1960's Vintage Fender Bassman

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jean, Nov 10, 2001.

  1. Alrighty... I posted this question (or, rather, series of questions) on the TabCrawler forum and I recieved not one reply. I've been told that this is hands-down the better site, and I can tell I like it better already.

    Anyhow, I recently aquired a Fender Bassman head and cab from my high school for about 75 bucks. It works great, and my ex-band teacher (I've since graduated...) assured me it was at least as old as the mid-60's. The plug has only two prongs, and the words on the head declare simply "Bassman Amp" or something to that effect, but no mention of the Fender name. The cab is also devoid of the Fender logo, although the two speakers inside are without a doubt labelled Fender. I'm thinking that maybe someone stole the cab logo, but I don't know. I'm just here to ask if anyone knows anything about amps this old, such as care and feeding (so to speak...), how to determine it's correct age, et cetera.

  2. Welcome to Talkbass, jean! Nice to see someone who recognizes quallity! :D

    Sounds like your Fender may be missing some of the logos, but to roughly date it;

    - Does the head say "Fender Electrical Instruments" or "Fender Musical Instruments"??? If the word "electrical" is used, you can assume it was made before April of 1965.

    - On the tube chart, are the date code letters stamped in black or green ink??? In the fall of `65, Fender switched to green ink.

    Those actual date code letters would really narrow it down. If there are any codes on the speakers, that could help, too.
  3. Wow! Thanks! I'm @ work right now (disc jockey, but I've got my bass in the studio with me...), but I can't wait to get home to check all the stuff you mentioned. Thanks for your help. Any other suggestions? I just wanna make sure I've got all my bases covered with this one.

    The tolex covering is ripped up pretty bad. There are even chunks missing, as if someone cut it off the amp to make a patch for something else! Talk about a desicration!! Is it wise to replace the covering, or would that damage the amp's value (if it has any to begin with)??
  4. Tapp


    Aug 29, 2001
    USA, Mississippi
    Yes, welcome also. Is the face of the amp a dark brown, black, or silver? I would not advise using those speakers for bass since they may be Jensens and the guitar player guys will give you good money for those depending on the model.

    If you don't mind, give us all the numbers you can find on the chassis, tube chart, and take the back panel cover off of the head and give us the numbers on the bottom of the transformers too. Look on the speaker baskets (metal frame) and give us numbers there too.

    I will say that if it's a mid sixties model or even late 60's early 70's it should be checked by a tech who knows tube gear. It probably needs a complete cap job and maybe a retube.

  5. The face is silver, with a little blue (I THINK...don't hold me to it). The speakers clearly say "Fender" on them, but I'll have to really check on those other details. Like I said, I'm stuck at work, and I won't be home to check it all out until Sunday night. I'll post the numbers and anything else I find on Monday.

    Yeah, those tubes will probably need replacing...damn. And the controls do have quite a lot of static, need some major cleaning up. Thanks again.
  6. The face (control plate) of the head? In early `67 they started making some with that. If there is an aluminum strip around the grill, that would put it between 67 and 70. I was a little confused by your mentioning "blue" because Fender used a silver grill with blue in it, too.

    Oh, well, the codes are the way to go.
  7. Ooops... Yeah, sorry, there. I ment the grille cloth. But the "Bassman" words on the face plate of the head are blue, too. Just thought I'd add that. And I'm pretty sure about the aluminum strip.
  8. Tapp


    Aug 29, 2001
    USA, Mississippi
    Well, if it's a silverface we at least know that it's not older than '67. Actually Rick I think the last year of the aluminum drip edge is '69 but who knows, Fender used spare parts whenever they were found.

    This may be one of those funky designs with cathode and fixed biasing implemented. Most people convert them to true fixed biased operation yet most of these are guitarists too.

    Let us know what you find maybe we can narrow some things down for you.

  9. (to coin a phrase...) Excellent! I'm going home to check this all out tonight. I knew this was the better discussion board...
  10. You're right, Tapp. That was supposed to be it for the aluminum edge. The hardcore Fenderites think there was some spill past 69 but I haven't seen it proved anywhere yet (I'm not that anal about months or a year or two except when it determines who was running the company).

    I know what you mean about the spare parts. Some Fender guy, 35 or so years ago, says, "Hey, I found all these piggyback legs. Let's use `em up." Whammo! - the dating rules get another loophole.

    jean - If your grill cloth has no silver, metallic threads, that helps put it at 67-early 68. After that, they started using metallic silver threads in it.
  11. There's definately metallic silver and blue in the grille cloth, as well as an aluminum strip running all the way around. I wasn't able to make it home last night as I'd hoped, so I don't have those codes quite yet, as I didn't make it home like I'd hoped...:mad: Long story. Oh, well. I've got my brother the guitarist checking it out for me.