Newbasstone, Inc.

New Bass Effect Derived from 1940s Patents
Has anyone noticed that the tone of the bass guitar has been improving in the last several months at certain venues here in the U.S. and abroad? Newbasstone, Inc. was founded in 2004 with one product in development: a bass tube preamp. The design of the preamp is derived from two 1940s U.S. Patents (No. 2,270,764) by Donald E. Norgaard, “Amplifier Coupling Circuit” and (No. 2,405,515) A.H. Neyzi, “Amplifier Coupling Device“. The object of the Norgaard patent is to obtain a frequency response which is equal across the entire frequency spectrum or said another way to eliminate “stray capacities” which allow intermediate frequencies to be amplified in too large an amount and high frequencies in too small an amount. The Nehzi device in an improvement on the Norgaard design. The Newbasstone, Inc. Bass Tube Preamp device is designed specifically to improve the frequency response for bass register musical instruments for live performance and recording purposes. There has long been a need for removing bass distortion and creating better bass response in hi-fi equipment and bass amplifiers. The question has been whether to find the solution through improvement in speaker design or in amplifier design. The use of paper in oil condensers, which are large in physical size, introduces “stray capacities to ground”, which the Norgaard patent discloses, and gives more frequency response to the bass register or lower frequencies. Cliff Latshaw is the founder of Newbasstone, Inc., and he introduced Nitewalker Bass Guitar Tube Preamps in October of 2008. They were offered at the 2010 L.A. Amp Show in Van Nuys, CA, and the website where they may be purchased is Cliff is a 1979 graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. All through college and the years after he graduated he had complained of not being able to create the tone for the bass guitar in live situations that he wanted. After many years of despair he started to learn about electronic amplifier circuits for himself. A close friend, who had been a singer on a number one record in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago at the age of 14 in the 1950s, and later a radio operator in the U.S. Army Rangers advised Cliff that the new smaller condensers were poor in quality. His friend showed him the basics of electronics, and Cliff took what he learned and created this new bass tube preamp. He copied the preamplifier circuit from a Bogen MX60A P.A. amplifier that he bought at a ham radio festival, which he was familiar with since playing in rock bands in his teens. The large paper in oil condensers came from an old Conn organ. With some experimentation and some luck he was able to find a way to make the bass guitar create a better tone, even in live situations. The secret was in mixing the larger old style condensers with new style condensers to improve the sound that is usually associated with amplifiers that use paper in oil condensers, like were popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Myles S. Rose, who’s website is located is at, when confronted with this new amplifier design stated that the preamp would possibly be too much for the speakers in a bass amplifier. He suggested that the speakers in modern bass amplifiers could be too weak to handle the bass created by an amplifier with a Nitewalker Bass Guitar Tube Preamp in the bass effects chain and would “blow out”. The condensers in the Bogen MX60A P.A. Amplifier, which was manufactured in the 1960s were polyester and foil, and were small in size. These small condensers were first started to be used in the early 1960s or late 1950s, and they replaced the larger “paper in oil” condensers. These old style condensers are referred to today as “paper in oil” even though they are made of foil and sheets of polystyrene or some other type of plastic sheeting with mineral oil between the two layers of material. There are several modern manufacturers of “paper in oil” condensers that use other types of foil and plastic or mylar sheeting with some type of oil between the two

layers of material. These are being used in high end hi-fi gear.

Bogen MX60A P.A. Amplifier

Schematic of Bogen MX60A Preamplifier Circuit

Underside of 12AX7 Preamplifier Tube Socket in Bogen MX60A

Looking at the schematic of the Bogen MX60A in the first channel, mic. 1, using the high impedance input, C5 is of .22uf value. The corresponding photo shows that it is light blue with a 400vdc value. C1 is a .047uf value, and the corresponding photo shows that it is light blue and has a 250vdc value. C2 is a .1uf value, and the corresponding photo shows that it is yellow and has a value of 400vdc. Through experimentation Cliff found that using brown “polystyrene” condensers from a 1950s Conn organ for C1 and C2 and a pair of blue “molded” condensers in series for C5 in the circuit that the bass response was increased dramatically in the lower register of a bass guitar. He found that by changing the value of the C5 condenser in the circuit to from .22uf to .235uf by using two blue .47uf “molded” condensers in series that there was a much better bass response. For the higher notes, that is, notes above an open G string he found that a .15uf or .18uf blue molded condenser worked the best. The sound was too stuffy, though - something like the sound from an old 78 rpm recording. Further experi-mentation revealed that if C2 was changed to a small modern polyester film/foil condenser the sound was richer in tone and modernized.

1950s Conn Tone Generator Chasssis

Top Side of Conn Organ Tone Generator Chasssis

The last step that was necessary to perfect the design involved the added problem of radio frequency interference, which was caused by the use of the large paper in oil condensers. Local radio stations and CB radios could be heard through the speaker when using the preamp. By isolating the input and adding several .001uf ceramic disc capacitors to the circuit where needed this problem was solved. Looking at the large physically sized capacitors photos below and the Conn tone generator chassis photos the difference in size from the condensers in the Bogen Amplifier is apparent. Smaller physically sized “paper in oil” condensers of the same capacitance as the ones Cliff used were not found to be effective, even though they were just as old as the larger sized ones. This experimentation was done in the mid 1990s. Cliff used the preamplifier for several years in his studies, and began to think of ways to spread the word of his discovery to other bass players. He began working in the industrial sector to support this dream, and he began looking for a source for more large physically sized condensers. Through his search he found that they were called “paper in oil”, and that they were available from Russian military surplus outlets and from some other manufacturers in Denmark and the U.K. The condensers in Denmark and the U.K. were made with silver wires and they were

expensive. The Russian military surplus condensers were inexpensive, but they were made in the 1970’s.

Russian Military Surplus and Conn Condensers

Looking at above photographs of large physical sized capacitors in the 12AX7 preamplifier section, antique and Russian Military Surplus, the brown condensers are antique and marked “polystyrene”. The blue condensers are antique and marked “molded”. The green condensers are Russian Military Surplus and marked “K42Y-2“. The silver condenser is Russian marked “K40Y-9”.

Large Physically Sized AudioNoteUK Condensers

In the above photo are the two types of AudioNoteUK condensers: copper foil (copper colored) and mylar (silver colored). Cliff found that he and his friends weren’t alone in their feelings about the change of the tone of the music in recent years. Quoting Sandy Nelson from Bob Cianci’s book “Great Rock Drummers of the Sixties Revisited“, (2006) p. 127, Hal Leonard Corp. USA, it states: “When queried as to how he feels about recording technology today versus the Sixties, Sandy was adamant. “I think it stinks! Everything has to be isolated and studios have to be dead. The best studio I ever recoded in was called The Annex of the old Radio Recorders Studios in Hollywood. The whole room was alive with baffles to accentuate different frequencies. You could walk in and clap your hands or play a trumpet and the whole room would come to life. Lawrence Welk did his TV tracks there. James Brown, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Spike Jones, and Elvis Presley all recorded there. Whoever took over the studio made it dead, so there goes an old workhorse of the recording industry.”

Tone for the Low Notes
1740 H Dell Range Blvd. # 141 Cheyenne, WY 82009 Phone: 307 637 2888 Fax: 815 461 2604

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