In the world of bass guitars, the bass amp will always play a crucial role. For the overall tone shaping of the bass and volume amplification, a bass amp becomes one thing every bass player must invest in.
It doesn’t matter what your playing proficiency is. It doesn’t matter if you are starting on the bass or if you are a seasoned pro; there will always be a time you will start looking into bass amplifiers.
Be it for home rehearsals, road touring, or studio recording; you can never underestimate the importance of investing in the best amplifier you can afford as a bass player.
Over the years, one of the companies that has made a mark in the world of guitar and bass is Fender. It is hard to hold a conversation about guitars, be it bass or lead guitar, without bringing Fender into that conversation.
On that note, we discuss two of the most amazing bass guitar amps ever to be produced by Fender. These are the Fender Bandmaster and the Fender Bassman.
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Leo Fender established a repair facility for radios and electronics in 1938. By 1946, he had established the Fender Electric Instrument Co. to produce electric lap steels and amplifiers.
More amplifier models were added as Fender’s 1950s product line expanded to include electric guitars and basses, with the Fender Bandmaster debuting in 1953.
The Fender Bandmaster amplifier changed from a 26-watt single-15-inch tweed combo to a 40-watt head and 212 cabinets set in 1961, and it was produced until 1974. It was also offered as a 28-watt 310-inch speaker combo from 1955 to 1960.
Fender began to realize in the early 1960s that the ever-larger cabinets of combination amplifiers contained service problems. Physically mending amps required more and more space as power levels increased.
So, a rather creative answer was discovered. Splitting the amplifier and speakers into separate cabinets was a breakthrough because it makes so much sense and has become popular.
The outcome was immediately known as the “Piggyback” design, and every other manufacturer quickly copied it. The head and cabinet set was manufactured at the Fender plant in Fullerton, California.
The Bandmaster features a Blackface AB763 circuit, recognized for its rich, sparkling clean tone and aggressive overdrive tone that cuts through dense mixes.
In that regard, the amp delivers a huge, harmonically rich tone that never loses clarity. It offers a flexible sound that works well in rock, blues, country, etc. The amp’s all-tube construction gives it a warm, organic sound, making it popular among guitarists.
Here’s a video demo link for the Fender Bandmaster.
Fender first released the Bassman combo in 1951 to accompany their newly released Precision Bass, and much like the bass, they had complete control over the design from the beginning.
Its single 15-inch speaker was excellent and had a striking appearance. The bass competed on stage with the typical equipment of the day, which included drums, electric guitars, and piano, thanks to this 50W rig.
As time went on, it also won over the hearts of guitarists who, after experimenting with various preamps and effects racks, discovered how delightful its simplicity, terrific tone, outstanding dispersion, and touch-sensitive dynamics were.
With 50 watts of power, 6L6GC power tubes, four 12AX7 preamp tubes, four 10″ Jensen P10R speakers, two channels, four inputs, an internal bias control, and a retro Fender style with a striped oxblood grille fabric, the modern bassman edition is regarded as a top-tier guitar amplifier.
Please note that the Fender Bassman’s features have evolved over time, and various amp variations exist. Thus specifications may vary based on the precise model and year of production.
When you consider that the first Marshall amplifiers borrowed heavily from Bassman’s circuit architecture, which, in turn, generated an endless array of subsequent clones as time passed, it’s easy to see that Fender Bassman depicts quality and is well-sought among guitarist.
Here’s a link to the combo’s video demo
Fender Bandmaster vs Bassman Review
When discussing or comparing fender amps, you must be very particular about the circuit you’re referring to; however, we’ll endeavor to generalize.
Sound and Tone
The Fender Bandmaster and Bassman are excellent guitar amplifiers with strong, distinct tones.
Because they are both made entirely of tubes, they provide a warm, rich tone that solid-state or digital amplifiers find difficult to duplicate or match.
The Fender Bandmaster is equipped with a Tremolo, enriching its sound and generating various musical styles.
However, the Bassman lacks this feature, and therefore, users who want the Tremolo effect must use a pedal or effects processor.
It’s, however, good to note that the tremolo effect is optional and relies on the musician’s playing style. The Bandmaster has a speaker and amplifier in one cabinet. It features clean and overdriven channels.
The overdriven channel has a classic rock and blues tone, while the clean channel is bright and clear. Spring reverb adds depth to the Bandmaster’s sound.
