Best modern single speaker all tube amp with reverb for surf.

nrand

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I am looking for a 'new' amp, something contemporary. i.e. affordable, that I can find on the used market to work up a surf repertoire with my Jazzmaster.
It must have good Fenderish cleans, a good spring reverb, and be manageable enough to practice indoors and to gig in small venues.
I had a 70s Twin Reverb but grew weary of dragging it around.
I prefer Fender but am open to other suggestions.
 

Lowspeid

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You should be able to find either a 65 DRRI, or ‘68 CDR, used for a “reasonable” amount. They are solid pro-level amps, sound great, and not too cumbersome.

Though you may not be able to find them used as readily, both the Tone King Imperial mkii, and Magnatone Twightlighter 112 are worth plugging into and strumming a few chords if you ever get the chance.
 

wildschwein

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To begin with I am in Australia so US prices are not relevant. I am looking at around the $AUD 1000 mark.
At that price a second hand and recent Hot Rod Deluxe. You should be able to get one for <$1000AU. It's not the most compact amp but has good cleans, nice reverb and is loud enough for any application. Not quite as scooped as the older Fenders but they sound pretty nice for cleans.
 

nrand

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Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb checks the boxes for contemporary and (relative to the tube models) affordable, preference for Fender brand, and with the power scaling, perfect for use as a stage and rehearsal amp at various size venues.

Get the blonde one and it'll look the part, too.
Cheers, I had not considered the Tonemaster, or any digital amps for a long time, though it sounds like the technology might have improved. The neodymium speaker is appealing for its weight as I have one of these in my DV Mark Jazz amp and the whole combo weighs only 10KG! New these are a bit over my budget here but I will give this some thought.
 

nickmm

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You may find a used reissue Princeton at about $1200, Blues Deluxe, Vox AC15.
You maybe able to Find an AC15 with a Celestion Blue around that price.


Most Shadows stuff is a Strat with a Vox.
 

twochiptele

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I have the Quilter Aviator Cub ( US sound version , not UK) and I find it lovely for surf and other instrumentals. Nice "splat" , and reverb is quite usable too for surf and stuff . Only (minor) gripe (for me) is , well the digital reverb does not have the "drip"... but sure is loud and light enough.

POST EDIT: O, didn't read the thread title good enough, my bad. You want a tube amp, not solid state. I blame the lack of morning coffee.😅
 
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nickmm

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To begin with I am in Australia so US prices are not relevant. I am looking at around the $AUD 1000 mark.
The advantage of a all tube amp used is if you don't like it you can sell and get your money back. The Tonemasters are like new cars
 

jay4321

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I do a ton of surf. At your price point I think a Hot Rod Deluxe IV is the way to go. It's about your price range, though it lacks tremolo the reverb is solid, really you can do just about anything with it with a pedal in front. It's not a purist choice for surf, but then neither is the '65 Deluxe RI (which I also own), but the key thing is that it has the Fender cleans and reverb and more than good enough foundation for you. It's also a little beefier where the Deluxe is glassier, which I prefer.

The tonemasters are interesting in every way but the price, and in the case of the deluxe once I got away from the pure cleans and into some pedals it lost a little something. Based solely on my ears though it's a very good, very Fender amp worth considering, but as someone with both Fender tube amps and and Axe FX 3, it just doesn't do it for me. Certainly not at what they sell for, and who knows about the lifespan or resale. I think they would be a fine idea at $600, but they're not.

The Hot Rod IV specifically checks all my boxes although generally I only ever use it clean, I have another amp for everything else, but for fun I'll run an Angry Driver into it a lot along with a TS9 and get a lot of rock mileage with that sometimes. Delays etc. The previous versions of the Hot Rod are a little different some with issues I don't care for.

The Princeton is a fine amp, but like the Deluxe I don't really want it for surf, and the tremolo starts a little fast.

The thing with surf for me is I'm not totally into the "consensus" surf sounds a lot of people favor, with the super-super-drippy reverb and Fender Showman tone. I pull it back a little bit and little the tone a little more stable, still ballpark but not as extreme, even if less accurate I'm a little more spaghetti western maybe. But it doesn't matter since the amp can do a respectable job with both - it might lack a little sweetness of the Princeton, and a little of the glass of the Deluxe, but that's a good result for me.

And, I'm going to repeat this, I'm talking specifically about the HRD IV, not vouching for previous versions.
 

jay4321

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Short version is the Hot Rod Deluxe IV has true Fender cleans and reverb out of the box. You're almost assured to find one in any guitar shop that carries Fender amps would definitely try one.

Or you could grab something like a cheaper Bugera V22, and pair it up with a Keeley Hydra, which for my money is the finest reverb/trem pedal if spring reverb is your go to (the Flint is an equally good pedal overall but I like the Hydra spring setting better). I'm sure there are a number of other fine clean amps under around $500 that would more than do it. Surf, surf-rock, spy, spaghetti are pretty forgiving, unless you're targeting a very specific sound. There's a big gap between Dick Dale and Link Wray tones etc
 
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AlbertoMilanese

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Keep looking for a used Tonemaster Twin - might take a while to find the right price, but that's the closest equivalent to your SF Twin with great weight reduction and a wonderful dial for quiet sounds. And it also holds enough power for just about any gig.
 

Dacious

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In Australia decent secondhand all tube Fenders either reissue or old ones are over a $auGrand. Second-hand DRRIs - $1600-1700. Used Tonenasters are over a grand. You can find some Twin Reverbs but they're ratty usually.

I don't include Blues or Horrid Deluxes or Devilles in that (or Blues Juniors) because they are not surf sounding. And their reverb is pretty rubbish. Like their construction

You could use an AC15 - except they're bloody loud and 48lb. They are also a bit gritty/hairy due to no negative feedback and they've got plenty of reverb but it's not surfy really. You can fix it with a MOD or Ruby tank with longer dwell.

I bought this one yesterday for $400 to fix and flip. They're $au949 new with a Greenback. not really Trad surfy. Bit sharp sounding with a Strat or higher gain. Not scooped mids.

IMG_20220808_165555.jpg

In good nick $600 second hand.

I'd suggest looking at an AC30CC1 they do pop up - single speaker Celestion Century Neo speaker. Same weight as the AC15. Very smooth at lower volume. Reverb improvable with better tank. About $750 secondhand.
 

kuch

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I am looking for a 'new' amp, something contemporary. i.e. affordable, that I can find on the used market to work up a surf repertoire with my Jazzmaster.
It must have good Fenderish cleans, a good spring reverb, and be manageable enough to practice indoors and to gig in small venues.
I had a 70s Twin Reverb but grew weary of dragging it around.
I prefer Fender but am open to other suggestions.
Hey NR,

I don't know if you're "tied" to your SFTR, but.... have you considered maybe selling your Twin and being able to get whatever you want? I know sometimes it's difficult to get rid of "vintage" stuff but it could be a good move. I've moved on from the twins, vibroluxes, bandmasters, etc.... but it's because I don't gig anymore. I've "settled" for a 65 PRRI and a SF Vibro champ. Which is not really settling because I couldn't be happier. I might pick up a 65 Deluxe Reverb if a good deal comes along, but it's still a lot of amp for me these days.

So, if you really don't "need" your TR, maybe....?

Good luck in your search.
 




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