Model 5E7 “Bandmaster Amp” ’55
Tweed, Serial # B00094. The 3-10 version.
Leo Fender began a shop in 1938 specializing in radio and electronics repair. By 1946, he was manufacturing amplifiers and electric lap steels as Fender Electric Instrument Co. Leo’s hard work and his willingness to listen to feedback from working musicians made Fender amps top sellers by the fifties. The constantly improving Fender designs were often copied by other companies.
Fender’s 1950’s product line increased to include electric guitars and electric basses, so more amplifier models were added. 1953 saw the introduction of the Bandmaster. It was the third 1X15 two 6L6 amp in the line (the Pro and the Bassman were introduced earlier). The main difference was that it came with a new tone circuit with bass and treble control knobs rather than just one tone knob like previous models. The 1X15 Bandmaster lasted until mid-1955 when all Fender amps received a narrow-panel makeover (the previous incarnations had “wide” front panels, and “TV” fronts before that). The narrow-panel Bandmaster had three ten inch speakers.
The 1955 Fender Bandmaster has features common to most narrow-panel versions made between 1955 and 1960.These include: two channels labeled mic. and inst., a volume control for each channel, treble bass and presence controls, standby and on/off switch along with a ground switch. The 26 watt amp has two 6L6G power tubes, one 12AY7, and two 12AX7 preamp tubes, along with a 5U4G rectifier. The 21 and ¼” X 22 and ½” X 10 and ½” cabinet has three Jensen P10R speakers, the top one with its blue bell cover removed allowing it to fit in front of the tubes and chassis.
The narrow-panel tweed Bandmaster is mainly remembered today as the amp used with wonderful results by Pete Townsend on the Who’s 1971 album “Who’s Next”. It was coupled with a 1960 Chet Atkins 6120 model for shimmering guitar orchestrations.