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Fender Bandmaster Thoughts?

Miles

Member
Thinking of getting an old Bandmaster head to put with my V30 loaded cab. I usually just run a Fulltone OCD straight in and I'm good.

What are your opinions of the Fender bandmaster? Does it have reasonable headroom, overall response?

Thanks guys.
 
I've had several '67-'69 drip-edges, and I currently have a '65 BF. I love'em! They are, or were, going for cheap and with a little bit of work are some serious tone machines.

Andy
 

Kiwi

Silver Supporting Member
Oh, heck yeah - lots o' loud clean headroom - that was the whole idea. It's kinda stiff in feel, till you get it to break up, at which point it's pretty dang loud.

If you get a blackface, you can run the channels separately with an A/B/Y switch and they'll be in phase. Stick your OD on one channel and turn it up, keep the other for clean rhythm (and trem).

They're also cost-effective, at about $500 for a decent old blackface head. But prices have been going up as people discover that they can get that "classic Fender blackface tone" by going out and buying classic Fender blackfaces from the 1960s.

Are V30s mid-rangey? If so, that might be my only concern ... the classic old Fender tone has a bit of a mid scoop, and the glassy top, so it may or may not be great with V30s.

Secret weapon: Run those old blackfaces through a 4x10 cab. You'll get heard in a band context.

The OCD sounds fine with it, I pummel my BF BM with it regularly.

=K
 

Gasp100

Supporting Member
Hell yeah! My old '66 BF Bandmaster head through virtually anything just killed... I should have NEVER sold that thing. I've come full circle and now I'm looking for the BF tones again.
I could get the amp up way loud (at or above 6) before breakup, so I think most people would agree it has more headroom than some of the other Fenders that do breakup earlier (I don't know, Bassman, DR, PR???)
Killer cleans, pedal wh*re, built in vibrato (who needs reverb anyway) just awesome... I only net'd $450 from my sale, now it's in Alaska somewhere.
:dude
 

blackba

Member
I have a '69 Bandmaster Reverb which is a bit of a different animal, but it is a great sounding amp. Main thing the bandmasters get slagged for the the small Output transformer, but mine sounds great, I don't see a reason to change it.

It would sure be nice if more vintage fender heads had reverb, but then again fender had to sell their reverb units to someone and I think they were worried about noise in the small head boxes.
 

blackba

Member
Can I safely run an 8ohm cabinet with it?

Does it have an 8ohm tap??

Thanks
Most vintage fenders can tolerate a mismatch either way, so it has a 4ohm output, meaning you can safely run a 2ohm or 8ohm speaker load. I do think that my bandmaster reverb and Bassman sound better with a 4ohm load though. There are transformers (allen has some) that will have an 8ohm tap if you want to go that route...
 

Miles

Member
Nah, that's alright, so long as I can safely mismatch, I'm happy. I mismatch all the time with my Blue Angel combo from 8 ohm speaker to 4 ohm tap, and it's fine, but I didn't want to mess with a 1965 circuit and do something wrong.

Thanks again.

What other Fender amp is the Bandmaster most like? I hear it often compared to bassmans
 

sickboy79

Member
A great vintage Fender amp. Nice cleans to bluesy and rockabilly tones to a nice classic rock crunch. Not quite as raunchy and punchy as the Bassman heads - but, plenty in their own right!

The circuits are quite a bit different from the Bassmans, and the tranny's are different.
 

Miles

Member
This one on ebay is recapped and has the ground 3 prong cable installed. It's a '66.

Do you think this would be a reliable head for gig use?
 

Gasp100

Supporting Member
I sold mine as mint as possible (it was over 40 years old) with the 3 prong upgrade cable for $450 + shipping about 2 months ago. I guess these are going up in price, but I do believe they show up on the bay quite often still.
 

Ian

Member
Can you run a Bandmaster head wth a 16 ohm Marshall 4x12?

I want to swap a Bandmaster and my Variplex head via a head-switcher into a single 16 ohm 4x12 with greenbacks.....

I heard that there might be an issue and that the Bandmaster is only 2 or 4 ohms?

Thanks!
 

Kiwi

Silver Supporting Member
Can you run a Bandmaster head wth a 16 ohm Marshall 4x12? I heard that there might be an issue and that the Bandmaster is only 2 or 4 ohms?

Thanks!
I'll defer to the tech guys here, but ... I wouldn't do it.

The Bandmaster wants to see 4 ohms, it'll tolerate 2 or 8. I would not feel safe running it into a 16 ohm cab. ==K
 

blackba

Member
Can you run a Bandmaster head wth a 16 ohm Marshall 4x12?

I want to swap a Bandmaster and my Variplex head via a head-switcher into a single 16 ohm 4x12 with greenbacks.....

I heard that there might be an issue and that the Bandmaster is only 2 or 4 ohms?

Thanks!
Its not recommended and I wouldn't do it. Proceed at your own risk....
 

Lou Brush

Member
I highly recommend running a Bandmaster at 4 ohms. It will be louder and have more clean headroom than other impedances.
 


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