1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

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1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Toppscore on Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:30 pm

1)1954-1955FenderBassman.JPG
4)1954BassmanSerialNumber.jpg
During 1977 I purchased a Fender Bassman amp from Leo's Pro Audio in Oakland, CA. I put all my many old Fender amps & guitars into a household storage in 1983 for 28 years. This Spring 2011, I took two of the old Fender amps and two of old Fender guitars to get "professional" tune-ups and paperwork ID recorded. I was going to sell the amps & guitars on EBay. Two weeks ago, the day before listing on EBay, I discovered that my amp is a Fender "5D6" "DK" 4x10 Bassman from November 1954 (SN #0769). Trying to look up what that meant, and researching selling prices of other 1954/1955 4x10 Bassmans, I discovered Wikipedia stated only six 5D6 Bassmans were known. Wikipedia actually listed each owner's name ~ amazing! :shock:

* November 1954 Serial Number 0769
* November 1954 Fender Bassman’s Tube Chart Stamp “DK” indicates November 1954 production
* Date Code on Three (3) Jensen Speakers = 220443 = 1954/43rd week
Three (3) 1x10” 1954 Jensen Speakers P10R 220443 (reconed) Jensen Alnico-5 PM Concert Series Speakers
One 1x10” 1961 Celestion Speaker 220122 (P100, C7272)
* Output: 30W, Two Input Jacks, Two Volume Controls
* All Original 1954 Pots (Potentiometers) = Date codes: 304 412 thru 304 446
* Original 1954 Choke & Output Transformers
* Power Transformer = Chicago Standard Transformer Corp 30W replacement. The CST Transformer may be original as Fender was in preproduction mode. CST had been shipping transformers since 1939 and had a relationship with Fender. If not original, then it can be replaced with a Triad 7926 Transformer
* Plate Voltage = 390 at bias of 63/67ma (running hot)
* Output = 7.8 volts, 100hz @ 2 ohms = 30.4 watts
* Two tube sockets have been replaced = V1,V2
* Original Astron Filter Capacitors
* Two Orange Capacitor Drops
* One UF Phase Inverter Coupling Capacitor
* Two Signal Capacitors replaced
* One Cathode Capacitor changed
* Some Resistors changed
* Early Groove Tubes, Power Tubes made by Sylvania
* Tubes = 2 x 12AY7, 12AX7, 2 x 6L6, 2 x 5AR4 (should be 5Y3)
* New three pronged power cord
* Work & Repairs Performed by The Amp Lab on 2/25/2011: Full tune-up & evaluation * Change to 3-prong power cord for safety * Trim bias for 32ma-36ma idle current
* The 1954 “5D6” 4x10 Fender Bassman plays fantastically bright & loud with an aggressive bite. Keith Reinegger of The Amp Lab was extremely surprised the Bassman had only a 30w power transformer. It plays very strong. I hope the above information & pictures do it for you.

Email: Toppscore@aol.com for more photos, questions, Amp Lab’s contact info, etc.

Please help me better understand the USA vintage guitar amplifier market as to:
1) Should I fix this amp before I sell it? It plays great * has three 1954 Jensens * one 1961 Celestion * 2 or 3 original transformers (I believe the 30w power transformer by Chicago Standard Transformer may be original) * most everything else except for a some capacitors seem factory installed. From what I have recently read and uncovered, the 1954 5D6 Bassmans were all hand made and not mass produced. Each 5D6 Bassman amp varied from other 5D6 amps either slightly or in major ways regarding different part variations of tubes, capacitors, transformers, resistors, circuitry layout, etc. I do understand that Fender experimented with different part suppliers and with various inventory on hand (which means that many of the 1954 5D6 Bassmans had different parts and some parts had different specs from amp to amp). I have discovered that serial numbers between 0013-0089 were actually made in December "DL" 1954, but interestingly enough the earlier November "DK" 1954 Bassmans which had a "higher" numbered series 0700-0783 but were made first! Therefore the 0700's were actually the first series made in November and the 0001's were made later in December 1954. I have seen reports of SN #0013 & SN #0035 strongly announcing & claiming to be the earliest serial numbers, but they do not or cannot show their month "DL" chart stamps. 1954 Fender Bassman #0089 has the year/month "DL" on it's tube certificate, meaning my #0769 "DK" is earlier than his #0089!!!! :cheers:

