Fender - Are they missing market share?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Mad Kiwi, May 13, 2019.

  1. BluesGuitarMart

    BluesGuitarMart Tele-Meister

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    What I would love to see Fender do is something similar to the Roland Blues Cube but with say just three Fender amps in with one simple switch to choose between them. So a high quality, really well built modelling amp without all the delays, flangers, stomp boxes, Orange/Hiwatt/Marshall/Vox emulations of the Mustang GT range. Then give it the 0.5w, 1w, 5w and 15 watt option of the Blues Cubes or Katanas.

    Not many options at the moment for Fender practice amps.
     
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  2. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I have to admit I haven't spent enoughtime with the Pro Junior, likely becasue of this. Is there an easy cure to this?

    Murphies Law is that it is perfect but I just haven't got to working it up fully yet.
     
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  3. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Fender does make a 5 watt amp as well as the new 15 watt BassBreaker

    They don't need to compete head to head in the bedroom market, that's not where the prize is. Stages, bandstands and various venes is where the big prize is.

    Or grab a 15 watt PRO or Blues Jr and play at home or OUT with your friends.

    I suspect they haven't missed any marketing opportunities that they want to be part of .

    There is NO FREE MARKETING and ADVERTISING with bedroom amps ! :)

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...ssbreaker-15-15-watt-1x12-inch-tube-combo-amp



    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/57CustChamp--fender-57-custom-champ-5-watt-1x8-inch-tube-combo-amp?mrkgcl=28&mrkgadid=3319278805&rkg_id=0&campaigntype=dsa&campaign=aaDSA&adgroup=1669475631:DSA - Product - Guitar&placement=google&adpos=1t1&creative=282276643093&device=c&matchtype=b&network=g&gclid=Cj0KCQjwzunmBRDsARIsAGrt4msmE67rE3Y3XdIpkDUaFw5bgFP2ZhBA__gFHjyc21wL79-z_8OdbKYaAlv9EALw_wcB
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  4. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted

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    It does not really answer your “market bracket” question, but from a player’s perspective the solution is a silverface champ. Costs less than a new Princeton, 5W. Throw in a good reverb pedal, and you’re done.

    Also: you seem to discount the tweed champ as being a dirt machine. Not quite. Beautiful cleans at just the right volume level for home (or even quiet gig). If you need reverb (which you don’t) it’s still the same pedal you’re using for the silver champ :p
     
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  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's pretty safe to say if there was a market for an all tube 5w amp with tube reverb at a low price Fender would plug it.

    But there was no such amp 'in the day'.

    Part of the problem is Fender's classic tube 5-6w 8" amps are not reverb amps. The Tweeds and SF/BF amps don't have reverb and it's questionable what it'd add to small power and speaker for the dollars.

    You could do three things:

    Digital chip reverb - least satisfying. Already there in competitors

    SS driven spring reverb - expensive to implement, difficult in small cabs

    Tube driven spring reverb.

    The last adds significant cost for sales????

    Fender already has the modern digital amps in this size. What would be added in sales adding al tube amps with a 3x or 4x price tags.

    If you want tubes and reverb buy a PR. You can add a low efficiency speaker to cut volume. The VOR speakers are 93 dB SPL.

    Tubes=expensive. Any way you cut it.
     
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  6. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Wait, why can't you just turn down the Princeton Reverb?

    I tend to play big amps. I like 6l6 amps more than 6v6. I also like EL34's better than EL84's. Most fo the time, I play an 80 watt tweed Twin as my practice amp at home. But, I turn it DOWN.

    For years, my standard 'testing' amp in a shop, when trying a new guitar, was always a Princeton Reverb. It was the first amp I plugged into. I knew that at lower volumes it was warm and sounded really nice. I know all tube amps can sound better cooking a little. But, some amps still sound okay at lower volumes. I think the Princeton is one of them. I don't think they have the volume jump that a Deluxe Reverb has... That kinda too quiet and thing to too loud in the minute turn of a dial.

