Vase Bassman 80w Valve Head Reviews 5

I bought this amp head in June 2004 at The Music Swap Shop in Melbourne, Australia. Vase was a company operating out of Brisbane from the early 1960s to the very early 1970s, as far as I know, and this amp was probably built in the late 60s. It came with a huge 6x12" Vase speaker cabinet and I payed AUS$850 for both. I didn't even try it out in the shop as I already owned another Vase amplifier (100w valve/solid state hybrid) which I love, and decided to become a Vase collector on the spot!

This amp, rated at 80watt/4 ohm, must be one of the loudest I've ever heard. I pair it with an early 70s Australian made 4x12" Strauss cabinet and hardly ever need to turn it up past 2 on stage. There are three inputs, for bass, guitar and organ. The sound is comparable to the Fender bassman, and I play both guitar (a 1964 Ibanez) and bass through it. The sound is very clean, with tone easily controllable by pull-out bass and treble controls to give extra boost where needed. Like all Vase amplifiers, this model is incredibly sturdy and can take a lot of punishment.

I like pretty much everything about the Vase, including the cool futuristic logo! Some people have commented on the lack of gain control, as this amp doesn't distort, even at very high volume, but as I use a distortion pedal most of the time anyway, this doesn't really bother me. The only other problem could be getting hold of spare parts, as the company no longer exists and as time progresses, these great amps become rarer.

This amp head is very sturdy and subsequently quite heavy. It has a single screw-in handle at the top. I accidentally dropped it off a stage after a gig recently, but neither the valves nor the casing sustained any damage whatsoever. Quality workmanship!

The Vase 80w bassman has become my main amplifier and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an inexpensive vintage alternative to a Fender bassman.

Frankie Teardrop rated this unit 5 on 2004-07-23.

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