Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups darrenriley.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Just in regard to amps. What if Leo never sold Fender?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Les H, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    470
    Apr 3, 2018
    victor,ny
    Whoa, emotionaly attached to vacuum tubes much? What you are saying is true, but there are only so many tube types. There is a limit. You will get different sounds sure, but of you think the combinations are "endless" you may want to rerun the math on that. The circutry around the tubes is where you will tailor the sound.
     

  2. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    47
    Jan 9, 2010
    Western Canada
    I'd like to know more about Leo cutting extremely heavily and reliability suffering. Please do tell.
    Are you referring the period after Jan 5 1965? This date is significant. I am unaware of Leo cutting costs severely to the point where reliability suffered on any
    amp built before Jan 5 1965.
     
    asnarski likes this.

  3. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    northwest
    Short term thinking and reacting to quarterly stock price reports would have resulted in the same thing as when he sold.
     

  4. Quacky

    Quacky TDPRI Member

    I think he would have refined his original designs gone stereo with his reverb and tremolo circuits, increase power output (Check out early Musicman amps) other then that he was always looking for ways to improve pickups and bridge designs which he did while at G&L
     

  5. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    Maryland
    My guess would be louder and cleaner.
     

  6. Bob M

    Bob M Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    May 11, 2011
    North of Boston
    Wasn't he somewhat responsible for the ill fated SS amps that appeared in the late '60s? I seem to remember reading something about him believing transistors were going to take over from tubes.
     

  7. mefgames

    mefgames Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 31, 2010
    North Bay, Ca
    and what if six turned out to be nine, I don't mind ...........
     
    nojazzhere likes this.

  8. warrent

    warrent Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 15, 2009
    toronto
    I'm not sure if Fender would have survived if Leo hadn't sold the company. Everyone always centers on his health and forgets that Fender really needed a large capital infusion at the time and that Leo hated to borrow money. Having said that, he seemed to lose interest in the amp business once the blackface line was established.
    CBS invested a lot of money in the beginning and they didn't really stop investing money until the seventies. Most of the early changes would have been considered upgrades at the time, we just didn't like them.
    As for Music Man Tom and Forrest borrowed the money to start the company from Leo, but they owned it. Leo helped design the first amp but then went off to CLF to design basses, guitars and pickups.
     

  9. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    No, I'm not emotionally attached to tubes and I use all sorts of equipment - tube, solid state and digital.

    But the statement you made about the limitations of "bottles" indicates a lack of awareness IMO. No insult meant

    I guess you don't do much amp design or "tuning". Simple tube swaps can significantly change the gain structure, or voicing, or output; alter how stages interact; balance or "unbalance" a stage, and when you consider the dozens of different preamp and power tubes that are available (with different models and brands within each causing audible changes - which then vary further simply based on control settings for each) there are FAR more variations available that it appears you think - and that's before touching the "circuitry".

    What's your technical background and how much direct involvement have you had in the design, service or modification of tube gear? I'm asking simply because I don't know so I have no way of understanding your level of expertise.

    If you do have solid tech expertise I'd be interested to know why you 1) feel tubes are so limited and 2) where you got the perception that surrounding circuitry is the only way one tailors the sound in a tube amp. Again, no offense - but those are rather unique views in the tech world so the "why" would be enlightening.
     
    LuthRavin likes this.

  10. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Many people believed that.

    I still don't think he had much to do with MM amps.
     

  11. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    470
    Apr 3, 2018
    victor,ny
    Those "things you so dissmissively call bottles" I wasn't being dismissive , I happen to love tubes and bottles is a nickname for them that many people use. Are your designs and Amps on the market? Are there many new and exciting new sounds coming out of the labs of any major manufacturers these days or do you have a new technology involving tubes????? No, why? Oh yeah cause it's been done. I'm not arguing the fact that different tubes sound different. But a lot of times that's also in people's heads. Tell ya what, you come up with something that sounds radically different( .In a good way) than a tube amp, but you have to do it with tubes, then I'll be impressed. Leo was a good tinkerer who was in the right place at the right time. Genius electronics designer, um no
     

  12. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    47
    Jan 9, 2010
    Western Canada
    I don’t believe so. I believe Solid State was a CBS directive. Many were against it including Don Randall who was embarrased to h e l l at a trade show when a new one failed.
     
