I've owned everything under the sun, but I've kept the Bassman head and matching 2x12 cab (w/tilt back legs)all these years. I'll never part with the it! How can you beat a genuine point-to-point blackface Fender amp for such a low price? It's the best value around. Find one before they become too expensive!
Where Obtained: Roadworthy Guitar and Amp Bloomington, IN (1996)
50 Watt 2x6L6 output tubes, 3 12Ax7s, 1 12At7 (in the driver position). Solid state rectifier. Two channels (Bass & Normal) with two inputs (1:High 2:Low), three knobs (volume, treble, bass) and one switch per channel ("Deep" on Bass and "Bright" on Normal). Back panel has a Power switch, Standby switch, two speaker outputs, and a power outlet to run effects (or a toaster if you want). No channel switching or effects loop. Just big tube tone!
This is truly an amazing-sounding amp! Be warned: the Bassman is a brutally honest amp that will bring out every nuance (good and bad) in your playing. A well-maintained Bassman is the benchmark of clean electric guitar. It's not squeaky-clean like a Twin, or spongy like a Deluxe Reverb. It's fat and punchy. It sits right in the middle of the two: the clarity of the Twin with the warmth of the Deluxe. It can get quite raunchy when you crank it. These are loud amps that hold together well at high volume. They excel as the central building block of your tone. You can get as simple or complex as you want: Either stick a cord in the front and use your volume knob to regulate the raunch, or pile on effects (Bassman amps love pedals). As a bonus, it makes a cool low-watt bass amp (hence "Bassman"). Sounds great on harmonica, too.
Three knobs and the truth! Nothing much happens before 3 on the volume knob. In small rooms, you will find yourself banished to the "under 3" zone and will probably dislike the amp. It sounds very thin and weak in this zone. As you hit 3, the volume jumps and you are rewarded with a fat clean sound that continues just shy of 4. From 4 to 7, you get relatively the same volume but more raunch as you turn it up. From 7 on--step back! This amp would be a perfect candidate for an attenuator like a THD Hot Plate.
Built like a tank. I traveled coast to coast with mine for years without a backup and it never let me down--250 shows a year banging around in a trailer. Once in Philly, it fell off the stage face first 6ft. onto a concrete floor. I just picked it up, set it back on the cab and kept going!!
In the last year, I've been on a serious amp quest that involved comparing everything from all current reissue Fender amps to various Vox's, to a new Reverend Hellhound. Heck I even tried a bunch of modeling amps! As far as I'm concerned, I really hit the jackpot - this amp sounds better than all of the others. When it comes to tone, there is really something missing in the new amps in comparison. This amp is a keeper! A++
Model Year: 1966
Where Obtained: Roy Blankenship - Abell Amp Repair - http://aga.rru.com/b2g/disp-emp.cgi?mortyok
This vintage tube amp head features bass & treble controls, as well as a bright switch on the normal channel, and a deep switch on the bass channel. It has no tone robbing extras like reverb, an effects loop, or a master volume.
This amp is a very LOUD 50 watts - will cut through & overpower a loud drummer. I give it a 4 because a mid and presence control would be the ONLY two things that I think could improve this amp. Maybe I will add them later (in a non-destructive & reversible way, of course).
Quite frankly, mine sounds incredible, and blows any new Fender amp out of the water. Point to point amps are where it's at, period. AB165's are fantastic amps, especially when set up correctly and de-CBS'd - this is exactly what Roy Blankenship (I HIGHLY recommend him - he's as good as they get!) did for me when I bought it from him. I don't doubt that he did even more, as this is an amp that you can REALLY custom tailor to your liking. The tone is chimey Fender clean (yet somewhat warmer, punchier, & thicker) till you get around 4 on the volume knob, and then the amp starts breaking up into a great overdriven tone. This amp has a rich 3D sound to it, with truly great dynamics & depth - makes for a top notch blues/rock amp. It doesn't matter how loud you turn this amp up to - it always sounds great. I'm not joking when I say that the sound is downright hypnotizing at times!
Well, as you may have guessed by now, an amp doesn't get any easier to use than this. It's as plug & play as you can get.
Old Fender amps will practically withstand anything. Yeah, they need to be re-tubed within each year if you want them to keep producing great tone - but this is just like any tube amp.