64/65 AA864 Bassman. Keep?

ETMusic777

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So I saw this vintage Bassman head at GCs used section last week, listed as a 65 for $895. I've been looking for a blackface Bassman for under $1000 but they are nowhere to be found online these days. Even local Craigslist in LA, they start listing at least $1200-1500. So I ordered it knowing that I can return it easily to a GC store, and usually I can talk them in to refunding shipping costs (about $35) which will be a net result of 0 spent.

Positives of this amp: Sounds very good and has that raunchy Bassman drive and tone. Its Pretty quiet with no hiss. The Normal channel starts to break up at 6 and goes heavy metal by 10. The Bass channel has a bit less gain. I am running it through a Fryette Attenuator/reamp. Its been recapped and has the 3 prong cord. There is a sticker inside of it dated May 6 from a tech where he lists it as AA864, which are pretty rare.

The Chasis dates to 1964 and the internal chassis stamp and pots are all 1964. The Back panel is a 1964 "Fender Electric Instruments", but the front panel is post CBS "Fender Musical Instruments", so I am guessing that this is a very early Jan or Feb. 1965 model. Unfortunately the tube chart is mostly torn off and stamp is gone. Its pretty cool/unique that the back panel is Pre-CBS and Front Panel is Post-CBS.

Negatives: OT is a replacement. For whatever reason its a 2 Ohm tweed Bassman replacement. Pretty rusty through out the chassis. I do not like that and would give it a go with some naval jelly or polish if I am going to keep it. Handle is chewed up and the grill is a bit stained.

This is a players amp, not a garage queen. Any thoughts on whether I should keep this or return it? I dont think Ill find too many BF Bassman heads sub $1000 that have had the cap work done to them going forward. However I do not ever to expect to sell this for more than what I paid, due to the cosmetics and replacement OT. Photos attached along with technicians note.

Edit: Just played it for awhile tonight. Its a tone machine and is a keeper. Best sounding distorted amp I've ever played and very responsive. If you dont have one find one, they are that good.
 

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Last edited:

ETMusic777

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Nice score

congratulations

it looks like you have found your sound.

What speakers are you using?
Right now just running it in to a 2x10 cab with Jensons, but I have a cab with 12s to run it in to also, and a 4x10. Gotta keep volumes low at home. I will probably replace the OT at some point with a proper 4 ohm and make some cosmetic upgrades. It not pretty but sounds great.
 

Kevin Wolfe

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A modern trannie will get your filament voltage back in the proper range too. My AB165 heaters come in around 7.5 volts on modern household voltages with the vintage transformer.
 

Ringo

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Weird that they used a 2 ohm transformer, that would be my main concern. Bassman heads are typically ohm output.
 

ETMusic777

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Weird that they used a 2 ohm transformer, that would be my main concern. Bassman heads are typically ohm output.
Yeah its odd. It seems to be a pretty robust and good sounding transformer though. I am running it in to the Fryette PS100 which has impedence "matching" and can take a 2 ohm input out to an 8 ohm or even 16 ohm with no loss. I am running it in to a 4 ohm cabinet right now. Eventually I may swap it out for a 4 ohm.
 

KeepItSimpleTele

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I’ve got an early 1965 Bassman with the coveted tone rust on the chassis as well. Best sounding blackface amp I have! It has a weird aa165/ab165 in between circuit.

Run your Bassman into some British style 12” speakers and you’ll be amazed! Sounds incredible!
 




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