When guitar players discuss the
great tube amps of yesteryear, the
legendary Fender Bassman—originally
designed as a single-speaker bass amplifier
in 1952—inevitably comes up. Many old-school
gearheads agree that the Bassman
is one of the holy grails of tone with a
reputation of always being up to the task
of delivering a loud, raw, in-your-face
rock sound when cranked, or easily coaxed
into a deep, full, and distinct clean sound
when dialed back. After that initial agreement
though, all bets are off as aficionados
discuss which Bassman circuit offers
Is it the original ’50s tweed 5D6 (’55),
5E6-A (’55–’57), or 5F6-A (’58–’60) circuit?
Maybe the 6G6 circuit in the blonde
amps of the early ’60s? What about the
blackface AA165 of the pre-CBS years? The
argument may never reach a conclusion, as
each circuit is revered for the unique voice
it contributed to this iconic series.
Featured here is a great example of a late
blonde-era Fender Bassman and cabinet,
which were famously used by the likes of
Pete Townshend, George Harrison, and of
course, Brian Setzer. A black control face
and raised logo immediately helps narrow
the production year down to 1964. Quite
possibly one of the last Bassmans produced
with the 6G6 circuit, it spent years in
smoky venues, as evidenced by the stained
grille cloth, but is otherwise in great shape.
Aside from a properly grounded power
cable and a re-cone for the original Oxford
12" speakers, the set is all original.
Thanks to Stan Werbin at Elderly
Instruments for listing this Bassman on Gear
Search and Dave Matchette for the photos.
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