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

Terrygh1949

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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.
Only thing I'll say is you better be prepared for the weight. It's a killer. I had a Twin and the weight was too much, power was not good for any gigs that I do. My cousin had a Super and it was a great looking and sounding amp but, we were kids then. Now, No Way.
 

Controller

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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??

Same here. Too heavy to schlepp around and too loud to play meaningfully in my house. Nice amp though.
 

telemnemonics

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An SFSR is generally "better" than your Twin and PR, better meaning not just a medium size version of every other BF circuit.
Ive had four of them, just great fat tactile sound.
Depending if course on your taste, but also the room filling spread of the 4x10 is a thing.

As mentioned by some, those CTS alnicos are a massively great feature and one of the best if not THE BEST speaker for the SR.
BUT, originals are virtually all used up by now and reconed or ready to be reconed.
You need to try it with the volume dimed to know if the speakers are any good. Worth reconing but that takes time & $$.
Full volume can help clarify the condition of filter caps and power tubes too.
A SR has a crunchy smeared bass at full volume but bad filter caps and or power tubes will sound like crap on 10.
Cheaper to replace power tubes and filter caps than speaker cones though, depending on how you approach used up CTS.

As far as the early SF value goes, the very first really are extra valuable due to cloth wiring and being virtually a BF amp.
But by part of 68 CBS chose incredibly thin solid core wire with thin insulation, similar to telephone wire. So a 68/69 is only "better" for the screwed in baffle board, which is really only an advantage if the baffle is broken due to throwing the amp off too many loading docks or using replacement speakers with way bigger magnets than required.

So I would not pay more for a 69 than a 72 unless I wanted to run 200w worth of speakers and get a louder sharper sound.
The CTS are not very efficient but have glorious tone and are light weight so the amp stays reasonable.
With four speakers, you really dont need each one to have a big nagnet and handle 60w.
 

carcrusher

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I really want to pop the chassis open and take a look inside, but I'm afraid to ask. I'm very confident in my ability to do it safely, I've done it hundreds of times on my own amps, but I've had a previous seller freak out at me for even asking to do that. This guy tells me the amp has been checked over by a tech, but it would make me feel much better if I could check on the health of the PT, see if the caps are really old, see if there's anything else waiting for me inside.

Another thing I noticed, the amp has a rattle only at high volume. I imagine that is somewhat normal, cause my Twin does it too, but it's something I'd like to fix. My twin does it because of the back panel
Look at the caps. Pop the cover off. If they're brown paper they are OEM. If they aren't leaking, you're good but replace them with F&Ts. Run an oscillator thru the amp to find rattles. Add a screw, re-gasket the back, speaker carpet wedged into a crevice, what-ever it takes and lose that rattle. Pretty fast and simple for a tech. You can get that app on your phone. That should be done every now and then. Rubbing cones, loose tubes, sweeping with an oscillator will reveal a host of potential problems.
 

carcrusher

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Very interesting. How do you tell if there's cone rub, or some other imminent speaker problems? All I really know how to do is give them a quick visual inspection to look for tears, and I guess I listen to hear if something is egregiously wrong, but I may not pick up the subtleties of one about to fail.
Sweep it with an oscillator. There are apps for your phone. Or just buy one, they're cheap.
 

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dang

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Get it!
That's a good price for a legendary amp.
Super Reverbs not only sound good when played loud, but they also sound amazing at very modest volumes too.
 

76standard

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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.
$1200 is a decent price in today’s market, plus no shipping cost. I would go play it and ask some questions, such as…

- Are you the original owner? Paperwork to verify.
- Has the amp had the caps replaced?
- When was the last time the amp has been retubed?
- How often does the amp get played?
- When was the last time the amp has been looked at/serviced by a tech? Paperwork?

Maybe these seem like fundamental questions but they tell you as much about the owner as about the amp. Hope this works out for you.
 

