Blackface Bandmaster a good buy?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Rostlund98, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    Since keithb7 added a pic of his BM, I've to to put my Tremolux in the mix (and they are not that much more than a complete BM on Reverb... just saying)

    20160913_134854.jpg
     
  2. stratguy23

    stratguy23 TDPRI Member

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    My dad owns a Blackface Bandmaster. It is a really nice clean amp and is a great value. He runs it with pedals for dirt, and it is a great platform for pedals. They are a great value for the Blackface Fender tone. They use the fabled AB763 preamp circuit that the other amps use as well.
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd take a SF Bassman head over a BF Bandmaster head, by a very very large margin.
    A buddy had a BF Tremolux when I had a BF Bandmaster, and his amp sounded much nicer than mine, but a Tlux is hard to find and more expensive, so YMMV.
    I'd say your style, your guitars, your ear, your speakers and your pedals will either work with a Bandmaster or they won't.
    With vintage wind pickups, a Strat or Tele on the bridge pup sounds thin and kind of anemic straight into a Bandmaster.
    I say "kind of anemic" to avoid hurting the feelings of those who like the Bandmaster sound.
    The perfect speakers can help a lot, and the wrong speakers can make a Strat bridge/ Bandmaster sound into torture for all in earshot.
    IMO you really need to play this amp with your gear to know if you can use it.
    OTOH a tech could re-voice the amp for fuller low mids and less thin shrill sound with a bright bridge pickup.
    Course, some players never use the bridge pickup on their Fenders, or they go right to Texas Specials and HBs to fill out the sound.

    True, Bandmasters are the cheapest BF heads.
    Maybe there's a reason?

    Build up a rig with amp, cab, speakers, pedals, power supply, cables, guitars, pickups, cases etc.
    Is it worth another $200 to go make the whole thing sound great?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
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  4. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Nice amps. Not much gain but good, fat clean tones.

    As you don't know what to look for electronically and don't do your own work you should budget at least $250 on top of the amp cost for normal service by a qualified tech - filter & bias capacitor replacement plus possibly some bypass caps possible tube replacement, a bias check/reset and general electronic checkup.

    This is something you should do before even turning an amp on if it looks unmodified and there's no documentation of recent service (within the last 10-12 years). It might only cost $100-150 if tubes aren't needed, or $50-60 for a bench charge if it turns out it's been well taken care of.

    But most vintage amps aren't maintained well - if at all - and a cap can fail with no warning (and the amp sounding fine) possibly costing you a transformer - and hundreds of dollars of vintage value. There's no way top visually verify parts are good, but some replacement caps have date codes that can be checked. They have a service life of around 15 years, so a well-maintained SF Bandmaster from the early 70's should be about ready for a third normal service - and I don't think I've *ever* seen that happen.

    Hope it helps. I service far too many newly purchased vintage Fenders that are brought to me because they weren't checked when purchased and soon failed.

    PS - do you have access to a Vintage Guitar Price Guide? If so, be aware that those prices are for maintained full head/cab sets and an amp in unknown condition should have potential service costs factored in. Also, the market is down, so research eBay "sold" items (never eBay or Reverb asking prices) to see what they actually *sell* for.
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It's worth making the distinction that a Bandmaster will only make "fat" clean tones if sent a "fat" signal.
    Where a Bassman head or Super/ Princeton reverb or Tweeds or Marshalls can make fat sounds with thin sounding inputs, like you get from a Strat bridge pickup; a Bandmaster head will pretty much produce thin sounds from thin inputs like Strat bridge pups.
    If you stay on the neck pickup or stick to fat sounding HBs you would get fat sounds.

    Wouldn't you agree?
     
  6. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I think the "pickup choice", switch position, along with tone control adjustments, volume level and such are pretty obvious variables.
     
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  7. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

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    I had a BF Tremolux. Great sounding amp for sure, but wouldn't be my choice for a true pedal platform. Not tons of clean headroom IMO.

    I have a Pro Reverb, basically the combo version of a Bandmaster but with a tube rectifier and reverb. And yeah, the strat bridge sound is kind of thin. But nothing an Xotic SP Comp doesn't fix.

    On that Pro, I did have the Normal channel revoiced, and it rocks! If I had a Bandmaster, I wouldn't even hesitate having that done. Nice amp overdrive at 3 on the volume knob! Way fat!
     
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  8. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

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    @grolan1 I always take the opportunity to post pics of my amps. They are like my kids. Only way cheaper. Lol.

