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The pearl of great price... NAD: 1976 Deluxe Reverb

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by theprofessor, May 12, 2017.

  1. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    I've long wanted a vintage DR, and today I got one. It's been at a local store for quite some time, maybe several years. The engraved serial number on the chassis dates it to 1976 (A 44965), but the Schumacher transformer codes show slightly earlier parts, all dating to 1975. I haven't been inside the amp to date the pots.

    It's mostly original, except for the speaker and the tubes. It had been re-tubed with JJ's. I don't mind not getting the vintage tubes so much, as I have an adequate collection to tube it just how I want it. I've already taken out all the JJ preamp tubes and put in Raytheons (V1-2), an RCA (V3), a Tungsram (V4), and a Mullard (V6). The speaker that's in there sounds fantastic. It's a WGS Blackhawk alnico HP 100 watts. Beautiful sound.

    I don't have any idea about the insides. She's going to the tech tomorrow for a health checkup. When I got it, it had a 5AR4 in it and was running at about 450-460V. The JJ 6V6's were biased accordingly at about 60%. I'm thinking of going back to stated specs and using a 5U4 to bring the voltage down quite a bit. But I'm not sure about that right now. It sounds so good as it is, I hesitate to change anything that is not a sign of ill health.

    I went to the store yesterday and A/B'ed my DRRI with this one, and it was no contest. My DRRI sounds good, but not like this. Then I decided I had to do what it takes to get it. I spoke with the store owner yesterday, and we finalized the deal by phone this morning. Once I got to the store to do the trade, he told me that someone had just been in the store this morning and had wanted to buy it. He told the guy that he had just worked out a deal for someone else (me) to get it. I feel a little bit sorry for the fellow, but I'm glad it fell to me.

    I call it the "pearl of great price," because I had to trade in so much of my stuff to get it. I had to trade my Epiphone Dot (upgraded everywhere), my DRRI (with my new speaker--DARN!), my magnificent-sounding 73 Champ, a TC Electronic HOF pedal, and a Voodoo Labs tremolo pedal. Every one of these things sounded great. But for me, this is the amp of all amps (aside from a BF DR, which I'll never get), and it's worth the sacrifice. I'm the happy owner of a SF Deluxe Reverb and a Mexican tele. Aside from a few overdrive pedals, that's pretty much it. But that's all I need. (sorry the pics aren't all that great)
    DR front.jpg DR back.jpg
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  2. italo

    italo Tele-Meister

    Sep 16, 2008
    Congratulations!! Fine amp. Enjoy:)
  3. jondanger

    jondanger Friend of Leo's

    Jan 27, 2011
    Charm City, MD
    Sometimes you have to throw it all down for your ultimate. Looks like a keeper, congrats!
    Troubleandahalf and codamedia like this.
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  5. Achysklic

    Achysklic Tele-Holic

    Feb 7, 2013
    Congrats, but wouldn't it have been better and cheaper to gut the deluxe youhad and hand wire it?
  6. fendertx

    fendertx Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    Nov 12, 2008
    Ughh , I hate to hear you traded your Champ.:(

    It's nice you traded up for a fine amp :)
    Looking forward to your review after you've had it a bit.
    theprofessor and Darkness like this.
  7. Darkness

    Darkness Tele-Holic

    Apr 7, 2016
    Stygian Gulf
  8. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I've never understood why someone would pay to handwire a reissue. Or pay up to buy one.

    Mind, I have no problems with the stock reissues. Mine sounds and plays as well as any vintage one I've owned (too many). But @theprofessor I'm glad you found your dream amp!
    theprofessor likes this.
  9. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 24, 2009
    Great amp!

    I had a 68 with the little metal strip around the grill. It was the one I was gonna keep for the rest of my life...until my son needed therapy.

    Best to ya, did good.
    OlRedNeckHippy likes this.
  10. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Tele-Holic

    Apr 5, 2010
    Evergreen, CO
    Congrats! I understand finding that "amp of all amps", enjoy!
  11. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Bless you, Prof! :D

    Thank you for setting a wonderful example of exactly what should be done with *any* tube amp purchase when you don't know the condition of the electronics (or you know the amp hasn't been serviced in a while).

    This is the way to ensure you'll have a great amp operating at its best. And that is without a doubt the amp many players (a ton of them amp techs) consider their "desert island amp". I have a bone-stock '66 BF (except for proper service) and realistically it's probably the best and most-usable amp I own.

