Fender Bassman Head All Tube Reviews
Guitar Center, Colonie, NY USA $400
in exceptional condition for a 35yr old
head. I wanted to back up a Bassman 50
that I'm very pleased with.
For a tube head, it's fairly compact and
light: under 2ft wide x 10" high, about
30lb. Controls are simple, and it has
2 channels [not switched, simultaneous],
1 for "normal instrument" and 1 for bass.
Compared to many other vintage tube amps
I tried, it's nearly immune to the buzz
of passive pickups and fluorecents/neons.
At moderate [small ensemble or duo] sound
levels, the bass side is very atmospheric,
and [via an external 1/4" to 1/4" jumper]
the "normal" side can blend in whatever
dose of "dirt" rocks your boat. If you
push it [small rock/blues band level] the
unavoidable distortion is of the vintage
type, easy on the ear, non-shredding.
It can handle a guitar and bass together
without making a muddy mess of it.
The handle shouldn't be top-center because
all the weight is at on end [transformer].
It's very primitive in features: no loop
or line out, no midrange dials, single
"volume" dial per channel [not gain plus
master], and no master output dial for the
Compared to my Bassman 50 head, it's near
identical but minor internal differences
allow the "50" to produce less distortion
as the gain rises, although this is not
a huge difference. It appears the bias is
Much is covered above. Each channel has 3
knobs: volume, bass & treble, plus 2 input
jacks per channel for differing impedence.
There are switches for "Bright" & "Deep".
The rear has "main" and "extension" jacks
for speakers [4ohm combined minimum], plus
switches for power, standby, and ground.
It's a handwired chassis, wired point to
point [no PC boards] with 4 preamp and 2
power amp tubes. Wooden cabinet and tolex
covering seem more than adequate judged at
35yr old. As far as I can tell, the whole
package is very reliable [for a tube amp].
For fretless bass guitar with flatwounds
[and I use several very different FL-FW
setups] it kicks the booty over the moon.
With frets, a touch of tube dirt adds a
cool transformation to the metal-on-metal
attack of the strings on the frets. IMHO
this amp prefers nickel strings rather
than stainless. YMMV.
This is the Blackface, a bit dirtier tone
than the "50" [AKA Silverface] which is
itself dirtier than the "70" [all of which
share near identical cabinets and chassis.
For low to middle sound levels, as a bass head, it offers a unique package of tube
tone and portability.Golem
rated this unit