Tell me about the Fender Tone-Master

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Stormin, Jan 3, 2008.


  1. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    Hey y'all,

    Found a very clean Tone-Master head and matching cabinet locally for $1250. Loved the sound but I have no idea if this is a good deal or not.

    Anybody know anyhting about this guy? I know they are PTP, but how is the reliability? I know Fender only made them for a few years, so I guess sales were slow...

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Stormin!
     
  2. fetishfrog

    fetishfrog Member

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    I had one for a while. Cool head, designed by Bruce Zinky, tough as nails, sounded great. If it's really clean, it's a reasonable deal. I sold mine, head plus 2x12 for $1000, but it looked beat...and I mean beat. I paid $1000 so nothing lost, nothing gained.

    The only thing I hated was the separate effect loop for each channel. Could be cool but for my rig, it was a pain.
     
  3. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    bump - anybody else?
     
  4. Aslan

    Aslan Supporting Member

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    I had one for a awhile when they came out and loved the cleans but couldn't get the overdrive to work, If you use a pedal it would be fine. For that price your getting a custom shop amp, I would go for it.
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    It's about the only amp I've ever played that I would actually describe as 'too loud'.

    It's fine on the clean channel at lower volume, but the dirty channel needs to be seriously cranked to sound any good - and it truly does sound great, but only at the sort of levels which are almost impossible to get away with at anything less than a very big theater gig. It also needs the proper matching 4x12" or at a push the 2x12" - the amp is tuned to the cabinet and very fussy. It doesn't like attenuators (at least not the ones I tried), and even using the deliberate-mismatch idea to reduce the power didn't work enough to get it to sound good at a usable volume for me.

    But I have to say that the day I got to crank one up full in a friend's garden one day a few years ago made me totally re-evaluate my previous (not very high) opinion of it, and finally realise what it was built to do.

    It isn't a channel-switching clean/dirty amp really, it's a high-powered non-MV amp with an 'extra gain' channel, designed for big stages. You need to run the master at at least 4 or 5 to get it to open up, at which point (if you're using any more gain than the clean channel at all) it's about as loud as a cranked Marshall Super Lead and sounds like the biggest, boldest, tightest, most punchy Blonde Bassman you can imagine.

    One of the very best amps I've ever played.
     
  6. katarzis

    katarzis Member

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    amazing amp - great deal IMO.
     
  7. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    Amazing amp, IMO. I've had one for about 7 years and it's consitently one of my go to amps. I personally can't say enough good things about it. The vintage channel (i.e. "clean) has a wonderful Fender Brownface style clean tone. Nice big low end, Brownface style mids - not as scooped as BF, and a nice clear top end. And, it can be pushed into one of the best driven tones I've ever heard (around 7-8 on the volume). The fat switch adds a bit more upper mids that really compliments the overdriven tone of this channel.

    The drive channel is one of my absolute favorites. To my ears, it reminds my of my vintage BF/Blonde Bassman heads with more mids, and a built in OD. Kind of that vintage Bassman head like tone on steriods. Nice big bottom, foward but sweet mids, and a nice top end. Sounds best when cranked - which is LOUD! But, that's how most amps are. The master volume is pretty good. Some folks say this channel is a bit bright/harsh but, I personally don't hear it. But, I like amps that are brighter in general. But, to my ears - it is in no way harsh. I'd call this channel medium. Great for rock/hard rock.

    And, the output transformer is very sturdy and you can change the impedance selector to any setting safely when running into a 16ohm cab. the manual advertises that the 4ohm setting is approx 30w, 8ohm is 60w, and 16 into 16 is the full 100w. I don't know the technical details about it - John Philips made a great post about this on a Tone Master post in the past. Worth the search. I've had zero reliability problems.

    This is truly one of my favorite Fender amps - and favorite of any amp. That's a great deal. Worth going after IMO. I used to have some clips somewhere - I'll see if I can dig them up.

    Hope that helps.
     

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