    ;)
     
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  9. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    A lot might depend on speakers I'm guessing as mine is a pedal platform beast! Original Oxfords sound really good, replaced them to save the speakers with Eminence CopperHead and even better! Played at an outside gig a few weeks ago, amp was clean and beautiful when needed with plenty of head room. Step on an overdrive and away we go....
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    A lot of my lengthy replies are based on the fact that we all have different experience and expectations.
    I tend to agree that a fixed bias, tube rectified pair of 6L6 with 410 or so plate volts doesn't have a lot of clean headroom.
    But we have lots of players here complaining that their PRRI stays clean too loud, while others gig a PRRI with a "loud drummer", and still others can't get enough clean low end from a PRRI to play live with an acoustic playing singer songwriter.

    Also regarding my comments to @Silverface , I'm considering all the players trying to get fat tones from Strat bridge pickups by adding a steel base plate or buying numerous replacement bridge pups looking for that elusive fat Strat bridge tone.

    IME a great fat Strat bridge tone comes from an amp that does that, add lots of fat.
    And IME a Bandmaster is at the far end of that extreme, never adding an ounce of fat to any pickup tone.

    So I tend to go overboard on such details rather than assume players know all this stuff.
    Sucks to buy a $700 amp, put $250 into it, and then hear disappointing tones!
    A Bassman head delivers all the fat Fender left out of the Bandmaster.
     
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  11. Bluesdriver

    Bluesdriver TDPRI Member

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    I keep hearing that Bandmasters sound thin. Maybe it's my ears because after owning four of them, three blackface and one silverface drip edge, I don't hear it. Are they the "fattest" sounding blackfaces...not by a long shot, but compared to plenty of other amps out there they don't sound thin to me. I have owned four Bassman's, three blackface and one silverface drip edge also. If given a choice I would take a blackface Bassman obviously, but like my Bandmaster enough that I have no plans to sell it.

    I had one 64 Tremolux and mine didn't sound any "fatter" than any of my Bandmasters to me.


    67 Bandmaster
    The previous owner had the original head cab recovered by Mojotone. The speaker cab is a Mojotone repro cab with two 1964 C12N Jensen's that I installed.

    Before
    134_2227.jpg

    Current configuration with a Weber 12A150

    Combo 1.jpg Combo 2.jpg

    ...and while I'm on a roll...66 Bassman I still have with the original C12N Jensen's.
    B1.jpg
     
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  12. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm on the fence if I want to keep my Bassman - it has such a unique sound, at least to me. More mid's than any amp I've ever had... still love to give it a go every now and then though.... BM have never been my preferred amp of choice.

    20170508_102409.jpg 20160510_140750a.jpg
     
  13. Bluesdriver

    Bluesdriver TDPRI Member

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    Despite owning four of them, BM's aren't my first choice either but I bought em right.

    About how much would you say your Bassman weighs in the combo cab?
     
  14. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

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    Mine had a pair of ceramic Weber 10s, a C10N and a C10Q. All NOS tubes, fully serviced. I did run a JAN GE 5751 in the PI slot.

    With a strat and a FD2, it was instant SRV blues tone. But it wasn't a loud clean headroom monster.
     
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  15. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    Around the same as my Vibrolux Reverb - so a bit over 40 lbs is my guess. Love the weigh compared to my BFSR (pushing 60 lbs).
     
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  16. Bluesdriver

    Bluesdriver TDPRI Member

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    Okay thanks.

    I just noticed the background on the first pic of your Bassman.

    It looks like the same background of a Fender Bronco that's for sale on C/L.

    If so we must live fairly close to each other.
     
  17. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    I sold the Bronco to someone in the St Louis area 3-4 months ago... if you see the same background, he must be reselling and using my pics from when I sold it... go figure right!

    (just looked it up, yep my Bronco and my pics as well)
     
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  18. Bluesdriver

    Bluesdriver TDPRI Member

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    Yep!

    Thought we might be neighbors!

    I'm about 25 miles west of St. Louis.
     
  19. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

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    Gorgeous! What kind of $$ do you have wrapped up in that?

    I'll tell you what amp intrigues the hell out of me, the Carr Impala. Basically a Handwired 1x12 BF Bassman with reverb and a master volume. I'd have to sell my Super Reverb to finance it though, and don't think I could bring myself to.
     
  20. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    Hate to plug it here, but if you go to Reverb you can see the amp for sell...
     
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