Cheap SS amp with twin reverb sounding overdrive?

Zesty-feline

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Hello,

I don't know much about Fender amps but I played a cranked silverface twin reverb, the lows were loose and boomy, the low mid was overdriven then a mid scoop with shimmering top end harmonics going crazy.

Marshall style gain is too perfect sounding, I actually think the Fender gain sounds more rock'n'roll..

Wondering if anyone is knowledeable about the smaller solid state amps like frontman, champ etc, I notice all the new ones have modeling/FX and more saturated gain staging, yuck.

Is there anything fairly true to the original like for example a Vox pathfinder is to an AC-30 but for Fender amps? I was looking at 90's production amps on reverb, I can make almost anything sound good, just want that style of overdrive and the classic aesthetic.
 

Chiogtr4x

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I have to say this exactly why I'm using a Fender Frontman 25R ( with upgraded Emi Legend 1058 speaker)

It was cheap, gives me a great Fender clean tone with real Spring Reverb, which I use as is and with a few favorite OD pedals to break things up a bit, yet preserve the guitar>amp tone.
The amp's OD channel.sounds much better ( less fizz, more midrange) with a speaker upgrade. It still has a more aggressive/modern distortion to it than what I'm used to, but Gain at 2-3 is good.
I love this little amp ( I use this or a Pathfinder for gigs- perfect!)
20201010_200155.jpg
 

Zesty-feline

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I have to say this exactly why I'm using a Fender Frontman 25R ( with upgraded Emi Legend 1058 speaker)

It was cheap, gives me a great Fender clean tone with real Spring Reverb, which I use as is and with a few favorite OD pedals to break things up a bit, yet preserve the guitar>amp tone.
The amp's OD channel.sounds much better ( less fizz, more midrange) with a speaker upgrade. It still has a more aggressive/modern distortion to it than what I'm used to, but Gain at 2-3 is good.
I love this little amp ( I use this or a Pathfinder for gigs- perfect!)
View attachment 891703


On the frontman 25r what's the gain like at lower levels, does it still have an old school Fender voicing?

Love the concept of the "GAIN volume" control on those units.
 

mexicanyella

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I have never cranked through a Twin Reverb at high volume, but would love a chance to someday.

But the drive characteristics described and question posed in the OP make me think I would be very interested to read @Zesty-feline ‘s impressions after trying a Tonemaster Twin. That would be an interesting perspective to evaluate Fender’s amp-modeling accuracy from.

So how about it, ZF? Got any shops near you that stock the Tonemaster series and will let you crank through them?

Actually your tonal description of the driven silver face amp reminds me a bit of what happened when I tried the JC120 model in a friend’s Line 6 Pod 2.0 years ago, after winding up the gain and mids a bit. But your impression of how the lows, low mids and mids interacted is pretty detailed and I’m not sure it nailed all that. Pod 2.0s are pretty cheap now on the used market, and are SS...might be fun to experiment with.
 
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archetype

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I'm wondering if the SF Twin you played through was healthy. An SF Twin in good electronic condition, and with speakers in good condition, sounds pretty clean even when cranked high. Loose and boomy lows and overdriven low mids don't sound like an SF Twin, to me.

Nearly any Fender SS amp from the Frontman/FM/Champion 25 upward is worth a try for the tone you want. The older Mustang III might be the closest to the tone in your head. I can't speak to the newer Mustangs.

As for modeling, IMO stop thinking about it. Adjust the amp to the sound you want and that's the sound you get. Ignore the FX.

Now that I think about it, a Tech 21 Trademark 60 might do it. It doesn't have the volume or thunder of an SF Twin Reverb, but it's 100% analog solid state and Channel 1 can dial in nearly any Fenderish tone you can imagine. Channel 2 will definitely give you loose and boomy if you set it that way.
 

PhredE

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Was also curious to hear about a Twin cranked enough to hear any dirt! (are you ears ok?) That would be excruciatingly loud.


Twin tones is one thing the Joyo AS does pretty well IMHO.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S8NZTZD/?tag=tdpri-20

You can put it in front of just about anything and can sound reasonably good. The 90s era Fender SS combo amps that Chiogtr4x mentions above work well as a pedal platform. Put the Joyo AS in front of it (or similar) and you have a range of Fender tones for not much $$$.

