The Music Man 130HD 410 and Why It's So Amazing

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It’s impossible to talk about Music Man amps without bringing up their creator, Leo Fender. And once we start talking about Leo Fender, we can’t help but think of the famous Fender tube amplifiers he also created. And perhaps studying Fender tube amps and Leo Fender would be a great exercise to help understand & appreciate just how awesome Music Man amps are.

It goes without saying that Leo Fender was an incredibly original and innovative industry-changing inventor. He pioneered electric guitars as we know them and built some of the first tube guitar amplifiers that really rocked! His original designs are still being copied to this day and are considered nothing short of perfect by many professional musicians.

Leo Fender sold his companies to CBS in 1965, was retained by CBS as an advisor, and was given his own workshop to continue developing products. Though Leo Fender had signed a non-compete contract, he continued to quietly develop new amps with former Fender colleagues under a separate company name. As soon as legally could, in 1975, he was named president of that side project, which had changed its name to Music Man.

Music Man released the Sixty Five and then the One Thirty, which were 65 and 130 watt amps respectively. They were a part of Leo Fender’s vision of clean tone and massive headroom. The 130 featured a solid state rectifier, four 6CA7 (which were the same as EL34) power tubes, and a preamp featuring multiple solid state gain stages making the signal very clean.

The Music Man 130-series amplifiers all featured two channels: one effect-less channel and one with reverb and tremolo. The reverb used a true spring reverb tank driven by solid state op amps and the tremolo was based on a bipolar transistor. Running effects on transistors and op amps allows the effects to do their job with less tube coloration: a very appealing concept to many players.

By using tube technology together with the advantages of transistors and op amps, Music Man became one of the first hybrid tube amp makers. The solid state preamp offers clarity, reliability and clean headroom while the tube power section adds that bit of warm tube-rich tone. The signal is then projected with four 10” alnico speakers, which offer a full spectrum of highs, mids and tight lows.

About the photos below: this is our personal Music Man 410 -HD One Thirty which we keep in our studio. When we picked it up it came with a hand-made foot switch the original owner built, his Maestro Fuzz-Tone and Maestro Boomerang 2 (not pictured).

Paulina Salmas