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1964 Fender Bassman Black Panel Blonde Pre-CBS Tube Amp Head, AA864 Circuit, Rare Variant


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Up for sale, a 1964 Fender Bassman head in excellent condition, recently serviced and very original. This vintage Pre-CBS "Black Panel" Fender amp is an exceedingly rare cosmetic variant, retaining original smooth blonde tolex and gold sparkle grillcloth.

The Bassman was the unique model to keep its Brown Panel era 6G6-B circuit well into 1964, with the last versions sporting the black tolex and silver sparkle grillcloth that would become the cosmetic hallmarks of the Black Panel line. However, the Black Panel AA864 circuit Bassman seen here (without the Presence knob of the previous circuit, and with the new Deep/Bright switches and witch hat knobs) is nigh undocumented with an original blonde tolex enclosure. All transformer codes, pot codes. chassis stamp and the tube chart (with an "NK" date from November, 1964) support an original head/cabinet pairing.

The AA864 circuit is the earliest and most coveted circuit used in the Black Panel era of production. For clarity, warmth, and headroom, this Bassman excels at delivering sweet and articulate Fender clean tones. And above 5 on the volume dial, the circuit starts to overdrive smoothly and compress a bit, for a raw, thick sound that's perfect for guitar or bass. It's a simple and pure vintage Fender "piggyback" head, and a perfect platform for effects pedals too.

The circuit retains all of the original Schumacher-made transformers (Fender's primary supplier in the Black Panel era). The output transformer dates to the 38th week of '64, and the power transformer dates to the 26th week of '64. The preamp and power amp have been professionally serviced, with new SoZo caps in the preamp that replicate the smooth, musical character of the Ajax caps used in the '60s. The power supply has been recapped with Sprague Atom capacitors, and there are new smaller electrolytic caps in the preamp as well, all ensuring optimal performance. All but one of the original CTS and Stackpole pots are present, with visible date codes from 1964. The tubes consist of a pair of properly biased TAD 6L6GC power tubes, along with vintage and modern valves in the preamp.

On the inside of the head cabinet, the original tube chart is present, noting the AA864 circuit, and the "NK" stamp translates to November of 1964, an extremely late date for a blonde tolex-covered amp (months after the switchover to black tolex had been made across the Fender line).

Cosmetically, this Bassman retains the original smooth blonde tolex and gold sparkle grillcloth, and the early Black Panel Bassman faceplate is notably clean, with the larger "Fender Electric Instrument Co." text (indicative of a Pre-CBS Fender amp) and slightly smaller "Bassman" logo than examples produced just months later. All original hardware is present including the nickel corners, handle caps, sphinx glides (feet), raised Fender logo, and piggyback clip bars.

This rare blonde tolex AA864 circuit Bassman is complete and recently serviced, functioning exactly as intended for powerful Fender cleans and thick overdriven textures.