Best boutique blackface style head?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by HerbieDeez, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. HerbieDeez

    HerbieDeez Supporting Member

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    Top Hat is on my short list and there are deals to be had on them. Never played one. Same with a Bandmaster. Lots of homework to do. Great stuff thanks everyone!
     
  2. Agent76

    Agent76 Member

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    I too wish that amp prices weren't what they are but they are. They keep going up too. I noticed that VS head was in the $1700s new so you could snag a mint used one under that (I would imagine).

    The boutique market has a lot of specialized circuits, vintage variants, etc. In your situation I might be tempted just to ignore that whole market and just check out the used market on Fenders. Your criteria isnt terribly specific you might be able to save a lot of cash. If you just want to buy a boutique amp for the sake of it then go for it.
     
  3. HerbieDeez

    HerbieDeez Supporting Member

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    You nailed that. I've had the same thought. Having never tried a Bandmaster I'm pretty tempted there. Some of the other suggestions aren't bad price wise either. Man I love amps!
     
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  4. Joshlespaul1952

    Joshlespaul1952 Silver Supporting Member

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    I had a '64 (I think) BF Bandmaster. Only amp I regret selling. Glorious cleans, fantastic breakup... I think I spent $700 for it.
     
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  5. Slevin

    Slevin Supporting Member

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    I just got a divided by 13 sjt 10/20 for basically your asking price. It's not impossible. Amazing blackface cleans on the ab mode and Tweed like tones in class a mode and the best reverb I've had.
     
  6. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    I had one of those too! Sold it like an idiot.
     
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  7. BMX

    BMX Supporting Member

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    If reverb isn't a requirement I'd get a bandmaster head. I used to gig with an Ambassador and it's not the same as a blackface. The reverb is different-not at surfy, more like a sophisticated reverb in an effects loop if that makes sense. Also has a lot more low end and available mids than a blackface. A blackface is like a chevy, an ambassador is like a Cadillac. I don't mean that in a way that one is better than the other, they're just different.
     
  8. HerbieDeez

    HerbieDeez Supporting Member

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    Great piece of info there. I'm intrigued by the 13's big time as I love Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Chris and Neal both use them now or at least last time I saw them. Those models are 100 watts plus and appear to be doing more of a Twin type thing but I've seen enough to know that company has something special going on with Fender style amps (and more). If I can find a flow chart for their model numbers and a deal like yours I'm in!
     
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  9. HerbieDeez

    HerbieDeez Supporting Member

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    Bold statement but not the first one I've seen like it regarding Top Hat. They were already on my list and that makes me want to check one out more. I also love some Vox type tones. Many Top Hats also seem to be known for that. Ambassador do some chime too or no?
     
  10. BMX

    BMX Supporting Member

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    The ambassador does some chime but I'd almost say less than something similar than a pro reverb. The ambassador is probably closer to a two rock than an ac30.
     
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  11. ScioBro

    ScioBro Silver Supporting Member

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    Bandmaster REVERB head. Great bargain. Watched a decent one go for $510 on eBay this week.

    It bears remembering that the Bandmaster Reverb is way different than a plain Bandmaster, similarly to the Deluxe vs Deluxe Reverb case.
    IIRC the "recovery" portion of the reverb circuit acts as an extra gain stage.
    So the amp crunches and breaks up more when cranked vs. a non-reverb. Even when reverb isn't used.

    A Bandmaster stays polite, a Bandmaster Reverb gets a crunchier OD tone.

    So even IF reverb isn't a must-have, a Bandmaster Reverb has better utility than a Bandmaster due to the better available R'n'R crunch


    A Bandmaster only comes with SS rectification. Bandmaster Reverb was equipped to use a tube rectifier (like a Super Reverb) even though some came SS rectified

    This is a no-brainer match for your stated needs as I understand them;).
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
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  12. 67super

    67super Member

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    BF Bassman, since you don't care about reverb. With the Bassman you can modify the the bass channel to get a different sound.
     
  13. lostpoet2

    lostpoet2 Supporting Member

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    I like the bandmaster, but the bassman head might be superior as a pedal platform.
     
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  14. HerbieDeez

    HerbieDeez Supporting Member

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    Thanks for this extremely helpful post for a bandmaster noob! I'm guilty of seeing them cheap and abundant and assuming they must suck to be honest. I'm really not an amp snob like that at all but that cheap for a blackface anything seemed like a red flag. I should have taken a cue from my love of silverface bassman heads but even those are disappearing and creeping up in price locally. I love a bassman and I'm sure it would take pedals better. For my money it's my favorite pedal platform even. What I'm searching for atm is not a pedal platform but the gorgeous tone that excites me so much with my super. The pedal mention in my initial post was a bonus. Bassmans are awesome but they never make the hairs on my neck stand up like my 4x10 little slice of heaven.
     
  15. tiptone

    tiptone Member

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    Chris sounds remarkably like Chris no matter what he plays through. He also prefers far more volume than I've ever been able to get away with.
     
  16. Kingdilph

    Kingdilph Member

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    You could probably get an original blackface head for under 1500. Bassman,Showman,Bandmaster,Tremolux, Dual Showman. Just make sure they're not too molested there's a lot of info out there if you look to make sure your getting a 'stock' one
     
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  17. Kleio

    Kleio Supporting Member

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    A month ago, I hadn't seriously considered a Bandmaster. I recently picked up a 68 drip edge Bandmaster for $575 and it's a truly excellent amp. Really sweet fender tones at very usable volumes. Takes pedals extremely well also.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
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  18. kingdavidy2k

    kingdavidy2k Member

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    You might be in luck there with the Top Hat.
    I was actually just emailing Brian (Top Hat) about a project for his take on a Princeton Reverb Type amp.
    He's got some ideas but unfortunately I had to turn the project off as I'm in Australia and sending back and forth for mods will be to much of a costly hassles.

    Contact him and he might be able to build your dream Blackface amp!

    And do let me know if you're going ahead with the project! Would love to hear about it!
     
  19. HerbieDeez

    HerbieDeez Supporting Member

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    This is too tempting not to try. I'm on the hunt now. Still very interested to try others mentioned as well so leaning towards upping the budget a bit and trying 2. The second may come down to what I can find a good deal on for now.
     
  20. HerbieDeez

    HerbieDeez Supporting Member

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    Any love for Bad Cat on this front? I love their amps. Fat Cat maybe? Judah sounds really good too.
     

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