Vintage Bassman Amps: Collector-Grade v Player-Grade

Bandmaster, Bassman, Champ, Concert, Deluxe, Harvard, Princeton, Pro, Super, Tremolux, Twin, Vibrasonic, Vibrolux, Vibroverb and others

Vintage Bassman Amps: Collector-Grade v Player-Grade

Postby Dixon on Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:16 pm

Hi guys--I am new to the forum. I usually ask questions over at FenderForum, LPForum or GearPage, but I am guessing this is the best place for this question.

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
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:47 pm

Re: Vintage Bassman Amps: Collector-Grade v Player-Grade

Postby stratele52 on Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:29 am

Not easy to answer , IMO Fender forum. com is the best place
Posts: 1904
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:35 am
Location: Québec province, Canada

Re: Vintage Bassman Amps: Collector-Grade v Player-Grade

Postby John Peden on Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:07 pm

Quite a conundrum. First if possible play both amps useing the same guitar, cord and tubes (if you're really obsessive} use the same settings . Line up the chicken head pointers to make sure the pots aren't " off". If you love one more than the other then "Game Over, Take her home and make her moan". If at this point you still are willing to shell out but cant make up your mind, then a few thoughts. Can I assume that purchase of this amp isn't going to force a lifestyle change for you so the next thing is will it hold it's value? A 5F6-A is about as reliable collectable amp as there is going to be but like any investment YMMV. I've evolved in my appreciation of worn tweed but the non original O T could be problem. There are good replacement OTs being sold today. Do your homework and know the cost of your choice of replacement ( Mercury, Magnetic Components, Heyboer, etc) If the one with the replaced O T still has your interest make an offer that gives you credit for the purchase and installation of the OT. Whatever you decide the "mint" one will always sell quicker and for more. I hope this helps.
John Peden
Court Jester
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:40 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Vintage Bassman Amps: Collector-Grade v Player-Grade

Postby Dixon on Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:37 pm

Thanks for the replies.

The cost, while always relevant, isn't in and of itself the determining factor here. Just want to buy smart. I hate the idea of possibly overpaying by a lot (I can live with a little bit of overpaying if I love the amp).

I will be able to play them both again over the next couple weeks. if they are still available at that time, I will make an offer on both and see which one I can "buy right".

Thanks again.
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:47 pm

Re: Vintage Bassman Amps: Collector-Grade v Player-Grade

Postby Dean Jr. on Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:58 pm

Buying smart....caveat emptor, right? One wants to be able to ascertain all of the pertinent details of the amp.
the information so far divulged is not enough upon which to make any judgements...except that that $6k is the absolute most that 'compromised' amps is worth....and that is IF the buyer really knows what they are listening to and looking at...imho.
When buying into the collector grade, every detail has to be correct. since you are going to play it, a grounded power cord and fresh electrolytics are a plus...but EVERYTHING else must be beyond question. One would want to be able to read the codes in the amp....speaker codes, tranny model codes, pot codes, dates on caps, etc..... and....a bit of experience in looking at these old amps would be helpful. Can you spot non-original solder joints?
Dean Jr.
Posts: 314
Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:59 pm

Return to Fender

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests