When do you cut your losses? (daily-driver vintage amps)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Woozy, May 4, 2008.

  1. Woozy

    Woozy Member

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    About a month ago, I purchased an early-1962 Fender Blonde Bandmaster via ebay. (head only, no cab)
    Terrific condition - Rough-Blonde Tolex/Oxblood/No rust.
    All original Fullerton, CA! - OT/PT/Choke/Caps/Cord/etc dates to late-'61 to early-'62.
    I paid $870 shipped.

    On the day that I received it, I sent to my amp tech.
    $275 later, the amp was sound as a pound with all new filter caps (kept the originals) and a full checkup.
    So, I'm in it for $1145.

    Luckily, it sounds absolutely outrageous.
    I love the way it morphs into a OD'd Marshall-ly "crang" at about 4-5.5 on the volume knob.
    It goes from tame to raging from 2-6 (even on the "normal" channel).
    And it has that cool 2½-tube-driven, phased, harmonic-vibrato.
    Unfortunately for me... in a wood-floored, street-facing, NYC apartment, that is just waaaay too f-ing loud.

    -=-

    One option would be an attenuator, but I fear I'll damage the original, valuable transformers.
    Second option, is to have those valuable transformers replaced with ones of the same footprint
    (no drilled holes) and store the originals.

    But, I'm kind of thinking about just selling it and getting something more appropriate for my situation.

    I mean after the cost of buying the amp, getting it serviced, buying attenuators/transformers...
    Shouldn't I just let it go and buy something more suited to apartment-play?

    Any advice?
    Do I potentially damage, change or liberate one killer, vintage amp?
     
  2. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Keep the Bandmaster for cleans and hunker down until you can
    afford something like the Gries 5 or Emery Superbaby.

    Then you end up with a proper performance rig and an apartment/recording
    rig.
     
  3. Chuck Snider

    Chuck Snider Supporting Member

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    Well,
    one option would be to keep the amp if you really love the sound and treat yourself to a occasional trip to a local rehearsal studio to ring it out. then you could keep a lower powered (Champ?) amp for apartment use..
    You only live once .. Enjoy
     
  4. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    get something small,perhaps a princeton with pedals or less,maybe a champ.keep the 50 watter for gigs,if you're playing out at all.a blonde fender that works is worth it weight in gold.
     
  5. Red Planet

    Red Planet Member

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    Keep it and get a smaller amp.
     
  6. mrface2112

    mrface2112 Member

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    I too would recommend a champ, but even at 6W, that's still likely to be too loud for an apartment when turned up loud enough to get some drive.

    but it would be better. ;-)

    leave the bandmaster as it is and hold on to it. it will continue to appreciate in value and honestly, at the moment you won't get the $1200 that you've got invested in it--at least, not without the matching cab.

    you can find blackface champs on ebay for ~$400.


    cheers,
    wade
     
  7. scott1568

    scott1568 Member

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    First, congratulations on buying and restoring a vintage amp to working order.

    I am in the same situation as you are. I have a '67 Bassman head that I use with an attenuator in an apartment. I have thrashed the hell out of this with an attenuator for over a year now. I mean, just for the hell of it, the volume has been on on 10 a few times for output tube distortion. I even use the attenuator on top of using Groove Tube substi-Tubes with El-84's. No problems. Like you, I had a competent amp tech go through the amp first and got it into proper working order.

    If you blow a tranny, it's not the attenuator, it's some other issue. After all, companies aren't going to sell these things if they are just going to ruin people's equipment.

    I would keep the vintage piece. There's just something so cool about having one.
     
  8. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    I am no amp tech, but a Hot Plate should be fine. Keep the amp and get a Hot Plate.

    You never know what kinda gigs you will have.
     
  9. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    I think there's a collective " Oh No keep the Bandmaster" sentiment here.

    You can always run another mini amp head through the bandmaster cab-right?
     
  10. ROKY

    ROKY Member

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    Nuther vote for keeping that amp .

    Maybe, run it thru less efficient speakers, and use an attenuator a click
    or 2, down dB-wise ?
     
  11. steve10358

    steve10358 Supporting Member

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    Never get rid of an amp you'll regret selling... especially cause of limits in either room or volume constraints.

    There will always be a future time to fully enjoy the amp. I say get a hotplate and lay some oriental rugs down.
     
  12. Woozy

    Woozy Member

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    Thanks for the advice and consider it taken.
    I've just been on a recent kick of unloading gear lately.

    Interestingly, out your posts here and people in person, not one has recommended selling it.
    Cool... it sounds killer anyway.

    Also, when I purchased it I wanted a clean amp.
    But I'm finding the overdrive irresistible.

    Perhaps scott1568 is right, if a transformer blows, it could just be age.
    By the way Scott, I was originally looking for a BF Bassman when I stumbled over this.

    Thanks and Best Regards...
    :BEER
     
  13. allynmey

    allynmey Member

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    Move the hell out of the city!!!!:Devil

    Living in cow country has it's advantages like cranking a 100 Watt Hiwatt at will as well as playing any amp at "sweet spot" volume!


    Sounds like a sweet amp.:BEER
     
  14. doc

    doc Member

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    If you didn't clearly love the amp I'd suggest finding something similar but smaller. I'd probably buy a Champ and play it pointed into a pillow or something, or just give in and get a Cube. If you go the attenuator route, don't worry too much about added stress on the amp - the good attenuators won't add stress, but you can still blow the amp because you're effectively running it at the equivalent of "really loud". Not all attenuators are equal - for your purpose the best would be the Ultimate Attenuator as it will bring you down really quiet and still sound like the same amp, but its pricey. The various Airbrake types don't alter the sound much, but won't attenuate as much as you'll need. The Weber Mass is well built and will bring you down to bedroom levels, but to my ear darkens and dulls the sound a bit. The suggestion of getting a less sensitive speaker is a good one also, but will need to be used with an attenuator as well.
     
  15. Housered

    Housered Member

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    The Gries 5 is a five watter. Is that going to work for him? Is the Master Volume control that good on it?
     
  16. Ed Reed

    Ed Reed Senior Member

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    Heck, get some od pedals. They're great fun.
     
  17. cmr415

    cmr415 Member

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    Eat cheap for a month or 2* and buy a Gries 5.

    *=I live in SF, you live in NYC, and this is hard to do
     
  18. teleman1

    teleman1 Supporting Member

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    Keep the amp. It will increase in value and you will have a great amp to play out with. But really and seriously, go check out the Super Champ XD by Fender. THey are less than 300. It has a plehtera of voices that even the best ear will give it kudos. ITs simple small lightweight and you won't have a bunch of wires & pedals around. It has amaster volume and it gets great tone at low volume. People here talk of Gries & Champs. But they are more expensive and still freaking loud at their cruise sound. THats what I say!
     
  19. zenfreud

    zenfreud Member

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    Are you playing many clubs where you will be able to crank it? If not, the amp isn't exactly the best fit for your lifestyle. Though I'm sure it sounds righteous when it's cranked, your neighbors are going to hate you. I was an apartment dweller in SF for years and would have gotten evicted if I'd cranked up even a Champ.

    In your shoes I'd trade your amp towards a Carr Mercury. Or keep the amp for gigs and get a POD.
     
  20. JamesHealey

    JamesHealey Member

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    keep the amp for gigs, use it with a pedal for drive at lower volumes!
    ?!!?!?!?1?!
     

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