View Full Version : Early 70's Bandmaster Reverb (TFL5005)- thoughts? Good mods? Value?

07-16-2010, 01:00 PM
I have the chance to get one of these at a fair price- not a steal, but fair enough to consider. What are your thoughts on these? It had mallory caps on the board- they looked original, but I just don't know- the FENDER logos have the "tail" on them- the codes on the trannies have the 606- "0" that leads me to believe its a 1970, but I'm not certain. Looks like the one I might get has original RCA blackplates thru it too! The speakers are Fender Utah orange labels. The amp looks identical to this one:


Thoughts? Are these a good cadidate for "mods" of any kind??

Any info and input would be greatly appreciated!!!

07-16-2010, 01:53 PM
Yeah, that would be a 1970. I had Ron Veil ( an well renowned Fender amp tech guy here in CA ) say that the Bandmaster Reverb circuit was nearly identical to a Super Reverb. Both used the AA 1069 circuit in 1970. So, if you like Super Reverbs ( many do ), then that is a head version of a 1970 Super Reverb.

What I do not like is the overly large speaker cabinet. I didn't like them when Fender introduced them back then, and I don't like them now. I prefer the more compact 1965 and earlier size. I also don't care for the overly large head cabinet. I know they're stuffing a spring reverb pan in the bottom, but it just looks funky to me. I think Fender couldv'e trimmed a few inches off the height of that cab easily.

As I understand it, these can be modded back to a Super Reverb "blackface" AB763 circuit fairly easily. That's typically what is done when one does mod a Super. The ones I played sounded pretty bright and clean.

While these can be made to sound great, and are pretty great sounding as is, it seems to me Fender made these exceptionally and unnecessarily large purely to appear to be more than what they are. Many amp makers back then did that. Just real big boxes when smaller ones would have sufficed.

07-16-2010, 02:14 PM
I have a '69 Bandmaster Reverb, its a great amp. Its one of the few Fender amp head models that has reverb. I think Fender was worried about noise from the reverb, so they made the head cab very large. Its so large that you can actually fit 2 8inch speakers in the baffle of the head (seen a picture of one like that once). I agree with 335guy that the tall head cab and large 212 is pretty excessive. I to prefer the smaller 212. I made a new back for mine to make it opened back, which was a great change.

The one slag on the Bandmaster reverbs is the small output transformer. A Super Reverb will have a large 2ohm output transformer. The one on the BMR is pretty small and saturates early, which I actually like. A BF/SF Bassman output transformer will work, if you want a more solid bottom end. I like mine stock. I would go for it, these are a great value on the used market.

Here is a picture of mine.


07-16-2010, 02:46 PM
Thanks fellas! I can get the pair for $550.......whadya think??? If I get it, I'll get some pix up! Thanks again

07-16-2010, 02:54 PM
I think that's a good deal

07-16-2010, 02:55 PM
I had a cab made by Kerry from mine when I had it. If you tweek it a bit they are great sounding amps - mine broke up after 3 and was not as clean as some might lead one to think - but that was a good thing.

07-16-2010, 05:16 PM
Thanks fellas! I can get the pair for $550.......whadya think??? If I get it, I'll get some pix up! Thanks again

That's a good price, I would go for it. I got mine before the economy dipped and actually paid more for just the head than that. I probably have too much into mine, but I am not planning to sell it. :)

07-16-2010, 06:02 PM
I'm wondering why you don't have it yet?

Blue Strat
07-16-2010, 06:26 PM
Great deal. You couldn't find a similar hand wired modern HEAD (which will depreciate in value) for twice the price. It's a no brainer.

Easily modded, but make sure it's at full operating potential before you decide to change it.

07-16-2010, 06:32 PM
Grab it now!

I sold my 69 BMR head for $600.
$550 for the head & cab? No brainer. Those are great amps!

07-20-2010, 02:52 PM
Thanks again fellas! I did get the amp- its really nice. Sounds pretty good, but needs a little bit of TLC- the usual stuff, pot cleaning on the treble control. The verb is bleeding into the clean channel- it didn't come with a footswitch, but I think I have an extra somewhere.....doesn't have the screws to hold the head to the cab either, again, no biggie.

Its pretty cool, especially at this price tag. I still dig my little BF Deluxe Verb, but this is a great amp for the $$$$

THis seems like a very good candidate for some mods. I'll give David Allen a call- he's still in northern KY, right? Not too far from me!


07-20-2010, 03:21 PM
That Bandmaster Reverb is an exceptional amp IMO. I have owned one for close to 20 years and just recently put the chassie into a Super Reverb cab with 4-10's, My tech "blackfaced " it , did new filter caps, and a couple of nice mods that were done on it before. The reverb is on both channels and he also put switch on the rear of the chassie that turns off the vibrato from the circuit, thus adding some gain to the vibrato channel,works real sweet. He changed the OT ,reverb tranformer, and used a 5AR4 rectifier instead of the original 5U4. The amp was re-tubed with JJ 6L6's and RCA and Silvania pre-amp tubes. Speakers are Jenson P10R's . With a reissue faceplate looks just like an original "blackface" and its sounds absolutely fantastic! I also own an original "66" "blackface " Super Reverb and this amp sounds better than the original. Glad you were able to score the Bandmaster Reverb,they are worth every penny paid. Enjoy! If you ever decide to make a combo amp out of it, I have a 1-12 blond ,pine combo cab with a Weber California 12" ceramic 4ohm speaker in it that fits that chassie and the speaker matches the Bandmaster speaker load. I may be selling this in the near future

07-20-2010, 07:51 PM
Very cool Telejammer! Thanks for the info-
I may be interested in that when you're ready to sell- let me know as I'd like to see pictures.

You brought up an intersting point- these run at 4ohms, not 2ohms....
Do you guys ever run them at 8 or 16 ohm loads???

I'm curious to see what other speaker combos are working for you too.


07-21-2010, 06:28 AM
I have run mine at 8ohms and at 2ohms. At 8ohms, I found the BMR sounds a bit constipated for lack of a better word. 2ohms, it sounds find. 99% of the time though I run it at 4ohms. I would not recommend hooking up a 16ohm load.

07-21-2010, 12:49 PM
David Allen sells a nice upgrade transformer that would work nicely with BMR. 8 and 4 ohm outputs, and more metal than the standard BMR, Vibrolux reverb, Pro reverb (those three have identical OT's) output transformer, while still having only two mounting holes (so you don't have to drill any new holes in the amplifier chassis).I have an older Allen SR/Bassman style with 2/4/8 ohm taps. It's the merde, pardon my French. Great buy. The cab is from a different era though....just as well, since the drip edge one is like 40" x 29".