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I don't like Fender Blackface Amps!

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by 2HBStrat, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Afflicted

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    Fender blackface amps were too expensive when I was getting started playing...then, by the time I did have some money, Marshall amps were the thing, so I got a Marshall half stack. Then the Marshalls were too big to carry around so I picked up a mid-80's Rivera designed Fender Twin Reverb II and really liked it...used it for years...still have it.

    Fast forward to now. I've been able to acquire a few blackface Fender amps, and very excited about it, but...I don't like the way they sound...none of them. I still like my Rivera designed Twin so I know it's not my ears...also, I have a friend, a Marshall fan, who told me he never liked Fender amps so I know I'm not totally alone.

    So, my questions:

    1. Does anyone else here not like old blackface Fenders?

    2. Does Fender, or anyone else, make amps like the old Fender Tweeds, which I hear are quite different from blackface Fenders?

    3. Are there any good sources for information about the differences between the Fender Tweeds and Fender Blackface amps?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Fwiw, the Rivera era TRII you have has its basis in the BF circuit. How do you run the amp?
    What BF amps have you acquired? If they are vintage BF amps, have they been properly serviced? What is the biasing like? What do you not like about them?
    yes, tweed amps are very different from the BF amps. FYI, the first Marshall was a direct clone of the 5F6A Bassman amp.....direct clone. All of those old Marshalls you like were descendants of that tweed Bassman.
     
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  3. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Question 3......There are thousands (well, maybe) of places (use Google) that discuss Tweed vs. Blackface.
    Question 2.....Lots of guys make old "tweed"-style amps, both from kits and from scratch. Fender even has some "reissues", although I can't attest to how accurate they are. Again, check Google, Ebay, Reverb, etc.
    Question 1.....I LOVE old Blackface Fenders. Big ones, little ones, virtually all of them. Probably has something to do with when I first started hearing and playing electric guitar. (early '60's) That sound is embedded in my DNA.....it's my "Platinum" standard.
    Good luck in your quest! ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  4. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

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    starting to think from all the recording been doing lately..its becoming speaker derived..have bunch of amps ..yes they do dif things..but usually been about what speaker am are we mic'ing, for where in the mix to

    when i use fender into jensen..very fendery..use fender in to webers-celestion the mids start to come out

    what Wally was saying above..made my jtm45, fender power & 6l6..it's a very angry mid present bassman...if i run it through the jensens its fendery through the celestions..mid punch...fav recording thing..fender for rhythm & marshall on top for leads..pretty natural fit all on top a p bass
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I feel like I’ve traveled back in time!

    1) yes I don’t like BF Fenders.

    2) yes Marshall makes amps based on tweed Fenders

    3) the internet!

    Bonus answer I tried to like BF Fenders for decades before somebody explained that they have a mid scooped eq where Tweeds and Marshall’s have a mid hump eq. I guess I learned the first Marshall was an exact copy of the last Tweed in the mid ‘80s?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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  6. pugnax

    pugnax Tele-Meister

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    I really like BF amps but if you’re used to a Marshall the mids are going to be weak and hard to dial in, and the general madness of the tone controls can make it hard to dial in the sound you’re expecting, imhe.

    This was super helpful for me in moving from a British amp to a BF Fender: https://www.guitarscience.net/tsc/fender.htm
     
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  7. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    We all prefer what we are familiar with when it comes to amps. If you grew up with Marshall, then that will be the sound you developed in your head....not ears, but head. It really shouldn't be a surprise that the BF amps are not impressing you since that is not "your" sound. I am that way with humbuckers....don't like them as I spent my years with single coils.

    We are all different and we all have our own unique tone pallet in our imaginations....don't expect yours to be the same as others.
     
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  8. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Afflicted

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    Very cool. Thank you! So, the what I call boxey sound of old Fender is because of low mids, whereas Marshall have a bump in the mids? Interesting.
     
  9. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    GOOD. That leaves more for me.

    I think they're pretty lovable when I get done modifying them.

    I generally dramatically broaden the range of available tones and do everything I can to achieve rock solid reliability.

    Fender has a bit of catchin' up to do to keep up with the rest of us.

    Kendrick started building replicas of vintage Fenders decades ago. Victoria is among the best these days. Of course Fender builds real Fenders if that's your bag.

    Victoria builds reproductions better than Fender builds reissues.

    The Fender Field Guide is pretty good.

    http://www.thevintagesound.com/ffg/

    Schematic Heaven shows you the different circuits if you know what you're lookin' at.

    https://schematicheaven.net/
     
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  10. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not a fan for my own use, but, man, I've heard some righteous music coming out of them when played by other folks!

    That's not to say that I can't use one.
     
  11. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    There's BF and BF. If you're diming everything then just about any of them will sound like ass.

    Can't run 'em like you'd run a Marshall.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  12. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    1. Does anyone else here not like old blackface Fenders?
    I love that sound but it's not the only sound I love.

    2. Does Fender, or anyone else, make amps like the old Fender Tweeds, which I hear are quite different from blackface Fenders?
    Yes. This question has been answered.

    3. Are there any good sources for information about the differences between the Fender Tweeds and Fender Blackface amps?
    I have heard of this recent fad called "The Google" or something. Might be worthless. Maybe you can try that....
     
