Preservation of original tweed?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Telekarster, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Hey all! So... I'm seriously thinking about getting an early 50's Fender amp since I don't own a true vintage amp and I'm really wanting to get one as original as I can find, assuming I can afford it some day. I've looked at several online to get some sort of idea of what to expect in terms of cost vs. condition, and nearly all of them have fraid and "rough" original tweed, corners are bare wood, etc. etc. though largly intact in many cases.

    I'm curious to know if the fraying and roughness that I see on a lot of them can be repaired so it doesn't get any worse and/or... should new tweed be graphed to the worn or missing areas to aid in strenghening of the original tweed that's left? Or... should it not be touched at all? Not sure what's exceptable community practice for its preservation and/or value diminishment and curious what ya'll think. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice!
     
  2. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Meister

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    If you want a collector item, I would keep it as close to original as possible. A collector item is not meant to go on the road, so I think you could get away with the tweed being worn out. I guess you could still put some king of glue to prevent the tweed to unstick too much.

    If you want to gig with it, I would refinish it. Thus I would try to buy an amp that has already been altered in some way.

    Just my opinion though...
     
  3. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Thanks EsquireBoy, appriciate the thoughts. Actually, I mostly plan to just use it as a good ole' amp to play with at home and maybe recording with, not really to gig with... I'd just don't want the original stuff to continue to fray and get worse over time cause no doubt I'd have to move it around from time to time, and general handling of it etc. if you see what I mean... I certainly can't afford a museum piece or anything like that so... just a good old fender amp from the early 50's e.g. Pro, Deluxe, etc., used and banged up a bit, but not useless.
     
  4. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Meister

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    I get you perfectly and you are very welcome!
    I am sure other members will give you good advice on what is best to do with a vintage tweed like this.

    Personally, knowing the amp won’t be handled too much, I would keep the original tweed. I would only maybe spray a bit of lacquer on the unstuck parts to prevent more damage, and find a bag to protect the amp when moving it outside the house.
    And it will still be time later to think about restoring it completely if the tweed starts to completely fall apart.

    To sum it up: I would go the conservative way on this one!
     
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  5. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I am in the camp of ‘don’t do much if anything at all’. Also, I am in the camp of ‘don’t pay excellent and original’ Prices for things that are not excellent even if they are all original. Frayed tweed doesn’t bother me as much as say a replaced transformer or speaker, but frayed tweed does demand a mark down from ‘excellent’....depending on how bad it is, then it could be serious devaluation, imho.
    If I own an amp that shows that frayed tweed and I want to use it...take it to jams, performances, etc..., I might clip the frayed strand and do a very judicious and inconspicuous gluing to arrest further deterioration. If I want to sell it, I might leave it as is.....natural wear.
     
  6. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Afflicted

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    7A973CD2-597A-41BC-8048-8FA2683E6F3B.jpeg You can get a tweed replacement cab from builders like J Design for about $250 (depends on model) and then store the original. That way you can beat the hell out of it and not really hurt a thing.
    This is a cab made by Jeff for my ‘61 Brownface Pro, the original sits on a shelf well protected. The other advantage in my situation is that this cab was made for a 12” instead of a typical 15” Pro. It is also slightly smaller to make it lighter.
     
  7. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    You can't really repair tweed. Once the fibers are broken, it is what it is.

    As @Wally says, I like the if ti works, leave it alone. But, will also reinforce the idea fo a new cabinet if it really needs it. Then, just save the original.
     
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  8. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Thanks guys! Really appreciate your input! I'll bare all this in mind if/when I decide to throw down some skins and get an oldie ;)
     
  9. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    There's a reason they switched to tolex :D
     
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  10. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    If you find one, post back back with lots of pictures and you can probably get some good advice. If it's in good shape and some edges are lifting, Titebond makes a water soluble hide glue that I've used on tweed & tolex that works great for touch ups and no harsh chemicals.

    If it's been shellac'd through the years and there are some rough spots or furry edges, a fresh coat might seal everything in and make it smooth again without a "restoration".

    Or, if you find one that's been beat to hell and recovered with tolex or something through the years, you can save a bundle and get to enjoy the amp. I restored a '59 Deluxe cabinet and re-tweeded it a year or so ago, I think. That way you have a vintage amp, but you aren't afraid to leave it in the sun too long or let anyone touch it.

    As far as "patching" Tweed, I think it would be the worst option. The color, style, color tone, thickness, etc. would never match up. It would look like band aids on there. Glue or shellac to hold what's there, yes; patches, no. And if it's an amp you have to save for to get, I probably wouldn't recommend doing it yourself unless you're pretty handy already. There's a lot of "only one try" with some of this stuff.
     
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  11. Mayas caster

    Mayas caster Tele-Holic

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    The tweed can be replaced, but for me it kills the originality of the amp. There’s nothing more beautifull than old wornout tweed for my taste.
     

