Early '80s, last of the silverface Deluxe Reverbs?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by beyer160, Oct 12, 2019 at 10:52 PM.

  1. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    I have a line on an early '80s Deluxe Reverb- not a Deluxe Reverb II, but the final version of the original Deluxe Reverb. According to Rob Robinette, the final circuit revision was in 1977 and even that wasn't much changed from the 1970 version- the Deluxes never got the "Ultra Linear" treatment that plagued the big amps.

    My question is, how well made were those early '80s amps compared to the earlier '70s silverfaces? Fender was basically circling the bowl by the late '70s, and the guitars of that period were, on average, not of the same quality as the ones a decade earlier. I know that Fender started introducing snubber caps in the '70s to allow sloppier construction, by the end of the run were these amps basket cases or do they hold their own against the earlier silverfaces?
     
  2. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    They're fine. The major changes are the cabinet construction where the baffle is dadoed in instead of screwed. If you don't like the snubber caps and more minor changes, any of that can be changed out or blackfaced without butchering things too bad.
     
  3. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

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    My understanding is that the amps retained more quality than the guitars. And most of the guitars are pretty good


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Leave the pullboost unpulled it's a SF Deluxe.

    If it's quiet it's good. An amp that lasts forty years must be OK.

    I have an 83 Superchamp which is one of the last amps made in the original Fullerton plant. It's a tank with only electros and tubes changed. Lovely little amp. My main gigging amp.
     
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  5. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    I have a '79 Twin that has held its own to my '69 Twin. With the exception of cab construction beneath that tolex, I don't feel there is all that much difference once the '79 was put back to blackface. Like was already said, I think the guitars suffered more than the amps did during those years. A poorly built guitar hurts your image, but a poorly built amp gets people hurt....and the company sued. I don't think they would have set themselves up for that potential.
     
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  6. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Meister

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    I have a 1980s Princeton Reverb. The main difference compared to older Silverfaces is the cabinet built. That’s all. Same circuit, same gorgeous tone.
     
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  7. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Same valves/tubes and rectifier valve /tube - just a better wiring, and 12" speaker. Buy it.
    I have a 65 Blackface Princeton which I will soon sell ( I have a Boss Katana spare) and will upgrade to a Deluxe RRI, only because the originals cost 2-3 Thousand $$s here. So I'd buy it, I wouldn't even blink.
     
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  8. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Meister

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    I bought SF Fenders when they were underestimated against the BF ones :

    [​IMG]

    Only one is sold now : the Champ. The TR, DR, PR are still with me and I won't part with them...

    One day maybe I'll have a Pro-Reverb, a Super-Reverb, a Vibrosonic-Reverb, a... One day maybe... :rolleyes:

    -tbln
     
  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The cabinet of those 1980-1981 BF amps is identical to the cab of the Sf amps from late 1970 on since the cabinet changes took place in late 1970 or early 1971. Those amps built in 1980-1981 are identical to a 1979 amp but for the cosmetics.....the black face plate and grille cloth.
     
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  10. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's

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    There is an ‘80 Vibrolux for sale at a shop that I frequent in very nice shape for $1000.
     
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  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    There is a bargain if it is ‘correct’!!!,
     
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  12. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Late '70s Fenders are "fine" if you never look inside a 1960s Fender or even better, if you never need to look inside.

    They look like they were wired by trained rats. They have big loop dee loos of plastic insulated wire. The insulation has approximately the same melting point as chocolate.

    See above.

    Late '70s Fender guitars are "pretty good" if you like thick poly finishes and ponderous weight. It's like playing a set with a cinderblock hanging off your strap.

    There was an Urban Legend in circulation in the 1960s, "Heavy guitars sustain better."

    Don't tell that to Uncle Ted and his Byrdlands.

    Some of the late, late '70s cabinets are made of beaverboard, the same flakeboard crap the baffles were made of since the 1960s.

    If you have a split open corner poke at it a bit. See what kind of material is underneath.

    Another post- '71 horrorshow:

    Fender switched from finger joints to rabbeted joints. The bigger the amp, the easier it is to bust the joints.

    "Tolex splits" are common on Fender's lager amps such as the Twin Reverb or Super Reverb. They're not really tolex splits. The split tolex is a symptom of a busted cabinet.

    Whack a '79 (or so) Deluxe cabinet hard enough, it will break, too.
     