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  13. pugnax

    pugnax Tele-Meister

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    There’s some info out there about the “magic six” setup, which sort of blew my mind and I don’t really understand it. This video does a pretty good job of getting the idea across, even if it is an axe model.



    I do 6/6/3/3 instead, and sometimes 6/6/4/4, but it really makes it slap.
     
  14. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Afflicted

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    Maybe you just need to turn them up a little more?
     
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  15. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    I'm with you -- mainly. My natural sound is somewhere around an AC15. I've got a beautiful Princeton Reverb and it's great and everything but for me to use it all night, I have to put a pedal in front of it. Fortunately, every pedal ever made sounds great in front of that amp, as near as I can tell. But just the naked amp feels kind of hard & stiff-playing to me, right up until it turns to mush.
     
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  16. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    One of my amps is an early 80s Rivera Fender Super Champ. In normal mode it sounds very blackface/silverface with a scooped midrange. This sounds really wonderful for clean tones.
    Also works well with humbuckers to make them sound clearer. But the treble knob on this amp can be pulled out for a mid-boost. I don't know if this is accurate, but to me it sounds more
    like what would be considered a "tweed" circuit with the mid boost engaged. This works great for dirty blues tones, or thickening up the sound if it seems to thin/trebly.

    I've used other amps. Used to have a JCM800, also have an Orange, also have a couple of other Fender tube amps including a really great Super Reverb. I've never expected my Fenders
    to sound like heavier gain amps like my Marshall or Orange (not without some help, anyway).

    My thoughts are 1) you need to adjust the controls very differently, 2) for any amp you play you will get the best results if you try to coax the sounds out of it that are the amp's strong
    suit, and 3) using a blackface Fender as a "clean pedal platform" can get you very close to the sound of almost any other amp if you put the right pedal in front of it. But when you turn the
    pedal off then you are back to a perfect amp for making a beautiful, clean tone. Some guys are very happy with the cleans you can get out of Marshall, Orange, HiWatt,etc., but most would
    agree that it is not quite as sparkly/crystal clear as iconic Fender clean, although those other cleans can be quite nice, too.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    In my 1980s ignorant struggle to get sounds I liked I was a shade tree gear mechanic collecting old parts and mixing them up to make chili.

    While IMO the amp is the sound, it’s more correct to say the sound recipe is a combo of pickups, guitar settings, amp and speakers.

    Middy pickups into a middy amp into middy speakers is too middy for me, while I can work with one component that more scooped if the other components are more middy.

    I hear old Super Reverb with old middy CTS alnico speakers as a fatter more middy Marshally sound than say a BFTR into ceramic Jensen’s.
    Also when you turn up a super reverb to ten it loses bass and treble because that what tubes typically do when running beyond their normal operating range.
    Then some old speakers lose the ability to produce lows and highs so sound more middy than when new.
    Really the only BF Fender amps I really liked were Super Reverbs and I’ve had four of them.

    Also there were 6L6 power tubes from the BF era that had a bit less bass and treble than the last development of the 6lL6 Fender and others requested called STR415 which moved almost toward a 6550 in output and headroom.
    This is less of a factor unless that’s what the amps you compare have.
     
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  18. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    1. Eh... I have moved, tonally, backwards in time as I've gotten older and spent more time playing. I had a Mesa Mk IV for a long time, switched to a few BF amps, Deluxe Reverb, Vibrolux Reverb, Bassman 50. I liked all of my BF amps. They sounded good. But, eventually I moved along. I had and still have a '63 Vibroverb Ri, the brownface one. But, when is settled into the tweeds, I really found my voice. These days, it's pretty much all I play... and original '58 Twin is #1. A '59 Bassman Ri is #2nd my Cox Ultimate 5e3 is the grab and go rig.

    2. Everybody and their brother makes tweed style amps. A lot of variety in quality, size, accuracy... It's big ocean of amps out there today!

    3. Funny, I was looking up a day for someone the other day, by looking back at my old threads. 12 years ago I asked for the definition of tweed amps. I got several quick, honest and straight forward answers. So, I'm gonna say, do a little search here at TDPRi and you're bound to find the answer to just about any question! LOL


    A funny little anecdote, I bought my first Marshall a while ago, one of the new Origin 20 combos. Love the little thing, mostly because it does the JTM45 thing decently. But, I've been practicing with some new guys, and they have a practice space in the drummer's house. They have it all set up with PA, drums and several amps. Big f'ing Marshalls with half stacks. I am not sure what the one the drummer owns that I've played through, but the other guitar player has a JCM2000. I need to spend some time tomorrow tweaking the drummer's amp... Because I really wasn't impressed with it the first time I played through it. Very gritty and too bright and brittle sounding to me. I took my Twin to practice last week and I loved it... It sure kept up easily, too.

    My bassman and Twin are the circuit Marshall used to create the JTM45. So, these later Marshalls are descendants of sorts.. But, they have all the extra gain stuff and modern sound. Not sure I'll be able to bond with them, but I can put up with anything for band practice.
     
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  19. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    http://fenderguru.com/amps

    You'll also find discussion surrounding preamp "tube rolling" ... substituting tubes of different values to achieve more, or less, of whatever it might be that one wants more, or less, of.
     
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  20. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Afflicted

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    I love Rivera amps. I had a Twin Reverb II, and I now play a Rivera Clubster 25. Paul knows his stuff!!
     
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