2) Should I sell this 5D6 Bassman? Is this a good market? I have known this amp to sound bitingly strong with very good tone. I read that the famous 1959 Fender 5F6-A Bassman amps had the greatest sound/tone, but that the few 1954 5D6 Bassmans are actually better, although only nine 5D6 amps survive. Would a buyer recognize the better playability sound & tone and be willing to pay for it? Does EBay actually do a good job representing vintage amp buyers? Should I list it on a forum or online listing service or Craigslist or OLX.com? What do you think? Has anyone experienced selling vintage amps? What would you do or avoid doing? Are their good sites to list vintage amps for sale?

3) Should I restore the amp, keep it and sell it at a later date? Does the economy play into buyer's actions? Are there Jeff Becks, Brian Setzers, Memphis Bluesmen, Nashville Country Twangers, Rockabilly Blasters, Robert Gordons, Buddy Holly lovers, or vintage amp collectors who would be interested? How can I locate them? Personally, I thought all these years I had a 1955 or 1956 Fender 4x10 Bassman. The Amp Lab in 3/2011 said nothing about it being a 5D6, and he is the one that took many of the pictures including the great shot of the Bassman's birth certificate tube chart record inside the Bassman. Thinking I had a 1955 or a 1956 Fender Bassman, my initial intention was to sell this Bassman for $5,000. Two weeks ago I found out it is rare and was not presented well on EBay. So, here I am seeking any help with your thoughts & comments. Please tell me what you think? :idea: Thank you. Toppscore :)
Last edited by Toppscore on Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:27 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Naked Clarke on Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:08 pm

Keep it. It should only need a cap job. I have note of 11 5D6 Bassman amps (including yours). The ones I have seen use the 7926 Triad PT whether made in November or December and regardless of the low or high serialization. That CTS trannie is the first that I have seen in a Fender.
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Inventour on Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:15 am

NC,
Good advice.

Topscore,
I would also try to keep the amp if you could.

What are the Jensen speakers you have for the 3 matching?
The 220xxx Numbers, then the CXXX number after it and are they P10R
or P10Q Speakers. Do the speakers have a ST Code on the rims?,

I may have a Jensen speaker close to your matching 3, give me the info and I will
check my 80 Jensen speaker collection.

If you get the 4th speaker to match it will raise the value a lot, if it's a week or a few
weeks off it will still be good.

Where do you have good detailed photos of the amp for use to look at?

Have fun with your amp, and make sure you only let a top tech work on it,
people will ofter replace resistors if they are off just a little and the next thing you know
he ruined your amp by replacing most of them. Resistors drift and have a puls or minus 10%-15%
sometimes, it's no big deal.

All the best,
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Naked Clarke on Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:29 am

I know the top two are kosher:
220443 P10R C5636
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Toppscore on Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:49 am

Hi, Naked Clarke! Thank you for your response. I have some questions for you:
1) Do all eleven 5D6 Bassman amps have serial numbers that are between 0001-0089 and/or 0700-0783?

2) What do you think of the fact that Bassman 0769 has a November 1954 "DK" code and Bassman 0089 has a December "DL" 1954 date code, making the 0700 series Bassmans older than the 0001 series Bassmans?

3) Triad, CST Chicago Standard Transformer Corp, Stancor Transformers, Better Coil, and Woodward-Schumacher Transformers were all known to have supplied Fender with transformers in the 1940s/1950s. Can you tell if Triad is the only used transformer within the other ten 5D6 Bassmans, or is there a mixture of brand names or replacement transformers ~ and what are their names?

