** HASR TOP PICK **
Genres: Rock, Indie, Hard Rock, Punk, Blues, Southern Rock, Jazz
Uses: Rhythm, Lead, Crunch, Clean
SCORE: 9 / 10
Brainworx amp sims are some of the best in the industry. They don’t half ass anything, every amp is done with the highest level of detail and I was hoping the Bassdude is along the same lines as the other fantastic sims from Brainworx.
To most, the Fender Bassman is in the top ranks of legendary amps. The history of this amp is too long for me to go over but the names that have trusted this amp to be the driving force behind their sound speak for themselves. This sim is specifically modeled from a 60s Blonde Bassman model (#6G6-B).
Brian Setzer, Buddy Guy, Tom Petty, Mike McCready, ZZ Top, Rory Gallagher, The Beatles, SRV, Jack White, Kurt Cobain, Billie Joe Armstrong, Brody Dalle, John Mayer, Robben Ford, Chris Shiflett, Eric Clapton and a huge wealth of other talented artists from the the past 50+ years have used various Bassman models, including their own uniquely modded versions. Not a bad resume.
Being that it was originally designed as such, it’s also a pretty good quality bass amp sim if you are looking for more of a vintage bass tone. It was the industry standard for bass amps in its day but has always been more popular for guitar. Several notable bass players have used the Bassman exclusively for years.
Brainworx always put a lot of time into their graphics so I was safe in assuming the aesthetics would be top shelf. I wasn’t wrong. It was designed to look like it has some miles on it which is a cool move with amp sims modeled from vintage amps. The layout is the standard Brainworx layout that includes a face plate panel and a panel for all the interior features included like the cab loader, onboard filters and more.
The presets give you a good look at the plugin’s capabilities fairly quickly. While the Bassdude doesn’t have a 100 knobs and switches, the few controls and tone shaping options it does have all have high values across the board so you can get a pretty wide variety of really good tones.
The first tone I go for is a solid rock tone with some grit. I am aiming for a Foo Fighters type tone with a mid gain, punch and cut to it. I was also looking for a nice thick punk rock tone like you’d hear on Green Day or The Suicide Machines albums. The Bassman is widely thought of as the holy grail of punk tone though I am more of a Mesa guy in that way of thinking. The Bassdude captures that hard rock or punk wall of sound easily. It’s one of the few amps that can be an army of one in a single guitarist band. I was able to get that tone in a flash with an Orange 412 impulse.
Next I went full on blues. I added the Audified Multi-drive pedal pro’s blues driver, loaded up a whole bunch of vintage era 410 impulses and dialed around a little. The blues, southern rock, country and classic rock tones that came from the Bassdude blew me away. It was warm, smooth, realistic and just beautiful overall.
The Bassdude is not a hi-gain amp sim nor is it meant for such applications but you can add a distortion pedal plugin or tube screamer plugin to give the Bassdude some more grit. If you opt to do this, watch the amount of gain you have going on or things will get a bit fizzy. It’s taking the sim out of its comfort zone so just watch how far you push it. If you like the sound of a Bassman with the gain dimed, it will give you a realistic result but it’s not really my thing.
I was able to push the Bassdude with a few boosts and drive type pedals with incredible results. Audified’s Multi-drive pedal pro was an all-star as usual, the TSE 808, TSE RAT and pretty well every pedal I tried sounded good with the plugin. I struck out when I tried using distortion, fuzz and muff pedal plugins but again, that’s taking the amp out of its intended means anyways so it wasn’t a huge deal. I just like to see where I can take every sim to see if there’s hidden applications inside.
The impulses included with the Bassdude are all really well chosen. You get a really solid selection of pretty much every size of cabinet you will need. I bypassed the cab onboard to use my own loader and impulses. For rock and uses that require more gain, I found a great selection of Zilla, Mesa OS, EV and other larger 412 impulses hit the mark. For blues, southern rock, country and such I used a wide selection of 212 and 410 options that matched up great. My favorites were the 3 Sigma Audio Suhr 212 and a wide selection of Fender 410 impulses.
I used the Bassdude to create some really fantastic bass tones ranging from vintage to modern tones. I hit up my own selection of 410, 810 and 115 impulses plus the TSE BOD freeware bass plugin to create a monstrous wall of bass. This could be the only single amp plugin I have ever come across that delivers quality guitar and bass tones.
UPS / DOWNS:
Huge props to Brainworx on yet another gem of a sim. The Brainworx plugins are some of the highest quality plugins ever made for guitar and bass folks and you should all join the Plugin Alliance mailing list because they have deals constantly that usually involve one or more guitar products being sold for a very low price.
The Bassdude is an incredible breath of fresh air in a market so full of modern hi-gain products. It’s a warm, realistic and well done amp sim that goes on our list of the best vintage amp sims.
Posted Dec 1st 2018