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WEM Dominator Bass MK1
Valve bass amplifier

WEM Dominator Bass MK1 The WEM Dominator Bass MK1 bass amp was WEMs bass version of the Dominator MKIII tube amp, first available in 1972. Both were 15 watt amps, electronically identical, but the Bass had a 15" Celestion speaker (G15M, 55 Hz, 16 ohms), as used by Marshall and other British amp manufacturers.

The valves are 3 x 12AX7 preamp, and 2 x EL84 power tubes, perfect for an overdriven sound at low volumes. Despite the intended bass use, this may be more widely used as guitar amplifiers. All the same, it is a nice bass amp for a grittier retro bass sound. Check out the sound clips below.

Although probably not powerful enough for gigging with louder bands, the WEM Dominator is a fine recording amp; famously durable, and easy to find in working order at a reasonable price.



WEM Dominator Bass MK1
WEM logo WEM Dominator Bass MK1 back view WEM Dominator Bass MK1 serial number



WEM Dominator Bass MK1 soundclips

Vintage Guitar Soundclip:
1961 Gibson EB3
through a
1973 WEM Dominator Bass Mk 1

1961 Gibson EB31973 WEM Dominator Bass Mk 1
Shure SM57 microphone, into an M-audio mobile pre USB interface.

more vintage guitar soundclips

Pos 1 - neck pickup only with tone choke

Guitar: volume 10, tone 10. Clean amp: volume 3, bass 4, treble 5. Played fingerstyle.
Guitar: volume 10, tone 10. Amp: volume 5, bass 4, treble 5. Played fingerstyle.

Pos 2 - bridge pickup only

Guitar: volume 10, tone 10. Amp: volume 5, bass 4, treble 5. Fingerstyle.

Pos 3 - both pickups in parallel

Guitar: volumes 10, tones 10. Amp: volume 5, bass 4, treble 5. Fingerstyle.

Pos 4 - neck pickup only

Guitar: volume 10, tone 10. Amp: volume 5, bass 4, treble 5. Fingerstyle.


Vintage Guitar Soundclip:
1966 Gibson EB-0
through a
1973 WEM Dominator Bass Mk 1

1966 Gibson EB-01973 WEM Dominator Bass Mk 1
Amp settings are: Channel 1, Volume 5, Treble 5, Bass, without the 'Bright' mode activated - unless otherwise specified.

Recorded with a Shure SM57 microphone, into an M-audio mobile pre USB interface. The WEM Dominator Bass amplifier is very responsive to playing style. At middle volumes it can go from clean to overdriven depending on how hard you play.

more vintage guitar soundclips

Channel 1, volume 5, bass 5, treble 5

Guitar: volume 10/10, tone 10/10. Significant distortion, even with the amp at just 50% volume, especially, as here when played hard, with a pick.
Guitar: volume 10/10, tone 10/10. Fingerstyle, but still digging in for the overtones.
Amp in 'Bright' mode. Guitar: volume 10/10, tone 10/10. Played with a pick.


Vintage Guitar Soundclip:
1966 Hagstrom Coronado IV
through a
1973 WEM Dominator Bass Mk 1

1966 Hagstrom Coronado IV1973 WEM Dominator Bass Mk 1
Amp settings are: Channel 1, Volume 5, Treble 5, Bass, without the 'Bright' mode activated - unless otherwise specified.

Recorded with a Shure SM57 microphone, into an M-audio mobile pre USB interface. The WEM Dominator Bass amplifier gets growly, even at lower volumes, particularly when played hard.

more vintage guitar soundclips

Bridge pickup

Tone selector on 'H' (switch 4). Fingerstyle.
Tone selector on 'L' (switch 3). Fingerstyle.
A more extreme amplifier setting; both treble and bass upped to 10/10. Guitar tone selector on 'H' (switch 4). Fingerstyle.

Neck pickup

Tone selector on 'L' (switch 3). Played fingerstyle.

Both pickups

Tone selector on 'H' (switch 4). Fingerstyle.
Still with the brighter tone setting; 'H' (switch 4), but played with a pick

Back to the WEM INDEX | comment

WEM Amplifiers for sale


US ebay listings

WEM DOMINATOR 50 Watkins Twin 12" Valve Guitar Amp

Current price: $879.25
buy it now
Time left: 23d 23h 5m
VINTAGE 1970'S WEM/WATKINS DOMINATOR 15/18W AMP EL84 MARSHALL AMPLIFIER TONE

Current price: $925.00
buy it now
Time left: 23d 18h 45m
See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

WEM DOMINATOR 50 Watkins Twin 12" Valve Guitar Amp

Current price: £565.00
buy it now
Time left: 23d 23h 5m
WEM Dominator Mk 2 Tube amplifier 1960's Rare and collectable.

Current price: £500.00
buy it now
Time left: 2d 11h 42m
Roqsolid Cover Fits Watkins & WEM Dominator 50 Combo

Current price: £44.78
buy it now
Time left: 22d 12h 39m
Roqsolid Cover Fits Watkins & WEM Dominator (V-shaped)

Current price: £37.88
buy it now
Time left: 12d 16h 3m
Roqsolid Cover Fits Watkins & WEM Dominator AP45

Current price: £37.79
buy it now
Time left: 28d 11h 13m
Roqsolid Cover Fits Watkins & WEM Dominator MKI

Current price: £39.32
buy it now
Time left: 17d 12h 4m
Roqsolid Cover Fits Watkins & WEM Dominator (V-shaped) MK1

Current price: £38.34
buy it now
Time left: 13d 14h 7m
Roqsolid Cover Fits Watkins & WEM Dominator 25 MKII

Current price: £41.72
buy it now
Time left: 17d 12h 3m
See more results on eBay here

There are 2 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
oldmanblues Comment left 28th September 2012 14:02:02
This brings back some memories. Great dirty bass sound coming from that WEM amp. I had a friend (now sadly departed) who used this bass model for lead guitar and it sounded wonderful. It was definately a great all-round guitar and bass amp, and solid as a rock. Not so good for cleaner sounds, but for rocking out...
Tim Hicks Comment left 15th August 2014 08:08:40
I have a WEM Dominator Bass Mark 1 and it is a great guitar amp. As a bass amp the Celestion G15M flaps a little with high output modern pickups but gives a nice vintage sound with my old Hofner Senator bass. As a guitar am it is quite amazing with a gorgeous break up from 50% volume. The speaker is a key part of the sound as it is in effect a 15" version of the Celestion Greenback. Its a shame Celestion dont still make them. The amp is a little more noisy than modern amps but I can live with that for the great sounds.

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