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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Vintage Bassman: Collector-Grade vs Player-Grade



Jul 6th, 2017 04:23 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi guys--I am considering buying a vintage Fender Bassman. I have been looking for a while, and I am currently considering two different options.

The first one appears to be (I am seeing it in person this week) an "all original" 1960 Bassman. Original tweed is in good to very good condition, it has all the original iron and seems to have had nothing done to it other than one possible speaker recone. I believe I could buy it around $10K - $11K. For this discussion, let's assume it sounds great when I plug into it.

The other amp I am considering is a 1959 Bassman. Tweed is pretty worn (lots of fraying at the bottom, some wood showing through in spots, cigarette burns here and there, etc--arguably a cool vibe, however). I believe the amp is largely original with one very big caveat--the output transformer has been replaced. I don't know what the replacements is, as I saw this in a store last week when I was traveling. I can say that I plugged into this one, and the tone was simply glorious. I think I could get this one for around $6K.

So here is the input I am seeking from those of you who know these amps and the market--how do these prices generally stack up in the market today, and how much of a discount would you want to see before you would consider a Bassman with a replaced OT to be a fair/good buy? Am I nuts to even consider a vintage Bassman (especially at these prices) without its original OT?

While I would love to have a collector-grade Bassman at a fair price, I'd also be happy having one with issues so long as it sounded great and I felt I got it at a fair value. I plan to play the Bassman mostly in my home studio, but it will get played alot (not put away as a collector's piece). I care about value as a matter of feeling like I didn't do something too stupid...not because I am trying to sell it later. My kids can worry about then when I am gone :)

Appreciate any input you can offer


Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Jul 6th, 2017 09:35 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

if it were me I'd look for one w/orig iron and speakers but w/a good pro retweed.

those can be had for around 4K.



Jul 6th, 2017 10:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a 1960 Bassman that is a players amp today. It was recovered in new tweed and got new grill cloth. Circuit, chassis and all related parts are original. Including the transformers. E-caps have been changed. Original speakers are long gone. It sounds fabulous. The price was right due to the changes mentioned.

You'll have to come to a decision in your mind if you are buying it to play, or to collect. If playing, and you don't want stress over it too much, a player's amp is a better way to go in my opinion.

On another note, I recently had a friend send me his Fender RI '59 Bassman. I gutted it and handwired it for him at his request. I used my vintage Bassman as a guide. I wired it up to the original circuit. I re-used the RI transformers. I added a bias pot and 3 way switchable negative feedback. I recorded sound clips of the RI compared to my original, before and after I rewired it. The rewire definitely improved the tone. Believe it or not, it did. The '59 RI ice picky treble was fixed. The EQ is more responsive.

The "after" A/B sound clips demonstrate that the newly re-wired Bassman sounds very, very close to my original 1960 Bassman.


on the rhine

Jul 6th, 2017 11:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


I´m (absolutely) no expert on this, but that was what came to my mind:

"... one w/orig iron and speakers but w/a good pro retweed."

A friend of mine recently sold one like that and he got around 4.5 K.

cheers - C.



Jul 6th, 2017 12:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for the replies. This confirms my gut feel.

Happy to hear from others who have an informed view.

Thanks again.

Contributing Member

American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Jul 6th, 2017 02:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a pine cab that somewhat survived a fire. The old tweed was burned badly and I removed what was left. Someone had already yanked the chassis and speakers which were also burned up pretty bad.

As far as buying a 1960 or a 1959, I think either would be ok. The 1960 with more original stuff would be best in my opinion.

Stay away from a reissues. They are totally different amps and not even close to a reissue.



Jul 7th, 2017 07:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A friend has an all original 1960 that was serviced about 10 years ago. Transformers, Jensen P10Q speakers and coupling caps are all there. I believe he wants $8.5k

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Jul 7th, 2017 09:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Vintage gear, it is worth what ever someone is willing to pay for it. Only what is a good deal in your head would be the right deal.

That being said, the prices you mention seem about 25% high if I were spending my money.

I like my gear to look nice so cosmetic condition is important to me as well as the originality of the e-tronics. In this case I'd let my budget do the talking however & would pick the best sounding of the two Bassmans. Studio use, yes?



Jul 7th, 2017 09:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Appreciate the input.

Vintage Tweed


Aug 13th, 2017 04:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi, slider313. I'm looking for an all original tweed Bassman. If your friend's 1960 is still available, please shoot me an email. Thank you!

Contributing Member

Whitehorse Canada

I don't get out much
Aug 13th, 2017 07:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Stay away from a reissues. They are totally different amps and not even close to a reissue."

Mr Bender...a confusing remark....:>)

Dixon....what's it like to have 10K or better to buy an amp?
I think you are in an enviable monetary position.




you want me to play where?
Aug 23rd, 2017 02:49 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Not really the same animal but my so called vintage bassman is a 70-71 bassman head and I wouldn't change it for the world. GREAT amp, great sound. I do have a slight problem with it right now but since I quit playing out this year, I've got time to find it. Still a great amp but it's got some gozinnta getting to the chassis so it will light you up a bit if you're singing. Looked once but never DID find how the AC was getting to the chassis. Just ran out of patience for a while. I'll go back later and squirrel it out. Mike.


Redondo Beach CA

No Chops but Great Tone
Aug 29th, 2017 03:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

WIth an "all original" tweed Bassman I caution against turning it on at all. Hopefully you meant "original but serviced", because an amp with filter caps that old is a time bomb. You cold have a catastrophic failure taking out you power transformer - and with no warning, the amp sounding fine. Until then. I've repaired Bassmans, Bandmasters, Suoers, Deluxes and a Tremolux - all that failed under similar circumstances - and it's an expensive failure as you can imagine - mostly in value.

With tweeds - also BF and SF amps - I recommend buying them based on the originality and condition and not test-running them at all. Budget money for full service up front ($150-350 if tubes are needed) and if you buy one take it straight to a tech.

Contributing Member


and meanwhile, I'm still thinkin' . . .
Sep 2nd, 2017 07:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

and don't forget to look for the piece of masking tape with the builders name on it. Mine says "Lupe", for Lupe Lopez.

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Vintage Bassman: Collector-Grade vs Player-Grade

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