Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 130
Fender Bassbreaker 45 Combo
bookend the Output control. The rear of
the amp has Main Speaker and Extension
Speaker inputs and an Impedance Select.
It features a semi-closed back cabinet with
a rear see-through metal grille.
The ability to blend Normal and Bright
input channels is key for dialing in the
amp. The adjustment of the Output knob
in concert with the Volume controls offers
an abundance of rock and roll shenanigans.
The Bassbreaker is voiced to produce the
best characteristics of older American
and British amplifiers. Think of it as the
hybrid love child of a tweed Bassman and
a Marshall Bluesbreaker.
Using Stratocasters and humbuckerstyle guitars, the user may finesse smoky
grit or jazz-free cleanliness, while the
Bassbreaker's scalable power section allows
the kind of low-volume crunch that won't
have the neighbors calling the SWAT team.
While you'll first be compelled to plug into
the Both input, it's important to suss out
the Normal and Bright inputs to gauge
how much Normal low-end girth to mix
with Bright top-end dirt. The independent
Volume controls work in tandem to sculpt
interesting preamp combinations when
you're plugged into the Both input, which
replaces the old-school jumper cables
used to combine the Normal and Bright
ender's new nine-product Bassbreaker
series combines popular traditional
amplif iers with modern technolog y.
Classic tones and flexibility are the name
of the game, which means a plethora of
wattages and sizes providing the kinds of
tonal succulence guitarists have come to
know and love.
The Bassbreaker 45 Combo is the series
flagship, and it has a lineage that dates back
to the '59 tweed Bassman. It's a beloved
circuit found on many great recordings,
and it has been emulated by plenty of
competitors. Not satisfied with merely
replicating the past, however, Fender takes
the Bassbreaker 45 in a different direction.
Instead of using 6L6 tubes, the Class
AB powered Bassbreaker comes with two
EL34s, along with three 12AX7s that yield
a taste of British charm. It also comes
equipped with two Celestion G12V-70
speakers for even more across-the-pond
The most prominent feature of the
Bassbreaker, however, is an Output knob
that allows you to scale back the power
Price: $999.99 (list)
section from 45 watts all the way down to
1 watt, and everything in between, thus
allowing adjustment for any performance
With its gray tweed, black grill, aluminum trim, and birch-ply construction, the
Bassbreaker is handsome and rugged, built
for gigging. It also comes with a protective
covering. Although it weighs a hefty 55
pounds, the Bassbreaker 45 packs a wallop
in the functionality department by offering
Normal, Bright, and Both inputs for loads of
tonal options. Normal and Bright have their
own individual Volume controls, while the
Treble, Bass, Middle, and Presence knobs
Onstage the Bassbreaker 45 Combo
offers a loud, utilitarian sound that
conveys an approximation of old-school
authenticity. It's a "set it and forget it"
rock and roll machine that will provide
a solid base tone for your effects pedals,
with plenty of clean headroom.
Despite being fresh from the factory, the Bassbreaker 45 delivers smooth
lustrous warmth. Good luck fooling
vintage amplifier aficionados, though.
Unfortunately there's no control knob
to create "aged to perfection" maturity,
depth, and complexity. You get what
you pay for, and the Fender Bassbreaker
45 Combo's tone is commensurate with
its price, offering the budget-conscious
guitarist myriad rocking tones to fit just
about any stage or recording environment. - Oscar Jordan