Friday, October 1, 2010


Maybe some Fender Musicmaster Bass Amp (MBA) enthusiast will catch this site on a google search and be able to give me some help. The original speaker in my Musicmaster Bass Amp has been reconed and refurbished so many times as to be rendered fruitless to attempt again, as it was illin' and there was no fixing this time. So said everyone I took it to.

I need a good speaker to play bass at room practice levels. Any recommedations would be very welcome, and links to sellers of them would be even more better. I would prefer new speakers of some brand, any decent brand, that work well with this amp, but would consider an excellent condition used speaker. I'm just curious what speakers work well with this amp for bass applications, or even guitar applications.

So I bought a used 12" guitar speaker made for tube amps by a speaker company in Austin. It was on ebay by someone who had bought it from them and was cheap and ended up sounding great when played with a guitar. It sounds great with guitar, and particularly to me, with single coil guitars like the Strat and the Tele.

I'm not a great bassist but I am when using digital media like garageband or dedicated digital multitrack machines by Fostex and many others, because with the digital, if I can play a phrase or even a measure of a rhythm, I can digitize-electrostereolyze it and cut and past it just like a word document. Repeating it. Changing it.

I can pull off doing a song live or two on the bass in the slow blues rock genre, but that's about it. I'm a bedroom bassist, and have been since age 14 when a brand new Red Fender Musicmaster Bass and Amp came my way as a birthday gift. I was already well into drum set drumming and taking piano lessons, and felt that the bass was the best natural progression for a drummer to learn how his rhythm partner thinks and plays.

So I'm a lot better at theorizing what I'd like a bass part to do than I am being able to play a song length version of it on bass, or guitar for that matter, but I can damn well pull off playing a phrase or a measure or a lick and then play over that with guitar or keyboard. I then add live digital drums to it and the real time playing of the drums pulls together the playing which sometimes can sound sampled.

But I'd like to do a little bass recording with it. It sounds anemic, frankly, at anything above a minimal level with most electric bass playing of any consequence, but I have found it especially nice for recording fretless bass guitar.

I have two fretless basses. Lest you think I'm rich, one, a Rogue with P and J pickups that has a plastic unlined fretboard that is incredibly easy to play for the novice fretless bassist. came on craigslist for $40 delivered to my door. I forget the name of the material that the fretboard is made out of right now, something like ebonite, but it's the same stuff that's on lots of other low and mid range fretless bass guitars like the wonderful Squier Jazz Fretless that's made right now. It's actually quite forgiving for the error prone bassist *raise hand* and the ebonite material seems to make chording without frets much easier.

The other, an SX Jazz copy in beautiful Lake Placid Blue and a rosewood lined fretboard came as a gift via a friend to return a big favor I did for him. He was an old bandmate, a guitar freak, and I had asked him what he thought about the SX line of Fender jazz fretless bass copies being sold by Rondo Music.

He actually already had one, a P bass copy, and loved it, despite having quite a bass and guitar collection of expensive guitars. He said lots of people use them as platforms to build good custom basses, and others have been happy with them stock, save for some string, bridge and tuner changes. So one day, the UPS man brought a present that was this SX fretless Jazz bass sent by my friend, and I have to say, the finish is excellent and the sound is quite jazz bass like, particularly for a $109 guitar.

So I've got a grand total of $45 dollars invested in my fretless bass playing. I have not had much time lately for playing them but look forward to playing them soon in some recording with Billy Ray. Billy Ray, in addition to being a namesake of Stevie Ray (posthumously by me and our friends, anyway) because of his rocking guitar playing, is also quite a good bassist as well, but only has fretted experience.

And the Musicmaster Bass Amp is perfect for recording fretless bass. The tubes are more forgiving than a solid state amp to any minor variation in chording for a player like me, without having to use distortion or reverb to mask the variations as with solid state. I can play the bass direct into the Musicmaster and get a great tone that just gets better, or to a point, the louder the volume goes.

As I've written before, the Musicmaster Bass Amp is much revered these days as a guitar amp. I've known several that had double Musicmaster Bass Amps linked by some kind of DBX gizmo that "electro-stereotyzed" the six string guitar signal between the two amps, and adding a stand alone Fender reverb to this setup that also got stereotyzed between the two amps. It works well, dang well, particularly for recording.

The Musicmaster Bass Amp "breaks up" fairly quick with the guitar, meaning you can get some great Texas blues sounds out of it at fairly reasonable volumes, the kind of. olumes the wife and family can tolerate much easier than the Mesa Boogie .50 Caliber, which now resides with Billy Ray.

So by changing the speaker, the Musicmaster bass amp becomes a great universal guitar amp, particular for recording and home recording. I just need a good bass amp speaker, because Fender no longer makes this speaker and I really don't want to sort among used Fender speakers in search of a keeper.

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