New Wave 5F6A (Part 1)

Most people who have heard me play guitar would probably agree that my amp is already plenty loud and that perhaps I should find a way to make less noise if possible. However, foregoing their better judgement, I have started developing a significantly more powerful amplifier for recording and/or gigging.

The Fender ’59 Bassman (Model 5F6A) is one of the most well regarded amps ever produced. The design was so good that it was copied by several other manufacturers and continues to be a popular DIY project.

While I could have (fairly easily) built up a 5F6A using point-to-point wiring, I thought it would be interesting to implement this vintage amp in a 21st century fashion. Here are the goals of this project:

  • True 5F6A tone
  • Single PCB construction
    • Minimal internal wiring. Use PCB traces for as many connections as practically possible.
    • Quick and easy mechanical assembly. All wire-to-board connections via connectors. All fasteners easily accessible for quick assembly/servicing.
  • Reduced cost (compared to 5F6A reissue)
  • Reduced spatial footprint
  • Compatible with 2, 4, or 8Ω speaker cabinets
  • Compatible with 115 or 230VAC
  • Rugged and reliable (tour ready)
  • Attractive design
  • Safe!

Like any product, the design is constantly evolving to better meet the goals of the project. So far, I have a preliminary schematic, bill of materials, and board layout. I have a good idea about the mechanical construction but no drawings worth sharing yet. KiCad is the EDA package of choice. When all is finalized, I’ll make all the design files available.

prelim-5f6a-schematic2.png
Preliminary “New Wave 5F6A” Schematic
Prelim 5F6A Layout
Preliminary PCB Layout
Prelim 5F6A 3D
3D Render of Preliminary PCB