    K1121 and Fiesta Red like this.

  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Re: Leo Fender and MusicMan Amps. As I understand it, Leo Fender had very little if anything to do with MM amps. The design was done By two other people when he agreed to find space I; the MM instrument factory for the build of the amps. Leo actually disagreed with the basic design of the MM amps. He thought the design was backwards...that the preamp should have been tube and the power amp should have been solid state.

    It is too bad that Leo did not find the doctor that cured his infection while he still owned Fender. I doubt he would have sold the company if he had found a cure in time. That is evidenced by the fact that he started two more companies after he was cured by the massive antibiotic regimen that a doctor put him through to eliminate the problem.
    If he had been able to hold on to Fender, I think he would have porgress3d in amp design and would have added some people with technical knowledge and market awareness and Fender amps would probably have progressed in much the same manner as they did with Ed Johns in the 1970’s....which led to the association with Paul Rivera in the 1980’s.


    If if if.....it is all speculation and of no importance, imho. Leo provided the world with the basis for the majority of amplifiers that we use today. Without Marshall’s cloning of the 5F6A, the line which leads to Soldano’s SLO and even the Fender Pro Sonic would not exist. Dumble and Randall Smith would not have taken the basic AB763 and bumped that circuit into a different manner of achieving high Gain.
    Thanks to Leo Fender!!!!!
     

  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    If you want new technology in guitar amplification you're not going to get it with solid state or digital systems either, unless you want to synthesized/effected sounds - and those are not "guitar amp tones", they fall under "effects". Can you give a list of "new and exciting new sounds" (sic) that come from alternative systems - and are NOT essentially effects?

    If you are trying to make a point that you can get more "sounds" out of digital and/solid state circuits than with tubes, you are undoubtedly right.

    But would you want to *use* them?

    Solid state and digital "amplification" systems" have no advantages other than cost and weight, and are lacking on the tonal end for many applications. Tubes are no more limited than any other technology when it comes to guitar amplification. I guess if you prefer a guitar tone that sounds like a redwood tree crashing into a a truck full of dischordantly tuned zithers you got me - it's gonna be hard to do with tubes.

    But who cares?

    What usable guitar tone - again not an "effected" sound, just basic amplified tones - can you get with solid state of digital that you *can't* get with tubes? You can model tube amps, but what's "new and exciting" about that - since you're just copying something else?

    There are no new, exciting, or revolutionary guitar tones at all if you want to be realistic. There are just different approaches to getting them.

    So please - let's stay in the context of guitar amplification and not guitar effects.

    I was at the factory quite a few times over the years as the bass player I worked with for decades was one of the QC managers in the amplifier department. According to him, Leo was heavily involved with the design work for the earliest all-tube models, which he was working on before he could officially work for a Fender competitor. He also had some influence over the power amp stages of the best-known models (solid state preamp, tube driver and power section).

    Leo's input was one of the reasons Musicman focused on clean tones - they were his forte. Once the initial hybrids were in production he shifted his main focus to their guitars.

    When I talked to him at G&L he was still fiddling with amp ideas and wished it wasn't so expensive to tool up for amp production. He really wanted there to be a G&L amp line but it just wasn't financially sensible. My office was about 1/4 mile away in Fullerton - you could walk right into G&L and go see Leo if he was in. It was an unusually open place and I was surprised there wasn't a line of people wanting to talk to him. He was usually alone in his office designing something (if he was in, which wasn't often) and loved showing off some gadget idea.
     
    Bill Moore, Wally and bftfender like this.

