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Fender Bandmaster Blackface Head and Cabinet, 1964

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First appearing in 1954 and built to 1974, the Fender Bandmaster amplifier transformed from a 26 watt single-15 inch tweed combo to, in 1961, a 40 watt head and 2×12 cabinet set. Along the way it was also available, from 1955 to 1960, as a 28 watt 3×10 inch speaker combo.

In the early 1960s Fender was realizing that combo amplifiers carried service issues in the ever-larger cabinets. As power levels started to rise, physically repairing amps took more and more space. So a highly innovative solution was found. This solution makes so much sense and became so common that it seems obvious now, but simply separating the amplifier and speakers into separate cabinets was a breakthrough. This was immediately referred to as the ‘Piggyback’ design and every other manufacturer soon followed.

Here we’re looking at a Fender Bandmaster head and cabinet set, built during 1964 at the Fender plant in Fullerton, California. The head is in Blackface garb – white script logo lettering on a black panel, with black Tolex covering. The head features its original, dated to 1964 transformers, and some caps have been replaced – this is ultimately necessary on virtually all amps as these parts do wear out. Though it’s not pictured, a Vibrato footswitch is included. The cabinet carries a pair of 1962 Utah speakers. The grille cloth and black Tolex coverings on these amps are the most vulnerable to wear and (literal) tear from normal use. Here, the Tolex covering is in pretty good shape considering the realities of use, but the cabinet grille cloth has a few small holes visible in the cabinet-front image.

The Fender ‘Piggyback’ design includes hardware to couple the head to the cabinet. On the bottom of the amp head, there are two slotted arms that slide out, and the cabinet has threaded ferrules to accept a pair of bolts. The head still has the original slides, however the original cabinet bolts are gone and replaced with other working units.

These are great vintage amps, and were pretty high powered for the time. However, they were overtaken by other higher powered designs as the demand for volume grew. As well, the Bandmaster design has a fairly low headroom level, leading to early breakup. This can be very desirable for blues and rock players at low to moderate volumes, but doesn’t permit the amp to do deliver clean tones at high volumes as a Twin Reverb can. and this led to its being discontinued in 1974.

Price: $1850 CAD
  • Model: Bandmaster Head and Cabinet
  • Year: 1964 |
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: A04450
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 17/12/2018

  • Consignment Item

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