Amplifier! Head & Cabinet Tube Amp!
The Fender Showman could be called a survivor since it survived in the company’s lineup for 33 years, but it also peaked early, like most of Fender’s amps.
Of course, it’s hard to call something a survivor that’s been out of production for years.
And while used Showman models come up for sale on auction sites like eBay all the time -- usually selling for high prices -- they’re not among the most well-remembered in Fender’s esteemed history.
Sure, you’ve heard of a Showman, but has anyone else you know?
And what’s this about peaking early?
Here’s an explanation: In the eyes of today’s collectors and modern players, Fender’s early blackface amps are superior in every way to later models.
Like just about every amp Fender made, the Showman went silver with age.
When Fender's Showman was introduced in 1960, it was a classic-looking blackface amp.
Through 1967, it stayed that way.
Then, overnight, it matured into a modern, stately gentleman with a silverface appearance and every other characteristic you would expect from a 1970s Fender amp. (Of course, also like many other amps, it went blonde for a while, too.)
Along with the Band-Master, the Showman was among the first professional tube amp heads available on the market.
Unlike the Band-Master, however, this one hasn’t returned in a recent reissue model.
Produced from 1960 to 1993, the Showman survived through the blackface and silverface eras at Fender.
Today, the blackface models produced until 1967 are considered more collectible, but Showmans from any era fetch strong prices in real-world and online auctions.
The Showman and the Showman Reverb used the same piggyback-head design as the Bassman and the Band-Master.
Sharing the name were the Dual Showman and the Dual Showman Reverb, amps that used the Fender Twin Reverb chassis.
The Showman is strongly linked to innovative surf guitarist Dick Dale, who has used a Showman and a variety of custom-made and modified amps throughout his long career.
The surf-rocker is known for pairing his unusual amp configurations with heavily modified Fender Stratocasters.
Dale isn’t the only player to ever carry a Showman on stage, but he could be the only one whose name you may know.
You see, the Showman is in danger of drifting unnoticed into relic-of-the-past status as more of them pass out of service.
But you’ll always remember, won’t you? The Fender Showman you’re about to buy used will be there to remind you for years to come.
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