NAD....and old guy rant

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by lexington125, Jan 27, 2022.

  1. Just purchased a *very* clean 50 year old Bassman 100 head. I’ve been without a tube amp for live shows for several years, since my Bassman 135 burned up in a fire.

    I’ll be running it into a pair of Aguilar DB112nt cabs, aiming for a sound like Keith Ferguson live with his Showman and 1-18 cab.

    Only downside – my mind is totally blown by having to pay more for the bassman head than I paid for either my 61 or 64 P-basses. Most guys my age can remember a time in the late 80s / early 90s when you could buy all of the Fender heads you wanted for $100/ea.

    bassman100.jpg bassman100r.jpg

    Attached Files:

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  2. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention, but I never remember a time when Fender tube heads sold for $100, not even the 50-watt ones. Around here, it was maybe $200-250 for a Basman head at one point in time, but that was back before all the guitar players became convinced that was the path to Nirvana. (So to speak... :))

    That 100-watter certainly looks clean enough...I don't know what you paid, but that appears to be a pretty nice amp. Congrats!
  3. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    Jeez, "very clean" is a massive understatement.

    That amp looks like you got in a time machine, went back to 1968 or whenever and picked it up new at a Music Store.

    Those amps were cheap back in the era you reference because they lacked power and the styles of music popular at the time required a lot of power and sizzle.

    The recent (past 10 years) runup in vintage gear prices is easy to explain, TONS of baby boomers buying up the dream gear they lusted after in their youth. The peak of the baby boom (1957) hits 65 this year and lots of boomer bucks are being sprayed about on all kinds of things.

    Priced a 1969 Camaro lately?

  4. I moved out to LA in '92. Maybe a couple of years later, there was a store on La Cienega call Black Market Music that had Fender heads stacked floor to ceiling. Silverface (Showman, Bassman, Bandmaster) were $100 - $150, Blackface around $200 (Tremolux cheaper) and only the old white tolex / brownface heads reaching beyond $250. Maybe it was because the LA market is always more "whats 'in' right now?" and the less desired stuff becomes unwanted. Or maybe its because every Fender head ever made during that era was built just a few miles down the road.
  5. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Yep.....and plenty of much younger guns are groovin' on analog everything, further pushing up prices......I'm in the rat tail of the boomer 59.....I recently scooped up the stereo receiver I lusted after during high school but could never have dreamed of affording at the time, a JVC JR-S 301.....found fully restored on eBay for $500.....lucky for me my JVC dream piece was a more obscure brand, 'cause Marantz pieces are a hot commodity fetchin' about 5X more. Last month I sold a 1998 Fender Am J 5 locally.......buyer was a 30 somethin' who was delighted with a "vintage" bass. World keeps a-spinnin'....
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
  6. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Let me start by asking, how much did you pay for it? There’s always been an ebb and flow in the market for older tube amps, plus supply and demand. Blackface Bassman heads were a dime a dozen, until they weren’t, when guitarists(having gotten over Marshalls)jumped on them. Plus there’s a certain fashionability of certain brands or models. I always favored the original Sunn tube stuff, it’s what I grew up with, my first real amp, and in the 90’s could grab up plenty of it for next to nothing. Then came the stoner/desert/doom/sludge scene, drawing inspiration from 70’s heavy power trio type bands, and old Sunn gear became hip again, partially because it was different, let alone loud, and it looked the part. Of course, the band SunnO))) had a hand in it. There will always be a return to/fascination with older Fender heads, even with lingering Blackface VS Silverface snobbery, because the Silvers are all that’s left.
    And, in spite of all this hating on tube amps, or just plain hating on amps in general, my experience lately as I’ve been shedding some of my excess stuff is that the 40 and younger crowd are very much intersted. A year ago I sold a Model-T and matching 4x12 to a kid in his early 20’s, and have off-loaded 200s and solid state Concert Bass rigs to younger millenials.
    Just poking around Reverb completed listings, it appears that the 100 head realistically on average fetches $600-$800 with variations going either way, which sounds about right as they used to hover around $500 not that long ago.
    mikewalker, DJ Bebop and woodyng2 like this.
  7. $750 plus shipping
  8. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    The train left the station on that; if anything, that demographic(me included)are now cutting loose with such stuff. I went through my phase of searching for ‘Rosebud’ 20-30 years ago. 90’s gear is vintage now.
  9. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    If it's that clean on the inside and is unmolested, you got a great deal IMO.
  10. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    Yeah I had no idea restoring old stereos was a thing until I found some replacement LED VU bulbs on Parts Express.

    Turns out people were buying these to put in the old meters on these stereo receivers and tape decks.

    Worked out great for me as the bulbs come on a substrate with the appropriate transistors (well chips) to fit the common voltage the original bulbs used.

    In my case I wanted to do a full LED meter bulb conversion on a vintage mixing console. It has EIGHTEEN VU meters! Back when you could buy the actual bulbs they ran $11 EACH. They also has the life of a housefly which was really aggravating because replacing one is an arduous task. You pretty much have to pull the back off the meter bridge, and unload a bank of 8 meters, unsolder the burnt out one and put in the replacement bulb which was just a tube with some wires you had to wire to the meter.

    The thing was if you were already in there, you might as well shotgun as many bulbs as you could but a full set was $200; and they had the life of a housefly.

    I had been wanting to do this for years but the instructions you found on the internet involved "buy this bulb, then sand it to make it not as bright, attach these resistors in these values to the wires going to the bulb"

    Well as I said I stumbled across these LED bulbs, meant for stereo receivers really but they were the exact voltage I needed. Oh yeah the price? $5 for a pack of 5! So I bought 25 of them for my project to have some extras.