    My second choice was a Twin Reverb.

    Most folks who like smaller wattage amps, like the Marshalls, want to crank it and get overdrive/distortion. They're looking for dirt. But, the current discussion is about clean, with reverb. To gain cleans on those other 5 watt amps, you must turn them down. A lot of the time, they tend to be thin and brittle sounding like this, yes? Headroom and 5 watts don't usually go together.

    Fender did the smaller Vibrochamp XD, right? Granted, it's not all tube, had the modeling front end. It sold so well, it's discontinued.... <sarcasm>Wonder why?</sarcasm>
     
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  7. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Holic

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    Yes, many low wattag amps are also low features amps.

    Why would a company that wants to make a lot of many put everything that you want in an affordable amplifier? They need to tier the pricing so that you have to buy the more expensive amplifier to get the feature you need.

    This is why I have been designing and building my own amps for some time now. I can combine the features I want with volume I need. Like my Vox Pathfinder -> AC4 that has Top Boost and Normal channels, cut control and master volume. Its perfect for bedroom practice and sounds great and doesn't hurt the ears at full volume!
     
  8. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    Could you just buy a Princeton Reverb RI? It's not 5w, but it sounds great at any volume.
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think the problem is 5 watt does not = clean and does not produce good low end either. I have tried to be there a lot in the last couple years and have not found it! There are tons of 5-6 watt amps out there, they are too dirty for me, not to mention sound a bit like a middy megaphone!
    I'm tempted to try the 6 watt VHT some members really like, but people rave about Champs too and I cant stand them!
    Fender hasn't ignored it though, Champs, Champ XD etc are out there.

    You need transformer size to produce big meaty tone. I learned this with my Princeton Reverb when I put a huge Power trans in it. I was amazed. 5 watters dont have that.
     
  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The best BF/SF Reverb clean sound at bedroom levels would be the Twin Reverb, ime. With the volume set low and the tones set high, it can yield quiet,beautiful cleans because it has....wait for it...a lot of headroom. If that is too big, then any BF/SF Fender Reverb amp will do much the same....but with less headroom... for that matter, so will the OP’s Vox AC30. Just because the knobs go to 10, or 11, or whatever, we don’t have to turn the volume pot all the way up.

    So, in this instance of searching for good low volume cleans, I don’t think Fenders missing any market share. I think that the market is creating a need that has already been filled.
    That said, one of the neatest small amps I have owned was a little Tiesco with 2 x 5} speakers, Reverb and tremolo. It was a mini-TR....it did not want to break up. Cool little amp. A real TR would beat it all day long for low volume cleans, though.
     
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  11. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I think there's significant room for them to make a "modern" version of one of their amps. The Bassbreaker 15 is a good start but as it tries to mimic a British amp it fails to compete with the actual British amps. I bought my Orange Rocker 15 instead of the Bassbreaker 15 and would do so again all day long, or I'd buy a Marshall over the Fender. The Bassbreaker 15 has digital reverb on board, which is almost a non-feature vs pedals I guess. Marshall & Orange both have attenuators in around the same price range.

    They stuck the Attenuator in the 45W Bassbreaker but that's likely not the audience that needs/wants the attenuator? If you need 45W it's probably a Gig only amp or something? That's also a 55lb 2x12 amp, and it's got 98dB speakers so how much louder is it actually than some of these other options that are lighter/smaller?

    I think a lot of the "just turn it down" is missing the point. If you've got the attenuator you can get the "amp driving" sounds without the massive volumes. There's little point in having the tube amp for me if I'm always running it at such a low volume it's totally clean/thin sounding.

    Make a "Princeton Modern" or something. The Princeton is already more expensive than some of these British amps with attenuators. The closest thing to the Princeton + Attenuator is probably the Orange Tremlord though, and the Tremlord is more expensive. But it's a 30W amp with a 12" speaker and the Trem is a bit fancier + it has an FX loop. It'd be interesting if Orange could cut that down to a 10" speaker, simplify the Trem/Verb, and get it to $999.

