After Leo Fender left the company he created, he signed a 10‑year non-compete agreement, but once his obligation to Fender expired he turned his sights to designing amps, guitars and basses under the Music Man brand.
Combo amps from Music Man were manufactured from 1974 to 1984, and were used and endorsed by the likes of Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler for many years. There is good reason for this - they sound excellent.
The Fender lineage is obvious, but the big difference was a solid state pre amp working in conjunction with an all tube output stage utilising EL 34 valves. Consequently, Music Man amps have excellent headroom and a slightly more aggressive sound when dialled up.
- Made in Anaheim, California, USA
- Solid pine open-back cabinet covered in black tolex with top-mounted carrying handle and chrome hardware
- Silver speaker cloth with black-on-silver brand and model badges
- Original 2×10” Music Man alnico-magnet speakers
- Up to 65 watts RMS into 4 ohms
- Solid state pre-amp with 12AX7 valve
- Hand-wired power amp with 2xEL34 valves
- 2 channels, each with 2 x ¼” input jack sockets
- Channel 1: volume, treble, and bass
- Channel 2: volume, treble, middle, bass, reverb and tremolo (intensity/speed), bright switch
- Master volume and deep switch
- Overall Standby and Hi/Off/Lo switch (which reduces voltage to valve plates) with red jewel light
- Original dual footswitch for reverb and tremolo
- Speaker extension jack socket with 4/8 Ohm switch
- Dimensions: 16½” (h) x 24¼” (w) x 9½” (d)
- Weight: 52lbs
This particular 210-65 his isn’t just any Music Man amp - it is one of the much sought after early ‘first series’ models, including the black on silver badging (later ones reversed the colouring). Although it is technically a hybrid amp, it has a pre-amp valve (a 12AX7 for the splitter/phase inverter, tech‑heads).
The power amp is all-valve (2xEL34) and hand‑wired point‑to‑point. In summary, it has 2 channels, one with tremolo and spring reverb, as well as additional switches for added flexibility, producing up to 65 watts RMS into 2 original 10” alnico‑magnet Music Man speakers. The cabinet is joined solid joined pine. It is only the early models (1974-1979) that have all these features.
This particular one is in good, very original condition. Thankfully, it has survived intact over the decades – the superb original speakers (often changed) and the original dual footswitch (often lost or stolen) are present and working. The only thing we can see changed on this amp is the footswitch cable.
But the proof of the pudding is that this amp sounds fantastic, just like a vintage valve amp carrying genuine Fender DNA should sound. From clean to overdriven, the sparkling tones are all present, the reverb is sensuous and the tremolo is one of the best ever made. The ‘Bright’, ‘Deep’ and ‘Hi/Lo’ switches mean that it adapts easily to many difference situations.
It can be very loud for its size and it is built like a rock for work‑horse reliability. A bonus is that the half-power switch does not just shut off a power tube, it actually steps down the voltage, allowing you to run the amp hotter for an even more driven sound at lesser volume if you wish.
This late 1970s US made Music Man 210-65 is a real classic vintage amplifier, and a genuine ‘sleeper’ find. It shows a few cosmetic only battle scars but this is one of the best 70’s valve amps you will ever hear.
Comes in its black vinyl cover in good condition.