Amps And Effects

 I have a lot of "Vintage" effects and newer ones. I have to take pictures. Then explain what/when/where I used them. I have not been a racks effects aficionado. Since I play and have played in cover bands all my life--you have to vary your tone all the time. This can be tricky and I can share some of my wisdom/tones (lucked out and found it) from all these years of playing. If any of you have anything to add to this page E-mail me! All of us are stuck on our personal favorites. Sometimes having a closed mind to new ideas. In this day and age with the technology upgrading every three to five years it can be self defeating not to pay attention. This is supposed to be fun and with a little work easy. Never forget that!

 In the review below the amps are two that I own and one of my friends that has a bit of mystique to it. A 1966 Fender Bassman Black Face head. There is supposed to be a huge difference between early sixties (Pre-CBS) and late sixties Fender amps. I will be using a 2-12 Fender cab that came with my 1968 Bandmaster head, a 1967 Bassman head and two 4-12 cabs. One Marshall  Vintage Celestion 30's 12" and  one Peavey Cab w/Sheffield
4- 12."
Guitars will be 2-Les Pauls, Roadhouse Stratocaster (stock-USA) two Texas specials -Neck/ Middle Pearly Gates Bridge, Squire Strat (hot rodded with Fender Texas special matched set pick-ups) and a American Telecaster Deluxe w/ Cobalt Noiseless pick-ups. Effects will be Digitech and Boss equipment. I also have Pre-MXR effects that were called Ross. Main test will be turn it up to ten and have at it. I think the truth will come out on this mystery. Since I am not sponsored by Fender  I can tell the truth as for what I have found.
BTW-- Two get a better sound out of these heads I plug into the first #1 hole bass channel. Then come out of hole #2 to hole #1 in the normal channel. This makes the first channel act as a preamp to the second channel. The ampnow is close to twice as powerful. To bad we didn't know this trick back in the 60s and 70s. We just turned everything up to ten and got after it. This would have saved about half my hearing today.
Below are the heads:
On top is the mid 65 to 66 Blackface head w/ supossed "Mojo" w/ original tubes.
Middle late 68 to1969 Bassman head. Updated Groove tubes
Bottom Early 1968 Bandmaster head. My main amp  from 1968 to late 1980's. Still has original tubes and sounds perfect.

 I started playing around with the Bassman heads last weekend-. Starting off I could tell no difference between the two.  To explain the tone is not easy. It is a very clean sound. Both of these will show if your playing a good guitar or a bad one. I plugged direct in. The clean sound is in your face. A good amp makes your playing sound better. Also if you suck the amp is going to show it. The secret to these old amps is the tone. The tone knobs really work compared to today's amps. Not just an on and off. They dial thru the tonal palette degree by degree. The volume actually changes the tone. From a "very" clean jazz tone. As for distorting the speakers you have to turn the amp to "eleven" to get the tubes to over load. In the old days we did not have effects to push the signal. To this day my ears ring. But--the tone you received for this was a dream. When they came out with the Cry Baby Wah pedal I could crank the amp-put the cry baby at half way position and used my old SG. I could nail Billy Gibbons Tres Hombres tone perfectly. The Deal -- If you are looking for a clean jazz or country sound this is it. No reverb--this is what you really sound like thru good equipment. It does not lie.
   Distortion-These amps are a dream for signal processing. The amp is doing one thing--Being an amp not a chameleon. That's what the effects processing is supposed to do. Most amps these days are try to do one hundred different things. Usually forgetting to be what it is supposed to be-An Amp. Both of these are unbelievable with effects. Total personality. Your making the tubes break up at a conformable volume level. I used a Ross {pre MXR} phaser and a DOD stereo Chorus. You will never hear a better chorus. This is the sound studio engineers work days to get. The phaser--this is the type Eddie Van Halen used. In my opinion you cannot beat a MXR Phaser. It's simple and only has a speed control. I used it back in the early days. Almost on all the time. In a three man band it really filled the holes in the music. Distortion sounded the way the manufacture meant it to sound like. The amp is so clean that when an amp simulator and distortion go thru it you are hearing what the unit (Effects) was meant to do. Amazing.
Durability -- The black face Bassman head and my Bandmaster silver face head both have the original tubes. My Bassman silver face head has matched set Groove tubes. I have dropped my Bassman head out off my truck to the ground after one gig. Still works perfect. In fact I am using it this coming Friday as my third amp for the mids and almost constant chorusing.
 Cabs I used my Fender 2-12 with EV's for testing and a Peavey 4-12 cab w/Sheffield's. Sounded great with the Fender cab. With the four twelve cab it was a match made in heaven. For small (60) wattage it really push the speakers. I like surprises like that. Doesn't happen often.
  Okay here is the deal--IN MY OPINION. These type heads are selling for $1200 or more. These are a great amp. These are a "I have one you don't" type ego booster. Are they worth that price--NO. If you go out and buy a new Fender at that pricing area you probably will get just as a good or better of an amp. A new Twin or Evil twin. A new Fender Super Sonic would probably blow these away. Mind you these amps are trying to do one thing--be an amp. I use a Fender Evil twin. I use only the clean channel due to my use of effects. This amp continually blows me away with it's personality. It Just Sparkles. These amps {Bassman} are for the very serious tone hound or the guitarist/collecter. You don't want to take these out of the house.This would be a great amp to take with you, if you want to chance it. Just like buying an expensive guitar and gigging with it. If one gets stolen you can never replace it and the guy that stole it probably has no idea what he has. A double Whammy! The only reason I have these heads is I bought them brand new or close to it. Same with my friend that lent me the black face Bassman head. They were "the" amps to own in the sixty's and early seventy's. There was always a serious debate between guitarist's back then about Pre-CBS and afterwards--I am going to set the record straight right now. When CBS bought out Fender--Fender had a warehouse full of the same parts. The only thing that changed was the face {silver}. For the next couple years it was for all intents and purposes the same amp. End of discussion!  There were changes in the electronics in the beginning of the seventies and then there were problems. At least that is what I have read and heard. So, if you find one for sale that is a silver face and the guy say's it's not as good as a black  face-you might be able to talk him down on price and get a legend in guitar amplification history for a good price. Then you can Say "I have one you don't !"


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