Other Amps

NAD ‘64/‘67 Fender Showman Head

1

I found a '64 Fender Showman blonde head that arrives next week. I'm very stoked to finally get a Showman!

I'm now on the hunt to find a Showman cabinet with a 15" speaker (8 ohms) to pair with the head. A tone ring cabinet would be cool. I'm sure this may prove to be a daunting search.

Any recommendations for a modern builder in case I'm out of luck on the vintage option? Doesn't look like Mojotone does this cabinet build based on their website.

Update* Looks like Beaver Bottoms or RA Custom may be the way to go.

I placed an order for a Weber Mass 200w Attenuator in order to not blow out the windows in my home or disturb neighbors.

If I understand from what I read online, I'd run a cable from the head's back speaker port to the attenuator and then run a cable from the attenuator to the speaker cab.

Pardon my ignorance, but would an attenuator be an issue for my outboard reverb unit? I typically run a cable from one of the front head face ports to the outboard unit and then run a cable from the reverb unit to my pedal board. Feel free to school me if I'm hopelessly inept and doing anything ass-backward.

I'll most definitely get it checked out and serviced (if needed) by one of our local vintage amp techs.

Sorry for the hinky photos - I got them off the website from where I bought the amp. I'll follow up with better photos (and remove these hinky ones) when the amp arrives.

2

You have it right, Snorre. Run a line from the speaker out to the attenuator in, then from the attenuator out to the speaker. Make sure you use speaker cables here---not input cables. Input cables, i.e. standard guitar cables, are coaxial wire. Speaker cables are 18 gauge or heavier of parallel wires. They both use the same connector which is where some folks get into trouble. Plug your guitar into the reverb's input and the reverb's out to the amps input. The attenuator and reverb won't have any direct interaction, and both will work fine.

By the way---nice amp! Good luck finding an original cab. The tone ring design is a variant on a ported cab. As you're going 15", hunt down an Altec D-130 speaker. Weber makes an equivalent.

3

Wasn't it all black tolex by '64? They make great bass amps also.

4

You have it right, Snorre. Run a line from the speaker out to the attenuator in, then from the attenuator out to the speaker. Make sure you use speaker cables here---not input cables. Input cables, i.e. standard guitar cables, are coaxial wire. Speaker cables are 18 gauge or heavier of parallel wires. They both use the same connector which is where some folks get into trouble. Plug your guitar into the reverb's input and the reverb's out to the amps input. The attenuator and reverb won't have any direct interaction, and both will work fine.

By the way---nice amp! Good luck finding an original cab. The tone ring design is a variant on a ported cab. As you're going 15", hunt down an Altec D-130 speaker. Weber makes an equivalent.

– wabash slim

Thanks very much for the great info and advice, wabash slim, much appreciated! If I don't find a vintage cab, I found Beaver Bottoms Vintage & Custom Cabinet Reproductions & Restorations that I can commission a new tone ring cabinet (and then find a speaker). I'll probably get a custom '63 blonde cab built with '64 15" black tone ring specs (hopefully).

5

Wasn't it all black tolex by '64? They make great bass amps also.

– DCBirdMan

I'll be able to verify once the amp arrives, but I'm fairly certain it is one of the transition amps. Here's another example:

Fender 1964 Blonde Showman Amp

I'll use the Showman with my '64 Fender Reverb Unit (also a transition, with brown tolex and wheat grille).

The cab behind the reverb unit is my Gomez El Sonido 2x12 cab, which won't work unless I swap out the 8 ohm speakers for two 4 ohm speakers or swap out both speakers for a single 15" 8 ohm speaker. I'm not likely to do this as I am thinking seriously of selling the El Sonido to help offset costs from my recent acquisitions.

6

Wasn't it all black tolex by '64? They make great bass amps also.

– DCBirdMan

Early '64 had transitional dress - blonde tolex/gold sparkle grill.

Nice amp! The attenuator has no impact on using your reverb unit - as described, the attenuator plugs into the speaker output. Again, just be sure to use the correct style cable for each.

8

An attenuator is to let you crank the amp into distortion. If you're playing like that, you won't want Reverb, and you'll probably just make the spring feedback anyway. Reverb is for clean.
An attenuator isnt the best way to lower the volume, but if that's what your heart's set on.....
BTW, your new Showman will have really low gain on the Vibrato Channel because it's an optical Tremolo with no built-in Reverb to bring the gain back up. If you want it to crank, use the Normal Channel.
Those late Blonde amps are the same as the Blackface amps aside from the color.

9

Also...there might still be a 15" tone ring baffle in my loft. I'll have to check.

10

Wasn't it all black tolex by '64? They make great bass amps also.

– DCBirdMan

No they were still blonde in '64. Here's my Bassman and cabs

11

An attenuator is to let you crank the amp into distortion. If you're playing like that, you won't want Reverb, and you'll probably just make the spring feedback anyway. Reverb is for clean.
An attenuator isnt the best way to lower the volume, but if that's what your heart's set on.....
BTW, your new Showman will have really low gain on the Vibrato Channel because it's an optical Tremolo with no built-in Reverb to bring the gain back up. If you want it to crank, use the Normal Channel.
Those late Blonde amps are the same as the Blackface amps aside from the color.