    They took a little tweaking to install (they were tad wider than the bulbs but about the same length) but hell the stock bulbs did as well. You kind of solder them into the base of the meter and bend the leads around to put them in the right position.

    I did a pair of meters (they are wired in series so if one goes the other one goes dark) to test and it looked great....BUT they were so bright I realized if I had 18 of them that bright I would need sunglasses to sit at the console LOL.

    So I redid them, but faced the array downward a bit, that worked great. THEN I found because the cases for the meters are clear, the upper LEDs when faced slightly downward were "bleeding" into the meters below, making the lower meters brighter.

    This turned out to be an easy fix, I just used some thin strips of plastic normally used for patchbay labels and there was enough clearance between the upper and lower banks to slide it in there, then secured it on the ends with some tape. Worked perfectly to dim the spread from the upper bank.

    Took me a while to do it, as I get impatient and so I would do a pair of meters, take a day off then do another pair. All total probably 40 - 50 hours of work but the results came out great.

    You can get colors but I went with soft white, which with the yellowish-white faces on the meters gives them a soft, greenish glow.

    But yeah I found there is an entire big market for these restored old receivers and stereo gear; Marantz was great back in the day a good friend owned one as did a GF in college. I always lusted after them but spent my money on band and recording gear instead of stereo stuff :)


    p.s. The meters look brighter in the picture than they actually are; but they are way brighter than the stock bulbs. Those made the meters look like they were lit by candles! :)

    The second picture shows the stock bulbs and the first pair of LED's I installed when I realized when facing upwards they were WAY too bright.

    IMG_1457.JPG IMG_1355.JPG
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
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  11. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    I dunno about that, there seem to be TONS of 70+ year olds on there still buying a ton of new gear, and old gear.

    Sure some boomers are offloading their old stuff but I would bet you more of them are still BUYING their old dream gear.

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  12. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    We talkin resto-mod, full resto or all original?

    My dad had a Z28 in red with the black stripes when I was very young… actually it was my grandpa’s but my dad had just sold his ‘67 Chevelle and one of his ‘57 Bellaires to fund his move to Bakersfield from Milwaukee so money exchanged hands.

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
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  13. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    So, pretty much in tune with what’s going on.
    Black Market? Aw jeez. Don’t even start with that place. I don’t remember the prices being that low, but there were a few deals occasionally, plus I encountered gear I had only read about before. Before there was Techno Empire, many name bands would off-load their touring gear there. Then there was Guitar Guitar on Ventura, plus Voltage, Jimmy’s, Amp Crazy, etc around Sunset & Gardner. Plus Marina(still there)and Time Warp(gone)on the westside. Did you check Future Music, Imperial, Caveman, plus that weird little shop on the Ventura bend, near where Jerry’s Deli used to be? Can’t remember the name.
    ColdEye likes this.
  14. Analogeezer


    Jul 29, 2021
    That is what I am thinking too, very hard to find one that old that looks like a brand new amp.

    Reminds me of back in the 1980's our guitarist wanted to upgrade from his 50 watt Marshall head to a 100 watt Marshall.

    So we find this one in some local recylcler type paper; and call the guy up and take a drive to look at it.

    Not the best part of town and this guy answers and he's in his late 20's, wearing a sweater vest. He did not look like he belonged in that hood.....

    So we go down to the basement and lo and behold is AN ENTIRE 100 watt Marshall stack; from 1972.

    Complete with original casters and covers. It looked like it was brand new! It pretty much was.

    The guy was selling the entire stack, unfortunatley my guitar player only had the money for the head so the guy sold that to us.

    The back story was his dad had gone down to Chuck Levin's in 1972 and bought this for the guy when he was 17 years old. He played a high school dance or two with it and it never left his house after about 1973.

    NOT MARK ON IT, none of it.

    That guitar player owns this amp to this day, he switched over to using H&K heads in the 2000's but still has the Marshall and it's in mint shape since it had the cover and we were always careful transporting the head.

    God knows what a full, original, unmolested stack from 1972 would go for these days. IIRC the guy wanted $800 for the entire stack.

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  15. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Aren’t the 70-somethings pissing and moaning about how heavy all the old gear has gotten all of a sudden? All I keep reading about here is how so many are downsizing
    equipment-wise and otherwise, perhaps in anticipation of eventually moving to ‘the home’. You haven’t noticed all the hating on tube amps in various threads?
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  16. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    They aren't moving it.
  17. Yeah, the area around Sunset and Gardner was my Saturday morning routine for years. Its all gone now except for Mesa Boogie (ignoring GC and Sam Ash). Voltage was my favorite shop in LA, with Future during the later years. Now its Imperial in Burbank and Sherman Oaks and Caveman downtown. And those visit are every few months, not every week.
  18. I was just her for the old guy rant. I feel kinda let down, you can do better than that man. Let 'er rip! :smug:
  19. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    But how many do you need cluttering up the den or garage? That comfort zone/happy place stuff can only go so far. Are they going to be doing any recording? It’s as inane as keeping a Hummel figurine collection, which is worthless. A least with a classic car that one might restore(another mid/late-life crisis item), you can drive it around, join a car club, show it off, whatever.
    I may be chronologically advanced, but I am still quite able to whip around my Model-T, Superbass, and 2000s for gigs if I’m feeling like it; roadcases/carts help, but if I couldn’t, I’d sell it all. If I couldn’t manage to hobble to a gig with a class D in my back pocket and a neo 12, it’s time to hang it all up. IEM’s/direct? No thanks, I hate them and it’s like being neutered.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
  20. Gregc57

    Gregc57 Supporting Member

    May 28, 2021
    Long Island, NY, USA
    That Fender: You couldn't buy a set of decent tubes for it for $100 today, so there you go~
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