Fender has unveiled a bass amp with some serious star power behind it, a signature 50-watt, all-tube combo for Adam Clayton of U2. This design is a true blast from the past from Fender, its first new all-tube bass amp in over four decades, but as Clayton explains in the demo video, it is exactly what he needs for his sound.
Clayton’s journey on the bass guitar is like that of many purveyors of low-end; he was in a band with two guitarists and they needed a bass player, and thinking the four-string looked cooler he moved down an octave and the rest is history.
Over 150 million album sales, 22 Grammy Awards and an entry in the Rock And Roll Hall later, Clayton’s decision would seem to be vindicated.
The ACB 50 is a portable 1x15” combo fitted with a lightweight Eminence neodymium speaker. It has a transformer-coupled XLR output with groundlift, so you can send it direct to the desk or DAW if needs be. But in the room, turned up loud, it gives Clayton exactly what he needs; plenty heat, a little punch, and enough detail in the upper registers.
A two channel design, with dual inputs per channel, the ACB 50 mounts its black chickhead dials on a chrome control panel, with a white jewel light illuminating when the amp is powered up.
Channel 1 has a classic Fender bass amp tone, with dials for Volume, Bass, Middle, and Treble, and a three-way selector for (Lo, Mid, High) for fine tuning its midrange. As Clayton explains, his sound is all about the midrange, which, given that it’s the the sort of thing you might hear from a guitar player – even after 46 years playing bass in U2, old habits die hard.
The second channel, meanwhile, is described as having “a modern hi-fi, flat EQ” profile, with controls for Volume, Treble and Bass.
The XLR out is located on the rear of the amplifier, alongside a balanced 1/4” line out and a 1/4” 8-ohms speaker output for hooking it up with an ancillary cabinet and expanding your bass rig. It’s there you will find Clayton’s signature.
Otherwise, this is simply an old-school Fender bass amp design. Under the hood you will find a trio of 12AX7s and a 12AT7 in the preamp, and a pair of 6L6 power tubes. The cabinet is constructed of lightweight ply-wood, covered in black vinyl.
The Adam Clayton ACB 50 is available now, priced $2,199. See Fender for more details.