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My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:37 pm
by bignick
Personally, I love gear stories so I'm sharing this one because I am really really excited.

Basically I took a little break from electrics and slide all together. Played acoustic awhile, learned more about Open tunings from a different perspective. Came back to playing slide again and realized that I really needed a decent tube amp. I keep buying and selling amps and I haven't been happy. A lot of friends and colleagues have been suggesting silverface Fender Bassman's pre-1975. They are affordable, have decent wattage, and can be modded to blackface fairly easily.

I've had my eye on the market for awhile now. Saw a lot of Bassman heads go for $450-$650 with shipping charges all over the map. Last night I decided that I need to focus on what I want to do, sell the shit I'm not using, and take the plunge before they reach the $900 mark and become an impossibility for me.

As soon as I started posting ebay auctions: my Ibanez (metal axe), my old paintball gun from my college competing days, Crate head, A&L acoustic, etc, I ran across this baby right before I went to bed. The guy just posted it (I had an ebay search saved for Bassman heads).

$275 Buy It Now, $30.00 shipping and the guy lives a state away. I checked the specs and contacted the guy. Everything was legit, he had great feedback, I went for it. I can't believe I found one for the money I paid. It needs a logo and a back plate, but that is fine with me. 1971, non-master volume, new tubes, and a three-prong plug was added. He just wanted to sell to buy a Dual Showman.

I should have it by Monday.

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This combined with my Radial Tonebone to boost it should be all I need for slide or anything else. I'll probably convert it to blackface specs and get it a cap job if it is needed...but I am STOKED.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:49 pm
by texas blues
Nice! Nothing like raw horsepower! What cab are going to run it through?

Cheers, TB.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:31 pm
by ricochet
Very nice!

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:38 pm
by titaniumslide
You're gonna love that amp, more power than you may need, but it's better to have than need it.
I used to own a Bandmaster from that era pretty much the same amp. I foolishly traded it off for a Strat that doesn't get enough play time. I had mated mine with a 1X12 cab and then I changed it to a 2X10, both worked really well, but I got tired of carrying 2 boxes for sound, changed to a combo.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:09 pm
by bignick
I'm actually going to run it through a 1x12 cab with a 35 watt Weber Signature speaker. The speaker was made for me by Ted and has a transformer on it with an ohm switch that lets me select from 4ohm-8ohm-16ohm. It is really hard to find a 4ohm speaker these days and I don't like big cabs anymore.

The tonebone helps with the low volume jamming. It has a very musical gain to it and its own preamp tube. I also have my 5watt Princeton clone for low volume playing.

This is going to be my jam amp, as I have decided I need to get out and start playing with people. Wanted to get the gear first.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:36 pm
by leftyguitarman
Good find!

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:53 am
by grady
Those old Fender amps are hard to beat. I love my '69 Princeton.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:24 pm
by goldbrick
You'll love it --I kinda accumulate old tube amps and they can be awesome

My current favorites are a Musicmaster and a Kalamazoo 2

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:29 am
by bignick
Those Kalamazoo amps kick ass. My buddy's got a little Kzoo harp amp and it is my all time favorite amp to jam through. Nice natural tube compression. Awesome.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:24 pm
by bignick
The amp arrived today already!

The plug was converted to a 3-prong which is good. It has a new set of JJs so I may need to rebias the amp. I'm hoping the owner before this guy did a cap job when he replaced the plug. I have a feeling I'm going to have to do it all but it should still rock.

I can't wait to plug her in.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:46 pm
by leftyguitarman
Even if you have to do a little work, it's worth it I'm sure. You got that amp for a steal!

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:35 am
by bignick
Opened it up and inspected everything. It looks like two of the caps may have been changed but I ordered everything just in case. $42.00 isn't a whole lot of money to make it sound the way I know it will. Even playing it through a crappy 8 ohm speaker it sounded good...my 4 ohm Weber didn't arrive yet.

Overall I am really happy with it. It makes a neck pickup sing and it is raw as hell. I may get a EHX Holy Grail Reverb pedal soon. Its a little dry.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:31 pm
by bignick
Well over the last week I have recapped my amp, just finishing up the 25/50 Volt caps last night that needed replacing. Found out that it had half a cap job. Apparently the owner before the previous one was changing them as they began to go. There were a couple of 500 Volt caps in there (and I'm not talking about the ones under the pan - they were replacing the original 25 volt caps in the original AB165 schematic). I replaced everything with sprague atoms.

The amp sounds phenomenal now. I thought it sounded good as it was but I had never really heard one before. It really came to life last night. I also received my 35 watt 4 ohm 12" speaker from Weber and that has helped it as well. It just smokes.

I run it with a little compression but I have a feeling I wouldn't need a compressor at higher volume. I ran it with a Digitech Tone Blaster as a boost for awhile as well. It sounded good all around but I got that cool John Lee Hooker sound by using the bright switch, turning up the treble, and playing on the neck Seymour Duncan of my Dillion LP copy.

A singing slide amp too. I can't imagine playing through anything else right now.

The only bummer is that the screws on the amp handle are stripped on one side and keep coming out. I need to figure out a way to fix that. I may just go to Home Depot and get a couple of bolts.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:09 pm
by leftyguitarman
Good to hear you really like that amp! One day I will own a vintage Fender amp. Hopefully one day not too far away.

Re: My first vintage Fender amp!

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:56 am
by texas blues
Just think Lefty, in 30 years the Champ 600 you sold me will be vintage. DOH! At home when Mrs. Blues is around, I play the 600 with an XXXXX box but when she's not....all Marshall all the way baby! The other day when she was out I had the Clark Champ on 10, straight no chaser. 'Lawd have mercy!

Cheers, TB.