‘The Fender Bassman is a bass amplifier series introduced by Fender during 1952. Initially intended to amplify bass guitars, the 5B6 Bassman was used by musicians for other instrument amplification, including the electric guitar, harmonica, and pedal steel guitars. Besides being a popular and important amplifier in its own right, the Bassman also became the foundation on which Marshall and other companies built their high-gain tube amplifiers.
This Vintage Fender Bassman Amplifier was bought as a 1952-year model and we believe that is right, although there is no serial number apparent on the amp and the white internal label that should be inside is missing. The original 15" Jensen speaker has a date code 220233. This means it is a Jensen (220) made in 02 (February) in week 33.
This Bassman amplifier is a ‘wide panel’ rather than a ‘tv front’. Our references say the ‘wide panel’ was sold in 1953-1954 which is consistent with a speaker made in the 33rd week of 1952 and sold later that year or in 1953. The circuit on the amplifier is a ‘5B6’, which was the first Fender Bassman model.
We believe the amp is entirely original, except for a replaced handle, and the power transformer has not been rewound. This is because of the addition of an Australian compliant Arlec stepdown transformer; it works quietly and correctly and is onboard the amplifier.
We think the amp sounds amazing, with jangly tones ringing through, reminiscent of those early 50’s rock'n'roll hits we all know and love, a real time capsule!
The amp should be treated as a vintage collector piece due to its age, coming up to 70 years old this year. This Bassman is likely not something for gigs, rather for recording or small room playing. Right now, the hum is minimal, and the amp performs best around volume 5-7. The amp starts to break up around 7-8 and it is best to not push it too much harder as excessive volume can lead to a blown speaker.
This 1952-53 Vintage Fender Bassman Amplifier is a rare and special piece of history, being amongst some of the first of its kind being made. The perfect addition to any collection.