Silverface Deluxe Reverb...one better than another?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by markophonic, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. dmarg1045

    dmarg1045 Friend of Leo's

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    I've owned three silver Deluxes: late 70's, '72, and '67 (yeah, it's silver!). When I had the late 70's and the '72, I usually used the late 70's one. It sounded really good with a Weber speaker. The '72 was really nice and in mint condition, but I didn't grab it as often. Now I just have the '67, and it is really good. Conclusion: properly set up and serviced, 'most any era can sound fine.
     
  2. Robsocal

    Robsocal Tele-Meister

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    SFDR's are generally well worth their price, regardless of the year of manufacture. I have A/B'd silverfaces versus blackfaces and the results were mixed to my ear. Like many of you, I am in love with the cosmetic appearance and vibe of the blackface amps. That being said, for the smaller Fender amps (e.g., Champ, Princeton and Deluxe) you can find silverfaces that sound very similar to the venerable blackface amps at a fraction of the price.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the year of manufacture on the SFDR. I'd try a bunch, and get one that sounds great. Then, bring to the best tech in your area and service it. The only "mod" I'd recommend is to get a better speaker (if the speaker installed is an original). There are lots of options, depending on your sonic tastes. Once the new speaker is properly broken in, and you master the tone controls of the amp, you will never be sorry you got it.
     
  3. Lonestar Boogie

    Lonestar Boogie TDPRI Member

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    I just purchased a 1975 SF Deluxe Reverb, and I am completely in love with it. I asked the shop owner if he knew if any of the caps had been changed, so he took me back to the repair shop, and took the chassis out of the amp and did a thorough check. All of the caps were new (2006-2007) except the tone stack caps were what appeared to be originals. It had a bunch of new resistors in it as well. And the shop put a Jensen speaker in it, too. I'm really happy to have this amp.
     
  4. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've got a 78 DR with pull boost (I just don't ever pull it) that really sounds good. Most of the time I like the sound better than my original Blackface.

    It sounded great when I got it, but I changed it to be as close to blackface specs as I could without doing away with the pull boost. To tell the truth, I couldn't tell much if any difference after blackfacing it.
     
  5. willspear

    willspear Tele-Holic

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    I think freaking out about blackface specs is kind of not worth it. A silver deluxe sounds pretty Dan good. Heck reverend Horton heat actively chose to play a 78 silverface super reverb over alot of other supers because it had something going on. Granted he is gigging a gretsch executive these days.

    Only reason I own any blackface amps other than sounding good is that I got them for not alot of money.
     
  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    THE DR's didin't change much over the course of their life...'63 through
    1981. The larger FEnders went through more changes.
    AS for comparing one DR to another.....if I don't know the coinditon adn the biasing, there is not much of a basis on which to compare. A quick bias change can make one amp go from great to lousy in about 15 seconds....and vice a versa. Ime, if a handwired vintage FEnder makes loud sounds but sounds 'bad'....it needs some attention and hten it will sound great.
     
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  7. Boogie

    Boogie Tele-Meister

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    My opinion: if you have an opportunity to compare the two, forget what year they are and compare the sound of them. Even better if you don't even know which is which while comparing; just focus on the sound and don't let your mind introduce prejudice. Then, with the sound comparison in mind, compare the price of the two. It's entirely possible that the less expensive amp could be the one your ear prefers. If not, does the more expensive amp sound that many dollars better than the other one to you?

    FWIW, I have a '79 pull-boost SFDR that I put a Weber 12F150 speaker in did little else. It is an amazing sounding amp, and not just in my opinion: I get raving compliments on my guitar's sound almost every time I play out.
     
  8. Lonestar Boogie

    Lonestar Boogie TDPRI Member

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    The guy that I bought my amp from said that DR's from the 70's got bad reps because Fender was using certain cheap capacitors, and that once they were replaced, the amps sounded every bit as good as the earlier ones. Sorry I can't any more technical than that.
     
  9. Custom Deluxe

    Custom Deluxe Tele-Afflicted

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    Same here. Proud owner of a late '67 blackline SFDR. Granted, my amp is a blackface amp in Silverface clothing. I played it (A/B'd) next to a '64 and compared it to my '66 I use to own.

    Granted, the '64 had some crappy Pyle Driver speaker in it, but my properly serviced (thanks Jimmy Somma) DR sounded better than the '64.

    Use your ears and not your eyes and you'd be surprised how great some of those SFDR sound.
     
  10. JDRNoPro

    JDRNoPro Friend of Leo's

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    I've owned several DR's from the mid 60's forward. I love 'em!! Best sounding one was the one I've kept - a 74 SF. Probably the second best sounding one I've played was a 79 SF pull boost (without activating the boost, of course) - I tried to buy it but the owner wanted WAY more than going price at the time.

    Others have outlined technical differences - my experience is that the state of electrolytics, speaker condition, tube quality, and bias are the biggest factors - and more so than BF v. SF, year, etc. I say buy one that sounds good and is in good cosmetic condition and then spend the necessary time and $ to make sure it's in tiptop operating condition. Good cosmetic condition will enhance future value IMO.
     
  11. Groberts

    Groberts Tele-Holic

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    thread ressurection. What stock speakers were generally in early to mid 70's silverfaces? Oxfords?

    Which Weber Speaker is a good replacement that retains the sparkle, but has tighter bass?
     
  12. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

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    Eminence legend is a good one that won't break the bank. Good overall workin mans speaker. Not too sure about the Webers but someone will chime in, I'm sure on the one that will work. You can email Weber and they'll give you ideas as well.
     
  13. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

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    The most collectable, expensive and sought after Fender amps..... Regardless of which 1.
    Is when Fender added the JBL as an Original Upgrade for all fender amps.

    although leo started using the d130 in 1954. I believe it was 1965-66 when JBL became the upgrade for All fender amps requiring from a 10 - 15 inch speaker.

