I thought it would be fun to post this for discussion: As is well known, not all "Fender" amps -- even from the pre-CBS "golden age," sound alike. Not even close. And I think we all know that Leo Fender, like most others in his age but perhaps to an even greater extent with him, was looking for clean, undistorted sound. As Ian Port states in his magnificent book, The Birth of Loud, "Leo's versions, played through his own amplifiers, emitted his ideal tone: heavy treble, heavy bass, light midrange to keep from getting muddy. It was a sound like 'lemonade,' he'd later explain -- clear, bright, and punchy" (Birth of Sound, p. 19, with the "lemonade" quote coming from Richard Smith, Fender, 65). I've grown to understand that I am partial to that sound myself, though a perusal of various celebrity opinions on the "best Fender amplifier" at the end of Tom Wheeler's The Soul of Tone (ch. 20, pp. 479-87) suggests that popular opinion largely went the opposite direction, with some notable exceptions. It seems to me that Fender succeeded in each major phase of his production and design at achieving his goals. For purposes of discussion, I'll divide these into three: (1) Tweed (2) Blonde and Brown (3) Blackface (and Silverface, though this was largely under the direction of the CBS engineers) TWEED I think that the amp that comes closest to capturing the "lemonade" sound in this area is the 5f4 Tweed Super, which was purported to be Leo's favorite. Are there other contenders here? BLONDE/BROWN This one is harder, and it's where I'm hoping that discussion can help sort things out. The Blonde and Brown amps seem to have retained a great deal of harmonic content in their design, but perhaps there are some that push closer to the "blackface" thing. I do not have experience with many of these, so perhaps others can chime in here. But I'm pretty sure we're going to need 6L6 tubes, a solid-state, GZ34, or 5U4, and their accompanying higher voltages. I'll take a guess and say it's the 6G14-A Blonde Showman or the 6G13-A Brown Vibrasonic, which was intended for steel guitar. These both commonly sported 15" JBL's, and I have indeed heard Dick Dale in person, producing massive amounts of clear, ear-bleeding, undistorted treble and bass with these. BLACKFACE/SILVERFACE I think this era is the easiest to pick out, in terms of which amp is the "lemonade": Twin Reverb. I might even go so far as to say that the development of the Ultralinear amps in the CBS era (UL transformers introduced in 1977), while not strictly under Leo's design supervision, may still best represent his ideal. How about an ultralinear Twin Reverb with 2 JBL's.? Personally, the Brown amps I've heard often have too much harmonic content for my tastes. I know that this is precisely what others like about those amps. I find myself reaching for guitars that tend to have less harmonic content (like springy, squeaky-clean Strats) when I play those amps, and I find that the cleaner "blackface" tone of the bigger BF amps work really well with pickups with more midrange and harmonic content, like P-90's or humbuckers. I like a nice, clean base, because I can always add harmonic content with a pedal or by turning up the amp's midrange or the like, but one can't really take it away once it's there in the circuitry of the amp. It's taken me a while to come to this realization, and I've had to hear these things for myself to figure it out -- largely by building several amps and playing them over time. In each era, it seems to me that the amps that are going to embody Leo's ideal best are those with 6L6's, solid state or GZ34 rectifiers and their accompanying higher voltages, and with extraordinarily efficient "hi-fi" speakers like JBL's. So here are the questions for discussion: (1) In your opinion, which amps of each era best embody Leo's ideal "lemonade" sound? (2) What are your favorite amps of each era, and why? (3) And, for a sillier question: How do you relate to "harmonic content"? Cheers!