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Looking for a blackface style head

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Forum2003, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

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    Hey everyone,
    I’m looking for a blackface style amp head. I’m not a huge fan of combos for a number of reasons. I’m open to suggestions. Basically I’d like a twin/deluxe/super style in a head.
    The amp I’ve looked at most is the Victory V40H, but I can’t find anything online that isn’t affiliate marketing, and they aren’t sold near me to try in person.
    I’ve also looked at Mesa, Suhr, and others, and am looking for any first hand advice others have to help inform my decision.
     
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Howdy and welcome!
    The real thing (BF and SF) heads are still pretty common, around here anyway.
    I see Showman, Dual Showman, Dual Showman Reverbs, Bassman, Tremolux, and Bandmasters all over CL.
    I see em’ as cheap as $500.
    I never see them over $1000.
    Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.
    They are all incredibly dependable amps, when serviced properly.
    Good luck!
     
  3. Califiddler

    Califiddler Friend of Leo's

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    Check out David Allen's amps. I'm pretty sure that he offers every amp that he makes as a head or cab, at least the larger amps. I have an Allen Encore 2x10 combo and love it.
     
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  4. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

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    Allen or the real thing, lots of choices.

    Prosonic and Supersonic used too.

    Fender made a DRRI head too, right?
     
  5. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Welcome, Forum2003. You don’t say what power you want or what other aspects might be important...Reverb, trem, effects loop, etc.....
     
  6. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Two Rock gets very close, too. I use a Studio Pro 35 (discontinued since I got it last year and replaced with the Studio Signature) and it's very Fender-ish.

    - D
     
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  7. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the welcomes.

    One of my draws to the modern takes on this platform are a couple features:
    Effects loop
    Variable power

    if possible I’d love a spring reverb tank on board, although pedal reverb is getting pretty good these days. Same thing for trem.

    For context I currently own the following:
    Blues Deluxe reissue - tubes and speaker swapped
    Blackstar Solo 60
    Marshall 2525H
    Katana 100H mkii

    Both the Blues Deluxe and Blackstar are in the process of being sold. I’ve got a couple cabs (2x12 creamback, 2x12 V30 - both have modular back panel to adjust from open to closed back), and moving to a separate head and cab has allowed me a little more modular tone experience and saved my back. I rarely gig, although that will likely be changing in 2020, where I’ll be doing some gigging, and recording.

    The katana I use as a practice amp, DI interface, and conceivably could use as a power amp for another amp or preamp pedal. It’s great, just lacks a little special something you get from tubes. I know that sounds snobby, and it’s probably in my head, but I hear it.
     
  8. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I would definitely take a Two Rock for a spin. It sounds like they're right in line with the feature set you're looking for. My Studio Pro doesn't have power scaling, but a few amps in their line have that feature. Their reverb circuit is also really nice, with both send and return controls.

    I'm a bit of a blasphemer, because I use a Mooer GE 300 into the FX return of the amp. But the FX loops on these amps have their own master volume control, so I can dial back any harshness coming off the Mooer. Used in that way, the amp is a dead solid source of tube power.

    - D
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    -If you want reverb get a SF Bandmaster Reverb Head. Basically a Super Reverb head. ~$600-650
    -If you dont need Reverb or Tremelo get a Bassman head. Frankly I like the later Bassman 50 SF AB371 version the best for fairly loud playing. ~$400-500
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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  10. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the info, mapping the heads to the combos would be so much easier if they had a better naming convention.
     
  11. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

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    Checked out the Two-rock site. I’ve heard of them (Mayer), and saw that Joey Landreth uses one. Those are pretty killer tones! Price is a little limiting in that I’ll have to save a bit longer, but definitely a good option, thanks!
     
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  12. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

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    These look killer! I’ll add those to my comparison, thanks for the recommendation!
     
  13. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

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    The Fender DRRI head was only made for a couple years and I’ve had a hard time tracking one down. They seem to sell pretty quick on Reverb at a premium cost over the combo (one available as of this writing) I’m about a month or two out from purchasing (saving up the cash).
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  14. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Between 1964 and 1980,

    Fender never made a Princeton head.

    Fender never made a Deluxe or a Deluxe Reverb head.

    The Red Headed Stepchild of all Fender amps has got to to be the non- reverb Bandmaster. It was roughly the Concert chassis in '64. Concerts are scarce. Bandmasters are super common and therefore reasonably priced. I suggest a late '67- early '68 "drip edge". I believe Fender made more SF non- reverb Bandmasters in late '67 and '68 than any other amp.

    John Mayer likes 'em. Trey Anastasio likes 'em. H.A. Dumble liked to modify them.

    If I had to choose between a usually more expensive and usually more beat up Bassman head and a SF Bandmaster it's Bandmaster for me every time.

    If the "small" output transformer bothers you upgrade it and send the old one to me. I can put it to good use.

    The difference between a Super Reverb and a Bandmaster Reverb of the same year is the Bandmaster Reverb has a substantially smaller output transformer.

    Same as the Pro Reverb.


    Can't imagine why Tremolux heads are so costly.


    On the big end we get into Twin variants, the Showman, the Dual Showman, the Dual Showman Reverb, and for bass the Super Bassman, the Bassman 100 and the Bassman 135.


    I always though the Bassman 10 should have been a head.
     
  15. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

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    If going the vintage route, what’re some things to look out for to avoid a lemon? All I’ve read about vintage amps is they are amazing, but require upkeep. Being a novice in vintage gear, how do I avoid 50 years of mistakes?

