Tell me what you can about a '66 Fender Bandmaster

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by omfg51, May 29, 2015.

  1. omfg51

    omfg51 Member

    Messages:
    2,912
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    I'm looking at picking up a vintage '66 Fender Bandmaster, blackface, vibrato channel, the works. It's going for $650 locally, aesthetically a little beat up, but it's a pretty great sounding amp. I'm just curious if these models were known for having break down issues, or frequently needing repairs?
     
  2. keithb7

    keithb7 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,364
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    The Bandmaster is a great amp. It will need a service by now if not done, like all tube amps. These are rock solid hard working, reliable amps. A great clean pedal platform. I own a 64. Have for about 5 years. Gigged many many times. Never let me down. They do not have break down issues if maintained. They are built very tough compared to almost anything mass produced today. Pretty hard to go wrong with a BF Bandmaster. Only thing missing is reverb.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  3. zenas

    zenas Member

    Messages:
    5,977
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Breakdown issues with a blackface Fender? Really the only problem with them is user/tech stupidity.

    Like Keith said they do need service. 50 year old electrolytics need to be replaced. After that a grounded power cord maybe some tubes they don't normally need much.
    Just open it up and look for any signs of stupidity. :) (before you buy it)
     
  4. Custom50

    Custom50 Member

    Messages:
    7,818
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Location:
    Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Blackface Fenders are extremely reliable in my experience. Go for it. I love my '67.
     
  5. Mattbedrock

    Mattbedrock Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,245
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Brevard County, FL
    Ditto almost word for word. My '64 sounds awesome and has been bullet proof for many gigs. I replaced the Sovteks that it came with with a pair of =C= 6L6's and it really supercharged the amp. I have some nice old RCAs in the preamp as well. Great amps - who needs reverb.
     
  6. keithb7

    keithb7 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,364
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    True, no need for Reverb. Just a personal preference as I have it on my other vintage amps. It's there so I use it, mostly at home at when at lover volume.
     
  7. Flogger59

    Flogger59 Member

    Messages:
    8,707
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    I've had mine since 1976 with one tuneup. Do not change any NOS tubes that do not need replacing. I still have some originals running in mine.
     
  8. Muzzy

    Muzzy Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Western, MA.
    Worth getting, great amp.
     
  9. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

    Messages:
    17,263
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Is '66 Ford Mustang any good?
     
    omfg51 likes this.
  10. omfg51

    omfg51 Member

    Messages:
    2,912
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Point taken. :D

    I'm going to really put it through it's paces today and see about getting it!
     
  11. keithb7

    keithb7 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,364
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    Turn it up. Way up. Bright switch on and adjust treble to taste. I believe the tone circuit on these are very much effected by the volume knob. This is due to the placement of the tone stack between some preamp tubes. As volume goes up you'll want to dial down the bass and treble.

    In my opinion different cabs with different speaker configurations and different types of speakers make quite a difference with the BF Bandmaster. I have tried several types and combinations of cabs with Alnico and Ceramic magnets. My all time fav being the WGS ET-65 speaker, 4 ohm in a 1x12 cab. It's awesome. It's Alnico. It's warm full, and volume output is well matched to the 40W Bandmaster.
     
  12. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,004
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    My buddy owns a pro recording studio and this was one of the house amps. We used it for everything - guitars, bass, keys, whatever. It always sounded incredible no matter what you ran through it. A desert island amp imo.

    /rick
     
  13. abnerfm

    abnerfm Member

    Messages:
    3,127
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Location:
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Great amp and pedal platform. I traded mine for a 1982 Mesa Boogie Mark IIB about 2 months ago. Still miss it. Great cleans in there. Killer amp with the right speakers
     
  14. keithb7

    keithb7 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,364
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    Any report afterbthe trial? How do you like it? Did you buy it?
     
  15. guitarpedaladdict

    guitarpedaladdict Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Bought a 66 in 2009 for $150 on Craigslist - loved it but foolishly sold it. My favorite speaker was alnico, just sounded great. After it had time to cook a little bit at band volume the natural OD was wonderful. They have a smaller PT, I believe, which made people get concerned about them not being as stout as say a bassman, but I never had any problems in the 2 years I owned it. I would test it out and if it sounds good - terrific.
     
  16. zenas

    zenas Member

    Messages:
    5,977
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Yeah thay had a smaller output transformer. Good thing to bring up because they did get swapped. Had one with a Twin Reverb/Dual Showman OT in it.
    No biggy but with two 6L6s that OT is right for an 8 ohm load not 4. (probably burn out in a hundred years at 4 ohms)

    These days with the lower volumes the original OT is fine IMHO.
     
  17. keithb7

    keithb7 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,364
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    I have been interested lately in comments about the smaller output transformers in the Bandmaster and Pro Reverb. Some comment that they don't have as much bottom end.
    The full thicker bottom end that is found in the Super, Twin and Bassman with larger OTs. Has anyone done a swap and noticed an improvement? Are the claims others have made
    true about the smaller OT sounding thinner?
     
  18. zenas

    zenas Member

    Messages:
    5,977
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Keith to really do that right you'd have to record the amp playing the same stuff before and after the transformer swap.
    How often does that happen?

    Otherwise people tend to listen to things based on the money they just spent. (or so it seems to me)
    Been guilty of that myself. :)
     
  19. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,812
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2002
    Location:
    In a white room
    A '66 blackface Band Master? It's a stupid bargain. You read here about all those people chasing "classic Fender cleans" and wanting "hand-wired amps only" - and here's yours, for just $650! I got mine in the early 2000s for $450 or so and it still had the original pre-amp tubes in it. Completely dependable amp.

    Worth a look to see if the insides have been modded or molested. If you're a vintage geek you can check and date the chassis serial number and the transformer numbers. Play the darn thing and revel in the wonderful compression and shimmer of the trem channel.

    Now, if it still has the 2-prong cord, do not take it home. Go straight to an amp tech and get that changed to 3-prong before you even plug it in at home. Also have the tech check the caps (don't want old caps blowing up on you). Very routine stuff for a classic, bulletproof amp.
     
  20. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

    Messages:
    14,567
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Location:
    PNW
    No different than other vintage fenders.... reliable, but need to be serviced to stay there.
     

Share This Page