Thank you so much for your response. Contact me anytime at Toppscore@aol.com. Take care. Hayes
Last edited by Toppscore on Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:28 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Naked Clarke on Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:05 pm

The numbers and order are sketchy at best and the information only as good as what was reported or that could be visually determined. Meaning I have not been able to physically inspect all of these early amps and mistakes could have been passed along.

1. I have noted 5D6's at the low end of the range as well as 5D6's with s/n's of 0780 and 0783.

2. Remember that there was a TV model Bassman and then a wide panel Bassman Amp before the 4 x 10. When circuit or major style revisions were made to the various Fender models sometimes new serial runs would be started from 0001 or 0100, etc. Other times they continued with the existing chronology. So the first built 5D6 amps having higher s/n's makes perfect sense to me. I suspect that the serialization was initially carried forward from the 5B6 or 5C6, if there was such a model. This takes us back to the problem of not having hands on proximity to these early amps and the lack of any schematics to compare them to. We have seen enough factory tinkering with the well known, documented circuits to suspect that differences in the circuit or chassis could have precipitated a new serial run during December 1954.

3. I have only seen Triad transformers in these early Bassman Amps.
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Toppscore on Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:59 am

Thanks for the info, Naked Clarke! You have extreme interest in the 1954 5D6 Bassman Amps. Do you own one? Why do you have this interest ~ in other amps as well? Do you have a collection or are you a repair shop ~ hobbiest?

Have ANY owners of other owner of the November 1954 Fender "5D6" 0700-0783 "DK" 4x10 Fender Bassmans (or) the December 1954 Fender "5D6" 0001-0089 "DL" 4x10 Bassmans announced date codes of “DK” or “DL” at all??? I know 0769 is November “DK” 1954, and 0013,0035,0089 are all December “DL” 1954. Do any of the other nine 5D6 amps share their birth date code mark?

Since there is proof that Fender 5D6 Bassman amps with “DK” 0700(+) serial numbers were made in November 1954 and there is proof that Fender 5D6 Bassman amps with “DL” 0001(+) serial numbers were LATER MADE in December 1954 ~~~ can we can presume that all the 1954 5D6 4x10 Bassman amps that were produced in November/1954 with a “DK” date code will have the serial numbers between 0700-0783? ~~~ Then, can we presume that the December/1954 “DL” date coded Bassman amps were produced with serial numbers between 0001-0089?

Therefore the 0700(+) series of Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassmans are older and were first produced. The much later 5D6 Bassmans produced in December/1954 had the “DL” date code and had the serial numbers ranging from 0001-0089.

This has got to be great news to the owners of Fender 5D6 Bassmans with serial numbers between 0700-0783. Their amps have just increased in value as being the first produced. Making the “DL” 0001(+) Fender 5D6 Bassman owners’ amps decrease in value. Naked Clarke, what do you think?

This subject is extremely interesting and exciting. Thank you again for working on this new train of thought for the Fender History Museum. It has been clearly on several sourced Internet references that the 1954 5D6 Fender Bassman amps are better sounding with better tone & sustain than the much more numerous 1959 Fender 5F6A Bassman amps. If this is true (and I can easily attest to the great quality of my 1954 0769 “DK” 4x10 Bassman amp’s fantastic sounds & tones), then these Fender 5D6 Bassmans should be extremely valuable.

Do you agree there are strong possibilities as per what is discussed above? I could share lots of research showing actual catalog production runs of amps & guitars that Fender added lots of non-spec & NOS parts at anytime, anyplace and in anyway just to keep production & assembly lines moving; as well as to clear out old inventory, odd inventory & sample inventory from various supply/parts vendors. What do you think or know to be true or possible? Thanks again. Toppscore
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Toppscore on Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:44 am

Hi, Inventour! Thank you for your kind comments and parts possibilities. You are appreciated!
I would love to post pictures, but I am not able to find instructions with this blog/forum site? Can anybody point to where picture posting instructions might be? Thank you.

