Fender Bassman [tube] Head Reviews 4

I bought it off the floor at the Guitar Center in Albany, NY for $400 in working condition, excellent cosmetically, and no noticeable problems [jacks & pots quiet, etc]. Because it's the "sought after" Vintage-Blackface version, $400 was the rock bottom "no warranty" price.

It's not too big or heavey, runs two channels simultaneously [guitar & bass] with no channel chooser switch. I got it mainly to back up my Bassman 50 head, which is essentially the same head with slightly different default EQ values. It has some distortion creeping in at abot #3 or 4 on the gain knobs [0-10] that works miracles with fretless bass, giving superior Mwahh. With the 2 channels running, it offers 2 bass knobs, 2 trebles knobs, and 2 gain knobs, and switches for Bright and Deep. Each channel has 2 input jacks of slightly differing impedance, so you can, among the 4 jacks, 6 knobs & 2 switches balance the rig for your ax and cabinet. Sometimes we've run guitar and bass thru together [1 channel for each] using a 12" 4 ohm bass cab with a horn, and it comes off beautifully. 50 watts of tube power is worth about 150w of solid state power.

It's for small venues unless you like distortion. All its clean sound is in the lower gain range. Theres no preamp out or power amp in jacks. It lacks seperate volume and gain controls.

It's an old hand-wired tube head, with 4ea 12ax and 2ea 6L6, 2 or 3 transformers of various sizes, giant capacitors [that can kill you dead] and misc other typical electrical parts, all in a wood case with tolex covering. It's over 35yrs old and still cooking [although by its appearance cosmetically, it has not led a hard life]. It's about 10" tall, 20" wide, maybe 30lb. There's a standby switch and a ground lift switch, as well as 2 speaker jacks and an AC outlet [oldie, not 3-wire] on the rear. Uses a 2amp slowblow fuse. Make sure the spring in the fuse cover is present and working, or power may cut out sometimes.

I wish the clean tone ran a bit further up the gain range. The inputs, outputs and controls are limited [or primative], but it's a great head to drive a modest cabinet for fretless, upright or fretted fingerstyle bass in a small ensemble. I use my "blackface" and "siverface" heads interchangeably. If you can hear any difference when playing, you're probably very bored, and distracted from whatever you're playing. Ignoring the lack of features, performance would rate a 5, but I'll call it 4 because of its primative feature set.

Golem rated this unit 4 on 2004-08-24.

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