Bandit 65 review by Peavey

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.5 (39 votes)
Peavey: Bandit 65

Price paid: $ 99

Purchased from: guitar centreI bought

Sound — 9
I am using a Squier Affinity Telecaster and play mostly retro-rock (anything from the 50's, 60's and 70's) It sounds great, whether a James Gang cover, Buddy Holly or 38 Special. The sound and especially the volume are there at my disposal. I can't see any style not covered by this gem.

Overall Impression — 10
For my style (retro-rock) this amp fills the bill just fine. From the power chords of "Smoking In The Boy's Room" to the subtle chords of "Hold On Loosely" this amp has the sound and punch to get out to an outdoor audience. My lead player's Mesa tube amp even fell silent to my Bandit. By far, a worthwhile purchase. No more scavanging for an open P.A. Chanel, or unused input jack to be heard.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Since I just picked it up this afternoon, and test drove it for one extended set, my opinion is based on a one time experience, and I couldn't be more pleased. I can see this amp in many an upcoming gig with no reservations. Every, and I mean every review I have read, sings the praise of this amp's reliability and bulletproof reputation.

Features — 8
I bought this amplifier used at Guitar Centre because I needed just a little more "punch" when I play with the house band. Tired of "mic'ing" my smaller Fender I decided to give this workhorse a try. It has many more knobs than I can figure out (gains, reverb, presence, etc).