    Princeton Modern:
    - 10" speaker
    - Master Volume
    - Current voicing
    - Try to keep the Trem + Spring Reverb
    - Attenuator with 12W, 6W, 1W, 1/2W
    - FX loop, nice to have but not mandatory I think
    - Cost?

    I'd be all over that. You could do the Jim Campilongo thing without running the amp at it's maximum volume all the time.

    Cost is relative.. if you build this amp and it costs a couple hundred bucks more you make it up by not having to buy Overdrive pedals. For me I'd pay $300 more than my Orange for this non-existent "Princeton Modern" because on my Orange I have a $150 Reverb pedal and a $100 Tremolo pedal.

    I've spent plenty of time in the room with Princetons, they do clean at lower volumes fine but they need an OD to do anything that's not clean.

    I would probably buy it without the Reverb & Trem too, cause the pedals are probably more reliable in the long term than a spring reverb + tube trem. Hard to say though.

    I really think Fender is missing the boat on these features, everyone else has jumped in on this stuff. Fender has just daintly stuck there toe in the water with some of the Bassbreaker stuff, but the Bassbreaker is not really "classic fender sound".
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  12. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    However, the OP is wanting traditional BF/SF Fender Reverb clans in a low watt package. My post was pointing to the fact that any of the BF/SF Fender Reverb amps. He is not asking for an amp hat he is going to drive hard. That is why You pointed out that any of the BF/SF Reverb amps can do what he is wanting....with the TRRI doing it the best, I’m. Yes...at low levels.



    Fender has reissued the amps that will do what you want, kIwi, with the Princeton Reverb RI being the lowest output among them.
     
  13. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I'm thinking I have confused people a bit. My original point (of two) was that most other manufacturers have a full on marketing driven, limited edition releases and lower wattage versions of their famous and reference amps and that given the trend towards lower wattage/volume amps and massively reduced stage volume these days it seems odd that Fender hasn't really appeared there.

    They have gone the custom shop way in terms of the Eric Clapton Tweeds, Champs etc...and jeebus they are expensive.





    In regards to my desire for a nice clean fender amp, I appreciate the thoughts here. A lot of info on the Princeton Reverb I wasn't aware of.

    If i was to buy a new / used Fender I would really also like it to be a smaller scale replica of the famous / reference amps. Not only is it a prestige thing (it looks pretty in the room :) ), it also means you know Fender have made the amp with that sound flavour in mind, presuming the reviews prove that to be the case you can stop sound chasing and just get on with using it.

    This is the problem with modelers and so on (IMO). I have a Helix which is great fro recording or headphone practice but for playing just want to turn on the reference amp of the sound I'm after without shagging around or go down the tweek to suit rabbit hole.

    Another advantage of the smaller replica amps is the size and weight. A twin reverb and others a re big and heavy. these JCM1, class 5, Vox AC4 etc are small amps. They are significantly more convenient to use, store etc. in a physical sense. Though this leads right back to a Princeton Reverb!


    Sadly the Princeton Reverb Reissues here are at close to a months wages and just don't come up used here very often, if in fact at all. In 20 years of watching I think I have seen one come up for sale used. Expensive, 240 volts, 3/4 of the world away etc. all limit the market here.

    I am also under the impression that a nice clean Fender reverb sound comes from an amp that is at least being pushed a little but a few have pointed out that this is not really the case and that simply turning the volume down still retains that. Is that really the case?
     
