1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Pass on a Fender 135 (Silverface) 1980?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dagrev, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    I'm considering one of these that I think I can get for about $450 or so. I haven't played it yet but don't know if I should even bother going back. The head looks extremely good and the tubes don't seem old.

    I've read the few threads that discuss these heads, the best being from 8 years ago. But I'm wondering if there are possibly some here now with additional thoughts on these amps. I understand they tend to be clean sounding. They are maybe not more than 100w, but that will work fine for me.

    I have an been using Ampegs for almost the last 10 years. Currently my main amp is the V-4BH which I love. This Fender would not replace the Ampeg. I like full and more low mids and not glassy or crystal clear.

    I would appreciate any thoughts.
  2. If you are going to be using the same speaker cab that you
    are driving now with the V-4BH, you will have some of the same tone.

    Ampegs and old tube Fenders both have their own sound.
    IMHO both sound fine with a P bass.
    The 135 was loudest, cleanest of the old Bassman series.
    Not generally considered enough power for many gigs
    these days, it was 'it' for about 5 minutes in the late 60's.

    Modern speakers could probably add a lot to that,
    by getting more sound and fuller freq coverage.

    By the way, I like how you answer the Fender or Ampeg question...
    yes, please.

    Hey, if it's not for you, I expect you could recover your investment.
  3. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    The late 70s/early 80s ultra linear amps are very very clean, stiff, amps IMO. If you want to pick it up/have the cash and like the sound then go for it. Should sound a bit different than the ampeg. Price seems about right.
  4. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Thanks guys for the comments.

    My cab is an EBS Evolution Proline 2x12. It's big sounding (not boomy). I need to play through it but it won't be my cab and I am concerned about the super clean aspect. I don't like Hi-Fi and I don't slap or pop much at all. More than half the time I'm using flats.
  5. I would say only "pass" if you hate Fender's sound? It should not disappoint with Flats at all.
  6. lexington125


    Sep 11, 2013
    hollywood, baby......
    someday I will find 4 or 5 other guys who want to play the blues the way it was played before it became all about guitar heroics
    nnd if you buy it and decide its not for you, there are a few of us who might be interested in taking it off your hands...... (I'm just startting to dig into a heavily smoke damaged 135)
  7. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    I think I might go back and play it. The guy at the store is going to call and give me some history as they know it. If nothing has been done to it, I'm likely looking at over $100 to have a tech check it out and possible replace the power tubes. The more I think about it I'm not sure if it's going to be worth that. But I'm still open to being persuaded either way by informed comments.
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    I bought one new back then and have always regretted selling it. It was loud and clean., a nice amp.

    The Beatles used '68 silver faced twin-reverbs and a bassman on Let It Be. McCartney continued to use it with Wings. This wasn't the master volume 135W model.


    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  9. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Interesting. I'm guessing the Silver faces they were using sounded pretty different wouldn't they?

    Do these sound clean like a SS amp?
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The ones that they used were the lower power versions. The 135W version still sounds like a tube amp but they are cleaner than the older models. There is distortion when they are pushed.

    Worth taking a look at. Different than the sound of an Ampeg, a good compliment.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  11. kbakerde

    kbakerde Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    I love it. It's my main amp, great round full tone. I've owned two Bassman 135's and had a vintage V4B. Love the Bassman.
  12. i've owned a lot of fender bassmans. the best answer is to try them yourself. tons of ampeg fanboys on here slate them, but have never played them. they are a different tone to ampeg.

    ampeg has a muted high end mid heavy tone that can get grindy and overdrive.
    fender has a warm clean sound even with the gain cranked. by clean we don't mean SS like, we just mean no overdrive.
    Jim Carr likes this.
  13. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Perhaps a way to characterize it is more headroom, less distortion. Allows you to turn it up more before distortion sets in.
  14. yes thanks. i believe the Ampeg preamp will overdrive whereas the only way to get fender bassman overdrive is power tube overdrive which on mine was usually gain cranked and master volume 7+.
    Jim Carr and beans-on-toast like this.
  15. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    any purchase of a older tube amp I already assume it needs new tubes and power supply capacitors.

    the ultra linear baseman 135 is only similar to the V4 cause they both use very high plate voltage and require pretty robust tubes to handle the extra voltage.

    but I've always been rather happy with 100 or 135 watt bassmans. you can get lucky sometimes with the later 80s amps the caps can still pretty healthy. and aside from guitar player myths the circuit improvements on later versions improve performance for bass use.
    but the humming self oscillating bassman 100 does distort faster n better.

    both great amps the 135 keeps up solid in band going through my 810
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
    bobyoung53 and markjazzbassist like this.
  16. Rodrigues


    May 20, 2016
    Is there a big different between the bassman 100 & 135?

    Thank you
  17. I never pass on buying a tube Fender if the price is reasonable and I'm an Ampeg user.
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  18. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Yes, besides the 100W vs 135W. The 135's are very loud and relatively clean. The Bassman 100 is basically a blackface design. The 135 differs in that it has feedback taps on the primary side of the output transformer. Some call this ultra-linear. The power stage is more controlled through feedback to reduce distortion. Some guitar players do not like ultra-linear amps because they lack rawness.

    If you want a clean sounding Fender, you might like the Bassman 135.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  19. Rodrigues


    May 20, 2016
    So does it mean the bassman 100 gets distortion very fast?
    When I am playing in a bar (e.g 200 people)does the bassman 100 gets a distortion because of less power.

    Is it a cool distortion?

    I loved ampeg CL + 810 all the way, but i sold it because it was too big for me.
    I dont play that big shows anymore.
    So now I have only a reddi (SVT sound) and looking for a different bassamp. Like bassman, orange or maybe hiwatt 100....
  20. the bassman 100 is clean as well. with 100 tube watts unless you play in a very loud band or doom/metal type band you will have plenty of clean volume and the breakup is pleasing. massive transformers in there and a great warm round fender bassman tone.

    I had a super fender bassman (predesscer to the bassman 100) and never had to turn it up above 4/5 on the volume. it was so loud.

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.