    Fender used several brands of stock non upgrade speakers. Oxford ( sometimes with Fender labels ) , Jensen, Utah, Eminence, CTS.

    Sometimes you can find an EV EVM 12L Or an Altec Lasnsing 417 that came stock from the factory but not often and more likely in a Twin Reverb.

    For me if I had an older silver face deluxe reverb and was going to replace the speaker I would go with a JBL D120F. But I like JBL. All of them. DF, K and E series. as well as altec and I have/use both. for my 69 Dual showman reverb.

    4x12 JBL or 2 x 15 altecs.

    But if you get jbl.

    Learn to turn the treble down. They are a neutral speaker and do not color the sound.

    Fender amps as a generalization a very trebly, glassy, type amp that is very clean right ?

    So the jbl is going to sound exactly like the circuit it is attached to.

    So it is a good thing to learn to turn the treble down... way down.

    But when you learn how to use this speaker it has few peers.

    some consider them to bright but for me it is a matter of EQ and I have 000 problems and many many people have and do use them

    SRV being 1 and I don't think he can be accused of being to shrill. ?



    And in a live band situation high end is what helps cut through and it also doesn't seem so shrill in a live setting.

    But it is a speaker that needs close attention to EQ and someone that is willng to put in the time to learn the speaker.

    If you look at Hendrix at Monterey with his marshall and dual showmans. You can see in the cabinets the silver caps in some shots.

    As well as band of gypsies.

    Although the video is not great you can also clearly see along with his 3 marshalls at the Fillmore... He is also using a twin reverb and a dual showman cabinet seemingly as a side monitor.... also with the tell tale silver dust caps that are on the JBL's. betts and duane both took the celestions out and replaced them with JBL D120F's. steve howe, jerry garcia, Santana ( also altec now JBL E120's with tone tubby hemp cones ) SRV, pete townsend uses JBL E110's And E120's in his vibroking.

    If I were to buy a brand new speaker it would be either a Fane AXA or an EV 12L.

    Many country and pedal steel players swear by JBL. Especially steel players.
     
  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    The differences have all been noted.

    But in reality, ANY blackface or silverface Deluxe Reverb EXCEPT a reissue, serviced properly and with the right speaker and good tubes, can be dialed in to sound as good as any other. The biggest single difference is simply collector value.

    About 15 years ago a group of friends from LA and the high desert got together in Palmdale with a dozen DR's of different types, from pre-CBS BF's to pull-boost SF's, and did a blind listening test with a bunch of different guitars. NOBODY could ID any particular amp, nor could anyone tell which was a BF or which was a SF.

    So as far as "player" amps go, a cosmetically challenged but electronically well-maintained pull-boost that's been serviced, had good tubes installed, biased for the player's tone preference and (in some cases) the original speaker replaced with whatever is preferable for the player's style is the "best buy" (if the speaker happens to be a ceramic magnet CTS it MAY be a fantastic match to the amp and best if left alone).

    Personally, I play a '67 BF - because I was able to "trade up" over the years. But I had a '76 pull-boost that I personally though sounded better both clean and cranked than my '72, no matter which speakers/tubes were in which, and I'd freshly serviced both. Eventually sold the '72, then the '76 when I traded a Gibson GA-50T for the '67 (which matched the tone of the '76).
     
  15. BiggerJohn

    BiggerJohn Friend of Leo's

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    Given my 'druthers, I'd go BF. If SF was the only option, then the earlier the better, IMO.

    Regardless, to get them all sounding good the stock speaker will have to go. A speaker with a big magnet and big coil really wakes up a DR.

    Then of course, healthy caps and tubes with a proper bias.

    The pull boost circuit with the unbypassed 680 ohm cathode bias resistor on the reverb drive 12AT7 is a tube killer. That runs the 12AT7 way too hot. I have even seen some where the glass cracked from excessive heat and seen the 12AT7 redplate. Not good. If I had an amp with the pull boost first thing I would do is remove that crud and convert the 12AT7 reverb drive back to the BF circuit with the 2.2k resistor and bypassed. One less potential headache.
     
  16. ddhr

    ddhr Tele-Holic

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    I have a 79 with a pull boost. A friend of mine is a retired electrical engineer who loves messing with amp. He replaced the caps, tubes and blackfaced it. I put in am Eminence Cannabis Rex and it sounds great. Enjoy looking for yours, they are great amps.
     
  17. Tommy B

    Tommy B Tele-Meister

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    If they are good enough for Bill.....

    :D SFDR is good enough for Bill Kirchen then it's more than good enough for the rest of us.

    His live sound is phenomenal when he brings his '68 with 6l6s for a little more headroom.
     

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  18. SoK66

    SoK66 Tele-Afflicted

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    Fun to see this thread rolls on. When I got my ‘66 BFDR ten years ago, in an A/B with my ‘71 SFDR the latter was the clear winner. The ‘66 needed cap service and quite a few resistors and ceramics needed to be replaced. Even then, the 71 was somehow tighter. The biggest difference maker seemed to be the 71s higher B+, about 450 vs the ‘66’s 420. I eventually did the 2.2k dropping resistors mod on the ‘66 and the improvement was immediately felt. Whatever, either one is a gem.
     
  19. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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  20. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Bob is right, not particle board cabs. The ones I see are not ply either though, but are pine that is rabbeted instead of fingerjointed like the BF. I do think I saw a ply Fender cab from the 70's a time or two though, but not sure.
    Did the SF Deluxe ever change to balance bias? Seems they stayed fixed adjustable bias like the BF for much of the 70's...?
    Here's a mid 70's cab that is broken showing that it's pine not ply:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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