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  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    KIwi, ime, the BF/SF preamps can yield good low volume sounds by simply pushing the tone controls up. I use 5’s o the volume and tones on these amps. If I push the volume, I turn the tones down....unless it has a mid control and I want to push hot mods. When I want as rich a sound as possible at volumes below 5, I push the tones up. Ommv...but that I show I maintain a richer sound at lower volumes. Mind you, this is from an old man who likes his amps lively.
    If you run across a Super Champ from ‘82-‘86, snag it. It is a hot-rodded Princeton Reverb that will do anything you want....including BF Reverb cleans with the gain controls dimed! The high gain is at the same vol7me due to the compression. But....it can sound very good at lower volumes, too.... 18 watts, 1x10”. The cab is the same width and height as a BF Champ but it a little bit deeper. Killer handwired gems....and cheaper than a Princeton Reverb.
     
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  15. The Birdman

    The Birdman TDPRI Member

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    It may not be exactly what the OP is referring to, but Fender DID make a 5-watt tube amp, around 10 years ago. The Vibro-Champ XD.....5 watts, one channel, 8-inch speaker. It was a hybrid amp, with solid-state modeling and effects.

    It evidently did not sell that well, because when they updated the 15-watt version, the Super Champ XD, to the X2, they discontinued the Vibro-Champ.
     
  16. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    [snippity snip some modeling discussion that might REALLY distract me from the topic... LOL]

    Fender has done a lot in the 12-22 watt range. SuperChamps, Princetons, Pro Jr, Deluxe, Bassbreakers, Mustangs, Excelsior, etc. I think they figure this is a good home and small bar/jam with your buds size amp. I don't think they're wrong. Traditionally Fender has been sought cleans. Most of these amps will do that at lower volume, some better than others. A number of these amps have tube driven reverb, even. Some have digital features, reverbs, and effects. Some have master volumes, etc. I think every time they do a low wattage amp, it doesn't sell that well... So, they get discontinued.

    The problem with downsizing Fender amps is that they just do not sound the same. When Fender came out with the AB763 circuits, they basically made all the amps (close to) the same preamp and threw on different size power amp circuits to accommodate different scenarios. And yet, we all say, nothing sounds like a Twin, or a Vibrolux is the perfect bar amp, etc. There is a lot of argument over a 2x12 Pro Reverb being better/worse than a Super Reverb. Both 40 watts, same-ish preamp, right? Different iron, different speaker compliment. The Super gets more love than the Pro... I don't think you can downsize either one, though?

    In a slightly different scenario, I have a prime example. I own two big tweed amps. One is a 1958 Twin, 80 watts, four 6l6's, huge transformers. The other is a '59 Bassman Reissue. I owned the Bassman first and loved it. Scored the Twin and was very, very afraid to compare the two side by side... But, I did. First, I was surprised by how good Fender had done with the Reissue. Then, I was struck by how much difference the 80 watts and big iron made.

    After a little foible of mine, I needed to do some repairs to the Bassman, so I re-wired it to the original 5f6-a circuit. When comparing the 5f6-a (Bassman) and 5f8-a (Twin), you find that they are identical. Same caps and resistors, some layout, same, same.

    After re-wiring, I compared again... Again, I was struck with how well Fender had done on recreating the sound. But, I was also reminded, once again about the differences the big iron makes. The Bassman is punchy, the bass is there and is tight. But, the Twin? Holy moly, it rocks you with the bass. It hits you hard in the chest. It is authoritative. Just the change of iron and addition of two extra power tubes makes a big, big difference.

    I cannot imagine making the amps smaller, getting smaller transformers, trying to reach 5 watts, or even 10 watts, would retain the sound or feel of a Twin.

    Yup. One of the best super low volume tones I ever got was from an old '65 ES-125 and a Twin Reverb. So luscious and warm... Just sweet as the day is long.

    I preach this all the time, but I have found bigger amps work better for lower volume clean tones, then smaller ones. The bigger transformers tend to allow the bass and lower mids to be cleaner, warmer, thumpier, etc. The larger transformers can handle the frequencies without losing control. Sometimes this is a good thing, like when you want cleans. Sometimes this is a bad thing, like when you want all out dirt. But, also the volume sweep of the volume knob is usually much steeper at the beginning of the smaller amps. A Deluxe Reverb goes fomr thin and weak to too loud for a small bedroom within a tiny turn of the knob. I played my Twin a few weeks ago at a jam, at first I was told it was too quiet... I was on 2, it still sounded very sweet. Bumping to 3 1/2 got me to sit perfectly in the mix. At home, I usually play it cracked just past 2 on the volume knob.

