Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

How I learned to like Fender amps + questions (long)

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by timfred, May 16, 2018.

  1. timfred

    timfred TDPRI Member

    Mar 14, 2016
    Northern CA
    So I had never really understood the Fender Amp thing. My taste (I thought) had always trended British overdrive. I've been schooled. This is my story.

    A teenaged friend of mine came to own this old Fender amp. It was in some neighbors basement or something, unused, given to him because they knew he played the guitar. I played it a few times and it seemed boomy, scratchy pots, temperamental, and "not my thing" anyway so I didn't pay much attention to it.

    But a couple of weeks ago I needed a project, was thinking about a new amp anyway, and I asked him to borrow it for a week to see if I could fix it and get along with it. I brought it home and took a good look at it.

    It is a 1966 Deluxe Reverb. Huh, I thought to myself, I've heard people like these.

    It was all original - tubes, speaker, caps. I took the amp chassis out of the cabinet. There was an obvious broken ground solder point, fixed that. I converted it to 3-prong, cleaned the pots, replaced the indicator lamp. Checked the bias - way cold. Pushed it up to about 65% max plate dissipation.

    I put it back together and plugged it in.


    Now I get it.

    It took me a while to understand how the tone stack works (starting with everything at "noon" is not a good recipe for this amp.) But once dialed out of the house...cranked to 7...I had to pick up my jaw.

    So I decided I needed one of these. Started surfing Craigslist, found some interesting silverfaces, sent some emails. Dropped off the 66, told my friend I loved it and was looking for one I could afford. As I was leaving he said, "Why don't you just buy this one? I'm heading off to college, can't take this with me." I explained I couldn't afford it, that I was looking to pay less than half of what this BFDR was worth. "OK, pay me what you were planning to spend AND build me a tele." After making sure he and his parents were completely clear on what they were doing, I agreed. Deal done, amp went back in my car. Woo hoo!

    It still needs a handle, cap replacement, tubes checked, and the tolex-covered back panels are missing.

    So now my questions:
    1) Cap replacement ASAP. I've ordered a cap kit containing the filter caps, bias cap, bypass caps. What else should I take a hard look at? Reverb sounds amazing - is there any maintenance there? What else after sitting mostly unused for 50 years?

    2) While I did the standard grounded-plug conversion, is it heresy to consider putting an IEC inlet on the back of this amp? It seems that these all get converted to 3-prong anyway, would a clean IEC install de-value it at all?

    3) Does anybody have any dimensioned drawings of the two tolex-covered back panels that I could make some replacements from?


  2. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2012
    Just check the reverb springs. That’s all I’ve got. Others will have more.

  3. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Tele-Holic

    Jul 28, 2012
    Here & Now
    Sweet amp! Good idea re cap replacement. IMO, don't mess with the reverb tank - there's no maintenance to speak of and since its sounding amazing best leave it be.
    There are hair thin wires at either end of the springs which are extremely fragile, they break and you'll need a replacement tank... which is not a big deal but will be an added cost plus having the original intact adds to the amp's value.
    My .02.

  4. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2012
    Thanks for that. Just goes to show I can be safely ignored for this stuff. :)
    2 Headed Goat likes this.

  5. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    Buy it!!
    I have a Princeton BRRI and it needs the 22 watts ( RMS) that a Deluxe has for playing over bloody loud Gonzo drummers. Just buy it!! I'll build you a guitar- for a fee.
    As you've been advised - don't fix the reverb tank/springs unless it needs it. Why fix it if it isn't broke.
    Also a 3 pronged chord has been standard here in Oz for Donkey's Years and will only give you better grounding. My amp has practically no hum.;)

  6. horseman308

    horseman308 Tele-Meister

    May 7, 2016
    That's super-cool. I only have one question: where does one find friends with vintage, highly so desirable great that don't want it?
    Ira7 and Whatizitman like this.

  7. timfred

    timfred TDPRI Member

    Mar 14, 2016
    Northern CA
    Oh I suspect that in the long run I'm only a caretaker for this. He's going off to college (this is no dorm room amp) and plays mostly acoustic these days anyway. But one day there will be a knock on my door...

  8. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's

    Sep 13, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    Don't do the IEC thing. You'll kill more value than you'd think off something like that. Just give it the standard maintenance and it should be good to go for another generation.
    aerhed, Teleguy61, teletimetx and 2 others like this.

  9. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    Please don’t do the ISC thing. You’ll regret it.
    Tonetele likes this.

  10. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

    Feb 9, 2014
    NE US
    You have one of the best low powered Fender amps with reverb made. You are a lucky person.

    Don't remove the blue caps unless you prove there is an issue with them. They do make replacements but if the originals work you won't find better. As noted above drilling, cutting or anyway altering the chassis will give you the "hack butcher" moniker. By the way, the original Marshall's were pretty much Fender circuits, just made with British components.
    Tonetele and 2 Headed Goat like this.

  11. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    The IEC conversion will devalue it big time. I fail to understand the iec thing anyway. It's just a good way to forget your power cord when you head out.

  12. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2015
    ANY added holes in an original chassis will devalue a classic like that. Get a set of strain relief pliers (they make the job so much easier) and add a proper cord.

    While changing caps, closely check all chassis grounds for looseness and corrosion. The blackface amps are usually pretty solid, but CBS era amps that use tranny bolts are loose a fair amount of time.

    Speaking of grounds, the chassis safety ground is one exception to the "no new holes" rule IMO. I would consider adding a discrete bolt to anchor that new ground if you don't have a big stick soldering iron to solder it directly to the chassis.

  13. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Holic

    Jul 1, 2005
    North Texas
    Other than electrolytics I wouldn’t replace any components that aren’t broken. If the speaker is original and in good shape I might even replace it and box the original up for safe keeping. But if it sounds great as is I’d prolly leave it be too.

    I agree with the other posters against the IEC inlet. Please, no.

    Mojotone sells replacement back panels, several other guys do too. Or if you want to diy, you might sneak a tape measure into GC or another store and jot down the dimensions off a Reissue. I think they’d be the same...just a thought if nothing else comes around for ya.

    Congrats! Great amp.
    Ricky D. and 2 Headed Goat like this.

  14. timfred

    timfred TDPRI Member

    Mar 14, 2016
    Northern CA
    Yes, I was thinking about trying a Eminence Maverick and storing the Oxford. When people do this is it common to make a new wiring harness for the new speaker or use the original one?

  15. stratclub

    stratclub Tele-Meister

    Mar 15, 2018
    2 Headed Goat likes this.

  16. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Holic

    Jul 1, 2005
    North Texas
    If the original harness is still soldered to the speaker as from the factory I’d leave it attached and box it up with the speaker. I’ve done that a couple times, just made a new harness with clips.

  17. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    telemnemonics likes this.

  18. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    The Green-Eyed Monster is biting me big time.

  19. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2015
    No, that's an illegal and unsafe ground. Transformers expand and contract as they heat and cool, which can make those nuts loosen over time. That ground is there so you don't get shocked if there's a fault; if it's loose it can't do that.

  20. timfred

    timfred TDPRI Member

    Mar 14, 2016
    Northern CA
    Well, I heard the "please don't do that" from y'all, so I won't, but I was just thinking about strain relief, detachable cord convenience for moving the amp, ability to use longer/shorter power cords, etc.

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