If you want to go more upscale, then do the real thing: Tech21 SansAmp or if you onboard reverb and cab sim(s) Strymon Iridium (costs quite a bit more though). But, all do a good impersonation of a Fender Twin.
 

mexicanyella

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@archetype and @PhredE ’s posts remind me that I also experienced interesting and useful sounds by cranking 90s SS Fenders a few times. Not sure it exactly nailed the frequency range interaction described in the OP, but the Princeton Chorus I plugged into once in a studio sounded pretty cool at high levels on its clean channel, chorus disengaged. And I owned an Acoustasonic Jr. (early version, spring reverb instead of digital FX) that acted similar for electric guitar if I unplugged the tweeter and removed it, creating a porthole between the two 8” speakers and making the sound looser in the lows.
(Unlike the Princeton Chorus, the Acoustasonic Jr. had a sealed closed-back cabinet.)

In both cases the preamp seemed to stay pretty clean as you wound it up, and there was a happy zone right where the speakers were on the verge of breakup. It was pretty loud, but nothing like a cranked Twin would be. Seemed like the “magic interaction” involved figuring out increasing amounts of low end rolloff and mid boosting as you turned it up farther.

The Acoustasonic Jr. had the added feature of a sweepable frequency notch, intended to find and kill feedback in acoustic instruments. But with electric guitar, I found it to be a useful tone-shaping tool at higher volumes, and usually had it swept to somewhere in the lower mids, with the actual mids knob up pretty high.

In both cases I used a compressor pedal in front of the amp, not set to “squash” or anything but it provided a way to dial in some bloomy non-linearity in the response, with a little practice.

Either of those should be pretty cheap on the used market these days...but their construction is pretty light-duty, with plastic pot shafts and board-mounted pots. Carry carefully through doorways!
 

Zesty-feline

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So how about it, ZF? Got any shops near you that stock the Tonemaster series and will let you crank through them?

Not at my local, great idea though, be cool if they made a smaller version.


Was also curious to hear about a Twin cranked enough to hear any dirt! (are you ears ok?) That would be excruciatingly loud.

If you want to go more upscale, then do the real thing: Tech21 SansAmp or if you onboard reverb and cab sim(s) Strymon Iridium (costs quite a bit more though). But, all do a good impersonation of a Fender Twin.

I know some of you may not quite understand this but I don't do pedals, I plug straight in and crank it loud, it's just what I do.

Although it was loud and it's not something I'd do regularly for the sake of my ears, suprisingly it wasn't actually too ridiculous, the db diminishing return factor is real and smaller amps are louder for their size than it seems.

Nearly any Fender SS amp from the Frontman/FM/Champion 25 upward is worth a try for the tone you want. The older Mustang III might be the closest to the tone in your head. I can't speak to the newer Mustangs.

Yeah the old frontman and champ 25's are definantly on the list, will be keeping an eye out on the local classifieds.
 

mexicanyella

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I’ve never played through an actual Roland JC-anything, but if Line 6, Behringer and the BandLab app have their JC emulations anywhere close to accurate, I think the smaller amps in the Jazz Chorus lineup might be worth trying. People say the JC distortion channel is pretty yuck, but playing around with (abusing) modeled JC “clean” sounds with the gain up, lows down, mids and highs up sounds pretty cool to me, and some of those smaller JC amps look pretty slick. No one carries them around me though.
 

Chiogtr4x

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On the frontman 25r what's the gain like at lower levels, does it still have an old school Fender voicing?

Love the concept of the "GAIN volume" control on those units.

I happen to think the 'distortion channel' of the Frontman sounds more like kicking on a distortion pedal ( say a Rat or DS-1 maybe ?) than a cranked Fender amp.
But it is not a bad sound ( Gain at 2-3 is fine for me) but it is a driven/saturated distortion.

So I will indeed kick that channel on when I want that sound,
but I prefer a milder breakup of using either Joyo Sweet Baby OD or a Caline Orange Burst ( both are cheap clones, but I dig them) into the Frontman clean channel- just leave either ON, and roll from 'pretty clean' to 'kind of dirty' ( Ha!) with my guitar Volume knob. Actually pretty dynamic for a SS rig!

