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Fender Prosonic, any good?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by duck, Aug 25, 2008.

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  1. duck

    duck Tele-Meister

    Hi guys, I have a chance to trade for a Fender custom shop Prosonic amp with 2 celestion speakers....Were these amps any good? Fender does not make them any more, so you have to wonder.....

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  2. EdMan57

    EdMan57 Tele-Meister

    Mar 29, 2008
    San Diego
    They are excellent amps that somehow got lost in the long list of great Fender amps.Some say that the traditional blackface styling betrayed the fire breathing nature of it's over the top high gain channel,so it never really caught on with the hard rock and metal crowd.The 3-way rectifier/power settings gave a unique touch to the amp,as well.This gave the option of tube rectified 30 watts rms Class A,tube rectified 50 watts rms Class A/B and solid state diode rectified 60 watts rms Class A/B operating modes.The dual cascading gain controls gave up all kinds of different overdrive textures,and the deep tube driven spring reverb was somewhat unique in a truly high gain all tube amplifier.And yes,the clean channel does give up some really sweet classic Fender clean tones,though probably closer in nature to a blackface Deluxe Reverb than a Twin or Super Reverb.Btw,I had a late '90s Prosonic that I still miss.But a worsening lower back problem eventually forced me to sell it off.I have noticed a recent escalation of Prosonic resale prices,so if purchased and not satisfied,one should be able to recoup their initial investment quite easily.

  3. Sire

    Sire Tele-Meister

    Jul 26, 2008
    Central Wisconsin
    I have one and love it. Just had a couple recent threads on this.
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  5. detuned

    detuned Tele-Holic

    Aug 19, 2003
    Halloweentown, MA
    I had one for a while - the sounds were excellent, but the fx loop was junk. These days, that wouldn't bother me, but I used to use some rack effects (quite frequently) & that was a deal breaker for me.

    I kind of wish I had it back, now that I'm down to a pedal or two.

    Really heavy though, for such a small combo.
  6. bobbytknsn

    bobbytknsn NEW MEMBER!

    Aug 26, 2008
    richmond virginia
    had a red 1 for 12 years, never changed a tube or anything, it was awesome
  7. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 10, 2003
    White Mountains
    I'm looking for one and have been for some time too.
    They don't turnip very often offa the turnip truck.
    Firebreathing...that may just be an understatement.
    My pal Bill owns one and he's got IMO the ultimate D.Gilmour Tone.
    The Prosonic is a riot waiting to happen.
    I'd love to see Jeff Beck tour again with a wall of them.

    Actually - upon reflection - a revelation; the Prosonic is EVERYTHING that the '59 Reissue Bassman with Pedals was supposed to be - without the Pedals!
  8. EdMan57

    EdMan57 Tele-Meister

    Mar 29, 2008
    San Diego
    Have you seen the recent offerings on Ebay?Or maybe you just prefer to buy locally.Btw,I totally agree with your last statement.


  9. Sire

    Sire Tele-Meister

    Jul 26, 2008
    Central Wisconsin
    When I get together with the old man (who's been gigging for 50 years as a steel player) and I'm doing some Buck Owens type thumping, he looks at me and says, "man, nothing like that Fender sound".

    I smile.
  10. emu!

    emu! Poster Extraordinaire

    The Prosonic was popular back in the mid 90's. I think it was built to compete with the Boogie combo amps that were also popular then. Lots of crazy gain on one channel, clean on the other. I almost bought one, but decided to go with a Boogie at the last moment.
  11. Big White Tele

    Big White Tele Tele-Meister

    Aug 11, 2005
    Canadian Rockies
    So did you get it?? What kind of trade are you working on? These things have been all over with prices. Ive seen a few sell for 500.00 which I think is a steal. How much is he asking??
  12. Big White Tele

    Big White Tele Tele-Meister

    Aug 11, 2005
    Canadian Rockies
    On a side note, that doesnt look like a Custom shop run. Most of these are built in the same factory as all the other fenders. They should be described as Custom Shop Designed.
  13. lostpick

    lostpick Tele-Afflicted

    According to my local amp tech guru...

    one of the best amps Fender ever made....

    a genius custom shop creation by

    Bruce Zinky...