High-quality transformers help shape the tone of the Fender Bandmaster and Bassman. Transformers differ amongst the amplifiers.
There are two transformers that the Bandmaster uses; Power amp and preamp transformers. These transformers produce clean, clear sound with headroom for overdriven tones.
The Bassman’s power amp and preamp share a single transformer. Bassists love this transformer because it enhances a more punchy and powerful bass tone.
Its compressed sound may suit specific playing techniques and music genres. Both amplifiers use high-quality, tone-specific transformers. Thus, one may fit your sound better.
Many different styles of music may be played on the Fender Bandmaster and Bassman. Each amplifier shines in a distinct genre.
The sound of the Bandmaster is clear and distinct, with enough headroom for overdriven tones. Jazz, blues, country, and classic rock all fit it. Surf, rockabilly, and early rock are given a vintage feel with the built-in spring reverb.
On the other hand, the Bassman offers a robust bottom tone, and rock, blues, and funk go well with it.
Its ability to generate a wide range of bass tones, from a round, warm, and deep tone for jazz to a more aggressive tone for metal and punk, makes it popular with bass players.
While each amp may be used for several musical styles, your sound and tone rely on your playing technique and amp configuration.
Fender Bandmaster Pros and Cons
- Clear sound with potential for overdrive.
- Built-in tremolo for versatility
- Vintage spring reverb.
- Great for country, blues, jazz, and vintage rock.
- Not as suitable for genres that need a punchy and powerful bass tone
- It’s less powerful than some other amplifiers of its kind
Fender Bassman’s pros and cons
- Very user-friendly vintage channel with a high-class tone
- Retro appearance and simple access to all settings
- Fat tube sound is not a legend
- The output-power selector prevents the sound quality from deteriorating at low output levels (25W mode)
- In order to get the most out of the Overdrive channel, the user must be experienced.
- A lack of Speakon connectors
- It’s heavy.
- It’s quite expensive.
Fender Bandmaster in Summary
The Fender Bandmaster is a guitar amplifier made by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.
It was first presented as a mid-sized amplifier in the 1950s, and since then, it has undergone several modifications and redesigns.
The current Bandmaster is a tube amplifier with various tonal settings and a clean tone. It comes in numerous variations, including a head and combo, and has three channels (normal, vibrato, and reverb).
Rock, blues, country, and jazz guitarists are the most frequent users of it. It is regarded as a capable amplifier with a reasonable price tag, and it’s a terrific option for musicians seeking a vintage Fender tone with contemporary adaptability.
Fender Bassman in Summary
As the name suggests, the Fender Bassman bass guitar amplifier is also manufactured by Fender. Since its first release in the 1950s, it has evolved into a legendary and recognizable bass guitar amplifier.
Many bass players prefer the distinctive Fender sound of the Bassman because of its warm and powerful tone. It has a head and cabinet configuration and a tube-based preamp and power amp.
Rock, blues, and jazz musicians frequently choose the Bassman for their instruments of choice. It is regarded as an effective, versatile, and reasonably priced amplifier.
Both beginning and seasoned professional bass players should use this model. The Fender Bassman is a fantastic option when seeking a versatile amp that can handle several musical genres and a vintage Fender tone.
Frequently Asked Questions
When turned on, its 50 watts of power can produce powerful clean tones that can compete with any drummer, stunning tube saturation at high levels, and the ability to absorb overdrive and fuzz pedals as if they were a natural extension of its being.
40 watts are produced into a 4-ohm load. The circuit was in use from 1960 until July 1963, when the “AB763” circuit was introduced.
These modest amps can be acceptable for many smaller jazz and blues concerts if you’re performing live. However, if you’re playing in a bigger space or if your kind of music needs you to keep up with a much louder drummer, it’s worth bumping that range up to closer to 50 or 60 watts.
Fender made a huge historical contribution to the history of music by having the iconic Fender bandmaster and Bassman amps.
The Bandmaster is a versatile amp that can handle any musical genre thanks to its clear and bright tone.
On the other hand, The Bassman, first made available in 1951, is famous for its cozy, rich tone and irresistible bass response.
However, the Bassman doesn’t simply appeal to bassists only; guitarists also love its vintage, bluesy tone, which lends their playing character.
Based on their immense quality, sound, and tone, musicians and fans alike still consider the Bandmaster and Bassman timeless classics.