Should I pull the trigger on an early 70s Super reverb?

Boreas

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Posts
9,143
Age
67
Location
Adirondack Coast, NY
One thing to consider - do you live in an area that would be easy to sell it without shipping it? If you buy it and don't like it, it could become a very heavy albatross if it is too pricey to ship to an interested buyer.
 

Wally

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
41,974
Location
Lubbock, TX
The asking price is less than the new Tonemaster SR. A careful and knowledgable assessment could yield an amp and a price that would be very attractive, imho. However, such an assessment requires seeing more than we have seen here as well as the application of an experienced ear so as to have a good idea as to what it takes to get the amp in proper working order. when bought at the right price, this amp could give the user the REAL DEAL that a ‘ToneMaster’ can only approximate..albeit in a lighter package. I am 71….and I would carry a vintage SR because of the sound. I would not carry a ‘Tonemaster’ because of the sound…even though it might weigh 30-35 pounds less than the vintage amp.
 

Wally

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
41,974
Location
Lubbock, TX
Hmm, this is interesting. For the one I'm looking at, one of the speakers has the code is 137 7314N. That would mean the speaker was made in 1973? Strange that it'd have such a late speaker if the baffle is the screwed-in variety. Perhaps an aftermarket replacement?
It would seem that at least one of those speakers is not original to the amp. Do all of the speakers carry a 1973 date code?
 

itsGiusto

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Posts
1,078
Location
US
It would seem that at least one of those speakers is not original to the amp. Do all of the speakers carry a 1973 date code?
Don't know, that was the only speaker I have a picture of, unfortunately. I didn't think to take comprehensive pictures during the checkup.

Another thing with the amp - it totally reeks of cigarette smoke. I've heard rumors that smoke can be damaging to amps long-term. Is there any truth to this? Would it damage electronics, speakers, etc?
 

VonBonfire

Tele-Holic
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Posts
826
Age
101
Location
Texas
Another thing with the amp - it totally reeks of cigarette smoke. I've heard rumors that smoke can be damaging to amps long-term. Is there any truth to this? Would it damage electronics, speakers, etc?
I pay extra for a smoke soaked amp. That's part of the sniff test. This is part of the relic'ing, the provenance, proving that it has lived a life as a true gigging working machine. If this amp could talk....I wish my stuff reeked like smoke but too many places are no smoking now. I'm loud and most of my gigs are outdoors. Way back in the day my old man used to really love it when I'd park my gear in his house after a gig. All part of the experience.

You won't see a handwired Fender failing because the marlboro man spent time with an ashtray on top of his amp.
 

itsGiusto

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Posts
1,078
Location
US
You won't see a handwired Fender failing because the marlboro man spent time with an ashtray on top of his amp.
Thousands of old Fender amps are still around and doin´ pretty good 👍

It doesn't even impact the speakers in any way? Just to play devil's advocate, here is a quote from another forum I find compelling:

it can also help age things faster like tolex, metal parts on guitars, strings especially, older paper speaker cones get real brittle etc. Have you ever been in someone house who smokes like a chimney you'll see faded nicotine stained walls, curtains, shades, wood work etc. Nicotine is very very destructive.
 

VonBonfire

Tele-Holic
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Posts
826
Age
101
Location
Texas
It doesn't even impact the speakers in any way? Just to play devil's advocate, here is a quote from another forum I find compelling:

Not sure what quote you were looking at.

I have never seen an amp or speaker failure due to smoking. Amps have components that wear out over time and do so long before the smoke becomes a factor. There are amps that have lived in clubs for years at a time. There are Twins and Supers out there that've been used for gigs numbering in the 10k range, quite easily. Those are gigging amps. Imagine how much use those 60's and 70's amps have seen already, and are still going.

