It’s no secret that one of the greatest and most influential electric guitar amplifier designs in history began life intended as a companion to Fender’s Precision Bass. But it didn’t take long for guitar players to get wise to the fact that the 4 x 10 Tweed Bassman combo of the late 1950s sounded truly glorious in combination with their six-string electric of choice.
Indeed, the Bassman’s place in the history of rock ‘n’ roll was further cemented when Jim Marshall cloned the 5F6A circuit with British components and created the JTM45, which, with a few tweaks, would provide Eric Clapton with the firepower to define the sound of British electric blues in 1966.
If Fender’s original is your poison and a vintage example is out of reach, the current ’59 Bassman reissue is your best bet. That said, don’t overlook the mid-1960s Blackface-era heads that you can pick up for reasonable money. The tonality is different, but still great for blues and rootsy rock styles.
Fender’s Blues DeVille 410 isn’t the purist’s choice but it kicks out a hell of a lot of volume, and along with the Hot Rod DeVille, you’ll find it in action on stages every night of the week. Meanwhile, the Super-Sonic is voiced to emulate a ’59 Bassman on its Vintage channel. For those better endowed in the wallet department, Victoria’s 45410 is one of the best boutique recreations we’ve heard.
"The larger amps, Hendrix 100W Marshall, Soldano 100s, Dual Showman, Twin Reverb, Super Reverb (a big US favourite) are a blast - if you're playing to large audiences. But even in the States where I'm offered a good choice of amps I always come back to the Fender Bassman - which when cranked is pretty much my reference tone." (Thanks, stringkiller)
"I now use a Fender Super-Sonic which give tones in the Bassman and Vibrolux ballparks as well as great overdrive channel which covers a lot of bases. Tones across a range of players from Robert Cray, SRV, Hendrix, Clapton and Gary Moore – it’s a very versatile amp but weighs a ton. The thing that attracted me to it was the vintage channel - it only has three controls. Volume, bass and treble. Dead simple just like my old Champ 12 (which was another great little amp). Crank the volume and tweak the Q for the best blues and rock tones. Only one input too. You can stick anything in the front end and it sounds great." (Thanks, bbcoz)
"Fender - Deluxe Rev, Super Rev, Bassman 4 x 10. Marshall - Bluesbreaker, 2041 18-Watt combo."(Thanks, basspete)
"Blues DeVille, cracking amp." (Thanks, RTBH)
Fender '59 Bassman currently available from Thomann and PMT Online