Trade #22: Vintage Fender Bandmaster for Vintage 1976 Fender Twin Reverb with custom road case

1976 Fender Twin Reverb amp with custom road case

Jeez, more good luck with amp heads. These are turning out to be excellent trading items.

At the beginning of this project, I barely knew that amp heads existed. I still don’t know a ton about them, but among the things I’ve learned is this: Damn, do people want them.

Back in May I traded a little amp head for a beautiful blue full size amp (trade #8! The Denny’s trade!!). It was a $200/31% value jump. Seven trades later, that trade line is now a $3,200 Warwick bass. I’m finding that amp heads are perhaps the ideal item for this project. They’re small and very portable, they’re sought after (especially for quarantined, at-home playing), and they’re items that exist within a community that is very active in trading. That’s another lesson that has been really clear in this project. Musicians trade things all the time, and item value is often mushy and malleable.

All of that is why I was comfortable trading the Sheraton II for the amp head. It was coming from a guy who knew amps, and even built them himself, so it felt like I could trust what he had to say about it. And, I thought I’d be able to find a trade pretty quickly.

But for logistics, it took less than a day.

I posted the Bandmaster on Craigslist last Saturday evening, the night I acquired it, and on Sunday morning, Eric (not his real name) contacted me. He said he had a 1976 Fender Twin Reverb with a road case that he’d be willing to trade straight across. He was downsizing his gear — he’s a guitarist who lives in a condo, I imagine his neighbors are supportive of this decision — and so was interested in trading away his larger, more powerful amp for the smaller head. The amp’s custom case was useless to him without the amp to protect, so that would be part of the trade.

These are quality items.

I did some research, and immediately it looked good. The case alone was worth half of the amp head. A Twin Reverb is a classic amp, sells well on, and this one had been purchased a couple years ago from a reputed area seller. Eric had been clear that the amp was a little worn, but the case was clean and the amp is in excellent working order.

[ A brief note on approach: I have tried to stay away from two-for-one trades. I’ll often get offers of multiple items whose value will roughly sum to that of the item I’m offering. I haven’t wanted to do those trades, because I don’t want to split trade lines if I can help it, and because I think it might be hard to trade things together. This case is different, though. This is a great package deal. I can’t imagine anyone saying, “Yeah I want the case, but keep the amp.” The case adds hundreds of dollars of value (the $399 price sticker is still on it) and I don’t expect to have a problem with trading them as a single item. It’s not much different from trading a guitar that comes with its own hardshell case. ]

We agreed to the trade and were going to meet on Wednesday, but he wasn’t able to hoist the amp into his truck by himself to come meet me (and really, it’s no joke. It’s heavy af). So we rescheduled to Saturday and I borrowed a bigger car, for the low, low cost of a couple of bagels (shoutout, once again, to my incredibly supportive friend Walker; this thing would not have fit in the fun-but-impractical little car I’m driving right now).

After a foggy drive up to Vallejo and a distanced, masked meeting in Eric’s condo’s parking lot, the trade happened and the new item made it back home.

Fingers crossed for a nice guitar coming next! I’ve had good luck with those in the $1,000+ range. But really, who knows what it’ll be. Very fun to see where this goes, and excellent to see this previously-lagging trade line pick up and see some growth.

Digital movie projector line:
Original item value:
Number of trades to date:
Latest trade:
Vintage Fender Bandmaster amp head ($850) for 1976 Fender Twin Reverb amp with custom road case ($1250)
Total line value dollar increase:
Total line value percent increase:

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