lost some of that break up we all know and love. The Harp Octave has been suggested by West Side Andy as well and might have to give that a go around. I like that idea more so than The Harp Attack from Lone Wolf. Want to keep his rig as simple as possible for him.....just plug in and play!! Thanks for your reply!
BnT
190 posts
Sep 09, 2018
12:30 AM
I don't have a feedback issue with my Bassman and yes, I use a bullet mic (Astatic 200 w/CR black label element) with a built-in volume control; jumpered channels; and a Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb pedal. Feedback isn't an issue even when playing with loud guitarists.

I reworked a Bassman RI - retubing with 5881's (in place of 6L6's for warmer tone), 12AT7, 12AY7, 12AU7. So "tubed down" it's probably about 38 watts. And it's all NOS tubes, none of the current Sino-Soviet output which, IMO, lacks warmth and doesn't have the same chimey quality.

Added a bias pot, 3 coats of lacquer, changed the speaker wiring so the four plug into the amp via one 1/4" jack (so I can also use it as a "speaker cabinet" for my Masco). All changes, none of which effected the amp's tone.

Pulled the four Italian made Fender speakers, which I thought sounded thin and lifeless. Put two Eminence blue frame alnico's on top; and one each ribbed and smooth cone Weber Chicago Vintage series 10A125-0 alnico and 10F125-0 ferro (ceramic) on the bottom. Warm, crunchy, early breakup, no feedback.

I understand wanting to have some delay or reverb. However, if you're playing blues I don't understand the need for a pedal array.
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BnT
Chris West
13 posts
Sep 09, 2018
7:22 AM
BnT.....Thanks for reply! Is that pre amp tube order...12AT7 in V-1 (furthest from power tubes), 12AY7 in V-2 (middle) and the 12AU7 in V-3 (closest to power tubes)?? As mentioned in earlier posts, I would like to keep his rig as simple as possible. Like the delay pedal in there as it fattens his tone up nicely, but he is 70+ years old and gets frustrated when trying to dial in his rig. One hell of a harp player and I am just trying to set him up the best I can with limited knowledge other than what I have read or picked up on forum. Thanks for the help! Not so sure he will run with speaker swap right away, but it's good info. for me to file and keep for him...slow journey, but we will get there!

Last Edited by Chris West on Sep 09, 2018 5:24 PM
TetonJohn
332 posts
Sep 10, 2018
8:42 AM
I don't think the LW Attack and LW Break are significantly more complicated than the LW Octave -- that shouldn't necessarily drive your decision -- just my opinion, trying to be helpful.

Last Edited by TetonJohn on Sep 10, 2018 8:44 AM
Littoral
1635 posts
Sep 10, 2018
8:51 AM
LW Octave also adds some really good feedback resistance. I'd guess you can get about 15-20% more out of most amps. It's almost all I use it for -that and the fact that it also works as an excellent pre-amp. Love the thing but the effect itself is too digitized for my ear so I rarely add any of it, but a little can be fun.
TetonJohn
333 posts
Sep 10, 2018
8:53 AM
If you haven't, you might want to check out (or query):
LW Pedal Forum
Chris West
14 posts
Sep 11, 2018
7:06 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the LW Pedal Forum....lots of good reading and great info on Harp Octave pedal...once I get the right tube configuration in place, the harp octave might have to be a good addition to his rig....Thanks much guys
jbone
2697 posts
Sep 11, 2018
8:09 PM
Some years ago I had a replica '59 Bassman built by Steve Clark of Sligo Amps over east. I left the 12ax7's in p1 and p2 and cut the gain with a 12au7 in p3. Worked pretty dam good. No pedals either.
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BnT
191 posts
Sep 11, 2018
10:43 PM
Chris,
Finally got the amp out, so here's my setup:
Rectifier: 5R4gy
Power: 5881's (RCA grey plates)
V1: 12AT7 - furthest from the power tubes
V2: 12AU7
V3: 12AY7

I understand keeping it simple. Jump the channels, set the volume knobs on the amp, and the Boss FRV-1 pedal on or off. I don't know what the pedal settings "should" be. For me, it's as simple as less, some, more or no reverb (depending on the room). I could tell you that the three dials should be at "x", "y", and "z" but it varies by the room, my mood, and the song - not rocket science or formula. If it sounds vaguely okay, count off the song.

