1979 Fender Musicmaster Bass

Model Description:

Original CBS-era Fender ‘silverface’ Musicmaster Bass amps (often shortened to MMB) were manufactured only between 1970 and 1982. These fantastic little 12 watt, 1×12” valve combo amps adhere to the familiar Fender aesthetic with an open back cabinet, covered in black tolex, silver  grill cloth, ‘Made in USA’ raised chrome logo, the silver control panel with blue lettering and the iconic red jewel light. Controls could hardly be simpler, just volume, tone and of/off switch. No tremolo, no reverb. Just the basics. The MMB was sold by Fender as a beginner’s bass amp but, like many other Fender bass amps (including the legendary Bassman), has been appropriated for use by (blues) guitarists for their great tone. While diminutive Fender amps are often sneered at by amp snobs, this type of tube combo is now seeing a resurgence of popularity by boutique amp builders, seeking the elusive essence of simple but toneful vintage amps, especially for recording and other low volume uses. Other benefits include not taking up huge amounts of real estate and being easy on your spinal column, as well as being useful to have for occasional bass guitar use!

Amp Description:

Right up front, I am a champion (sic!) for the ‘baby’ Fender amps and, unlike many traditionalists, I have a soft spot for the post-Leo ‘silverface’ models. The classic behemoths are great too but there is something really cool about the runts of the family, especially for home use. For those familiar with CRAVE Guitars’ philosophy, it will be no surprise that the ‘less is more’ principle applies to amps like this. Like single pickup guitars (including the Fender Musicmaster), there is a certain purity to keeping things simple. Finding good quality all-original ones is not impossible but requires patience and it is worth the wait. Although often difficult to date vintage amps, this particular one was made in 1979 or possibly 1980, given the features, serial number and the available codes. Many MMBs have been modified due to the early ones using unusual 6AQ5 power valves. This is a later model with the more commonly available 6V6 power tubes and its original Fender-branded CTS 12 speaker.  Sound-wise, it exudes pure vintage Fender DNA – what more could you ask for? Compared to ‘tweed’ or ‘blackface’ Fenders, relatively overlooked hidden treasures like this sweet Fender Musicmaster Bass ‘silverface’ amp are currently both plentiful and good value… at the moment. How long they will stay that way is unknown. I reckon that the often unfairly derided ‘silverface’ amps will soon gain the respect they deserve.


  • Made in Fullerton, California, U.S.A. in 1979
  • Power rating: 12 watts RMS
  • Valves: Original Fender 1 x 12AX7 (preamp) and 2 x 6V6 (power amp)
  • Speaker: Original 1×12” (Fender-branded CTS 12 ceramic magnet, rated at 8ohms)
  • Inputs: 2 x ¼” input jack sockets
  • Controls: Volume, Tone, On/Off slide switch
  • Silver speaker cloth with raised chrome and black Fender badge ( ‘Made In USA’, no tail)
  • UK 240V power supply
  • Dimensions: 20 ¾” (h) x 17” (w) x 9 ½” (d)
  • Weight: 24lb

Detail Gallery:

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