FBM-1 Fender '59 Bassman review by Boss

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.8 (20 votes)
Boss: FBM-1 Fender '59 Bassman
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Sound — 7
I will preface this section by saying that the Bassman tone is not one that is in my vocabulary, nor is it well suited to my playing style. For a guitarist into blues and classic rock, the FBM-1 could be the Holy Grail. There isn't really a pure clean setting with the gain knob; even with the knob turned way down, it breaks up a just a bit when you play really hard. This would be a perfect way to beef up an amp's wimpy clean channel. Turning the gain up gives you that "the amp is about to explode" feel of a cranked tube amp. There is no substitute for glowing tubes, but Boss has done a pretty good job of capturing the Bassman's character. There isn't much versatility, and the EQ knobs don't have a drastic effect between 0 and 10. My guess is that having tone knobs that can cut or boost by large amounts would get some very un-Bassman-like tones, and Boss seems dedicated to reproducing the amp's tone as fathfully as possible.

Overall Impression — 8
Boss created the FBM-1 with one purpose, and it is certainly a one-trick pony. The EQ knobs don't have the radical tone-shaping abilities that are typical of today's amps and effects -- but this, also, is true to the character of the Bassman. It was easy to get it to sound good; you just had to plug in and turn all the knobs to 10. This pedal is very much in that spirit -- plug in and jam!

Reliability & Durability — 9
Boss has not changed their overall pedal design much in over thirty years, and there's a good reason -- they're built like tanks! Practically every effect pedal from the venerable DS-1 to this year's brand-new offerings share the familiar boxy design. The switches are durable, the housings are bulletproof, and the pots will stand up to years of use. Feel free abuse the FBM-1 at your discretion.

Ease of Use — 9
Boss effect pedals are, in general, very easy to use. The FBM-1 has six knobs: Level and Gain are on one concentric pot, and Presence and Middle are on another. Bass and Treble are in the middle. There is one output jack, and two inputs: Normal and Bright, just like on the Bassman amp of yore. Dialing up a tone is as easy as twiddling the knobs until you get one you like. Just like in the old days! No menus, no programming, just knobs that you control with your fingers, not a mouse.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    fukkindoyle
    "Just like in the old days! No menus, no programming, just knobs that you control with your fingers, not a mouse." Does this mean that my whole town and I are all living in the old days? 'Cause I've never seen an amp that you control with a ****in mouse. hahaha.
    blues_guitarist
    I've tried both the Bassman and the Deluxe Reverb. In my opinion, the Deluxe Reverb is a far better pedal in every respect. But that's just me...
    False_God
    played it a thought not bad, untill high volume... still goes sorta thin.. good review!!
    ygokazuki
    fukkindoyle wrote: "Just like in the old days! No menus, no programming, just knobs that you control with your fingers, not a mouse." Does this mean that my whole town and I are all living in the old days? 'Cause I've never seen an amp that you control with a ****in mouse. hahaha.
    vst effects
    ArcherTheVMan
    vst effects are ace lol /\ (the synths are anyway). when you think about it you Should be able to use this pedal to emulate a Marshall JTM45 too.
    bettiefan
    fukkindoyle wrote: "Just like in the old days! No menus, no programming, just knobs that you control with your fingers, not a mouse." Does this mean that my whole town and I are all living in the old days? 'Cause I've never seen an amp that you control with a ****in mouse. hahaha.
    I meant no disrespect with this statement...I was referring to modelers and FX units that you control with menus and mice, not the amps themselves. Thanks for reading!
    leondb
    I'd like to give this pedal a go with a solid state amp to hear how it sounds in person. Good review btw.
    gnome_hovel7
    Doesn't plugging this thing into a modern amp that already has a pre-amp take away from the Bassman feel?
    deanplayer18
    ied use the boss fender deluxe reverb and bassmen pedals as bust for clean sounds and light bluesy sounds hell it beats having to switch amps and geting a line switcher pedal christ if u want the sound of the fender amps then just click this pedal and ur good i can imagin these would sound great through delay and chorus pedals to
    rocknblues6
    Why would you buy this? It seems to be little more than an overdrive pedal... why not just get a Tube Screamer? I do plan to get the Fender Deluxe Reveb pedal though.
    plexi123
    rocknblues6 wrote: Why would you buy this? It seems to be little more than an overdrive pedal... why not just get a Tube Screamer? I do plan to get the Fender Deluxe Reveb pedal though.
    Bassmans overdrive a lot more than you might think. I'm sure that Boss knows that and thought of that when they designed this pedal. Tube Screamers don't have the "Fender sound". I'm thinking about making a 5E3 Deluxe clone and with some light attenuation for a little breakup and this pedal, I should be able to get some amazing tones.
    09phillt wrote: could I use this with a bass and get a bassman tone out of it?
    I don't see why you couldn't, a bass is basically a 4 string guitar tuned very low and the Bassman is a bass amp (that just happens to have an amazing tone for guitars ).