Fender Bassman, Showman and Bandmaster ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by samdjr74, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. samdjr74

    samdjr74 Supporting Member

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    Hi All,

    So I might be in the market soon for a SF fender amp. I'd like to get a bassman but I have a couple questions for all you fender guys out there. My budget is going to limit me to a SF not a BF so my questions are as follows:

    1. I hear a bunch of discussion or a good circuit and bad SF circuit, what do I need to look for?

    2. I'm not limited to a bassman, I can go with a showman or bandmaster but what's the best bang for the buck?

    3. Any years to avoid on any of the 3 amps above?

    4. Is there an amp that I'm missing that I might want to look at?

    Thanks,
    Sam
     
  2. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    Bassman-10. Great guitar amps. A little hard to transport, but the closed-back design with 4X10 speakers really pushes the low end. Great for blues, especially if you change the speakers. Really good amp with pedals in front. Well built, and a steal at current prices. You can find nice ones for $400 to $600.
    Mike
     
  3. samdjr74

    samdjr74 Supporting Member

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    Thanks Mike, I'll look into it but I'd prefer a head and seperate speaker cabinet.
     
  4. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Um, I'm not a fan of an unmodded Bassman 10. That's about the simplest circuit that Fender ever put into a 2 channel amp and it just doesn't have the gain I'd like to see. Cool with pedals but why not start with an amp that'll go where you want. The Bassman is a great idea-loud when it breaks up, but it sounds good, takes pedals well, easily transported and you shouldn't pay more than $400-500 for an early SF head. Don't bother with the Fender cab, nice collectable but any Avatar cab will give you better sound. I'd pass on the Bandmaster-not enough gain and not all that loud. The Showman/Dual Showman is supposed to be THE best Fender clean ever, takes pedals well, heavy but useable unlike a Twin. If you're looking for rock and roll, I'd go bassman, any style that emphasizes clean and gets distortion from a pedal: Showman. They'll set you back more, in the $800-1200 range, even SF.
     
  5. highrise

    highrise Member

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    A BandMaster is nice too. I don't know much about them, other than I played thru one one night. It was a very nive vintage sound. Rolled off highs and vocal mids. Very sweet.

    I don't think you can really go "wrong" with older Fenders. Stay away from any Fender with Pull pots.
     
  6. samdjr74

    samdjr74 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info all. Now is there one particular circuit I should look for over another?
     
  7. paaes335

    paaes335 Member

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    I'm no expert on circuits in bf/sf fenders but having owned and gigged with bf and sf bandmasters and bassmans over the years I found that the ealry sf with aluminum drip edge around the front sounded identical to the bf ones.
    I've used other later sf amps that didn't have the drip edge and they sounded harsher, more flat in the tone dept.
    Seems to coincide with Aspen Pittman's take that the circuits changed after the early sf runs.
    I think it's pretty easy to mod these to bf specs but again I ain't no expert.
     
  8. samdjr74

    samdjr74 Supporting Member

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    Thanks, so what years had the drip edge, just 68?
     
  9. Kelly

    Kelly Member

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    Late '67-'70. Mine will probably hit Ebay pretty soon. You can see it here, on the floor.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. adamzappa

    adamzappa Member

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    The bandmaster reverb is the one I would go for. Its a super reverb without the speakers. The normal bandmaster has 2 preamps that are the same as the normal channel on the bassman and the same as both channels on a showman so the gain will be the same on all these amps. The showman is the same as the bandmaster but double the power. Dont even think about buying any Fender amp with a master volume. They sound horrible. Whatever you get it is very important to get a speaker cab that matches the output impedance of your head. 4 ohms for Bassman and Bandmaster, 8 ohms for a Showman unless its a dual showman which wants 4 ohms. You can use the code on the output transformer to find out what impesance the amp wants to see.
     
  11. samdjr74

    samdjr74 Supporting Member

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    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for the info, currently I have a couple differet cabinets at the house, 4, 8 and 16 ohm so I should be good with that. I just don't see many bandmasters with reverb, was this only made for a few years?

    Thanks,
    Sam
     
  12. adamzappa

    adamzappa Member

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    The drip edges were only done in 1968. The first year of silver panel. Not all drip edges are the same as black face amps. You have to look inside. I have seen several black face bassman heads that didnt have black face schematics. Any of the non master silver amps can easily be changed to black face spec and often sound better than the real deal. They all sound better than the crappy reissues.
     
  13. adamzappa

    adamzappa Member

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    I see quite a few bandmaster reverbs in Europe. I dont know if it was an export only. I doubt it. As far as I know they were made from 69 or 70 right up until the crappy master volume amps.
     
  14. OaklandA

    OaklandA Silver Supporting Member

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    Silverface - I'd go with the Bandmaster Reverb. Great amps. Twin-like in many ways.

    For a Bassman, you really can't beat a Blonde. One of the best amps ever IMO (next the the Tweed Bassman). The Silverface version is really more of an actual bass amp and not that great of one. And not as good for guitar as the older versions either.
     
  15. Han Solo

    Han Solo Member

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    The Bandmaster Reverb is a good choice. Mine is a 5005X. Maybe the X stands for "Xport"?
     
  16. adamzappa

    adamzappa Member

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  17. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I had a BF Bandmaster. It was a great amp, but it didn't break up for overdrive like I've heard that Bassman's can. The Bandmaster Reverb sounds like it might be interesing though.
    I sold my mint '66 BF Bandmaster head for ~$550 or so, they are reasonably priced.
     
  18. scottywompas

    scottywompas Member

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    HUH!!!!??????:huh

    My bandmaster is plenty loud. On 4 it's pretty damn loud, at 6 people start getting pissed. Sure it only gets dirty if you crank it but a good pedal does the trick.

    Scott
     
  19. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    I have had a '67 SF drip edge bassman and still own an '69 Bandmaster reverb. Both are great amps.

    I think either a Bandmaster, Bandmaster reverb, or Bassman from '68-72 would be a good choice. The Bandmaster do have small output transformers, but I like the way mine breaks up, so I haven't felt the need to change it to a Bassman output transformer....
     
  20. mrface2112

    mrface2112 Member

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    :agree

    My '67 (blackface) Bandmaster is VERY loud on 4, and like scotty said, on 6 people start getting pissed. and it DOES have a WONDERFUL breakup, if you can tolerate getting it to about 6 or 7--it's fender chime with a lot of hair on it. but it's definitely NOT marshall crunch--but that's why they make pedals. it's 40W and plenty loud.

    a bassman is even louder (50W), and a showman even more so.

    i would save up a few more dollars and get a blackface--they only had a run of 3 years (vs the 12 years of silverface) and will command a higher resale value down the road. plus, they just look classier, IMO. i got my bandmaster for $500 within the last month, so they're out there.


    cheers,
    wade
     

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