    I should get one before Johnny Greenwood or Clapton
    takes one onstage and the prices take off....

    my son used one for a recording session...

  14. octatonic

    octatonic Poster Extraordinaire

    I am a Prosonic FIEND!

    One of my favourite amps to use for recording and great for gigs where you can crank it.

    A few things to be aware of, which will sound like negatives (and some of them are, but they need to be said).

    1. Channel switching on the early models really sucks.
    You will get a loud thunk every time you use the footswitch.
    There is a mod for it.

    2. The reverb is very wet and a bit noisy.
    There is a mod for it.

    3. The clean channel is not especially clean.
    I've had both of mine modded by Dave's Sound Repair in New Jersey to be cleaner- I believe by putting a resistor somewhere in the chain.
    PM me for details (which will consist of getting his number because I have no fking clue what he did, but it worked).
    Or you can change the preamp tube in the clean channel to a lower output, like an AT7 (I believe).

    4. The effects loop is irritating.
    You lose level, it is serial, not parallel- best leave it alone.
    I actually run a second amp with the Prosonic (a Mesa Dual Recto) that allows me to run the fx wet and the Prosonic dry.

    5. The cascading gain stages.
    I leave the second gain below 2, usually off.
    This is a matter of taste, but I prefer the percussiveness of the amp- the over the top gaininity (yes I can make up words if I like) isn't really what I am after in an amp.

    6. It is very picky about cabinets.
    This applies to the head more than the combo.
    Forget using it with a clean speaker (like the Celestion G12-75's)- it will sound like ass.
    You want something loaded with Greenbacks or Vintage 30's.
    I'd say that cabinet design is important as well- if you can get a Tonemaster cab then you are set.

    I'm not alone in saying this- Bruce Zinky has commented on this in the past.

    That is about it- I know it sounds like a lot- but I've used these amps since around 1996, golly, that is 12 years- so I'm pretty used to them.
    All that aside, it is one of the most rewarding amps to own if you are into modern rock music.
    It is bit hard work at times but utterly wonderful, mostly.

    Regarding the custom-shopped-ness.
    You want to look for the following:

    You know you have a Custom Shop Prosonic if it has four things.
    It will say "Fender Musical Instruments" under the jewel lamp.
    It might say "Fender Custom Amp Shop" on the tube diagram inside the amp.
    The serial number that starts with LO instead of CR.
    It has a green jewel light (not a red one).

    PM me for the mods.
  15. Tele Jr

    Tele Jr Tele-Holic

    May 15, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN

    I've been a long time Prosonic user, I have the combo and the head version. I use the head with Tone Master 4x12, Tone Master 2x12, and Vibro King 2x12 cabs, all v30 loaded. The TM 2x12 has two 8 ohm v30's wired to a more modern sounding 16 ohms while the VK 2x12 has the same 8 ohm v30's wired to what I feel is a more vintage sounding 4 ohms.

    Bruce Zinky has been very warm and friendly with me over the years and he's the one who taught me about the subtle differences between the 8 ohm and 16 ohm v30's, he's also the reason I have v30 2x12's wired in both series and parallel. I also have a blonde Tone Master head cab for my Prosonic head that was originally built by Bruce Zinky for Richie Sambora.

    The Prosonic combo is a remarkable package and imho a Zinky masterpiece, I use mine as my go to live rig and even played it at my wedding this spring.
  16. JeronimoKeith

    JeronimoKeith TDPRI Member

    Jan 28, 2009
    Crossroads, USA
    DO IT!