Theiglupickin

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Super Reverb is a great all around amp for most lead players unless you desire the Johnny Winter, pegged Twin Reverb sound he used for so long! I would check out the SR Tonemaster! I have a DR Tonemaster and love it. Much lighter and the built in attenuator allows you can crank it up the volume knob to get to the sweet spot without taking down the house with excessive dB levels.. Yes the Neodymium speakers are a bit brighter than vintage alnico's but the modeling Fender has created in the TM series is pretty close to the tube versions. Its been debated a lot and updates or downloads will likely address any subtle variances people find. I've done one download and it fixed the excessive Reverb and bright cap delete!! Nice and it was free! For what its worth. AND, no tube worries! Yes I do have 4 other tube amps in my arsenal so I'm not anti-tube and appreciate what they do for me.
 

schmee

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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?
No, no truth to that at all.
 

schmee

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Very interesting. How do you tell if there's cone rub, or some other imminent speaker problems? All I really know how to do is give them a quick visual inspection to look for tears, and I guess I listen to hear if something is egregiously wrong, but I may not pick up the subtleties of one about to fail.
Just play it. It's doubtful more than one of 4 would have an issue and many dont have an issue at all. The 4 speakers spread the load pretty well. Cone rub will usually show up in the Low E to the low B range. Hit those notes robustly on testing.

Better yet, offer to buy it untested cash and go for $800😮😆
 
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Wharfcreek

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I wouldn't over-think this! It's a great amp at a great price. Buy it, play it, and give yourself some time to decide just how much you like it. Opportunity passes quickly, and if you don't buy it, someone else will. These are not like busses where another one will be along any time! They're now 'collectable', and while they may not be getting played out all that often any more, they ARE sitting in people's private collections gaining value if nothing else. I loved mine so much I had a custom 'brown' faceplate made for it, I went with the cream button knobs, a blonde tolex on my cabinet, and oxblood grill cloth. I spent as much for my cosmetic revisions as you're looking at spending on your amp! Buy it!! If you end up 'not' liking it, it will still be worth what you paid for it when you go to sell it, maybe more!!
 

dmarcus30

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I really want to pop the chassis open and take a look inside, but I'm afraid to ask. I'm very confident in my ability to do it safely, I've done it hundreds of times on my own amps, but I've had a previous seller freak out at me for even asking to do that. This guy tells me the amp has been checked over by a tech, but it would make me feel much better if I could check on the health of the PT, see if the caps are really old, see if there's anything else waiting for me inside.

Another thing I noticed, the amp has a rattle only at high volume. I imagine that is somewhat normal, cause my Twin does it too, but it's something I'd like to fix. My twin does it because of the back panel
If the seller is honest there should be no pushback on popping the chassis. It's a crap shoot and I made a major mistake with my last purchase. The amp was "on" when I got there and seemed to play fine.
Got it home, plugged it in, warmed it up, took it off standby and it sounded like a sand blaster. The seller KNEW it might do that. I tried local techs who kept saying it was a microphonic 12ax7. After spending a bunch of money for nothing I sent it back to the mfr for full refurb. It turned out to be a volume pot with an intermittent short in it. I had the amp repaired and recapped and I had them install a set of NOS power and pre tubes while they were at it.
 

itsGiusto

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An SFSR is generally "better" than your Twin and PR, better meaning not just a medium size version of every other BF circuit.
Ive had four of them, just great fat tactile sound.
I hear this a lot and I want to push on it a bit, play devil's advocate, to find out why everyone says the SR is so unique and awesome.

For my Twin Reverb, I sometimes pull 2 tubes, switch to use less negative feedback (I installed a switch for this on the old ground polarity switch), and run it through an attenuator (just to take off a little volume, not much), and I get some downright badass breakup tones. Do you think that a Twin with 2 tubes is that different from a super reverb in this regard?

I originally got into Fender amps after hearing the Mike Bloomfield album "If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please", where he talks about using a cranked Twin Reverb on a lot of tracks for a BB King sound. It's such a good and bluesy sound! Do you think that a Super Reverb is more blues or more rock than a Twin Reverb?

Depending if course on your taste, but also the room filling spread of the 4x10 is a thing.

As mentioned by some, those CTS alnicos are a massively great feature and one of the best if not THE BEST speaker for the SR.
What if I got an external 4x10 cabinet with alnico speakers to run my 2-tube Twin into? Would that maybe capture some of the magic of the SR? I wouldn't mind doing this, since then I could also run my Plexi into it for a bassman-like sound.

BUT, originals are virtually all used up by now and reconed or ready to be reconed.
You need to try it with the volume dimed to know if the speakers are any good. Worth reconing but that takes time & $$.
Reconing really scares me. I'd be so afraid of screwing it up. I feel like I'd rather just buy new speakers, but I'd be willing to consider reconing if it really is foolproof and results in a speaker that's essentially identical to the original.
 
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dasherf17

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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.
If you like the price, do it...
 

VonBonfire

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Reconing really scares me. I'd be so afraid of screwing it up. I feel like I'd rather just buy new speakers, but I'd be willing to consider reconing if it really is foolproof and results in a speaker that's essentially identical to the original.
Dude you obviously have some skills if you can tune your own amp up. I cannot do that, but I learnt to recone a speaker. Lots of videos on youtube showing how. Worst case scenario you have to ruin one recone kit learning how and that is still cheaper than sending them off a lot of times. I have JBL's and finally had enough of spendy shipping plus expensive recone plus spendy shipping back to me. I finally decided I would learn how. It was reasonably easy to do a basic job. Probably not the most refined recone job ever, but they work.
 

telemnemonics

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I hear this a lot and I want to push on it a bit, play devil's advocate, to find out why everyone says the SR is so unique and awesome.

For my Twin Reverb, I sometimes pull 2 tubes, switch to use less negative feedback (I installed a switch for this on the old ground polarity switch), and run it through an attenuator (just to take off a little volume, not much), and I get some downright badass breakup tones. Do you think that a Twin with 2 tubes is that different from a super reverb in this regard?

I originally got into Fender amps after hearing the Mike Bloomfield album "If You Love These Blues, Play 'Em As You Please", where he talks about using a cranked Twin Reverb on a lot of tracks for a BB King sound. It's such a good and bluesy sound! Do you think that a Super Reverb is more blues or more rock than a Twin Reverb?


What if I got an external 4x10 cabinet with alnico speakers to run my 2-tube Twin into? Would that maybe capture some of the magic of the SR? I wouldn't mind doing this, since then I could also run my Plexi into it for a bassman-like sound.


Reconing really scares me. I'd be so afraid of screwing it up. I feel like I'd rather just buy new speakers, but I'd be willing to consider reconing if it really is foolproof and results in a speaker that's essentially identical to the original.
Ive always put the NFB on a pot to get more rawness from my Supers, so figure a two tube twin is still a twin to me, compared to a SR with less NFB.
Running your twin with two tubes is an 8 ohm amp where a SR is a 2 ohm amp, so again not gonna be the same.

But what you like about what you have may or may not be less great to you than a SFSR without an attenuator.
A Twin is great too but maybe if you need to change your twin to love it, maybe a Super is more to your taste?

Mike got a unique almost shrill tone compared to most other LP players of his era. Pulling tubes, cutting NFB and adding an attenuator suggests youre not going for Bloomfield tone!
Even other LP into BFTR players then were getting a more fat dirty sound than I think of Bloomfield generally using.

Fugure you will live a few more decades?
Do you want to not find out if you prefer a SR until youre too old to carry one?

