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New Book Rediscovers Vacuum Tube Technology

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) October 16, 2005

Why would a member of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, an organization dedicated to advancing the state of the art in electronics, write an entire book about the design of a vacuum tube amplifier manufactured more than four decades ago? Even back in 1959, the Bassman’s innovation must have paled in comparison with the technological leaps being made by space-age transistor circuits. The book only briefly touches upon this important point in its introduction. The remainder of the text is devoted entirely to a step-by-step technical analysis of the 5F6A circuit itself.

To understand the motivation behind the book you need to understand what the Tweed Bassman (as it’s commonly referred to because of its distinctive, cloth-covered exterior) means to guitar players. Full-grown guitarists are known to flop to the ground and convulse in gurgling spasms of lustful froth at the mere mention of the phrase ‘Tweed Bassman,’ and anyone who has played one in good condition knows exactly why, says Dave Hunter in his book Guitar Rigs. To generations of professional musicians the Bassman’s mix of harmonic overtones is the holy grail of tone, the perfect balance between clean reproduction and distortion-driven tonal ecstasy.

This magical result happened largely by accident. In fact the 5F6A wasn’t even designed for the guitar – as its name implies it was intended to be a bass amplifier. Yet today more than ever the amp’s sound hits the mark with guitar players the world over. More than forty years after the original 5F6A ceased production, the best guitar amplifiers are still based on its long-tailed-pair with negative feedback circuit design. It is to this lasting legacy that the new book from Pentode Press pays tribute.

The book is entitled Circuit Analysis of a Legendary Tube Amplifier: The Fender Bassman 5F6-A and is written by Richard Kuehnel.

Fender and Bassman are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. All rights reserved.


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