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

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by beyer160, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    Memphis TN
    I've had several late 70s Deluxe Reverb amps, and they all sounded great IMO. For comparison I have also owned a 66 BF and an original drip edge SF DR which was the most trouble prone of all of the DR's that I have owned.

    If anything the later SF DRs to me had much more clean headroom.
    TDPRI member Silverface has posted here in the past about doing a shootout where they directly compared BF / SF and late SF Deluxe Reverbs. As I recall he said that he and his buddies agreed that the amps all sounded pretty much the same.

    Just don't use the pull boost, it sounds bad, but can be rewired to be a mid boost.

    Yes the baffle board is glued in, and the cabinets are probably not as durable as the older SF / BF amps, and they can be heavier, but all of the mid 70s on Fender amps I've owned were still in good structural condition, and some had been abused, they all sounded good.

    As far as wiring, look at the inside of some of the next generation Rivera era hand wired amps, spaghetti for sure, but they sound good too.

    Wax and plastic coated wired don't really affect the tone IME , that's a cosmetic thing and it's inside the amp.
    tubelectron likes this.
  2. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Holic

    Nov 25, 2010
    If still everybody would thought like you about the SF today, it would be great because the prices of SF amps would stay wise. :):):)

    Unfortunately more and more people are interested by those poor Silverface amps, and consequently the prices are rising... Too bad ! :(:(:(

  3. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Jun 24, 2004
    Anderson, IN
    I have a 1980 Fender 75 with a 15" speaker. Okay, I'll give you that it isn't a pre-CBS Deluxe Reverb, but it's a darned great amp, with a usable low power switch that takes it down to about 15 watts RMS. I don't care that the cabinet isn't pine, or that the speaker isn't an Alnico bluebell Jensen. I have about $300.00 in it, and it makes the construction of the Fender Reissues (not Custom Shop), with chassis mount tubes and plastic housing jacks soldered directly to the PCB, look positively cheesy. This 1980 Fender amp rocks!
  4. buddyboy

    buddyboy Tele-Meister

    Mar 21, 2003
    Melville, Long Island, NY
    Well they should "stay wise", because they typically don't sound as good (by a good margin) as a nice BF amp. That was my point. If you like your SF amp - good for you. They sound like a Fender, no doubt, but that era was not at the pinnacle of the company's amp building time. It was known at the time (hence, the rise of Music Man, Boogie's to some degree, etc.) and the song remains the same today. It was a time of cost-cutting, crappy speakers, bad wiring and ****ty cabs. But, if you like them, rock on. 45 years onward, they have taken on a certain sheen I guess.
  5. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    I've got two Twin Reverbs a 1965 and a 1976. I play the 76 all the time, I just like the way it sounds.
    I agree with Muchxs on preferring the way blackfaces are put together though. Just neater, with wire that doesn't melt when you look at it. And WOW wax must've been free in the '70s! In the '60s there was only free love and thankfully Leo didn't spend money on wax.
    But the SF amps are still well built, hand wired and pretty easy to work on.
    A confession here. When I do the bypass caps on the boards in a wax covered SF. I short cut it by clipping the leads close to the White Mallorys, putting a loop in and soldering the new cap in the loop. Keeps me from soldering in that damned wax.
    For the bias mod I add a trim pot, right on the balance pot. Takes a minute and again keeps me from soldering on the board. Like when you convert the phase inverter to blackface style.
    (Wish I would've thought of that ! But someone here, smarter than me turned me on to it.)
    Honestly if the BF style cabs sound better I can't hear it. If your SF cab is busted though just build the new one BF style, with pine. The ones I have are still in good shape on the SFTR and SFSR.
    I also tend to prefer later SFs over the early ones. You don't get dog turd caps that way or pay a premium because it's got a left over BF era tube chart. (A drip edge with actual BF guys is another matter.)
    Just don't pay blackface money for a silverface. ::)
    buddyboy and corliss1 like this.
  6. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 14, 2004
    New England
    Spaghetti sounds good by serendipity. Most high end amp builders know the most minimalist signal path sounds better. It tends to make the amp feel more responsive. Less wire reduces hum, noise and crosstalk.

    It's a service thing. The boards are parrafin coated after '75 or so. The wax makes it more difficult to do clean solder joints. The soldering iron melts the wax and you need to fight to keep the wax out of the solder.

    The plastic insulated wire is invariably sloppy and in the way. One touch with a soldering iron leaves a burn in the insulation. '70s Fenders often have multiple burns in the insulation especially in the filament string. Again, it's right in the way.

    The '60s Fenders are better built.

    "Don't see it, don't care." indicates an acceptance of sloppiness.
    BobbyZ likes this.
  7. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    Kinda like 60s cars vs 70s cars. Open the hood on a 60s car and you see maybe one vacuum hose for the advance, maybe one for the brake booster and one for the PVC in the later 60s.
    Open the hood on a 70s car and there's vacuum hoses going every darn place, things were sloppy as heck. Trying to meet emissions without paying Bosch for the electronic fuel injection, they bought from Bendix will get messy.
    But underneath it all the working parts are the same. Ok the compression was lower and they lacked power. But they were still the same simple motors any high school kid could work on.
    Same thing with Fenders. Once you weed through the mess they work pretty much the same.
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