– Billy Zoom

Thanks for the info, much appreciated, Billy! My primary music passion is surf instrumental music, so the reverb tank is a must for me most of the time.

Buying the Showman head was primarily for my passion for vintage Fender and it's relationship to surf music history. Is it a practical amp for home use? Unlikely. At home, I don't crank anything up more than 3. I like to stay on my wife and 5 dogs' good side. If that makes the attenuator irrelevant for my normal home use and surf tunes, then I'll use it for when my wife is out shopping and the beastie's are in our backyard so I can get my punk on in the normal channel.

I love my '60 Vibrasonic - it's really the only amp I need if I'm honest, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity (and great deal) to get the '64 Showman. Good to have options, eh? Speaking of the Vibrasonic, I played for a couple of hours through it today - oh, mercy, that tremolo is glorious.

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Also...there might still be a 15" tone ring baffle in my loft. I'll have to check.

– Billy Zoom

Thanks, Billy, very cool! Much appreciated!

13

Still any black panel '64 would be Fender Elect. Inst on the panel.. Fender Musical Inst. came after the CBS sale of January 1965.

14

The Fender Showman head arrived earlier this evening. Inside on the tube chart the stamp is "ND", making it April of '64 and "FENDER ELECTRIC INSTRUMENT CO. Fullerton, California". The front faceplate and back plate say "Fender Musical Instruments".

All of the small tubes were in casings, which is cool. There are two missing 6L6 tubes (#2 and #4 from left to right), though (not in box). The amp was probably sold/traded-in to Guitar Center as is. No complaints here, as the price was too good to pass up. I'm going to try to get it into a local vintage amp tech to check it out and service it as needed. It has a modern 3-prong plug, too.

Here are some photos:

(I took screws off back panel for inside photos)

I can take more photos if needed later in the week.

15

Cool! I used to have one like it but from 63. Amazing sound but LOUD!!! Incredibly rich and beautiful cleans. There was no way that I needed that volume and it mostly was the back up for my 63 Bassman. But, what a sound!

17

That Showman is set up for half power by only running two tubes. It changes the impedance (I don't remember if it should be halved, or doubled).

Nice score!

Cool picture Billy!

18

The tubes are in parallel....removing two doubles the impedance, just like with speakers. Cutting the power in half only lowers the volume by 25%.

19

Some of the guys on the surf forum noticed the number engraved on the back of the chassis (not very readable in my photo above, sorry) to be (and I can confirm having just looked at it) A 10057. According to one of the guys who has access to the this listing of date codes:

Showman AA763, AB763 (blackface) A00100 to A01400 - 1963 A01400 to A01700 - 1964 A01700 to A04300 - 1965 A04300 to A08000 - 1966 A07800 to A12000 - 1967

According to another surf forum member, this would seem to make the chassis to be a 1967 Single Showman, because by this time, the "Dual" script was added to the Faceplate on the Dual Showman. After one more work meeting, I'll be able to take the time to open this puppy up and look for any further info.

21

Thanks, Dave!

Chassis photos - looks like a '67 chassis in a '64 casing:

]

22

I'm a complete noob to amplifier tech speak. So, with the amp in its current state, what speaker configuration would you guys recommend? I know nothing about imedance and how it works - would this mean I need a single 4-ohm speaker or two 4-ohm speakers or can I use my existing 2x12 hm speaker cabinet?

Or, would you recommend I replace the missing tubes and get the amp re-biased back to its 100-watt glory? If I do the latter, I can then hunt for a 15" hm speaker setup.

23

You have an 8 ohm amp. With two power tubes removed, it becomes a 16 ohm amp. Don't try to run it with either a 4 ohm cabinet, or with two 4 ohm cabinets. Either one will hurt it. Use it with a 16 ohm cabinet, or put the other tubes back in and run it with a 8 ohm cabinet. I don't know what impedance your 2-12" cabinet is, so I can't answer that question. If it has two 8 ohm speakers, you can wire them in series for 16 ohms. If it has two 16 ohm speakers, you can wire them in parallel for 8 ohms. You should be able to use your 2-12" cabinet with this amp as long as you have it wired correctly for the number of tubes you're using....16 ohms for two power tubes, or 8 ohms for four power tubes. Which of those two combinations works depends on whether you have 8 or 16 ohm speakers in your cabinet.

24

Also, the Fender Musical Instruments under the Fender name makes it a post 1966 CBS amp, but it's had a lot of fiddling done so it's hard to say. The caps and wiring look like pre-CBS. All I can tell you for sure is that 022897 is an 8 ohm, Single Showman output transformer. I'm sure others here can read the date codes on the transformers...I never bothered to memorize them because I don't care when, just what.
The cabinet seems to be from April '64. One would expect a '64 Showman to have a 125A30A output transformer, or a 125A29A if it was a Dual Showman.

25

Put back to original specs and going with a single 15" with the proper ohm rating, this will be a killer amp! You meant 100 watts, right?

Finding a single Showman is quite the coup!


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