Weird days in vintage Fender tube amp pricing

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by theprofessor, May 13, 2019.

  1. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Most of you here will be aware of the trend: big amps are a thing of the past, and most people who haven't gone the way of modeling are choosing what were traditionally "home" or "practice" tube amp models, like the Fender Champ or Princeton.

    For example: I recently saw three silverface Super Reverbs in various states of repair or disrepair or originality at Carter Vintage Music in Nashville. They ranged from $800-$1000. At the same store is a pristine-looking silverface Champ for around $700 and a modded silverface Princeton Reverb with a Deluxe Reverb transformer (so: not original) and a an Eminence blue-frame (again: not original) for around $2000. Sure, it sounds awesome, but...

    Also just noticed on my local Craigslist: A 1965 Fender Princeton Reverb reissue for $750 and a 1979-80 silverface Pro Reverb (looks to be all original) for $600. These are strange days, methinks. I wonder if the tide might ever turn the other direction again?

    Another thing I noticed related both to guitars and amps: You know how folks often remind one another around here that celebrity ownership is worth exactly $0 on the market? I'm not so sure that's true anymore. At Carter Vintage, for example, tags on instruments or amps often indicate previous ownership of some kind of well known name, and the price seems to reflect that fact.

    Anybody else have stories to share on these phenomena?
     
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  2. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Yes. Larger amps are turning into white elephants and some sellers are finally getting a clue.

    But most still use high asking prices - and asking prices are meaningless. Many dealers -= especially smaller ones don't know squat about grading...or amp service...or actual market values. I stumble onto low prices now and them, but mostly ridiculously high asking prices. Some think they can artificially drive up prices in the market - but it rarely works. Carter, OTOH, is a long time, generally higher-end dealer never known for low pricing.

    The only prices I pay attention to are "sold items" pricing (a check box win the left hand column after doing a search on Reverb - similar to the one that' ben available for quite some time on eBay).

    Will the tide turn? Doubtful. Higher-output amps have become less practical, with more venues having volume level limits and sound support that includes miking amps. More output power is no "deal" if your tone suffers because you can't use it properly.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
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  3. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

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    This has been the situation for a while now. I don't expect it to reverse any time soon, if ever. There is always the argument that younger players have been raised on modeling amps. But I'm inclined to think that younger folks are also far more mobile nowadays. Middle class retirement phenomena is quickly becoming a thing of the past. People are just not gonna have the space and/or desire to store and lug heavy, "outdated and loud" guitar amps.

    That's to say nothing of the changes in music trends.
     
  4. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    The only comment I might make is on the celebrity ownership aspect.....while I don't "think" it would increase VALUE (selling price) it MIGHT help in getting a quicker sale.....like washing that used car you're trying to unload. ;)
     
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  5. Bob M

    Bob M Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    It's a curious thing for sure. The pricing is not reflective of the "physical" value of a vintage amp. I bought a '65 Tremolux with the original Oxfords in it for $1800. It is a very clean original amp and I believe I paid market price at the time for it. A black faced Princeton is probably worth much more at this point. But that is the gamble you take buying vintage anything. You make the best decision you can at the time. If it's something you want is it ever really a bad deal?
     
  6. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I'm not sure why it would reverse. Those big amps are dinosaurs for anyone who doesn't play outdoor stadiums with no PA support. I mean, sure, I could bring it to a gig, turn it "up" to 2.5 and use pedals. But then why am I lugging around a 60-80lb stage hogger instead of a 40lb amp that I can set on the floor, on a chair, whatever?

    Yeah. I know. The big amps have volume knobs too. But they sound blah with the volume low. And why does that "they have volume knobs too" statement only cut one way - i.e., you can turn them down? The volume knob does go both ways. Just think if you could actually turn that Twin up to 5. Anywhere. Or even 4.

    And I know, 65-80 watts is not 3-4x as loud as 20 watts. But that also is with everything else constant. But I bet the speakers are multiplied in the 80 watt amp, and also more efficient. And the transformers sure as **** are beefier. So the 65-80 watt Twin will be far louder and have FAR more headroom than the Deluxe.

    That said, the small amps are useless to me as gigging amps, and also has home amps. Kind of a conundrum. I just lucked into a JMP-1 combo at my local shop. Killer little amp. The only problem, even on the 0.1w setting (you read that right) I can STILL only turn up to 4-5 absolute max before I'm bugging my family, my ears are ringing a bit and the neighbors ask me if we're writing new songs and tell me the guitars sound good. So yeah, amps are loud. Go figure.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
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  7. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    Been this way for 10 years or more and no letting up... I have a couple of 30-35 watt Fenders (VR/Tremolux) and most likely will never part with them. I also have a few under 20 watt amps, to me and being honest, for live sound, there is nothing than can compete with a larger iron/wattage amp. Now a smaller amp mic'd right can sound fine through a PA and more than likely no one ever would ever know or care what you were using... it boils down to the one playing it mainly... if I ever found an original BF Pro Reverb for under $1000 in good shape I'd jump at the chance of owning one.
     
