Tell me about Rivera-era Fenders

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jericho60, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. jericho60

    jericho60 formerly ye olde fretmonkey

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    I gots to knoooooow.
     
  2. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    some people love them

    I bought the Princeton Reverb II, new in 1983. It seemed to have a great bunch of features and since it was a Fender I thought it would sound as good as the blackface Super Reverb I had to replace. I was wrong; to my ear it was missing the beautiful rich quality of the "real" Fenders. Rivera tried to make Boogie-style amps, but it just didn't sound like I wanted it. The boost circuit was truly dreadful, and the clean sound was constricted and flat.

    I hardly used it for 10 years, then one day I opened it up and studied it. It had lots of good hardware, but too much crazy circuitry and really bad 'lead-dress'. I took out everything and rewired it to mostly BF Deluxe specs, changed out the cheap speaker and now it sounds fine.

    On the other hand, there are people on the TDPRI who love this amp the way Rivera made it. So I guess it's just my own opinion.
     
  3. shakedancer

    shakedancer Tele-Afflicted

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    Super Champ

    I don't have to tell you how popular this amp has been. Had it for 21 years now and has never failed.
     
  4. jericho60

    jericho60 formerly ye olde fretmonkey

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    Whelp...reason I'm askin....

    I keep feeling that one of these days I want an amp with more volume than my Classic 30, and my Laney half-stack won't do the clean thing that well. Twins are too bulky, heavy and (these days) expensive for me. Something like a Concert, though, is still not all that pricey, plus I like the idea of an amp that's more versatile than a Twin. Was the Twin II a Rivera amp? Does 'red knob' usually mean 'Rivera'?

    Tell me more.
     
  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    All the Rivera-era Fenders weight more as a lot of them went particle cabs. Red-knobbers in Twins and Supers are a PITA to work on - I swapped pots on one and it was a nightmare. Super 60's don't have much clean headroom and what is there sounds muddy and flat IMO. I presume Concerts are the same.

    I've played through and with several red-knobbers. The Champ 12 can be made sound good and the lineout is actually not bad to take to a PA.

    The Superchamp is underrated IMO and a great amp but won't do Fender clean at any significant volume.

    Another sleeper amp is the Fender 75. I have heard one and it is not BF-marvellous, but more than competent and easily tweakable with lots of volume. The 15" version sounds fat, but they're not light amps.
     
  6. Admin

    Admin Tele-Holic

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    Understatement

    That's a little like saying a Great Dane is not a lap dog. ;-) I have a Fender 75 1x12 that I've had since the early 80s. The speaker magnet has the approximate diameter of a dinner plate, and I swear the amp weighs as much as any Twin Reverb I've ever encountered. Oy.

    I've got wheels on it (although I don't much use it anymore), but because the cabinet is so small, it was always fun to watch the expression on the face of anyone who tried to lift it, only to discover that the amp had apparently been welded to the floor... hehe. ;-) CS
     
  7. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've got a 4X10 Rivera Era Concert.
    It's flawless - if You can play "Cowboy Chords" You'll
    enjoy it.
    The Rivera Amps ARE NOT "Red Knob" Fenders.
    If You can play You should be able to make any Fender
    Tube Amp sound pretty decent. Every Generation Fender
    has some quality of Tone. One of the best shows I ever saw Buddy Guy play (and I've seen Buddy some 8) ) he
    was playing a Guild EMG equipped NightBird through a
    Fender Red Knob. Everyone I was with agreed that if
    Guitar Slim was still alive his Tone would have been like Buddy's that night.
    Perhaps not what a Tone Connoisseur would call "choice"
    but it the hands of a master...Hey - it was GREAT.
    It don't have to cost $$$$$$$ to sound $$$$$$$.
     
  8. Mik

    Mik Tele-Afflicted

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    In 2001 I wanted a "compact" Twin and a 60 pound Concert (1x12) fell onto my lap (not a great dane Chis, but at least a Rott!), good shape for 300 bucks. The Concert delivered my nobreakup clean channel, but I concur with "constricted and flat". Running Phillips 7581A power tubes. The clean channel isn't all that loud either (for 60 watts!!) so it could use a tech check, I admit, but I'm not expecting some huge change after a tune up.

    I replaced the stock EV speaker (brittle sound) with a Weber alnico, this warmed up the tone.

    The drive channel is hella loud and I like the wide range of drive tones, from very light drive distortion to big buzz.

    Nice tube driven spring reverb too, and tube effects loop.

    Preamp seems to get along fine with cheap non-NOS tubes so that's an econ plus.

    Wondering: was this amp really designed for lower impedance pickups? Maybe I need to push it with OD or boost, haven't done that much.

    About Rivera/Fender history: I browsed through a book on Fender amp history some years ago, it ID'd the tube
    pc RedKnobs as Rivera designs, as well as the faux BF Concert and Super (92-93) as the last of the Rivera amps. So, I've owned two Riveras: a '91 redknob Super 112 and an 80's Concert.

    Traded in that Super112 in '98, 3 years later picked up another Rivera! That circle thang I guess...

    Mik
     
  9. Smokin' Joe Picante

    Smokin' Joe Picante Tele-Holic

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    A little more interesting info...