    I’m assuming there’s no perfect answer, but any tips and tricks on shopping for vintage gear online would be great! I’m in Utah and we don’t have a whole lot of this kind of gear around to go try in person.
     
  16. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Vintage Fender amps need to be put into proper working order. That done, ime they are more reliable than newer production Fenders. people who do NOT have a vintage Fender put into proper working order are those who incur frequent ‘maintenance’ requirements, ime. They also do not have amps that sound as they should...and could.
    Your Requirement for an effects loop sort of eliminates vintage Fenders unless you found a Fender 75 type of amp and put it into a head cab. The power variability could be addressed best through a good attenuator. The really good attenuators also do re-amping.
    You did not address the power aspect except that you would like variable power?????
     
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  17. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    There really isn't any such thing as a lemon in a vintage Fender amp. Not unless it's broken, beat, bent and has bullet holes in it.

    It is possible to overpay for something that's been neglected, rode hard and put up wet.

    I can see a few paths towards what you want. They both go in the same general direction. They both start at roughly the same place.

    Frist thing is to become familiar with a particular amp. Especially become familiar with its selling price range.

    I'd take the low road. I'd buy an amp that has issues. I'd buy it below the low end of the price range for similar amps. After all it needs service. Parts. Tubes. Capacitors.

    I'd try to find one that has been messed with already. That way I wouldn't feel the slightest bit guilty about drilling a few extra holes for your FX loop.

    The other way (the high road) would be to track down something relatively pristine.

    If we're talking about Bandmasters there is a relatively narrow range between primo and junk, perhaps a $200 difference.

    "Primo" doesn't necessarily mean much and it certainly doesn't mean much to me. There are a lot of so- called "primo" amps out there that have 50 year old filter caps. There are a lot of amps that have supposedly been looked at. I don't care who looked at it until -I- look at it.


    The next watering hole on the trail is @Wally down in Texas. If you go the used amp route send it over to Wally's Amp Spa for a facial and a massage.
     
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  18. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

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    For the effects loop and power variability those are things I’d like but aren’t dealbreakers. They can be added through a Fryette PowerStation, Bose Tube Amp Expander, and a number of other options.

    As far as the power I’m looking for, I haven’t settled in on exactly what I would like. My experience is the volume doesn’t matter, rather the headroom. This is actually the driver for the power variability. I think I’d be happiest with something in the 40-60 watt range because of the headroom, but I have also played with amps that even at 20 watts were hard to get to breakup. I think it’s very dependent on the amp, and if like to research once I have some good ideas in direction. So all that in consideration I would like something that I can pace with a drummer and stay clean, but don’t struggle to push to breakup. I’m not playing anywhere ‘large’, so 100 watt monsters are just unnecessary, and with most venues having some sort of front of house to deliver sound, skewing lower is fine, but I’m relatively open.
     
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  19. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    SF Bandmaster Reverb with upgrade transformer is my suggestion. They are a real sleeper of an amp if you must have onboard reverb.

    If the reverb isn't mandatory, then a Blackface Bassman or Showman would make sense.
     
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  20. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I don't quite understand your "need" - nor most of the responses.

    You basically covered a HUGE range of possible applications without any detail. Sinc tube amps generally sound best when run near the top of their headroom with your guitar controls backed off around 15% (so you have some guitar control to get a little more clean volume for leads, and slide into mild saturation as well - without pedals.) it takes multiple amps to optimize your tone in various venues.

    POWER does not equal output OR headroom. The specific design of the amp and speaker sensitivity are far more critical. Example - a good vintage AC30 Top Boost is nearly as loud and has almost the headroom of a Twin Reverb. So forget buying based on wattage. It will foul you up. You have to go deeper into the type of amp and the speaker types, count, and cabinet type.

    A Twin might work outdoors or in a huge auditorium, but would be "too much amp" and sound weak and thin in a small club. I haven't seen one (or anything with similar output) used in about 15 years except big Bogners, Soldanos, Mesas etc in metal situations and by touring pros in large venues.

    A Super is a good medium/large club amp, but on the edge of too much output and dispersion for the average size club gig. And many clubs nowadays have sound systems , mic the amps, and use SPL meters to read and regulate the volume level. You do NOT want to own a good tube amp - and then have to run it at minimal volume and try to (unsuccessfully) rely on pedals to try to "save" your tone!

    A Deluxe is great in most situations and if mic'd works anywhere except tiny clubs, where Champ or other low-output amp works best.

    So it boils down to this:

    1. What size/types of venues do you play? Ceiling heights, room shapes (which makes a huge difference - 4 parallel hard walls lowers your output need, usually )raised stage or floor, crowd size, listeners or bar-type atmosphere, are amps mic'd? etc etc - as much detail as possible really helps us help you.

    2. What style(s) of music do you play? How large/loud is the band? Does the drummer have good control or is he hammer-fisted? What gear is in use by the OTHER players? You don't want to bury them - or get buried. Do you need to play clean and/or distorted leads?

    3. And don't forget, you'll always ned to have a backup amp with you - preferably something with slightly higher output just in case you misjudged.

    Honestly, I don't see how any recommendation could hve been made based on your OP except for ?mu favorite amp os" type posts - because nobody...unless they know you personally - had any idea what you were playing or where.

    And finally - were you actually trying to say you need all THREE levels of output? If so, details are even more important.

    I hope that makes some sense.
     
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