Why does the Bandmaster Reverb amp get such a bad rap?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Steve1216, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. Steve1216

    Steve1216 Member

    Messages:
    1,128
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    I have a 69 (I think... it's got the drip edge) Bandmaster Reverb TFL5005D amp head. I have a pretty extensive collection of, mostly silverface, fender amps. Conventional wisdom is that this one is the least desirable of people into such things. I can't figure out why. I record with it a ton. It has a bright, springy, engergetic, sparkly tone that I can't get from my Twins, Supers, Bassmans, etc. I compare it to my pro reverb, which I guess is the closest in terms of circuit layout. Anyway, it's great.
     
  2. Joe Perry

    Joe Perry Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,974
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    Bucks County, Pa
    I don't know the ins and outs but I've always heard mostly good things about them. Perfect wattage. The only con I've heard is the small (undersized?) output transformer. People do upgrade them. Close to a "Super Reverb in a head" and the candidate for Vibroclone/Vibroverb conversions.

    Pre-internet days a friend of a friend had one that sounded great. I wanted one but couldn't find one at the time - only non-reverb Bassman & tremolux heads. They seemed to be more popular back then before the boutique explosion.
     
  3. m@2

    m@2 Member

    Messages:
    5,045
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco CA
    Definitely not a bad rap from me, love those amps and have seen MANY top-notch players use them... one of the great bargains in vintage amps IMHO
     
    blackba, Cousin, Tommy Biggs and 2 others like this.
  4. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,416
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2002
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    It doesn’t get a bad rap.
     
  5. Suave Eddie

    Suave Eddie Member

    Messages:
    10,515
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Location:
    Ask your doctor if lobotomy is for you.
    Never heard anything bad about them.
     
    JasonElGato and coltranemi2012 like this.
  6. bluesoul

    bluesoul Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,667
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Central IL
    False!
     
    Frank S likes this.
  7. Benny

    Benny Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,150
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I'm sure there are folks out there who have unpleasant things to say about them, but I find more people just aren't familiar with the silverface heads, or automatically think of them as donor amps for Vibroverb conversions, D-style amps, etc. It's a cool amp - like you've experienced, a healthy one is plenty fine on its own, and I've seen a few in Jerry Garcia-inspired rigs from time to time. A change of output transformer can get you much closer to Super Reverb in a head territory if that's a goal.

    I happen to prefer that type of Fender as a combo rather than requiring me to carry a separate cabinet. That said, I think a lot of folks here would find the flexibility of running that type of Fender circuit through a variety of cabs and speakers as a good thing.
     
  8. lostpoet2

    lostpoet2 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,223
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I have one with 2x8” speakers installed in the baffle, and it sounds excellent. It’s a great way to get the big bottle 6L6 BF/SF tones and remain fairly portable.
     
    Cousin, JasonElGato, QRSS and 2 others like this.
  9. FiestaRed

    FiestaRed Supporting Member

    Messages:
    21,437
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Location:
    Citrus Heights, CA
    What "conventional wisdom" are you talking about?
     
    QRSS, Phil M and HeavyCream like this.
  10. HeavyCream

    HeavyCream Member

    Messages:
    2,642
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2017
    Location:
    New Shaolin, MA
    They’ve been used on a lot of big stages by a lot of big time players throughout the years.
     
  11. Steve1216

    Steve1216 Member

    Messages:
    1,128
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    I guess I could link to a few definitive fender-specific sites that have it market priced the lowest on the sf market, or fb groups that relegate it as a good 'gateway' amp into sf fenders, or the post above that echos what I've heard a million times... 'all you have to do is change the transformer out and then it's a really good amp'. Ie, all you have to do is turn it into a super reverb, and then it's good. I am saying it sounds awesome, as is. The SF amps already have a bad rap when compared to black face amps. But it seems even more definitive when speaking about bandmasters. As if the silverface version is completely ruined, compared to the bf one. Mainly, again, because of the transformer issue. However, I like it better than most of my big iron fenders for most things. Especially in the studio.
     
  12. Suave Eddie

    Suave Eddie Member

    Messages:
    10,515
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2012
    Location:
    Ask your doctor if lobotomy is for you.
    If I recall, Steve Kimock here on the TGP has written some very positive things about the lowly Bandmaster.
     
    spawnofthesith and Tommy Biggs like this.
  13. Trunkard

    Trunkard Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    They're good enough for Dan Auerbach...

     
  14. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

    Messages:
    5,566
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Location:
    Denver CO
    I don't think it gets a bad rap.
     
    twoheadedboy likes this.
  15. Tommy_G

    Tommy_G Member

    Messages:
    2,211
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    I have one. Nothing fundamentally wrong with it. Is 95% the exact same circuit as any other fender, and for 7 bucks in parts can be turned into anything.

    Fender did a great job matching their circuit to speakers and cabs that worked with their combo amps. Mix and match Head and cab owners don't do a great job of that sometimes.

    It sounds ridiculously great with the Jensen P10R.

    Here are some reasons why people might struggle with them.

    1) The tonestack has the dip at 800Hz not 500Hz, so they require a speaker with the dip built in. Or change the mid cap from 0.022 to 0.047 uf.
    2) the Coupling Cap to the Phase inverter is 0.001 uf.. not optimal for either open back or closed back cabs, but halfway between. 0.01uF if open back and 500pf if closed back might be better
    3) the Mid control adds another dimension of confusion to the user. Fenders without mid controls have the mid resistor hardwired to 6.8k which is optimal for gain structure and tone.

    Its a fine fine amp.

    I converted mine to a headcab 2x8 also. Wouldn't say its a perfect speaker, but neither are the head cab dimensions. I'm using the Jensen mod 8s. it gets close to SRV with the right pedal, but other than that, its just ok.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
    Bluzeboy and QRSS like this.
  16. Jeff Gehring

    Jeff Gehring Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,365
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City area
    Nothing wrong with BMRs, I've owned a bunch; usually combo conversions. I will slag the 022848 output transformer, though. Odds are if you blackface the phase inverter of an 022848-equipped amp, it will become unstable. And it sounds like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. easyed

    easyed Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,264
    Joined:
    May 14, 2017
    Location:
    Seattle
    IMO, it is simply because it was positioned between the Deluxe Reverb, the Super Reverb (more power), and the Twin Reverb/Showman(s) (Double the power).

    It didn't have the huge output transformer of a Super or Twin, etc.

    Still, it's a great amp. BTW it's the one amp chassis that will fit a SR cabinet.
     
  18. Borealis

    Borealis Supporting Member

    Messages:
    419
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2019
    Location:
    Norway
    I played one in a studio last year, and it sounded great! It had the original cab (I think) - a fender closed back 2x12. One of the best fender amps I've played.
     
  19. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,824
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Location:
    North Jersey
    I think a lot of guys let their 'simple rules for amps' attitude get in the way - thinking that "big iron" is the only criteria.
    Mine:
    [​IMG]
     
    Rossi163 and VRiversFive like this.
  20. COYS

    COYS Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,401
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2016
    I didn't know they had a bad reputation. The only thing I know about Bandmasters is that the circuit changes sometime after silverface begins and those changes are considered (by some) to be undesirable.
     
    Tommy Biggs likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice