bass tone

By jumping the bass and normal channels on a black-panel Fender Bassman and applying some simple settings tweaks, you can achieve vintage-bass-tone bliss.

Learn how classic Fender amplifiers can be tweaked and retrofitted to give you smooth, vintage bass tones.

Those of you who have read my earlier columns know I am a diehard fan of the classic Fender tube amps, particularly the black- and silver-panel-era Fenders. They’re great tone platforms that can take you in many directions with various guitars and pedals, and they work just as well for harmonica, electric piano, and bass guitar due to their natural, straightforward tone. In this column, I’ll share my experiences and tips for running a bass through different Fender guitar amps.

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This era-authentic pairing—Gibson and Sunn—blends humbucking output with 40 watts of EL34 amp power and a pair of 12" speakers.

Cue metal music for this two-pickup 1962 Gibson EB-6 bass—one of just 68 in existence.

Gibson introduced its first electric bass guitar in 1953 and initially named it, aptly enough, Electric Bass, although it's better known today as the EB-1. It was followed by various EB models over the next several years, including the semi-hollow EB-2 in 1958 and the double-cutaway solidbody EB-0 in 1959. By the end of 1959, a semi-hollow 6-string bass debuted and was named the EB-6. Poor sales caused Gibson to replace it with a solid SG-style body version in late 1961 that retained the EB-6 name. The company catalog touted: “A new and exciting treat for bass players. A 6-string electric bass which gives a full octave lower guitar tuning on a regular bass scale length."

Wes Montgomery and the Cars' Ben Orr are among the model's notable users.

The new solidbody EB-6 started with a single pickup, as on the previous model, but soon added a second humbucker. (Only a small number of single-pickup models were produced.) The 1963 Gibson catalog described the instrument's features: “ New extra-thin custom-contoured double-cutaway body design. Slim, fast, low-action neck joins body at the 17th fret. One-piece mahogany neck, adjustable truss rod, rosewood fingerboard, pearl dot inlays. Combination bridge and tailpiece adjustable horizontally and vertically. Two powerful humbucking pickups. New nickel-plated string damper. Hand brace mounted on pickguard. Heavy-duty machine heads with metal buttons." As luck would have it, inadequate sales also caused the solidbody EB-6 to be discontinued by 1966 (but, according to the Gibson Shipment Totals book, two stragglers shipped in 1967). Only about 68 of these basses were manufactured, and Wes Montgomery and the Cars' Ben Orr are among the model's notable users.

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