Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Local Church
Sound — 9
In the features section I mention the switches on each channel, and their effects on the overall sound of the amp. Varying combos of the switches and the little EQ options this amp has creates a surprising variety of bass tones, ranging from the deep bass of later Beatles to the trebley twang of Geddy Lee. I play with a Rickenbacker 4001 and a Fender Jazz MIM, and they both sound very good through this amp. The warmth of the tone is a big plus for Vintage tones, but even with the Rickenbacker, the punchyness of the tone is lacking. For modern music, this could be a downer. The amp also has a hum whenever it is turned on, and it never really goes away. This can be seen as a good or bad thing. On the plus, it warms up the tone considerably, making it a great amp for more Vintage tones. However, for modern music, this amp could be lacking. It really depends on what you are going to be using it for. This amp, while technically a bass amp, is a pretty decent guitar amp as well. The clean tone breaks up into a very nice sounding fuzz when at high volume (pretty sure I lost hearing from playing that loud), but otherwise you would need pedals if you wished for other options. I found that the "Bright" inputs made the tone just a little too bright, so I play the guitar through the normal input. I would use this amp for any sort of classic rock-blues-jazzy tones, but drifting into metal would require more of a punchy sound with less hum. I personally love the tone of the amp, since it fit's into my style of playing very well.
Overall Impression — 8
I play a bluesy-classic rock sounding sort of bass, and this amp has been a good fit for me, both for playing in my own house and out around the area gigging. I used it at the church I have been playing at a couple of weeks, but the hum was just too much for that sort of setting. I originally bought this amp because I needed some power for a new band that I was joining, and I'm glad I went looking in the local classifieds rather than The Music shop on this one. I love the tones, and the new amps just don't have the same appeal or the ability to recreate Vintage tones like this particular amp. I really wish that the amp's reliability and all of the features/outputs worked perfectly, but I think I got it for a decent price, and I love Vintage gear/sounds, so on the whole I was very happy with my purchase. If this joker got stolen (quite a feat considering the weight and bulkiness of it), I would most likely get something comparable to it, and perhaps even another one if I could find one in good condition.
Reliability & Durability — 7
This is the section where I have had some problems. The amp is very old, and for it's age it has held up well. After I had first bought it back in 2006, I had to send it to a guitar shop for about 3 months (most of which was me on the waiting list). They never fixed the outputs on the back of the head, so only one of them work now (the amp actually has 2 different output jacks). The pots on the amp are fairly scratchy, which was somewhat alleviated by a good cleaning, but still never quite went away. However, the amp has never broken down into an unplayable state. At least one channel was in working condition (both work now after service). The amp works good now, after a service, but be warned if you are looking for one of these that parts are getting hard to find for them. The cabinet tends to rattle a little bit if you are playing something really bassy (IE: downtuning), but otherwise it is in fine shape. The typical tears, dents, and the like from age are present, but they have no effect on the sound of the amp. I would gig with it without a backup (and I have), since it has never completely failed me, and never mid-song.
Features — 8
This amp was made in the early 1970s (Would say an exact date but can't find one on the amp, and there isn't a dating by serial number service I have found, however, the design of the head dates it to early 70s by other pictures I have found), and is 55W all tube. It has 2 channels, and 4 inputs (Normal/Bright for each channel), along with Volume, Bass, and Treble controls for each channel. There are also 2 switches for each channel, one for treble and one for bass, which when activated do some interesting things. The bass Switch makes the the volume level decrease a little bit, but really cleans up the bass sound, while the treble Switch boosts the highs (A good sound comparison I have found is the guitar solo in The Beatles "Taxman"). Some interesting ideas can be crafted with these switches, and even though the extra features and processing of modern amps aren't present, there is no dearth of sonic variety that you can create. The only feature I wish was on the amp, and it is forgivable seeing as it is a bass amp, is the lack of any kind of reverb.