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Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by AlbertaGriff, Oct 10, 2018.
Vibroluxes are pretty rare in my area... and usually more money than a Deluxe Reverb.
You don't mention *where* you play. I've had multiple DR's PR's and Bandmasters; right now a '66 DR and '62 Bandmaster.
But it sounds like you're playing at home. The DR is far more practical as you can run it hotter - a Bandmaster will be quite a bit louder by the time it hits full frequency response.
Be sure to keep in mind service needs when buying any vintage amp. I find that over 90% of the vintage tube amps sold in "excellent condition" have either never been serviced or are overdue for it. I always suggest adding $150-300 to the budget for a Deluxe Reverb (the higher number covers you if some tubes need replacing) - it's most likely need new filter and bias caps (which should be replaced every 15 years or so no matter how good the amp sounds), pots and jacks cleaned & lubed, voltage readings taken & noted, off-spec parts (including tubes) replaced as needed, bias checked and adjusted and tube sockets checked for tension on the pins (and retensioned if necessary).
All normal stuff that needs to be done every 15 years or so - like changing oil or tires on a car.
Thanks Silverface. Yes I play at home, with the odd rare time playing together with a drummer and bassist. My space isn't that big so the Bandmaster has kind of been overkill. As others have mentioned it's sweet spot is fairly loud.
The DR is in 'like new' condition cosmetically, and the owner says he has it in for regular maintenance 7 years ago. I know what to look for, so I will be taking it apart to check. It's priced (to me) like an amp that's had the work done, so if it's original in the dog house I will probably wait for something else.
Wise choice, I like the Bandmasters quite a bit, but for home usage the Deluxe makes more sense.
Hey, professor. Just out of curiosity, how would you describe Bandmaster tones compared to DR tones? And why your preference for one over the other? Thanks.
My comments were really just based on the impressions of a Bandmaster from long ago and a Deluxe Reverb from both long ago and from the present day.
The way I remember my Bandmaster is about identical to the very first thing played on this video. Pretty nondescript. No sparkling highs, no deep lows, and fairly one-dimensional. Good and clear, but nothing special. Sounds like a flat EQ to me, without much depth.
The Deluxe Reverb is full but still with each note distinct, and sparkly at the top. Depending on the speaker, it can also have some nice bass. It seems to have more presence, but that is helped by its on-board reverb.
But to be fair, they're very different amps. The Bandmaster is a two-6L6 amp with a solid-state rectifier (I'm pretty sure) and an insulated, closed-back 2x12" cabinet, whereas the Deluxe Reverb is a two-6V6 amp with either a 5AR4 or a 5U4 rectifier and a single 12" open-back cabinet and on-board reverb.
In short, it's not really an apples-to-apples comparison, but I much prefer the presence, sparkle, and dimensionality that a good Deluxe Reverb can offer.
Yes, it is a solid state rectifier.
Thanks very much for the write-up there.
Did the Bandmaster's tones change when it went to the Silverface versions of the Bandmaster reverb? Also, would running it through speakers designed to deliver some more punch and depth change the BM's character much, or would the circuit limit what he speakers can do?
I don't know about the Bandmaster Reverb. Others around here have a good idea about that one, including @robrob .
I'm not speaking from experience here, but I imagine if one put the BF Bandmaster chassis in an open-back combo cab with, say, a 1x12 of one's choice, that it could change the sound quite a bit. The circuit is a limitation on any amp, but things like speaker swap, new tubes, re-bias, and so forth can nudge things in one direction or another without messing with the internals of the amp.
For home use and for anything except clean in the home, both of these amps are overkill...unless the home cam put up with some volume. The DR has three gain stages in the Vibrato channel so it is a bit more eager to break up, but it still will be loud by the time it yields natural, amp-created distortion, ime.
With regard to the professor’s experience with that particular Bandmaster, I would suggest that that was an amp that was not functioning properly. It sounds to me as if it needed a recap. I just finished a Bandmaster for a young player. It was dull sounding with inarticulate low end, no high end sparkle and no dimensional quality to its sound before I started. After the work, the amp had good firm low end, sparkling high end, and yielded a great three dimensional soundstage. All of the AB763 based
Fender guitar amps are very similar in their sonics when they are healthy and biased similarly, ime. That is a natural result because they’re all so very similar....identical preamps, fixed biased output....they were built to be similar takes on single theme with the main difference being effects and volume ability.
Thanks for that explanation, Wally. That makes a lot of sense.
SIDEBAR: My car broke down in Nashville yesterday, so while I was waiting to get a new starter put in, I walked over to Carter Vintage Guitars. That place is crazy. Tons of instruments just hanging out on the floor that are priced in the thousands. And that's not even the "high-end" room! They have a lot of amps there, too. I saw that one of the amp rooms had a tuxedo Princeton in it, and I wanted to give it a try since I've recently built one myself. There was also a pre-CBS Deluxe Reverb, a CBS blackface Deluxe Reverb, a non-Reverb blackface Princeton, and a 1968 drip-edge Princeton Reverb, among others. I played through all of them. The tuxedo Princeton sounded terrible, even though it had had a cap job (the old caps and cap can were in a Ziploc the back of the amp). The non-Reverb Princeton sounded good. The pre-CBS Deluxe Reverb sounded really great. I think the best-sounding one of the bunch was the 1968 SF Princeton Reverb. I believe all of them had been serviced, and I know they were all running at the proper voltages, because Carter uses Amperx Brown Boxes in their amp rooms, set on around 115-117DCV. But most of the amps were still noisy, with loose knobs and crackles here and there. The Princeton Reverb that I loved was noisy enough that I would be really bothered by it if I were sitting in front of it at home.