It's a concern on electronics with very fine contacts, electronics with fans that suck the smoke through as it is cooling the components. A Fender Super is military-level tough, using comparatively thick wires run point to point and well soldered. Speakers would blow from use before you blowing smoke on them would damage them. Maybe in some alternate reality you could cause the glue to fail on the surround if you spent your days chain smoking blowing your smoke through the grille cloth with an ashtray direct in front of them. The recent maintenance the previous owner gave the amp is a bigger concern than smoke, the smell of which will fade in time.

All old amps usually have some problems that must be sorted or have maintenance items that will need to be addressed down the road unless someone has done that already. It's just part of the gig. Smoking amp or non-smoker amp.
 

itsGiusto

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Posts
1,078
Location
US
Not sure what quote you were looking at.

I have never seen an amp or speaker failure due to smoking. Amps have components that wear out over time and do so long before the smoke becomes a factor. There are amps that have lived in clubs for years at a time. There are Twins and Supers out there that've been used for gigs numbering in the 10k range, quite easily. Those are gigging amps. Imagine how much use those 60's and 70's amps have seen already, and are still going.

It's a concern on electronics with very fine contacts, electronics with fans that suck the smoke through as it is cooling the components. A Fender Super is military-level tough, using comparatively thick wires run point to point and well soldered. Speakers would blow from use before you blowing smoke on them would damage them. Maybe in some alternate reality you could cause the glue to fail on the surround if you spent your days chain smoking blowing your smoke through the grille cloth with an ashtray direct in front of them. The recent maintenance the previous owner gave the amp is a bigger concern than smoke, the smell of which will fade in time.

All old amps usually have some problems that must be sorted or have maintenance items that will need to be addressed down the road unless someone has done that already. It's just part of the gig. Smoking amp or non-smoker amp.
I'm not concerned about most maintenance, I can do almost all of it myself and most physical amp electronic parts are fairly cheap. But speakers are pricy, something that as @Milspec points out, can really add up considerably in a 4 speaker amp, so it's something I'm especially concerned about in an old amp like this. I wish I knew how to reliably determine health of the speakers.
 

marley jr

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Posts
43
Location
Kingston,NY
Let me know how you make out. I have a 1975 Super Reverb for sale in NY. It has been toured a lot and shows honest wear but, sounds great.
 

VonBonfire

Tele-Holic
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Posts
826
Age
101
Location
Texas
I'm not concerned about most maintenance, I can do almost all of it myself and most physical amp electronic parts are fairly cheap. But speakers are pricy, something that as @Milspec points out, can really add up considerably in a 4 speaker amp, so it's something I'm especially concerned about in an old amp like this. I wish I knew how to reliably determine health of the speakers.
For me it's just part of the cost-associated so I don't worry about 400-800 bucks worth of new speakers. They can be replaced as-needed anyways so it ain't like you'd have to eat the cost all at once in a worst case scenario. If you can service your own amp you're probably savvy enough to learn how to recone a speaker, there are plenty of lessons on youtube.
 

skypilot

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Posts
40
Location
new jersey
I've been casually keeping my eye open for a Super Reverb for a year now. I'm looking to find one at a good price, and I don't urgently need the amp, since I have two other Fender SF amps I love. One Super Reverb came up in my area for $1200, which includes a Calzone flight case (that the guy selling says it's worth $300) and a foot pedal.

All 4 speakers look original. Cosmetically, it's a little frayed and beat up, but I don't really care too much. It sounds nice, but do I really need it? I already have a 70s Twin Reverb and Princeton reverb. Can't make up my mind, looking for some insight.
Got rid of mine. Why? Weight!!
Too loud. You’ll never get it in the sweet spot unless yr in a studio.
And did I mention the weight??
 

marley jr

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2009
Posts
43
Location
Kingston,NY
Let me know how you make out. I have a 1975 Super Reverb for sale in NY. It has been toured a lot and shows honest wear but, sounds great.
I forgot to mention, mine is a Master Volume version(1st year). That being said, you can drive the tubes and NOT go deaf. 1 of the main reasons I bought it in the first place.
 




Top