    I enjoy reading all the threads on the internet about 1/2 of my rig which includes a Prosonic combo. I play a Fender strat thru (stereo) 1/2 stack Marshall JCM900 50/100watt and a Prosonic combo that sits on top of an old '70 Fender cab w/original 2x15s. This IS MY BABY! PLENTY OF POWER even when on the true Class A, 30watts Rectifier position in back (which is all I play). I play out most every weekend at every Blues club in town. The Prosonic is the best deal I've EVER made on a Fender buy! Bought it in 1998 when Living in Dallas for $500 on clearance sale! Getting rare and expensive, little lost secret for serious tube amp players. KILLER TONE once the following mod is done!!!

    ***Very important tip for the real tube amp player!,... order yourself two (2) Groove Tubes 5751 tubes and place one (other as backup of course!) in the #2 valve/Reverb position. I wont explain why here,..Google this subject and you'll see why SRV, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson and their Techs know about it!
  17. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin Staff Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Near TELE-Town (Wash. DC)
    Admin Post
    I owned one for a while, and it did give up a lot of great overdrive sounds; as mentioned above, it would probably be an ideal amp for modern rock. But it was kind of a pain to haul to gigs -- if only they hadn't made the darned cabinet out of lead... oof. ;) CS
  18. Jazzacaster

    Jazzacaster TDPRI Member

    Feb 11, 2009
    Hey guys, I'm new to the forum but I always use these threads as a great resource on the rare gear I stumble across.

    I've had a Seafoam Green Prosonic half-stack for a while and I'm looking to sell it to a friend, but I have no idea what it is worth. Anyone have any ideas of the going rate? Normally, I just throw things on eBay for $1 and let the market decide, but this is probably too heavy/expensive to ship so I'm opting for local sale. I know the black tolex covered ones go for a lot less. This is obvisouly one of the earlier custom shop models (Scotsdale, AZ) with the "lizard skin" and has the commemorative plate on the cab and 50th anniversary sticker on the head. I saw a completed listing for 1x12 combo that was about $1150 or $1200. What do you guys think the halfstack is worth? It's essentially mint.
  19. mille177

    mille177 NEW MEMBER!

    May 28, 2009
    The City of Angels
    I'd be more than happy to spend 1600 -1700 for a matching set like that. I'd probably need shipping though depending on your location.
  20. givemebackmywig

    givemebackmywig TDPRI Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    Plymouth, England
    Agree with all points above.

    What I would emphasise subject to style of playing is that the Prosonic is a high gain amp, with dual cascading gain controls, more like you would find on a MESA Boogie.

    Great tone. Clean channel on 60w solid state rectifer setting mode will do classic clean Fender tones, although not totally authentic on the combo due to the 2 x 10 Celestions which add warmth and crunch to the sound - perfect for single coil pickups playing in a small blues combo.

    Although I dont normally use much drive for my playing, the Prosonic seems to entice me to play harder and dirtier, and its so much fun - a bit like a fast motorbike willing you to stretch the throttle cable. It is a hot amp, and loud, even in 30w mode.


    I've posted a short video demo of me playing my USA Tele through my Prosonic combo.

    fender prosonic video

    More gain than I've used since I was a spotty teenager, but childish fun. The pickups btw are Seymour Duncan Hot Lead Stacks, and guitar tuned to open G.
  21. Tom Cook

    Tom Cook Tele-Meister

    May 5, 2010
    I have 2 , a head only (LO # ) with a Tone Master 2 x 12 V30'S speaker cab , and a 1995 , yes 1995 version , with a 1 x 12 combo , the Speaker says ZINKY on the back, these were not introduced until 1996 , both are really good amps and I have no problems at all , I have not needed to do any of the mods . These are set up to run hot , thats what Zinky wanted , they were originally a custom shop amp that Zinky designed that was turned into a production amp , the later models were not (LO serial #'s ) Lake Oswago production they changed to CR #'s and a red jewel , They were not a cheap amp when the came out , e-bay prices from $500 - $1000 , well worth the price IMHO.
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