Fender ’48 Dual Professional JB

Bring The Growl
Fender ’48 Dual Professional JB
Price: $3,499.99

Among early Fender amps, the tweed Deluxe and Bassman garner the lion’s share of affection. But the first amp given that durable luggage covering was one Leo created for guitarists playing popular music in the years just before blues moved out of the country and Ike Turner drove “Rocket 88.”

Fender’s Dual Professional is recognized for its wedge-front cabinet and scarcity in the collectible market. Thinking more players would appreciate its magical sounds, super-collector Joe Bonamassa recently lent his to the Fender Amp Team to be spec’d for a revival.

The ’48 Dual Professional JB Limited Edition uses two 6L6 power tubes, two EF806 preamp tubes, and a 12AU7 in the phase inverter. Its construction is top-notch including the hand-wired circuit, and the top-mounted control panel looks the part. Knobs for Tone, Mic Volume, and Inst Volume accompany four 1/4″ input jacks – two for Instrument, one for Mic, and a Lo-Gain (which bypasses the first gain stage). The solid-pine cab’s open back reveals two 10″ Celestion JB35 speakers; the package weighs 35 pounds.

Plugged into an Inst jack using a Telecaster and a Les Paul, the amp (with Volume and Tone set at 4 and 3, respectively) offered an organic tone with balanced lows, mids, and highs – assertive, classic tweed sounds. Volume and Tone controls worked well dialing in gain and overall thickness. The lap-steel intent behind the Dual Pro is apparent, though at 26 watts of output, headroom is nothing like the bigger amps that came later.

Add a dummy 1/4″ plug to the other Inst input (per the manual) and you immediately hear why Bonamassa thinks the world needs this amp. With Volume and Tone still at 4 and 3, it gives beautiful low-end, perhaps ideal mids, and clear highs to create the growl that spawned the legend of the Dual Pro. Thick, creamy, and meaty, its tone will inspire any blues, classic rock, or country player. Bumping Volume and Tone will tweak gain to taste, but note definition suffers if taken to the extreme.

As good as the Dual Pro JB sounds using the Inst channels, things get even more interesting when running only to the Mic input. While tone goes largely unchanged, there’s a nuanced (but distinct) reduction in gain.

Regardless of which inputs are engaged, the Dual Pro JB sounds incredible – full-bodied, harmonically rich, and with arguably perfect natural compression that lends great feel while remaining highly articulate. Anyone who’s never played through an amp with a V-front cabinet will be impressed by its surround-sound effect.

Few players have plugged into a vintage Dual Pro. Thanks to the Dual Pro JB, we understand what a privilege it is.

This article originally appeared in VG’s July 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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