The moral of the story: I think most of these amps could use work of some kind in order to sound their best. So don't go judging a 6G2 Princeton circuit, for example, by one specimen, like I have (mostly) with my old blackface Bandmaster. I do think it had been serviced, because I remember sitting in the shop while the guy serviced it back in the early 90's. But it still may not have sounded its best.
If I had heard that tuxedo Princeton long ago, I never would have ventured to build one myself. But I'm very glad I did, because it's a wonderful circuit and amp, when it's functioning properly.
I have a '66 DR (with original Oxford) and '62 BM ( with Celestion GT Modern Lead 70's - a very short run, little-known "non-Celestion sounding" Celestion - more like a really good CTS) sitting here -
The DR has a fairly typical Fender "scooped mid" sound until it starts to break up, when the mids kick in a bit. But all the way through the volume levels it's a warm sound with a nicely focused "envelope" and high end sparkle. When cranked it has a smooth saturation sound with no flab or sputter.
the BM is warm, round, fat, punchy, greasy and more "open" sounding. Unlike other mid-powered Fenders the tone and Presence controls have a much wider usable range IMO. More mids than the DR and a big, fat-but-smooth saturated sound when cranked.
In short, the DR is more "direct" and the BM more "open"
Caveat - both are loaded with a mix of NOS preamp tubes (mostly GE, Tung Sol and Amperex) and NOS RCA power tubes. Both sound "good" with modern tubes like Sovtek or various reissue ("Tung Sol", "Mullard") preamp tubes (which don't come close to comparing with originals) and JJ or Sovtek power tubes (I don't care for most of JJ's preamp tubes; very bland to me). I strongly recommend not buying new tubes every year or two and buy NOS tubes - but only from a reputable dealer like KCA or Lord Valve (never on eBay). My DR is running the original RCA 6V6's, which are still closely matched and running strong. You'll SAVE money on tubes because you won't be replacing them very often - if at all.
Sounds like a nice SFDR with a confirmed history from a trusted source. Lotta DR around but with history not so much. I really like BF Bandmasters too but Fender made a gazillion of em. You can always get another and a good Amp tech can tune a BM up quick.
Do the deal and enjoy that DR!
The 'gazillion of em' in reference to BF Bandmasters piqued my curiosity, so I went here...
G. Gagliano notes that the chassi were stamped with serial numbers sequentially after the chassi were built. It is his opinion that we therefore can make some very good estimates as to how many of each amp model were built with one caveat, that being that some models shared the same chassis with other amp models. For a BF BAndmaster, that means that the chassis was shared with BF Concerts, 1 x 15 Pro's, aan Showman/Dual Showman heads. They all used the same chassis. Therefor, it is impossible to estimate how many of each of those amp models were built from that range of numbers that were stamped on that single chassis model. BFDR's shared that chassis with no other BF amp to my knowledge....unless a BF Vibrolux REverb and the BFDR shared a chassis. I have never measured those amps for comparison. The comparison of the serial number ranges vis-a-vis the number of amp models that were built with those Bandmaster type chassi supports my experience because I have seen many more BFDR's than I have BF models that were built with that Bandmaster/Pro/Concert,Showman/Dual Showman chassis.
IT is a lazy Saturday here. Thanks for piquing my curiosity, hrstrat57. Here's an interesting 'cross-breeding' of Fender amps. That BF Pro/Concert/Showman/Dual Showman chassis fits like a glove in a Fender Pro Sonic combo 2 x 10 cab taht was built 30 or so years later. I am sure they would fit in the Pro Sonic head cab as well. I have a '64 Showman sitting in a trashed Pro Sonic combo cab I rescued. Now, the Celestion Special Design G10's that came in the Pro Sonic cab need to be reconed. The '64 BF Showman chassis came to me in a homebuilt 2 x 10 combo cab that was covered in vinyl tweed and carried 2 x vintage Jensen C10Q's with metal dust covers!?!?
My gazillion comment is less scientific.
There’s almost alway one or two on Craigslist and most bands I was in way back in the day had both a Bandmaster 40w and a Bassman 50w Head in the mix.
The greater point is if I still had one( I dumped all my vintage Fender gear over the last 10 years) so I don’t but I’d rather have the SFDR with zero fear that I could hunt down another Bandmaster.
Btw also way back in my guitarring day most folks I hung with turned their noses down on Princeton combos and Bandmasters and nobody realized that the 50w Bassman was a great guitar amp, I had two of them and never plugged a guitar into either. Man how stupid we were. Let’s not even mention all the vintage guitar gear that passed thru my hands.
OP get that SFDR and crank it up.
Hint a THD 8 ohm Hotplate is a marvelous gadget.
Workin on it!
The good part of Fender using the same chassis for several different amps is that you can do some creative design changes. Like a '64 Bandmaster running quad 6V6's over the dual 6L6's. I have one like that which was converted back in the late '70's and it is one of my absolute favorites. Nothing wrong with a Bandmaster, but at the 40 - 45 watts, it will be over-kill for home usage unless you play in a well insulted basement or something. That is why the Deluxe would probably make more sense, but if you can land a BM for a good price, I wouldn't turn away from it either.
I have a '66 Bandmaster as well.
Put it into a DR size cabinet with 2x10" (A Celestion and a C10Q). Honestly, I wouldn't take a different Blackface over this combo in a million years.
I drool over a DR like Homer Simpson does over doughnuts. I am currently putting a band together with a mate on guitar and a Gonzo brother on drums. So i am seriously thinking of , Yes, selling my Princeton and moving up the wattage to a Deluxe Reverb.