  15. bftfender

    bftfender Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 21, 2017
    York PA
    If fender just would of done this...The most pristine clean i ever played..remember us metal guys are very picky about clean..go from serious gain to clean on click of a footswitch is very effective..this is as good as my 68 CDR and almost as good as my plexi& DSL(just[prefer a clean with flavor) what if ?!? Fender did this when marshall was doin their thing..with gain ?!? These 5150 can hang with any metal amp --yet be as civilized as one needs be...it can break up how and when you want it(this would be a clean pickers dream,it will give back what you play fast&responsive) EVHiii rig.jpg ..the gain stays usable like no other amp..great downtune amp..keeps tight no matter what....its fender pristine clean into mid punch gain then insanity gain at the last stage and believe it or not this is a great bedroom amp..even w 4x12's..depth at a quiet volume
     

  16. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Silverface, thanks for the history. I had read otherwise, but it seems that you were close to the reality.
    I will note however that I know of no all-tube MM amps.
     
    codamedia likes this.

  17. dkevin

    dkevin Tele-Meister

    150
    Mar 13, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Mr. Fender was a musician's best friend. He wanted to make products for musicians to use to create their own special magic. He seemed to be closer to the country-western crowd than the jazz crowd. I am not sure that he thought of his amps as rock and roll devices. He created clean amps with feedback circuits and fixed bias to maximize the clean power. The Blackface/Silverface line with its scooped mids and splashy reverb helped to define the California surf craze. I do not have a clue what he would've thought about the psychedelic 60's and heavier guitar distortion. He probably would've ridden out the Silverface line as CBS did (without the instability) and moved toward lower cost, solid state design as most of the amp makers did. I do not believe that he would have manufactured the ill-fated Zodiac line as CBS did. Rising costs and the push to move into the future and away from older more time consuming tube designs would have forced him to change. But, one thing for sure, Leo would never have approved any amp that was not reliable and designed to be repairable. These two elements seem to be non-negotiables in his career. Forrest White provided a treasure-trove of insight about his boss.
     

  18. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    66
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    You don't see them very often as they were vey limited production. I owned what I seem to recall as a sixty-five- 2xEL34's (running at about 560VDC as I recall), with 3 12AX7/7025's for the preamp, and one 12AT7 in the reverb circuit. a 12AX7 driver. No trem. I didn't keep it long as I was playing mostly bluegrass in those days. Wish I still had it!

    Leo and Tom Whittaker were working on amp designs under the name "Tri Sound" or something similar in the early 70's, which then changed once or twice more before becoming MM around '74. Leo and Tom were the amp guys and White was the guitar guy, at least in the early days. Leo had to be like the Wizard of Oz and stay hidden until his non-compete agreement with CBS expired. It wasn't until 1975 that he was officially named President, or CEO (I don't recall which). It was gunny because everybody in the industry seemed fully aware of what he was doing but CBS considered him a non-factor. :eek:
     
    Wally likes this.

  19. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    Texas
    I sort of wince when I hear every Blackface and Silverface vintage Fender amp described as "scooped mid". It's become a cliche and a ubiquitous disclaimer. Every vintage Fender, BF and SF, with no Mid control has a pre-set mid EQ. If you keep the Treble and Bass settings low, you can achieve a relatively flat-ish EQ profile. The Mids are only outpaced if you turn the Treble and Bass knobs up past a certain setting, which is useful for Fender cleans, since Mids can sound very nasally with a very clean tone.

    The typical graphic EQ shape of a "smile" (or soft-V) for vocal sound systems illustrates what usually renders a realistic and transparent timbre for amplified vocals, and the same is true for a clean guitar tone. Mids can certainly cut through a mix, and I achieve a mid-present tone on a Twin Reverb using the Mid tone knob ... I can get the same results on a Deluxe Reverb by starting with low tone settings, around "3" on the Treble and Bass knobs. These amps are only "mid-scooped" when adjusted to be so by turning the Treble and Bass controls accordingly, IMO.
     
    nojazzhere likes this.

  20. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    europe

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.