Retro Super Bassman 500


Model No. SB-500C

Series: Retro Cage Guitar & Bass Amp


"Sparkling  rich bass & dynamic soaring lead tones!"


MSRP: $1195.00

Sale Price:  $896.25


The FRENZEL  "Super Bassman 500"  was "INSPIRED" by one of the greatest Bass / Guitar amps ever built...the Fender 5F6A Bassman....but it is not a clone, It has more power ...and  other unique features.  You can play bass that will rattle the windows on the Normal channel...or super soaring leads on the  Marshall Plexi Bright channel.


Standard Features:

  • Normal (Type F) Bright (Type M) inputs with separate preamps and Gain controls with Bright pull switched.for the unique smooth Fender Bassman warm tones or the Marshall Plexi great high mid-tones....or you can use an AB-Y switch and create your own distinct tones.

  • Classic Bassman 5F6A style 3-BAND TONE STACK for extended flexibility in shaping your tone.

  • Deep pull switch on Bass. 

  • Bright pull-Switch on F and M Gains.

  • Master level control so you can crank the GAIN's up and overdrive the preamp without overdriving the output tubes.

  • Presence control  - used to adjust the high-frequency response and damping factor of the power amp section.

  • Boost - Unique NNFB "Edge" boost switch on the PRESENCE control that transforms the power amp section into a No-Negative-FeedBack style amp for soaring dynamic leads. 

  • Effects Loop - pure tube buffered serial effects loop designed to perfectly match the low impedance solid-state pedal levels with high impedance tube levels.

  • Line Out - post output transformer LINE OUT with LINE OUT LEVEL control for recording or driving a power amp, Auto switched internal load to simulate speaker if speaker is  not plugged in. Inject great tone directly into the PA system with the Speaker Simulated Direct Interface.

  • Custom heavy duty output transformer for extended 20hz low frequency performance with 4 - 8 - 16 ohm outputs selectable by a rotary switch.

  • EL34/6L6 Bias Selector Switch - Allows you to use either 6L6 or EL34 power output tubes.

  • Solid-State FRED ultra fast recovery rectifiers for tight dynamic bass response. 

  • Standby Switch - Protects tubes from cathode stripping during warm-up

  • Tube Complement: comes standard with 4 - 12AX7,  2 - 6L6, but you can substitute 12AT7's or 12AU7's in the preamp and driver for different tones and overdrive sounds. You can also substitute 5881's, KT66's, KT88's, 6550's, or EL34's and KT77's when using the EL34/6L6 Bias Selector Switch  in the output stage for different sounds. 


Electrical Specifications: 

  • Input Power  120 VAC 50-60Hz - 225 Watts Standard IEC plug-in three prong grounded power cord. (100VAC & 240VAC available. See Upgrade Options) 

  • Output Tubes - Class AB Push-Pull 6L6's - Fixed Bias

  • Output Power - 50 watts RMS (100 Watt Quad of 6L6's upgrade also available. See Upgrade Options)

  • Output Power Selector Switch - provides three power levels. 1/4 - 1/2 - FULL power. 

  • Speaker Output Impedance - selectable by switch 4-8-16 ohms.

  • Output Transformer Frequency Range -  20-20,000 hz 

  • Line Out Impedance - 1K ohms

  • Effects Loop Send Impedance - 10K ohms

  • Effects Loop Return Impedance -  470K ohms

  • Instrument Input Impedance - 1 Megohm

  • DC on filaments to eliminate 60 hz hum.

  • Star ground system to eliminate induced current chassis noise.

Physical Data: 

  • Retro Vintage Cage Head  - heavy duty lightweight steel mesh cage provides protection and excellent ventilation for tubes. Comes with easy carry Fender style strap handle. Overall  Dimensions - 17" Wide x 12" Deep x 10" High (Includes feet, handle and knobs)

  • Chassis - Heavy gauge aluminum with welded corners.

  • Weight - 28 lbs. 

  • Rock solid point-to-point hand wiring with military style tie-wrapped wiring harnesses for long life and reliability.

  • Star ground system to eliminate induced current chassis noise.

  • Input and Output Jacks isolated from chassis for low noise, eddy currents, and hum.

  • Components:  Only the highest quality parts are used including heavy duty transformers, low noise tubular polypropylenes capacitors, metal film resistors, Micalex sockets, Neutrik jacks. All parts are rated for commercial high use conditions. Wherever possible we use parts made in the USA.

  • Front Panel:  F Input Jack, M Input Jack, F Gain/Bright Pull Switch, M Gain/Bright Pull Switch, Bass/Deep Pull Switch, Middle, Treble, Presence/Edge Boost Switch, Standby Power Switch, Pilot Lamp, On/Off Power Switch

  • Rear Panel:   Power Cord Connector, Fuse, Effects Loop Return Jack, Effects Loop Send Jack, Output Power Level Switch, Line Out Level, Line Out Jack, Speaker Output Jack, Speaker 4-8-16 Impedance Selector Switch.