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  13. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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  14. buddyboy

    buddyboy Tele-Meister

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    I'm not trying to flame anyone, but I agree with what Muchxs posted above. The SF amps aren't bad, but I never thought they sounded as good as a BF version of the same amp. The cab construction changes, baffle changes, speakers, and pretty bad wiring work, coupled with all the circuit changes that took place, did change the tone of the amps, and for the worse, IMHO. SF amps always sound softer to me, a little more bloated or tubbier in the bass, and with much less detail and harmonics on the top end of the tone compared to a good BF amp. I get the attraction to them from a cost-perspective and they sound ok, but, if you have the dough, I think a good BF amp is a better buy and a better sounding amp.
     
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  15. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    lets a/b..anybody got the so called holy grail..i will pay for the video to be done..speakers cure that flub..my super retains fender clean & taps into brit mid cut if needed...lets compare ..not old ears..fond memories..real live you bring yours..i bring mine..hell i will even throw the Super reverb reissue in the mix...with mismatched tubes & dented chassis.....if anything the BF flub with the jensens more than any amp on the planet due to user error..BF & SF are both great amps..used in context are excellent at their jobs
     
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  16. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    All the comparison talk really shouldn't prevent the OP from buying that amp. The whole problem with the internet is that if gets bloated with opinions and the only one that matters is that of the buyer / owner since it is their money. Cabinet construction is weaker than the Fender glory days, but people aren't dragging them around the country playing bar gigs like they used to in the '60's either. Most amps spend their new life in the corner of a room 70% of the time and they get transported far better than they did in '60's as well. Clean wiring is certainly better as well in the Blackface era, but that really matters to those that work on the amps, doesn't mean anything to somebody who just plays them. Hell, the vintage Gibson amps all had a rat's nest of wiring yet that has never stopped people from buying them.

    To my ears, the Silverface era amps are not as loud as a Blackface and require a little dial adjustment to match it up, but the tone still sounds very good and with the right speaker, just as good or better. You are not just comparing the wiring between the two, each era has different quality of speakers and tubes for that matter so they are not a dead on match to begin with.

    If you grew up playing BF, a SF probably will sound worse (different anyway), but for those that never did, that SF amp will sound excellent. The fact that you can get a SF so much cheaper than a BF makes them a great deal.
     
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  17. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for all the comments/discussion. Here's a little more background info.

    From the pictures, the amp looks pretty clean. It's got recent filter caps, but the speaker has been replaced with a modern C12K, and it has a Weber PT. It's priced about 20% higher than a used DRRI.

    I actually have a DRRI, and it sounds great. Why do I want a '70s SF then? My day job is in the live production field, and I'm a stickler for building systems with serviceability in mind. I assume that eventually something will break, and we need to be able to repair it in the field as quickly and easily as possible. I'm also a hobbyist amp tinkerer, and those two things combine to form a strong dislike of modern PCB based amps- the DRRI is my only tube amp newer than the mid-'70s. Every time I play the DRRI, I think "man, one day I'm gonna have to gut this thing to fix it, and that's gonna suck." Is that an insane reason to want to punt a perfectly functional amp for one that's 30 years older and costs more? Maybe, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

    The next logical thought though, is "Silverface Deluxes are cool, but what'd be REALLY cool is a 'boutique' Deluxe Reverb clone that's built like the '60s Blackfaces but costs less." I've seen used DR clones in the $1K ballpark, which is a little more than the amp I'm looking at now. Decisions, decisions...
     
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  18. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    At a good price buy it. There's not much difference really. I can't remember if by the 80's they were making the chassis with the built in chassis bolt nuts but that would be a PLUS!
    I love the BF and have two, but frankly, you can build a Deluxe clone and it will sound just as good as a BF.
     
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  19. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's

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    A trusted shop.
     
  20. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sort of an apples to oranges comparison but I've been waiting for a PRRI to show up at a good price. My idea of a "good price" is cheap enough I can dump out the circuit board and re- wire it, my way.

    I got part of the way there. I picked up a PRRI cabinet because I figure I paid for the Copperhead that was in there.

    My PRRI chassis finally showed up, transformers intact, no circuit board, no sub board up front with the controls. If I was gonna (female canine) about anything the previous owner simply cut all the wires at the sockets. I've got the sockets mostly cleaned and detailed.

    I'm going to create my own tag board with the filter caps on the board. I've seen various conversions. I think I can do it better.

    There exists a certain offshore bootlegger of vintage Fender chassis products. The chassis kit costs around $200 shipped.

    A more authentic way to do it would be to keep your eyes open for a roached Deluxe Reverb chassis on eBay. There's a guy in Canada who seems to come into a lot of distressed Fender amps.

    I know how I'd do it if I could score on original chassis.

    I don't think a 1980 would suit me. I'd have to do something about that wavy wax covered tag board and all that grotty plastic wire.
     
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