    Marshall and Orange specialize in dirt that cuts through. Their smaller amps are designed to get dirty fast. Fender did that with the Bassbreaker series, the Pro Jr, even the Blues Jr (with it's master volume). I think that we, as the buying public, see the lesser/fewer features and go for something with more features... The Blues Jr sells a lot more than the Pro Jr, right? The SuperChamp XD sold better than the VibroChamp XD. The Deluxe Reverb sells more than the Princeton Reverb.

    So, I think Fender's target market says they want a lower volume amps.... But, they really don't. Or, maybe the question should be why doesn't Fender make a small amp with all the features of a larger amp?


    Sheesh, to add one more point... (sorry for being so long winded) that might actually water down my argument some. I also own a Marshall Origin 20. I compared it to the 50, but knew that the 20 was the amp I needed for the scenario at the time. It's supposed to sound like an early Plexi or JTM45. I love the amp. I think it sounds right to me. The big complaint I read on the Marshall forum and TGP is that the 20 watt is too bright and trebly. I don't find this at all. I think they are very warm and sound great! But, they definitely don't have the push of a 100 watt Plexi, or even a real JTM45. It is that authority, that thump, that kick in the chest and the air moving your pants around.... But, the little 20 watt Origin has become my little grab and go amp. And, surprisingly enough, it does a really nice, warm Fender tweed style clean at the 3 watt setting. Probably better than Fender could do! LOL
     
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  17. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

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    Let me see if I got this? OP, you want a smaller version of Fender clean, right? The amps you referenced of Marshall and Vox, etc... are smaller amps meant to be cranked for distorted tones, and/or have MVs. They are "replicas" in that they are lower wattage versions of their big brothers, meant to get similar cranked tube tones at lower volumes.

    The marshalls are meant to get medium and high gain distorted tones. The Vox is at least meant in part to be able to get some Vox cranked tones at lower volumes, weight, and budget.

    But you are specifically wanting Fender clean, right? For Fender clean, several posters have stated that you can take almost any BF/SF, including Champs, and just turn them down. If you specifically need headroom, then you need a larger amp, period. Marshall Class 5 and Vox AC4 are specifically designed to NOT have much headroom.

    If you're asking why Fender doesn't have small versions of Twin, this is why. They made Champs and Princetons for lower wattage Fender tones. Not just for cranking. For that they have their modern amps, and the custom reissues.
     
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  18. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

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    I know this isn't the solution you're looking for, but here's how I solved the problem.

    I bought a Catlinbread Topanga spring reverb pedal. They are pricey but it gives you that great Fender reverb sound to anything you plug into. It makes Champ's sound wonderful.
     
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  19. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    You make great points here.. I think part of the issue with Fender amps is they have too much of a linear relationship between cost + quality + features + size/wattage/volume.

    So many premium & boutique amps from other manufacturers seem to separate out these variables.. you can have a really nice full featured 15W amp with a 1x10 or 1x12 and they're not afraid to make it a really nice amp with a really nice feature set. Fender seems like they want to tie "nice" to "big & loud" more than some other companies.
     
  20. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mustang series? You mentioned the Pathfinder, so I will bring digital amps into the fray.

    This is where the sampling amps shine - good sound, low volume. Will they sound as good as a tube amp? Nope. Do they sound "close enough", especially at low / lower volumes, for home practice? I say yes.

    A Mustang GT 100 is $400. I got my Mustang III V2 new for $265; used will be around $200. With a bit of tweaking, or downloading patches, either one will do a good blackface impression. And, if you buy one used, and don't like it, you will lose little to nothing if you re-sell.

    For the price of an upscale pedal and all that.
     
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