Help choose my next amp - vintage Bassman or newer clone?

tshall

Member
Messages
224
I'm thinking of going handwired for my next amp, and have a bit of a dilemma. I have a line locally on a mid 70s Bassman 50 for a decent price, and have been reading up on mods to make the "Bass" channel a Plexi channel and leave the normal channel for cleans.

On the other hand, that research also led me to the Frenzel mini bassman, which seems like it's basically the same thing (Fender and Marshall channels, 40 watt), but new (still handwired). Those get mostly good reviews from those that have them, but not really rave reviews. I'd probably be looking at roughly the same amount of money either way.

Thoughts? Are there other amps I should be looking at? Pitfalls either way? Thanks in advance.
 

Kitten Cannon

Member
Messages
4,697
Hard to find better bang for the buck than an old Bassman, and it'll certainly never lose value unless you mess it up.
 

MissoulaGriz

Member
Messages
1,276
The don't make vintage Bassman's anymore. The price is still reasonable for 65, 66, 67, 68 AB165's. I'd jump on one of those all day long. I love my '67.
 

tshall

Member
Messages
224
Yeah, but the one I'm looking at is a mid 70's, not '60s - havent narrowed down the circuit yet - it's about 45 minutes drive from me, and there's a limit to how much one can ask a seller to disassemble an amp theyre selling to figure these things out. It is a non-master volume amp, which I understand to be a good thing. I'm hearing a consensus for the vintage, but please keep the advice coming.
 

wyatt

Member
Messages
4,167
Who needs them to take it apart? You are planning on modding it anyway, so being dead stock isnt real important.

The fact is the average SF Bassman/Bassman 50 sells for far less than the cost of the parts to build a replica. If I were to buy "period correct" cabinet, chassis, faceplates, etc., by the time I had all the parts for a Bassman, I'm at $700 before the labor, you can find used anywhere in the $300-600 range. Heck, you can find early '60's Blonde Bassman for less than their clones cost....guess which one will appreciate better in value?

All you need to avoid is the Bassman 70 (I figure you don;t want the ultralinear power amp?), and unless you want a 100-watt monster, avoid the Super Bassman, Bassman 100 and BAssman 130.
 

MissoulaGriz

Member
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1,276
I'd buy that Bassman 50 and mod the heck out of it...it's a great platform for customizing and the price will be less (should be) than the clone.
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,560
I love my '76 Bassman 50!!!!

One concrete thing it has going for it that no modern replica has, is the iron. The transformers are the same as those from earlier Bassman amps (namely the Blackface ones). The caps, etc can all be pretty close and sound the same, but a lot of the tone of an amp is in the transformers.

The Bassman 50 is it's own thing and as far as I've been able to find, the only change in the circuit was the addition of a master volume. The two channels have the same number of gain stages and can be jumpers. The guts are wide open and modding is pretty easy. And they are built pretty solid.

Bottom line though, they sound great!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Kleio

Member
Messages
432
One more vote for the vintage bassman. Just gigged it again last night (bought it during the summer) and couldn't be happier. Played it again this afternoon and it sounded wonderful. Takes pedals really well also.
 

Hulakatt

Has done terrible things for a klondike bar
Gold Supporting Member
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14,432
vintage Bassman's (Bassmen?) rule!
 

Orbis_Ignis

Member
Messages
777
I'd go for the Vintage Bassman. I absolutely love my 68 Bassman and I only paid $450 for it

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MHG

Member
Messages
6,105
Definitely check out the Clark Piedmont, and the Grammatico Kingsville.
 

Mattbedrock

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,784
I have a vintage BF Bassman ('66) and a clone of a blonde '62. Both are great, but the BF may be more versatile.



 

monkmiles

Jazz/Funk/Rawk/Groove
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,136
On the other hand, that research also led me to the Frenzel mini bassman, which seems like it's basically the same thing (Fender and Marshall channels, 40 watt), but new (still handwired). Those get mostly good reviews from those that have them, but not really rave reviews. I'd probably be looking at roughly the same amount of money either way.
That same Frenzel has my eye. Same with their 5E3 inspired models.
 

Chris Scott

Member
Messages
9,227
Really hard to NOT suggest the Bassman.

Built to last, easy to mod to your own needs and seriously great quality transformers (as good if not better than anything you can buy today imho).

The amps pretty much define versatility, and unless it falls into a swimming pool (while plugged in, and even then, well...) you're not gonna have any issues with it - it made it this far, right?

Get the old girl, you'll never regret it.
 






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