SWR is all about bass…and has been since day one back in the late 1970s when founder Steven W. Rabe, an engineer at Acoustic Control Corporation, a instrument amplifier company in its own right, decided that bass amps just didn't get the kind of love and attention as their electric guitar counterparts. He did extensive research asking professional bassists in the Los Angeles area what they wanted from an amp. Working out of a garage in San Fernando Valley, he and a team of designers took their input and used their technical know-how, and, in 1984 they hand-built the first five units of what they called the PB-200 (later known as the SM-400) a hybrid, full-range bass amplifier. The PB-200 featured a solid state amp, a low-noise, Aural Enhancer tone-shaping integrated circuit, a semi-parametric EQ, side-chain effects loops, and a warm tube preamp. It was so beloved right off the bat, that it was used in the "We Are The World" recording session.
The only thing missing was the right speaker cabinet. So they again spent time researching the right combination of speakers, cab porting and crossover points. In 1986, they were satisfied with their handiwork and released the appropriately named Goliath, a 4 x 10" full range speaker cab with a built-in horn tweeter that hadn't been seen in a bass cab, but now is commonplace.
In 1987, they introduced the Redhead combo amp, a 2 x 10" with a horn-tweeter configuration that became an industry standard and studio favorite for years. It's predecessor, the Super Redhead is still a highly in demand combo by professionals everywhere. This was followed a few years later by the SM-900, a whopping 900-watt monster that became a staple for the backline of many bands; the Baby Blue combo for acoustic bass players; and the Goliath Senior, a 6 x 10" with 1,000 watts of low-end power that, despite it's size, featured a more portable tilt-back design. Then there was the cleverly named Henry the 8 x 8" which produced plenty of bottom (down to 37Hz).
As the '90s were nearing their end, SWR was ramping up their energies to help out the everyday player with a more affordable line known as the Workingman's Series, selling a whopping 20,000 units of the Workingman's 15. They also introduced the California Blonde. It became one of the most popular amps for acoustic players because it works so well with a wide variety of venues and large array instruments including acoustic electric guitars, mandolins, fiddles and basses. More importantly, the California Blonde was one the first combo amps to feature a direct SLR input for a microphone making this amp one of the most versatile ever available and perfect for the traveling Troubadour. Another popular amp that made it's debut during this late-'90s period was the Bass 750 with a mono-block power configuration and simplified controls, that was appreciated for being loud and able to cut through any mix. And, for the rockers out there, they created the ominous Megoliath 8 x10" cab, which boasted 1,200 watts and a new look, chrome speaker grilles, which became an SWR aesthetic staple.
Now a brand under the Fender fold, and manufactured in Corona, California, SWR is still producing great amps for the discerning bassist and acoustic musician. The Workingman's Series has been redesigned and upgraded, even given a new name, the WorkingPro Series, featuring amp heads, speaker cabs, and combos that gave bassists all the features they want without breaking the bank. They also updated the California Blonde to the Natural Blonde, a 2-channel 2 x 8" combo perfect for acoustic bass players looking for a little edge. Today, they are still innovating, creating more lightweight versions of the beloved Goliath in the form of the golight Series, as well as the amplite, a 3-pound 400-watt rackmountable power amp.
If bass is your thing, or you need the perfect all in one combo amp for your coffeehouse gigs, take a look into our selection of SWR products, they may just have the sound and price you're looking for.