Amplifiers: 1959 Fender Bassman

This started out as a "project" of sorts. I bought a 1959 chassis mated to a reissue box loaded with RI Alnico Jensens. The Bassman logo was also original. The original owner decided he wanted to "restore" the amp in the 90s - and did that conversion. OOPS. Those new Alnico Jensens are JUNK, so I sold the box and speakers to an amp-tech bud of mine up north. I had the chassis sitting here for months. It was totally unmolested, and quite frankly in better shape than my '58.

Well, I went up to Jon Bessent's place in Austin one day. I noticed a beautiful re-tweeded 50's Deluxe. I asked him who did that fantasic work. He told me Jon Mergili did it. Well, I got his number and shot him a call. I told him I wanted to build a box for this chassis. Well, when I got there, he told me that he had an ORIGINAL 1959 baffleboard and grillecloth. HUH? WHAT? DID I HEAR YOU CORRECTLY????? He said that he would sell them to me to make this project a reality. It was serendipity.

Jon does all of the cabinet work for Kendrick, and had access to some 100-year-old pine that was pulled out of a church. WOW!!!! I had him build me the cab out of that wood, added a repro tube chart and repro handle. The original grillecloth wouldn't stretch right, so he went ahead and used reproduction cloth. Tweed was attached with animal glue (just like the original) and laquered with the same type as in the old days. He also readjusted the jig so that the cab looks just like an original '59. You would be hard-pressed to tell them apart.


Amp now has the Webers from my '58 that are broken in, and sounds real good. I also serviced the amp and bypassed the silicon rectifier with a diode. In addidtion, I also replaced some of the Astrons with other caps to voice the amp a bit. Those old yellow Astrons are almost always leaking. While they look cool, they usually detract from the tone of the amp. I added a bias-adjust mod as well, and RCA Blackplate 6L6 power tubes. The amp was missing the original tube shields, but I snagged those off a '60 Pro project amp.

Original chassis. NICE!

On stage with my '59 Bassman Reissue at the San Antonio Blues Society "Harmonicapalooza" April, 2007.

UPDATE 2010: Well, I wound up selling this one to a fellow collector so I could help move the Ampmonster business forward. Oh yeah, business before pleasure . . .

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