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  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another vote for A. Leave it like it is.....frayed tweed is the "battle scars" of a well played amp. or B. Buy a repro cabinet for everyday use, and store the original for future re-sale.
    Personally, I'd invest money in making sure the amp is in ideal PLAYING condition, (internally) and not worrying about appearance....I might even replace speaker with a modern one, to preserve the original. I'd play out with a ragged tweed amp in a heartbeat.
     
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  13. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Thanks nojazzhere! Yeah... after what everyone's suggesting, I'm thinking now of doing exactly that - leave it be and just handle w/ care ;) It's just for what I "might" be able to afford some day, the ones that are any where near my funding range the tweed is pretty ragged, so I was thinking of maybe just stopping the errosion so-to-speak, but now I'm thinking that I'll just sit it in a single place in the music room and leave it sit there, with the occasional packing it to a studio etc. gingerly of course ;)
     
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  14. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you DO find you're carrying it around more than you first thought, buy or build an Anvil-style crate for it. Adds a bunch to weight, but it's physically protected. Good luck! ;)
     
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  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Buy a road case.

    Be a steward.
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Haha you were posting this as I was typing.

    In '97 a Deluxe with ragged tweed came into a shop where I was guitar tech.
    I had some years before sold my '57 Deluxe that had no tweed and some kind of lacquer instead.
    The Deluxe at the shop was gone for a while then came back with new tweed.
    Decades of untweeding and retweeding has reduced the number of original tweed Tweeds.

    In 1975 when I bought my first bass at a popular local guitar shop, the owner really liked his Tweeds and the whole middle of the store housed his "collection". All were for sale I guess but I was there every Friday and I never saw anyone try one out.
    Seems back then nobody wanted amps that looked like Grandpas old suitcase.

    Buy a Tweed today and accept the responsibility of preserving it!

    I can relate to buying a repro cab and stuffing the original cab in a closet to preserve the tweed.
    Seems like a solution that embodies the problem, as it results in yet another original losing its tweed.
     
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  17. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Yep, I remember those days too and yes that's the delema I see in removing the guts of an original and putting the original tweed cab away for safe keeping - If something happened to me, who the heck would even know what it was? Probably get pitched into the rummage sale, or the dumpster, and guts and case separated forever. :( So... I'll probably keep her intact but just be careful with her, and get a nice case for her IF I ever have to move her from her home...
     
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  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Depending on which Tweed and what room it lives in, smaller ones can live on table tops so they aren't getting floor wear and dusty/ dirty conditions basement (etc) music rooms often have.
    Bigger Tweeds can live in the bottom of a road case on casters and the worn bottom corners are nicely preserved while the grille is also somewhat protected.

    I've actually gotten rid of many or most of my higher value vintage amps because I'm not feeling very stewardly these days.
    I do have a '74 Marshall 50w head on a '70 Marshall 1960b cab in my living room.
    Cab was stripped of tolex when I got it and had no grille cloth. Since then I gave it repro basketweave, and used to keep a piece of 1/4" plywood covering to lower portion of the spensive basketweave, since we had a house cat.
    No more cat so the grille cloth has had a chance to even out in color, where the upper got sun and the lower was in the dark.

    The head gets cleaner and cleaner as the years go by, as the still sort of affordable amps get used and worn.
    Mine was only $700 when I bought it 17 years ago.
    Going back further I've bought original but road worn Plexi Marshalls for $700.

    As prices go up the need to preserve them does as well.

    @charlie chitlin gigs an original Tweed or two, carefully.
    Can't argue with that, just not where I'm at right now.
     
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  19. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Back in the mid-sixties, when I first began playing electric, I (of course) knew NOTHING about amps. My first amp was an Alamo Capri (I think), then another Alamo, and then very quickly an "old" Fender Deluxe. Don't know what Deluxe it was, but I now know it was originally a tweed. (It was a three input, with two volumes and one tone knobs) Someone had completely ripped off the tweed, and recovered in "car upholstery"-style silver-gray vinyl, in kind of an embossed pattern. Needles to say, it was the ugliest amp on earth, but to me it was a FENDER! My dad and I took off that stuff, and then recovered in self adhesive shelf liner vinyl, in a wood-grain pattern. We had no idea what it SHOULD have been, and probably wouldn't have been able to do tweed even if we had known. As it turned out, it didn't have the clean headroom I wanted at the time, as well as what was probably microphonic tubes, and I wasn't very impressed. A good friend who played guitar urged me to get a Black Face Deluxe Reverb, but I was leery of anything "Deluxe", with only one speaker, so I got something I thought would be much better.....a Silvertone Twin Twelve. (;)) After that I got a BF Bassman, and really enjoyed the Fender "cleans".
    Thirty-five years or so later, I came (somewhat) full circle, and got a BF Deluxe Reverb. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd listened to my friend, and gotten the DR back then.....but like I said, I didn't know squat then. ;)
     
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  20. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Very, Very good tips there telemnemonics! I will certainly keep them in mind. Yeah... as I said in another post, it's amazing to me what this old stuff is going for these days. I remember a time when most of us youngsters back then "didn't want that old stuff..." LOL!!! If I had a time machine.... ;)
     
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