“Virtually indistinguishable from the original,” at a fraction of the price: Fender uses DSP modeling for a faithful – and affordable – recreation of its ‘59 Bassman amp

Fender Tone Master '59 Bassman
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender has broken new ground by adding a tweed amp to its Tone Master digital amp collection for the first time, with a 1959 Bassman bestowed with the privilege.  

The Tone Master line was first introduced in 2019, delivering faithful digital recreations of some of Fender's most popular amps, with tubes usurped by DSP modeling

The Princeton Reverb and Super Reverb were early additions to the series, which, in the process of delivering historic amplifiers into the digital realm, democratizes their magic by increasing their affordability. 

After predominantly focusing on black panel amps, Fender has now made its first step into digitizing its tweed amp arsenal, with the tone of this new Bassman said to be “virtually indistinguishable from the original.”  

It achieves its aims of modeling the circuitry and 45-watt power output of the original Bassman – which was originally designed for bass guitars but proved a formidable guitar amp – by utilizing a high-performance class D power amp. This helps replicate the headroom and dynamics of a tube amp, without any actual tubes. 

Keen to keep as much of the amp’s essence as possible – indeed, some have cited it as the best Fender amp ever made – it features the “sparkle and touch sensitivity” of four Jensen P-10R speakers. That sees this 21st-century retelling honoring the 4x10” configuration of its progenitor.  

Fender's Tone Master '59 Bassman

(Image credit: Fender)

There’s also a spring reverb, a Vintage/Tight switch to smoothen out its bass response, and a post-power amp effects loop.    

An Impulse Response XLR line output for cab sims offers a contemporary twist and greater tone possibilities in the process. 

Its features are completed by a mute switch, an output power selector for full power and five incremental steps down, and a lightweight pine cabinet. 

The top of Fender's Tone Master '59 Bassman amplifier

(Image credit: Fender)

With new ground broken here, it sets a precedent for what the future of the Tone Master series may have in store. If Fender can convincingly reimagine such a lauded amp in a DSP-powered format, it opens the floodgates for plenty of other tweed model recreations. 

The Tone Master ‘59 Bassman will be available in October for $1,499.

Visit Fender to find out more.

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.