This is something I started doing with an always ON Blues Driver into my Blues Jr. (now my 'big' amp) many years ago,, as it sounded good to me, and more natural than kicking on a dirt pedal.
So I just do the same thing with my little amps+OD pedals; follow my ear

* gotta say putting the better speaker into the Frontman made a big difference- preserved Clean Fender sparkle, yet added some midrange punch. So clean, or dirty, things just sound fuller
 

yegbert

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I happen to think the 'distortion channel' of the Frontman sounds more like kicking on a distortion pedal ( say a Rat or DS-1 maybe ?) than a cranked Fender amp.
But it is not a bad sound ( Gain at 2-3 is fine for me) but it is a driven/saturated distortion.

So I will indeed kick that channel on when I want that sound,
but I prefer a milder breakup of using either Joyo Sweet Baby OD or a Caline Orange Burst ( both are cheap clones, but I dig them) into the Frontman clean channel- just leave either ON, and roll from 'pretty clean' to 'kind of dirty' ( Ha!) with my guitar Volume knob. Actually pretty dynamic for a SS rig!

This is something I started doing with an always ON Blues Driver into my Blues Jr. (now my 'big' amp) many years ago,, as it sounded good to me, and more natural than kicking on a dirt pedal.
So I just do the same thing with my little amps+OD pedals; follow my ear

* gotta say putting the better speaker into the Frontman made a big difference- preserved Clean Fender sparkle, yet added some midrange punch. So clean, or dirty, things just sound fuller
I fingerpick one of my teles, usually at low volumes in my basement. I don’t want distortion, so I set the gain low like this:
DE3D272E-44FF-47BD-B463-2DA5EC0A657C.jpeg

That small amount of gain (almost 3), combined with the tone controls, gives me the tone I like. I fine the non-drive to have too much bass.
I have a homemade cabinet for it with a 15” AlNiCo salvaged from an old stereo cabinet, but a friend of mine has it right now doing some finishing of it. It had a 12” in this pic.
AFDEE70E-87F9-4A7D-9F34-2DB6908A68E5.jpeg
 

archetype

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I don’t know what a Fender Mustang III models, but here is a photo of my very idle Mustang I.

View attachment 891814

An MIII does a pretty decent modeling of a Twin Reverb. It can't physically replicate the two 12" speakers in the larger cabinet, so that amount of air in motion and the "space" the larger cab brings to the tone aren't there. It does ok, though. If I gigged, I wouldn't hesitate to do it with an MIII after dialinig in the Twin tone I liked.
 

Drew617

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@archetype and @PhredE ’s posts remind me that I also experienced interesting and useful sounds by cranking 90s SS Fenders a few times.

Either of those should be pretty cheap on the used market these days...but their construction is pretty light-duty, with plastic pot shafts and board-mounted pots. Carry carefully through doorways!

I really like* the Princeton 112/Plus, owned a few over a couple decades, and suspect that's real similar to the Princeton 65, Chorus, Champ 110, etc. where it counts.

Like* = good, big, loud Fender cleans and reverb sounds, though they're all SS. They don't get hairy though, and the drive channel sucks.

Something does feel off though. TR overdrive can be glorious but IME you don't really get into it until 6-7-8 on the dial, and at that point should really be melting paint from the walls and should be experiencing discomfort, unless outdoors. In any case I'm not sure how possible it is to replicate those harmonics and so on in a little SS amp. If cranked, much of that might be coming off the TR's speakers.
 

Zesty-feline

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Something does feel off though. TR overdrive can be glorious but IME you don't really get into it until 6-7-8 on the dial, and at that point should really be melting paint from the walls and should be experiencing discomfort, unless outdoors. In any case I'm not sure how possible it is to replicate those harmonics and so on in a little SS amp. If cranked, much of that might be coming off the TR's speakers.


You know what - my memory isn't clear as this was likely over a year ago but it must have been a silverface deluxe, the 22 watt with 1x12" speaker, I was wondering why it didn't seem so loud this whole time, plus the deluxe has more grind right?

It definantly was cranked though, 10, 10, 10, 10 all the way.
 




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