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Old April 12th, 2005, 11:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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fender 75 amp thoughts

I have the opportunity to buy a Fender 75 amp for about $400. Give me some objective thoughts aboth this amp model. I've read a few things but I'm on the fence here as I don't know much about the Fender 75. Thanks in advance.

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Old April 12th, 2005, 11:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old April 12th, 2005, 12:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's a very decent amp that's underappreciated, both fan-wise and monetarily.

Tubes are fairly important to the sound, and it'll probably have some worn preamp tubes, so it probably won't sound as good or fresh as it might. But preamp tubes are cheap.

It was made to compete with the Boogie, not emulate it, and it can sound a lot more like a Marshall than a Boogie. In fact, it does a decent Marshall. The clean sound is very like a BF Fender, and the 15" version, when set clean, does a good Vibroverb impression.

It has some very good distortion tones, but it can be a bit difficult, imo, to get good clean and dirty sounds that are exactly foot-switchable. Some tweaking is often necessary.

IMO, the reason the amp gets a bad rap is 1) the preamp tubes are usually shot and 2) it's both extremely sensitive to adjustment and extremely adjustable.

Unlike many amps, it's so flexible that there are ways to adjust it that just don't sound pleasant. Finding the tones is a question of mixing various push-pulls (some people don't use either them or the 'bright' switch) and a number of volume and master volumes. Some people claim the distortion has some unusual characteristics, but that's only when it's adjusted wrong- but given the number of options, that's not hard to do.

They're popular with blues players, and many of them use the amps clean (standard channel, master on 10) like a BF. Most also use the Low Power setting, not the High Power mode. Then they just turn it up. Even on the Low Power setting, it gets loud quickly.

It's hard to see how you ever would lose money on one.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 08:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Love it Now

I have a 75 that I bought new when they first came out.It has served with only minor tube amp problems ever since.This is a loud amp,more clean headroom than most.I agree that tubes can make all the difference,I have spent much time swapping preamp tubes,it is worth the time.It is a great amp to mod because it is handwired.I have done extensive mods to mine and it is now a killer amp.It has so many variables in the controls that it takes a bit of work to get what you want,I think it may be one of Fenders best kept secrets.You can't go wrong,but the combos are very heavy,I converted mine to a head and now I can use what ever speaker combinations I choose and it is easier to carry.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 08:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm going to test drive it for a few days. It does have an EV 12L speaker in it...don't know if that really matters or not. It looks to be in pretty good shape cosmetically but once I try it out I might change my mind. Also, I hope this isn't something that will dollar me to death with constant "minor" repairs. I still would rather have a Fender Twin but for the price it might be hard to pass up.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The EV is a very good speaker; one of the best available at the time. The amp itself is reliable, although there may be some initial minor expenses like tubes- more likely if it's being transported and gigged with than if it's staying in one place. That's true of all used amps. Sometimes the power or standby switches wear out, but that's easy and cheap. Otherwise and if it's stock, I wouldn't expect problems.

The Lead and Lead Master interact in a way that changes not only the amount of distortion and volume, but also the tone, depending on where they are set relative to each other. It can sound thin and buzzy if they're set in certain ways. I'm staying away from numbers because the amp is very sensitive to tubes, and I've noticed in posts that settings vary quite a bit from amp to amp.

I'd suggest not using the pull knobs or High Power initially, and you may not need them at all. The knobs may unnecessarily complicate finding good tones (the amp might have found a larger audience and been easier to use if it didn't have them), and the High Power tends to flatten the tone. People naturally pull the knobs and turn it on High, and that's not necessarily where the good sounds are.

I'm not sure some of the bells and whistles weren't as much cosmetic as functional. They don't really add to the sound. The basic amp is very good and has some very useful tones. Set properly, they can be sonically indistinguishable from a lot of very expensive amps.

It just takes time to find the settings, and many people give up before they get there.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 09:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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but I think I'm going to pass on this one. It is very hot, almost too hot. It has a lot of hiss even with the master at about 3, plus it doesn't have the smooth Fender amp sound that I want. It does have more of a grunge or bite to it but thats not what I'm looking for.
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Old April 15th, 2005, 09:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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They run hot. The hiss that you spoke of suggests the controls weren't set quite right, and that's very easy to do.

In fact, that's the most common reaction. The controls are extremely sensitive, and it's easier to get a bad sound than good ones. The things you'd typically do to make an amp sound good make the 75 sound bad. It's hard to say more without knowing about the settings, and you've likely made up your mind.

However, when they're set clean they definitely have a convincing [and smooth] BF Fender tone, and there are some setting areas which give good, switchable clean and distortion sounds [the grunge sound also suggests the settings were bad], but if you've got one knob out of balance, it's all over.

If you change your mind and want to experiment, I may be able to help.
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Old January 6th, 2008, 01:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think this amp has a re-awakening appreciation happening in the 2007-2008
" Imagination is more important than knowledge. " Albert Einstein
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Old January 6th, 2008, 04:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Run away - quickly

I bought one new the first week they came about - like early 80s or so.

I never got it to sound the way I wanted and THESE DAYS - they are a LOT of better $400 amps

there is a reason you dont see many - they didnt sell many - and the ones they DID , arent being played much
Louder isnt better - it's just louder ( and better )


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Old January 7th, 2008, 12:25 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I had one. You said to be objective so I'll say it's alot of hand wired Fender tube amp for $400.
As the other guys said you need to be really patient learning how to dial it in. There alot of controls on this thing. I suppose if you are used to triple channel Mesas, etc. this will be easy. I'm an old guy and it left me confused.
Make sure it comes with the footswitch which has one button for the reverb and one to switch channels.
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