So once I'm playing I don't touch the amp. The only adjustment I make while playing is via pinky finger on the volume control built in to the back of the mic. You wanted simple. And I'm 70 in 3 months so after playing 54 years I know this can work and not be frustrating.
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BnT
Chris West
15 posts
Sep 20, 2018
4:00 PM
A big Thank You once again for all the time and sharing you guys have put in regarding this adventure I have taken on for our harmonica player. I have some NOS pre amp tubes coming from The Tube Depot and a Harp Octave pedal on the way as well from Lone Wolf. Should have most of what I need to give him a good selection,....trial and error right? Thanks again everybody and I will message here again to let you know the progress. Very much appreciated fellas!!

Last Edited by Chris West on Sep 20, 2018 4:05 PM
Chris West
16 posts
Nov 13, 2018
4:27 PM
I said back in Sept. i would update progress on the Bassman LTD.....feedback issue resolved and being able to drive amp harder has helped him to get some of the "dirtier" sounds he was looking for. We have changed pre amp tubes and purchased the Lone Wolf Harp Delay and Harp Octave pedal as well. We pretty much have to set pedals for him, but have settings on a card for him to have a constant for him. The last few gigs we have done however, I have heard ( for lack of better words),,,what sounds like speakers "flubbing out"??? Is this a technique problem on his part or amp/pedal settings? Just need to know where to start looking to remedy this...otherwise everything is going well thanks to all of you! Have tried to watch while he was playing to see when this occurs,,,like maybe when he draws....not sure? Anybody have any ideas?
Just a quick afterthought....he cleans his own harps and has been talking about needing some new reeds....is it possible this is what I am hearing when I refer to "flubbing out"? Not doing it all the time, but definitely noticeable!

Last Edited by Chris West on Nov 13, 2018 4:51 PM
Lou
38 posts
Nov 13, 2018
6:22 PM
I'd ask him to play same licks acoustically & then you'll know if it's a reed or an amp/mic problem
jbone
2738 posts
Nov 14, 2018
7:38 AM
Harp reeds will fatigue out. They will produce flatted notes where they were once crisp and spot on. Considering that you are playing at higher volume, and this results in a harp player having difficulty hearing himself. Playing louder right there at the harp. More wind though does not equal more volume at the harp past a point. It does equal more reed stress and flatting out.
Draw notes are the "blues notes", the minors mostly. Those reeds take the most punishment especially on a louder stage.

I have some background with blues rock bands on the fringes of Dallas 25 or so years ago. I blew out a lot of harps and struggled to find a mic/amp setup that would give me volume yet keep tone. My efforts mostly met with failure. The draw harder syndrome cost me a lot of harps.

Some 12 years ago I had a replica '59 Bassman built and made harp friendly with choice speakers and a swapped pre amp tube. It worked pretty well but even when my sound was getting out front I had trouble hearing myself on stage. Stage volume can spin up quickly and cause this problem. I think especially for a guy with a tiny tin sandwich it's very easy to lose hearing in the frequency of a harp and hence try harder, hence begin flatting reeds. Past a point the reeds will fail and put out much less sound and the tone will be shot. I personally have learned to hear a reed going and I have either a spare harp handy or I keep replacement reed plates for certain models. Which helps, but my ultimate solution was to work in a duo and stay out of high volume settings. Nothing personal but my hearing and the high mortality rate of my harp kit informed me that a change had to be made. Even in an acoustic or amped duo I still kill reeds, but not as fast as in a big room full band setting.

Micing the amp and having a monitor in front of the harp guy may help but its a dicey proposition due to feedback squeal potential. Tipping the amp back or setting it on a stand is a possibility too.
Your guy may want to keep spare harps or plates handy and maybe find a good repair guy to keep close to.

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Chris West
18 posts
Nov 14, 2018
3:04 PM
Lou & jbone,
I have him going through his harps *(acoustically) just to see if there are some bad ones that could be causing this problem. A good place to start and easy enough to correct if that ends up being the issue. Thanks and will keep in touch.
jbone
2741 posts
Nov 14, 2018
8:52 PM
I like Suzuki Manji best for say un-amped acoustic gigs and for loud stages as well. Their reeds are somewhat stronger stuff and the harps have slightly louder response than a lot of others out there. Plus replacement reed plates for around $30 a set. It's a quick easy swap even at a gig, 5 minutes and a screwdriver. Not that I have not killed some Manji reeds but they do seem to last better and play a bit louder and longer.

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Harpaholic
920 posts
Nov 15, 2018
11:30 AM
Chris, have you adjusted the bias at all? Whenever you change power tubes and/recifier type, you should rebias. The LTD has the bias pot, correct?
Chris West
19 posts
Nov 17, 2018
5:33 AM
Harpaholic....Thanks for reply...yes, we did have bias checked and we set it mid to lower end.....have only swapped pre amp tubes so far....have not done anything with power tubes or rectifier as of yet. You are correct...LTD has adj. bias pot


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