Inventour, following is the speaker info:
Three (3) 1x10” 1954 Jensen P10R 220443 (have been re-coned). They state “Jensen Alnico-5 PM Concert Series Speakers”
One (1) 1x10” 1961 Celestion 220122 (P100, C7272)
***What do you mean by the “ST Code on the rims”?

How can I get in touch with you regarding your speakers? Do you want my name and phone number info? Contact me at Toppscore@aol.com ~ anytime. Thank you.

Also, there is a strong chance the 30w Chicago Standard Transformer is Fender installed, but if not, do you have or know where I can get era correct Triad transformers or NOS parts? I will explain what I know about Chicago Standard Transformer in a later post.

I have heard that capacitors & resistors can be replaced as they usually do not last 15-20 years. Is there a way to get spec parts or NOS parts. Or can I purchase modern caps & resistors for the 1954 5D6 Bassman? Does it matter? And if it matters to collectors or high-level musicians, what would they do to replace parts to keep the 5D6 amp playing?

Everything works on this amp and I can show a recent diagnostics report form March 2011. It sounds great and strong and loud for a 30w. I know that the 1954-1958 4x10 Bassmans used 30w amps, so have you seen this chart about Fender Bassman’s Amp Wattage?
Amp Model & Year Amp Wattage Original Speaker
Bassman '52-'54 26 watt Jensen P15N
Bassman Tweed '55-'58 30 watt Jensen P10R
Bassman Tweed '58-'60 40 watt Jensen P10R, P10Q
Bassman Brown & Blonde '61-'62 40 watt Jensen C12N or Oxford 12M5-6
Bassman Black '63-'67 40 watt Jensen C12N

What about the four big tubes. Does it matter to keep them or change them? After all, I presume a played amp will have parts get old and/or go bad. On other amps I have seen tubes with part numbers on them and maybe the mfg name etc. ~ but with no date codes. How does anyone tell the date of a tube with no date code? Or, if Fender used RCA or GE with no date code, does it matter if they are replaced with RCA or GE with no date codes? What is protocol for fixing repairing restoring refurbishing amps so the owner or collector is satisfied?
Inventour: Thank you for any info or your experiences or beliefs. Toppscore
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby mylescdavis on Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:41 am

Picture posting is pretty much the same on all Internet forums. Get a photo hosting account set up - photobucket is the one I use, it's free, as are most of the them - upload your photos to your account there, then paste the links into your post here. It's easier to do than describe.

Fender is pretty well known for substituting all sorts of stuff. For every rule, there's an exception, particularly with rules you read about on the Internet, like what amp sounds better than what amp, etc.

Enjoy your Bassman, learn as much as you can, but keep a grain or two of salt handy.
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Naked Clarke on Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:37 pm

"Thank you again for working on this new train of thought for the Fender History Museum"

I must have missed something. Where did this come from?
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Toppscore on Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:07 pm

Naked Clarke wrote:"Thank you again for working on this new train of thought for the Fender History Museum"
I must have missed something. Where did this come from?

The 0700's ARE OLDER than the 0001's 8) Those who own 0013 & 0035 must reconsider that they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT OWN the oldest 1954 Fender 5D6 4x10 Bassmans! SN#0013 & SN#0035 current owners must share and make this fact known and clear when selling their amps. :idea:
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Toppscore on Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:59 am

Have a nice day :wink:
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Toppscore on Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:52 am

Hi. Two things: 1) I have listed another post asking to locate or purchase a 1953,1954,1955 Jensen P10R Speaker. Three of the Fender 4x10 5D6 speakers work great but the fourth speaker is a 1961 Celestion. 2) If you have one to sell or know of a supplier, please contact me. I am willing to buy more than one. Thank you.
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby mylescdavis on Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:59 am

Toppscore wrote:Hi. Two things:
Also, I posted on VintageAmp that I am very interested in purchasing a 30w Triad Power Transformer for the 4x10 Bassman. Currently, my 1954 Fender Bassman amp has a 30w Chicago Standard Transformer that is 1954 era correct (I believe). After much research, I understand that Fender used transformers in the early 1950s from the following companies: Triad Transformer, Better Coil, Chicago Standard Transformer, StanCor Transformers, Woodward-Schumacher Transformers.

