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May 2014
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1964 Fender Bassman Head and Cabinet

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1964 Fender Bassman Head and Cabinet

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 that true Bassman sound.

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. Whether you’re looking for a vintage piece or the latest available technology, there’s a great chance you’ll find it at Gear Search. More than 47,000 items are listed, including some of the rarest gear in the world.

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