The FedEx driver brought my 5D6B Fox Bassman to my office today and boy am I jazzed. I couldn't wait to get home and play it! I unpacked
I've spent about two hours with the amp now so all I have are first impessions and they are all good. As Ken has mentioned
the amp has much more headroom than you would expect from a '50s Bassman. Don't get me wrong, anything with a healthy pickup can and
will overdrive the output stage (I don't here it so much in the preamp with the 12AY7 tubes) when you start to pass 9 or 10 on the
volume knob (they twist to 12!). By this time we are in the medium/large club range volume wise. This ain't no practice amp! Kens
30 watt rating seems right on the money.
Tone: This amp sounds like no other I have played. There is a tranparency to its voice that
is just simply wonderfull. I played strat (am std w/vanzandt PUs) Tele (am dlx w/SMC noisless PUs, my ES 137, D8 stringmaster and
Gibson BR4 through it so far. The amp seemed to enhance the qualities of each instrument. There is extreme clarity to the tone and
each guitar sounded like it should. In other words the amp doesn't color the tone of each instrument so everything sounds the same.
You clearly hear what each guitar is known for. Tonal adjustment is very good. I ran the bass up about 10 and had the treble control
about 5-6. Presence was dialed up to 6. There is a nice glassy tube warmth to the voice of this amp. I had a tendency to want to keep
turning up the volume for more!
The twin triode inputs: Wow, what a neat feature. plugging into the #1 input gets you in twin triode
mode for a little more gain in both the normal and bright channels. This was useful for a more bluesy tone with the six string guitars.
There is a noticable difference (increase) in drive in the #1 inputs.
Tube Swapping: Ken told me about the vertues of placing 12AX7s
in the V1, V2 and V3 positions for more gain. I first put a JJ spiral filiment 12AX7 in the V3 (mixer tube) spot and gave her a go.
This gave the whole amp a bit more juice with a slight loss of headroom in both channels. A great sound but not exactly what I was
looking for because it effected all inputs. I settled for the 12AX7 in the V1 normal channel input. This gave me a bit more drive
in the normal channel and kept the bright channel cleaner with more headroom for steel. I liked this little mod and kept the 12AX7
in the normal channel.
Pedals: I put my TS808 and then my TS10 in the signal path to see how the amp took to a bit of external overdrive.
Sweet, tonefull and no harshness. Very nice.
Fit and finish: OMFG, this is a work of art. Not only did Ken do a 1st class job designing
this circuit and building the chassis but his vendors supplied some nice bits and pieces as well. Look at the way the pattern of the
tweed matches at the top seem and the pattern matches at the chassis corners and back pannels. This is very high quality work.