Since the Output Transformer and the Choke are original Triads, getting a 30w Triad would be my first choice.


Maybe I missed something in the thread, but if the Chicago PT is original, keep it. Fender's open-door policy on transformers is well-known, so don't replace it just because Triad's are better-known, if it's original.

Now, if it's a replacement, never mind, and I'll go back to my remedial reading class.
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Re: 1954 Fender 5D6 DK 4x10 Bassman Amp ~ Need HELP!

Postby Toppscore on Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:15 pm

Thank you, MilesCDavis! I have been investigating 1954 5D6 Fender Bassmans quite a bit. Although several transformers could have been used at the time for 1955 alpha mass production purposes, I bring up a point for the eleven known 1954 5D6 Bassmans that were hand made during late 1954.

Since it is now known that in November 1954 Fender made the "DK" 0700-0783 Bassmans the first group of 5D6 Bassman amps; and that in December 1954 Fender made the "DL" 0013-0089 Bassmans the second group of 5D6 Bassman amps (there were less than 100 for each month and only eleven are known to survive today); . . . . . . . is it possible that Fender did not make each 5D6 Bassman amp 100% exactly the same?

Since these 5D6 Bassmans were supposed to be pre-production 1955 Bassmans, could or did Fender try different speakers, different circuitry, different transformers, different tubes, and/or different parts with slightly different specs from different suppliers? Could Fender have tried using the same supplier but with the supplier's parts having different specs so the Fender engineers could test to see/hear the Bassman amp’s differences & possibilities? Could Fender have used "leftover" inventory parts from 1953/1954 15” 5B6 Bassman amps? Why would Fender make all test pre-production 5D6 amps 100% the same when Fender is trying to test out different parts, part specs, supplies, suppliers & vendors to finalize their inventory selections & mass production procedures for the upcoming January (or March) 1955 catalog alpha mass production. Therefore, ultimately, Fender could & should have used many different parts (any part from any supplier) for Fender's 1954 testing & planning as they proceeded towards 1955 catalog production.

That being said, I have researched a few of the 5D6 Bassman amps, and although there is no known set of standard schematics (Really? I wonder why?) for any of the 1954 5D6 Bassmans, I have noticed a tendency of 5D6 reference literature, blog comments and quotes that ALL of the 5D6 Bassmans HAD/HAVE THE SAME PARTS??? This clearly cannot be correct or accurate.

Let me ask you this: From what we can discern so far, HOW can the very first “DK” 0701 November 1954 hand built beta 5D6 Bassman be built the same as the last known hand built December 1954 “DL” SN#0089 5D6 Fender Bassman? I just spoke with the previous owner of #0089 who had posted pictures of #0089 during January 2011. He clearly stated that #0089 was pristine as respect to 100% originality of parts (never opened up). He is a seller and collector of amps. He has truly compared 1954 5D6 4x10 Fender Bassmans with 1959 5F6A 4x10 Fender Bassmans.

So, if we use #0089 as a standard for known 1954 “DL” December actual 5D6 components installed, are we to assume that the parts & part specs & suppliers & circuitry specs were the same installed parts/specs/suppliers for the first 0701(+) 5D6 Bassman amps made in 1954 “DK” November? We cannot make that assumption. Right?

Therefore, Chicago Standard Transformer could have been used. Who really knows? I must investigate more. But what I do know is that it is not realistic to state that all 1954 5D6 4x10 Fender Bassman amps all had the same circuitry, parts, part specs, suppliers & manufacturers. Right? Please add your comments. Thank you. Toppscore
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