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  8. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    delete
     
  9. StoogeSurfer

    StoogeSurfer Tele-Afflicted

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    As PA technology continues to advance - and solid state amps too - I can't see bigger, heavier amps ever making a comeback. Keep 'em home and turn them up.
     
  10. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep, way out of whack if you ask me. Especially Princetons and Deluxes etc. If you are not a collector just have one built by hand for far less. It will be noise free, quiet and good for 40 years. The old ones seem to often have something going on. snap crackle pop hiss no trem noisy reverb etc.
     
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  11. ifallalot

    ifallalot Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm just waiting for that cheap big brown amp to come
     
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  12. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Ooooooooh, yeah. Me, too. As you intimate by your comment: there are exceptions. Mostly blackface and silverface Fenders. Not so much the brown and tweeds.
     
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  13. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    A very good friend owns several prior celebrity-owned guitars and amps. While they're not worth more on the market, according to him, they are very cool to have and play thru.
    I can truthfully say we have never lost a job because we play thru Twin Reverbs and bigger amps. We know how to control our volume and maintain a good sound. In fact, on those occasions we play large gigs requiring us to mic our amps, we have received numerous compliments from sound techs about our volume, tone and how we setup prior to being miked. It's still just preference and knowing how to correctly use these tools (amps). We play clean and enjoy the torque our larger amps give us without having to play loud. We own smaller amps like Vibrolux Reverb, Super Reverb and Classic 30 amps, but it's not the same as what a Twin Reverb does, and again, I'm not talking about volume. I love playing my Vibrolux Reverb and enjoy the tone I get from it. But then, I make the mistake of plugging into one of my old Twins, sitting along side of it, and it's all over. The Twin wins me over every time. It just has "that tone" I cannot get from a little amp. At my age, it doesn't really matter what the market is and what asking prices and selling prices are, cause I already have what I need and like...in various sizes and flavors. Small amps are fine for those who are truthfully satisfied with them and can make use out of them. But you never see a Rat Terrier or a Chihuahua guard dog. Sometimes size does matter...even in amps.
     
  14. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    That's awesome.
     
  15. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    People who cannot tell there is something glorious in a big Twin, an 8 litre V8, or a World War II bomber must be missing some bone in their ear or something

    Best wishes to them, and deepest sympathy if they don't know what makes us tingle in a big amp

    I know sone day I will get a good price on a Twin Reverb, and there can be no resistance
     
  16. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

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    Less people jam together with a drummer/bass and the need for larger amps has dwindled.

    Studios and touring bands will still use them but that's a small percentage compared to people who used them 20 or more years ago. I used to have and go to jams on a weekly basis, now I feel lucky to attend one every other month. Even getting a group of musicians together for a jam is harder than it used to be.

    I still keep a couple Super Reverb's and a Pro Reverb around for the few times I can get a jam together so my friends just have to bring their guitars. It's still a treat to feel a big amp behind you.
     
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  17. perudo

    perudo TDPRI Member

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    Well, at home I play a 5 watt amp (milkman) and a 1 watt amp (benson) . The sound and wattage are perfect for home use.
    With my band , I use a super reverb. Is it loud? Yes! Do I need it? Yes!
    Very often, the sound engineer asks me to turn down...which I do, and the super reverb still sounds fine. No problem with that. The problem is that sometimes monitoring from PA goes wrong even if evrything sounded perfect at soundcheck. When you share the stage with some bands, recalls get messed up, etc. In those situations, I am happy to have some more watts left in my amp. I just crank it up, and use my amp as my monitor....the sound guy mixes the front accordingly.
    Sometime we show up in places ( bars, pubs, ) where the PA is not loud enough for our band. I then prefer not to have my amp miked up, but just use the amps loudness to full potential.
     
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  18. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    And also...Kemper.

    Serious young musician folks will pay $$$ for a small box with a buttload of sounds in it, not so much $ for a gigantic box with only a couple.

    And they get to fiddle with it and add profiles and they love to do that stuff.

    And all the cheaper profiling amps to come ?

    Nope - it’s over .

    I have a feeling there are an ass load of twin reverb’s in our metropolitan area and the people have stopped even trying to get rid of them. just sitting in peoples houses...
     
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  19. MuddyWolf

    MuddyWolf Tele-Meister

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    Saw a 65 bf twin on cl for 600bux. I was very tempted. I didnt get it. Just about anything in the 15 to 40 watt bf fender range i would have jumped on.
     
  20. adjason

    adjason Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    for $600 I would have had to buy that blackface twin just on principle, but yeah those big amps are hard to move
     
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