When you think of the Fender Bassman, what comes into mind? The original 1959 Tweed 5F6A amp, the ’59 Tweed reissue, the Blonde Piggyback/Brownface, or the Blackface 50 watt models. Yes they are well known. The 1959 Fender Bassman is consider the “hall of fame” amplifier that became famous for guitar players. Even guitar players in the 1960’s were using the blonde Bassmans. However, what people don’t know is that the Bassman, though they are well known as guitar amps, were designed for bass guitar players. In other words, the Bassman is really a bass amp.
In 1969, Fender introduced the Bantam Bass combo. The amp itself was a failure from the start. The reason: it had that funky ‘trapezoid’ Yamaha speaker with a white styrofoam cone installed in the amp and they blew up if you pushed it too far. Although these amps were discontinued at the end of 1971, the Bantam Bass tone circuit was proven, and it was used in the Bassman 10 combo amp introduced in 1972.
The Fender Bassman 10 was introduced in 1972.
All tube, hand-wired.
Preamp: 2 7025’s (can use 12AX7’s in place), 1 12AT7
Power: 2 6L6GC’s
Watts: 50 (1972-76), 70 (1977-82)
Impedence: 8 ohms (1972-76), 4 ohms (1977-82)
Speakers: 4×10, closed back cabinet.
Weight: 75 pounds.
Faceplate: Silverface (1972-80), Blackface (1980-82)
It came out at a time when this amp was barely good enough to compete with the likes of the Ampeg, Sunn and Acoustic. Then again, people usually write-off Fender Silverface amps from the 1970’s because they’re ‘not like the original Blackface amps,’ but that’s starting to change for the silverface amps are Fender’s best kept secret.
The first time I ever heard of the Fender Bassman Ten, was in 1996. At the time, I was 18, I was looking to do a solo project on 4-track with me doing the guitar, bass, and later drums and I needed a bass amp. I walked into my local music store, and here were the Ampegs, Peavey, SWR, David Eden, Fenders, basically, all of the new bass amp stuff way over my price range. Then, I saw this road-beaten amp that I never saw in my life. It was heavy, 2 1/2 feet tall, with 4 10″ speakers with a Silverface plate that said in blue “Bassman Ten.” I plugged a 1996 Fender American Standard Precision bass through it, and instantly, I was in love! Plus I ended up stealing the amp for only $325.00. I couldn’t pass on it.
Some guitar players will use the Bassman 10 for guitar because once again, Bassman amps were known to be guitar amps, but not many people will use it for bass. But what people don’t know is that the Fender Bassman 10 is an awesome bass amp and I would highly recommend them to people who want a great bass sound for dirt cheap. They sound excellent with a bass guitar (to me they do). For 50 or 70 watts, they are loud! Right now, you can get these amps for under $1,000.00 and in most cases, even under $500.00! My advice to all of the bass players, if you see one under $500.00, grab one! I would highly recommend the 70 watt ultralinear version (1977-82) for it’s perfect for bass and in true retrospect, the Fender purists “don’t want those amps”. Those these are not as powerful as the big 100 or up to the 300 watt bass amps, these combos are perfect if you’re in a band where the guitarist are using less than 50 watts or in a three-piece. This amp can cover alot of ground.