    And serviced properly yours will have SO few sonically-noticeable differences that I doubt anyone could tell them apart in a blind test!!
    codamedia likes this.
  12. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Yeah, that thing was fantastic. I even considered (just for a few minutes) just getting rid of everything else and keeping only the Champ. It was that good. But in the end, I think I need a little more 'ummph. May she live a good life, all properly serviced and beautiful...
    Troubleandahalf and Darkness like this.
  13. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    My way may not be everybody's way. It's not a prescription. But it's what I did, and it's what I got. I don't regret it now, and I doubt I ever will. I wish I could have kept the Champ. I wish I could have kept my new speaker for the DRRI. I couldn't. But it's hard to be sad about a SF Deluxe Reverb.
    t guitar floyd and 1hawkguy like this.
  14. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Thanks, elihu (I really like the name, by the way). My intention with this one is to keep it forever, unless... something happens exactly as you described. So I can state my intentions, but I make no promises. I won't be getting another amp. The only way this one is going away is for something more important, just as you did. Kudos to you.
  15. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Glad to set a good example here, Silverface. For me, the risks are just too great. I'll have to spend a week without it after having had it for less than 24 hours, but when she comes back, I can play with confidence. It would just be awful to have something amiss, like a time-bomb waiting to destroy my new--and now only--amp. Not worth the risk.
  16. moosie

    moosie Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    no no no no no :eek:

    Hey Prof, nice amp! Sorry you had to trade your virginity for it (hey, that's why I clicked the link). So now you need that speaker again, eh? Sometimes it pays to procrastinate...

    My '77 DR says hello :D
  17. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Yeah, that speaker was just starting to open up and sound really great. Dang! The shop owner had heard me demo my DRRI against the SF DR, and it had the Fat Jimmy in it. When he was going to take it in on trade, I asked him if I could put the Cannabis Rex in it (because I wanted to keep the Fat Jimmy). He said he liked it as he'd heard it and so wanted it that way. So there it is. Dang!
    Tell your '77 hello back.
    The thread title is from what immediately comes to mind when someone "sells all" to get the one treasure that one considers worth selling everything else for: Matthew 13:45-46.
    t guitar floyd likes this.
  18. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Excellent points.

    Next budget yourself spare tubes, then a backup amp, especially if you end up using this one to play at jams or gigs - Every tube amp user I know that plays out has a backup - even serviced amps can have problems, tubes can be damaged - having a backup is a lifesaver. Believe me - I know - I've taken 2 amps everywhere for decades and there have been times the spare's been needed.
    t guitar floyd likes this.
  19. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    Congrats on your new amp prof... it looks to be in great shape and is certainly one of the great amps of all time.

    The amp was sitting at a dealer and they need to profit so it doesn't surprise me one bit to see how much you had to trade for it. In the end you have your "lifetime amp"... it's impossible to put a price on that. I've done many similar trades in the past (bundle up a bunch of stuff for something I really want), but never to that scope.
    TMMC likes this.
  20. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Yes, it's a lot to get rid of all at once. Some of it fits a pattern I have of acquiring and then cutting back. But here's what I was thinking: All this guitar stuff proliferates so easily. I understand that's part of the fun. But you've got to maintain different guitars and amps and have a place for all these things. I don't play out, only at home. And I don't have a "special room" for all my stuff. Plus, having all this stuff means more time maintaining it instead of playing. So once I figured out that I had enough stuff to trade in for the amp I've always really wanted, I went for it. Now it's me, one electric guitar, the amp I've always wanted, and three overdrive pedals. If I can't make good music, I know I don't need better gear. I just need to keep playing. If I gigged a lot or recorded, I could get by with all kinds of other ways to get the sounds I want. But I'm just face-to-face with the amp, and I need to get that sound out of it, with a guitar plugged straight in.
  21. Achysklic

    Achysklic Tele-Holic

    Feb 7, 2013
    I owned a 72, great amp....however, like any amp age plays it's part on everything. My point is why take a old amp spend a lot to go through and replace aging parts with new ones when you could take the amp you have, put the same new parts that you would have in the old one and get the same results? A RI that is handwired with same parts and values as the old one will sound the same. So why not have a fresh new one or a tired old one with some new parts? I think some get wrapped up in mojo vs quality and sound.
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