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I plugged an ART TUBE MP preamp into the power amp amp in-preamp out loop on the amp's back panel, and that one 12AX7 valve makes my 28 yr old Bandit 65 sing! The amp will growl with the preamp gain up and the amp volume down, and a careful blending of the gain, output and phase inversion with the amp volume makes for a great sound and beau coup horsepower. I bought two of the ART MP Project Series mic-instrument preamps a few years ago for about $29 each. (Musician's Friend now wants $69 for them. They're catching on and the dollar is collapsing too, of course. ) This is a tip worth sharing; popping a tube preamp inline on one of the more useful and affordable solid state amps. Then turn up the preamp gain and make the tube smoke while controlling the preamp output and the amp volume. I dare say that most rawk and blues men/wimmen can find a use for that flexibility. While the circuit sizzles the level can be tailored to the venue. And, if you cool the tube down you can get great clean tone with increased volume, and never feel obliged to explain why you use a Bandit 65 again.
    I've had various bandits and classic valve peavey so through the decades, but to my ears the original '65 is the keeper. Firstly, it's the one with influence of Paul Rivera boogie/fender sounding eq with pull thick and bright controls, a fine bluesy overdrive which can get quite heavy if needed, a reverb that is as swampy as a swamp thing from swamp town and a perfectly good driver in the scorpion. I have a suspicion the later bandits started looking to a Marshall and British tone to satisfying their markets, culminating in the transtube made in both the states and china.They certainly addressed the weight issue with the Chinese versions but have IMHO screwed with the inherent tone and copped out trying to be a cheap Brit sounding amp with a poor non fenders tone and whimsy clean sound. I did have the head and combo of the transtube from china but really, if you want a unique and powerful original gigging tone generator, search hard or repair your '65.
    I've been playing for 35 years, and I've had 2 of these for the majority of that time (some time in the early '80s). I've never had the slightest problem with them, and they've served me well. I played in a band with a guy who had a Marshall half stack, which is why I bought the second one. I stacked them and ran them chorused in stereo, and I could then hang with the Marshall dude. I have played them through the master volume/"distortion" channel, and through the clean channel with my effects board. I've played with guys who have had much "better'" amps, like Marshall, Mesa Boogie, but I've always been able to dial in the tone I need with these dependable, built-like-tanks Peaveys. Look, Amp Snobs need to just get over themselves. The fact is, if you know "how" to play, you can make these amps sound great. Tone and sound comes from the hands and technique. That being said, Peavey Bandits are rock-solid dependable amps that won't let you down, like most Peavey equipment . Don't be afraid to pull your Bandit out and jam anywhere in any setting.
    Oh, and by the way, it IS foot switchable, between the 2 separate channels. The foot switch selects between the channels and also turns the reverb on and off. There is also an effects loop circuit. Enjoy.
    Since I just picked it up this afternoon
    Then why are you writing a review! Don't review an amp that you haven't used more than a day. It just makes no sense to review it when you don't even know everything it can do. So you should first get properly acquainted with the amp. Then write a review!
    please read the entire paragraph mate, I bought it that afternoon, explored at home then played an entire extended set with my band outdoors before a crowd. I gave a preliminary review based on experience. Lighten up and police facebook or craigslist. Cheers and happy holidays
    KnightX wrote: please read the entire paragraph mate, I bought it that afternoon, explored at home then played an entire extended set with my band outdoors before a crowd. I gave a preliminary review based on experience. Lighten up and police facebook or craigslist. Cheers and happy holidays
    But my point is that you should have had the product for a couple of months before you review it. If you have just bought it you will automatically be so excited about your new amp that you can't find any flaws or anything.
    Ray G
    Knight X - Funny I bought a used Bantit 65 at GC in NJ on 12/3/11... you didn't by chance bring it back to Guitar Center because of any issues????
    Ray G wrote: Knight X - Funny I bought a used Bantit 65 at GC in NJ on 12/3/11... you didn't by chance bring it back to Guitar Center because of any issues????
    Negative, still in possession as I speak, bought it in Clear Lake Texas, though I know they ship between stores. And to follow up on my "unqualified" review. I still enjoy the heck out of it, never had a "honeymoon" phase with it or any equipment, gigged indoors and outdoor with it and it exceeds what I expected from a 65w ss combo. Ray, you know the owner's manual is available as a PDF on the Peavey website. Merry Christmas all
    Got this amp to get back into playing. Wow it is not bad, Lead channel leaves a lot to be desired but the normal gain is just fine. I have had for about a year now and this thing is bullet proof. I now use it to run my Blackstar HT5 into so I can get loud, and man does this thing get loud! For the price you can't beat the durability and sound you get from this.
    Still have yet to turn post gain past 2.75, even over miked drums, guitar volume at 3/4. Sound contours nicely to many styles with proper knob tweaking. I personally can't think of any amp I would trade for. Even after a few months to know of what I am writing in review
    I owned this amp for about 1-1/2 years, and it was hands down the WORST sounding guitar amp i have ever heard. I had one given to me, and i know now why my friend couldn't sell it - it is horrible! Do not buy on used for $5 bucks - its crap!!!
    Owned this for 8 years and it is the best used amp for the money, period. A tank. Paid $75. Great for practice and mic'd gigging. As others have said, the gain channel isn't worth the time; but that's not the beauty of this amp. The beauty is that the clean channel is clear and LOUD - ready to add whatever stomp setup you'd like. Use the high-gain input. I also wouldn't recommend putting the volume past 6. And remember, if you have any of the tone knobs past 5, you are doing something wrong. You can borrow a footswitch from a mate if need be, to be sure the the clear channel is engaged. Then just leave a patch cord plugged into the footswitch pot (and tucked into the back of the amp) to keep the clean channel active. Yes, newer amps are way flashier and prettier, but for the sheer volume and blank-slate tone, you can't touch this amp with any new model for less than $299. Buy this amp, and add a couple extra decent stomps to your collection.
    I love the Bandit 65. I have been playing for over 30 years and owned many tube and solid state amps. I currently play in a classic rock band and picked up a Bandit 65 as a cheap backup for a Deluxe Reverb that was causing me trouble. I was amazed at the great tone of both the clean and overdrive channels and now leave the Deluxe at home! I read some of the negative comments on the overdrive channel but I love it, especially with humbuckers. These are the best kept secret in rock and roll, it's great that all the tube purists rubbish them as it keeps their prices down!