Upgrade Options:

These options allow you to  customize your amp to meet your special individual requirements.

EDGE BOOST FOOTSWITCH - adds jack to rear panel for footswitch control on the NNFB EDGE switch. Includes classic heavy duty footswitch with LED. Add $60.00 

HIGH GAIN  JCM800 PREAMP - High gain stage added to both channels with pull switch on M Gain Control   to select between  low gain or JCM800  high gain.  Add $60.00​

HIGH GAIN JCM800 PREAMP FOOTSWITCH - adds jack to rear panel for footswitch control to select low or high gain. Includes classic heavy duty footswitch with LED. Add $60.00 

240 VOLT POWER TRANSFORMER - for operation outside the USA  where 240VAC line voltage is used. Add $55.00

100 VOLT POWER TRANSFORMER - for operation outside the USA  where 100 VAC line voltage is used. Add $55.00 

100 WATT QUAD 6L6'S -   Increases power output to 100 watts.   Add $200.00. 


Hi Jim, There were not a lot of reviews on the Retro Bassman 100 when I purchased it, so I wanted to share my experience. I have been using the Retro Bassman 100 for bass and guitar, and the tone has an incredible 3D quality.  As you might remember, while I was waiting for the RB-100,  I ended up purchasing a Eden 1200 bass amp because of a gig I had to do. The Eden 1200 (Minnesota made version) is at the high end of performing bass amps.  

When it comes to comparing the two I find them to be equal in sound abilities, in their own ways.  The Retro Bassman 100 with the tube rectifier gives a rounded sound that is very articulate in how it represents effects.  The Eden (which has a 2 tube preamp) can't even come close to giving the same tonal quality, in any way shape or form.  On the other hand the Eden has a punch the Bassman can't come close to, even with the solid state rectifier. 

The Eden 1200 is an 800 watt amp in stereo mode and 1000 watts in mono mode at $2400.  The Retro Bassman 100 is a 100 watts at $1400 with all the bells and whistles.  Both amps push both my bass cabs at the same time (Bergantino HD112 and a Bag End 112) equally well.  The bottom line is that between these two amp there is no tone I can not get, where for the price, the point to point and no circuit board construction the Retro Bassman 100 has been a far superior purchase.  There are no words I can use which can describe the varied tones I get out of this amp.

Then, there is using the Retro Bassman 100 as a guitar amp.  There is only one word that comes to mind, WOW.  All of the qualities which hold true for bass use go true guitar use.  

What I like most about it is that I get incredible feedback at any volume level.  Compared to Mesa Boogie, Fender and Orange guitar amps I have owned, the tonal qualities of the Retro Bassman 100 at lower volumes can't be beat, where the amp can still push really high volume levels.  It is like getting into a high performance car that drives really really fast on very curvy roads, compared to one that can only be driven fast in straight line.  

I am using a number of different effect units including the Zoom B3 and G3 multi stomp effect units, Line 6 Pod XT live, Sans Amp Tri-AC , Digitech Valve FX, among other dedicated effect units.  They all sound incredible through the amp.  Next I am setting up my iPad with Radial Reamp, an Apogee One, and Jam Up Pro, Ampkit, and Bias apps to see how they perform with the amp in live use.

All of my guitars electronic systems are customized to the max.  All copper shielded, elaborate ground systems with grounds going from the input jack to everything (including hard soldered to the pickups), and quality pots, caps and wire.  I do this to allow the pickups to hear better.   A guitar or bass setup this way allows a quality amp abilities to really shine, and the Retro Bassman 100 really takes it to the next level.  I have used other boutique amps that can perform equally at the guitar level, but not at the bass and guitar level and definitely not at the price.  Very happy with your product.   - Rick K. (Sacramento Calif.)

Hi Jim, I bought used a 2012 Frenzel Super Bassman 100 2x12 Combo the other day. I had few questions about the amp and I had immediate responses from Frenzel Tech Support, even on a Sunday. I like the amp a lot. I'm a boutique guy and have owned and currently own (Bad Cat, RedPlate) some high quality amps. And this Super Bassman was way cheaper. Yet there is something about the sound from the Bright channel and working the Presence that gave this beautiful top to clean sounds when I checked it out at a used music store. I think the Presence control and the Bright channel is what really makes this amp special. But I do love the cleans on it. This combo is a bit of a beast, but I couldn't resist it. I'll be playing a large venue in mid-December and will get a better sense of what it can do. Also the MV seems to work really well, too. And at 71 pounds, it weighs no more than a Vibro-King and less than a Fender Twin. Thanks, Mark Barna (Wisconsin) 

Hi Jim, Here's a followup on my gig at a large venue with Frenzel Super Bassman 100. I ran Bright Volume at 6 and Master Volume at half and had a really nice clean tone with some grit and then added pedals as I chose. Had a few compliments on the sound, too. Thanks. Mark Barna

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