The 50's saw the birth of the first electric bass guitars by Leo Fender with the famous Precision Bass model. Inevitably, the first Bassman amps with their tweed covering quickly appeared on the market. To celebrate its non-birthday, Fender introduces a new amp series based on these pioneer models.
The series includes four models: the Duo Ten equipped with two "Fender Special Design" Eminence 10" speakers, the Fifteen with one Celestion Green Label 15" speaker, the Ten with one Celestion Green Label 10" speaker, and the Twelve equipped with one Celestion Green Label 12". We will test the latter in this review. For your information, both the Duo Ten and the Fifteen are equipped with casters which is a good idea considering their weight (61.3 lb).
As soon as you unpack it you'll be immediately seduced by the old-fashioned tweed covering, the chrome chassis with mirror effect (so you can redo your hair), the black chicken head knobs... It isn't missing anything! The Twelve, with its 12" speaker, is quite heavy (44.6 lb) and bulky (20" x 22" x 12.75"). In other words, it's huge! The manufacturing and finish quality leave no doubt about its sturdiness–it will surely withstand long rehearsals, studio sessions and live gigs without a hitch. The old Fender logo, the small red light and the cloth grill in front of the speaker round up this compelling Bassman TV. The plastic handle is the only minor drawback–we'd rather have a leather one.
Underneath the Hood
So, how does it sound?
As soon as we turn on the amp the fan starts running quietly. But don't panic, it won't ruin your takes because the amp has such power that any note will easily mask the fan noise.
Its sound is vintage, round and warm, but versatility is not one of the biggest assets of this Bassman TV. Nonetheless, people who buy such an amp know what they can expect and the amp does justice to its retro design. You have been warned! In the end, the only modern touch it has is the practical and very valid XLR output to record the amp's sound without a mic.
Here you have some sound samples we recorded with the mic and then via the XLR output.
Fender understood that nostalgia is not only a guitarist's thing. Even though they, once again, combine some new with some old stuff, the look and the sound quality of this Bassman TV are a real joy. The amp is easy to use, has a personal look and an awesome sound. What could you not like about it? That it's unique: it has a particular sound and personality and you won't get anything else out of it. You either like it or not!
- Sexy look
- Manufacturing quality
- Great vintage sound
- Ease of use
- Musical and effective controls
- XLR output
- ... but poor versatility
- The bright switch is inconsequential
- No standby switch