I regret trying to get a heavier sound from mid scooped BF amps for so long before switching to cleaner non MV Marshalls.
Time is life, no time like the present!
Im surprised to see the prices up that high again, maybe excitement over more live music coming back?
I would not count on the value staying high (if a SFSR even is worth that in the Boston area now?), but buy and play it if it checks out good; then sell soon if you prefer ypur Twin.

Funny I never got the Princeton Reverb thing back before they got trendy and were popular among a select few. Mushy little amp.
Then the Twin to me is not really tactile and Im not crazy about the breakup either. Certainly some great clean sounds from a Twin, but the SR is just "PERFECT" and in more ways than just breaking up at lower volume.
A Twin isnt even all that loud from a Marshall perspective, its more than a "just right volume" thing.

The 2 ohm load, higher power section voltages, tube rectifier, four low wattage alnico speakers, are a complete recipe.
A 2 ohm load is barely any load at all in terms of "impeding" or pushing back against the current coming from the OT.
But speaker load impedance is constantly changing with frequency and to some degree distortion (distortion doesnt change impedance but does change how the speaker load pushes back), which seems to be a part of the tactile nature of the SR.

So this is how it plays as much as how it sounds.
 

itsGiusto

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Ive always put the NFB on a pot to get more rawness from my Supers, so figure a two tube twin is still a twin to me, compared to a SR with less NFB.
Running your twin with two tubes is an 8 ohm amp where a SR is a 2 ohm amp, so again not gonna be the same.

But what you like about what you have may or may not be less great to you than a SFSR without an attenuator.
A Twin is great too but maybe if you need to change your twin to love it, maybe a Super is more to your taste?
Well, I don't need to change it to love it. I love it as is, but I also get more versatility by messing around with it sometimes. I'm trying to get as many sounds as I can while also not making my wife freak out at me for owning too many different amps. Can I really justify to my wife owning two separate AB763 amps, or just make one kinda pull something close to double-duty instead? I mean, in her defense, space in my house is limited.
Mike got a unique almost shrill tone compared to most other LP players of his era. Pulling tubes, cutting NFB and adding an attenuator suggests youre not going for Bloomfield tone!
Even other LP into BFTR players then were getting a more fat dirty sound than I think of Bloomfield generally using.
Like I say above, I do a lot of different things with my TR. I have a 3 way NFB switch to get the NFB levels to be roughly that of a Twin with 4 tubes, a Twin with 2 tubes, and a Super with 2 tubes.

Also, for what it's worth, a lot of the stuff on "If you like these blues" that I like seems to have been with a strat into a TR, as he says here:

Fugure you will live a few more decades?
Do you want to not find out if you prefer a SR until youre too old to carry one?

I regret trying to get a heavier sound from mid scooped BF amps for so long before switching to cleaner non MV Marshalls.
Time is life, no time like the present!
Im surprised to see the prices up that high again, maybe excitement over more live music coming back?
Man, I hope you're right. In general music gear has skyrocketed in price over the past 6 months.

I would not count on the value staying high (if a SFSR even is worth that in the Boston area now?), but buy and play it if it checks out good; then sell soon if you prefer ypur Twin.
My biggest worry is that I'll get too attached to it, and then need to justify to myself why I need to own both permanently. Or else, I'll get my itch to start modding the electronics, and then I'll feel like I've modded it too much, it's not worth selling because it won't be worth as much as it would be stock, or I've just made it too personal to sell.
 
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ETMusic777

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This is my 67' Super Reverb. Its an August 1967 build, which is the last month of the blackface era and is all original with blue caps and original CTS Alnico speakers. This is the sweetest sounding of all of my 6 BF Fender amps. The CTS still sound great, though I would not make a habit of cranking them to 10. I have a set of 4 Eminence Alnico blue 1028Ps, which I'm thinking of putting in there to save the CTS Alnicos. The 1028Ps are very close to the same sound, but slightly more midrange which is good for rock and roll. The CTS sound so good that its tough to think of taking them out, but if I gigged with this amp I probably would.
 

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