    A quote fron Paul Rivera as to his Fender involvment...

    From the Rivera Owners Group newsletter, winter 1995/1996,

    And a quote from Art Thompson from GP...

    It's my understanding that during his time at Fender, Rivera designed the entire II line of re-vamped Fenders, in addition to introducing some other models. I've never had the pleasure of playing a "Rivera" Fender, but I own his amps and they're real nice! :D
     
  10. Mik

    Mik Tele-Afflicted

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    I inferred that the Rivera designs were the basis for Fender amps first released after he left Fender (red knobs, 90's Concert and Super). That book attributed the design of the r/k's etc to Rivera. And, there was a Fender employee whose name I forget who, I believe, co-designed the "Rivera Era" amps and engineeered/led their production.

    BTW, a quirk about the Concert, as well as, I think, the Princeton II, is the notorious footswitch. It seems to suck some tone and volume outta the clean channel. The f/s is required to activate the lead (drive) channel (I read somewhere that someone is making them again), but playing at home I keep the f/s unplugged when playing the clean channel.

    Mik
     
  11. InstituteOfNoise

    InstituteOfNoise Tele-Holic

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    I've been friends with Paul for some 25+ years and all those mods he did for Fender he did out of his shop at Valley Arts Guitars. He modded my 64 Vibrolux to do what he eventually did to the Fender line. That amp screamed! Still sorry to this I even sold it. Bout '78 I used Steve Lukathers Princeton for about a month and that led me to have Paul do my Vibro. Hanging w/ Jay Graydon quite a bit I loved the way his Paul modded Deluxe sounded. I believe that was the amp used for the Steely Dan "Peg" solo. Since Paul hasn't done mods in years, I'd opt for one of the first year issues of his design anyday.

    There's a lot of history behind Pauls stuff. I had one of his Yamaha G112 amps. It was a cool little amp even though it was solid state. It worked well as a mix to the Vibrolux live. I know amp builder Lee Jackson, was Paul's asst for quite a few years in the PMP and Pignose days. He might have gone with Paul to Fender for a short period before starting Metaltronix.
     
  12. RiffRaff

    RiffRaff TDPRI Member

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    I've got an 82 Rivera Deluxe reverb II
    One of the Best sounding amps i've heard/played
    and i've heard/played many
    for country and blues I don't think there's anything better

    just my opinion

    RiffRaff
     
  13. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    There's a big thread on the Weber board about these amps. Goes into a lot of detail. I suggest you look there and see if it answers your questions.
     
  14. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

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    I was on ebay earlier today

    and called up in the Fender Amp Section among other things "Concert" and "II". Prices ARE rising, they are no longer "the bargains" they were two years ago. I've only seen ONE Concert Head in the last couple of months. There was someone I knew in the early 90's
    that had built the Concert Head into a 1X15 Combo with
    a Jensen recone and it sounded H-U-G-E.
    Never did get to hear it with a Delay Unit - too bad.
     
  15. 5965

    5965 Tele-Holic

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    FWIW, the 75 is an Ed Jahns design and predates Rivera at Fender.
     
  16. shakedancer

    shakedancer Tele-Afflicted

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    I bought a brand new Deluxe Reverb 2 when they first came out. Sadly I sold it a few months later. I was green and didn't realize what I had. Wish I had it now. One of those regrets from the past.
     
  17. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    From a previous post, quoting Mr. Rivera:

    "Our first client was Yamaha, followed by Music Man, MESA/Boogie, Pignose, and later Fender. We had been working with great Hollywood players like Jay Graydon, Larry Carlton, and Lee Ritenour, and since they were part of Yamaha's development program, it seemed natural to us to work with them some more. Our first amp designs for Yamaha were the Mark II series. We worked as a warranty station for MESA/Boogie, and I consulted on some designs. With Pignose, I designed the 150 Crossmix amp, which got great reviews;...we also made PMP buffers and Super Sink power attenuators."

    This is probably why his Princeton 2 didn't work for me. The Yamahas I have tried (including their Boogie copy with millions of knobs and switches) sounded "not nice"; I haven't ever played a Music Man; I never cared for the Mesa Boogie sound; my only Pignose was a really bad-sounding battery-powered amp; never seen or heard of PMP or Super Sink; Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour are probably great players but I don't know who they are...

    I guess I just wanted a simple Fender and got something else. Should have tried it out a little more instead of trusting the Fender logo on the front. In the end it all worked out, so Mr. Rivera's all right by me. I hear he makes some pretty good stuff.
     
  18. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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    I have a near mint 1x12 model Concert also but haven't
    used in years.
    It's more powerful than needed but still a cool amp.
     
  19. InstituteOfNoise

    InstituteOfNoise Tele-Holic

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    I still have my PMP Super Sync. Used it mostly for my 1971 Marshall SLP at the time. They still hold their value, if not more.

    PMP or Professional Music Products was a company Paul started in between his Fender and the now Rivera company.

    There are some on eBay now if you want to see what they look like...

    Super Sync...
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=1288&item=7305528615&rd=1

    Spiltter/Buffer/Switcher...
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=22669&item=7304720703&rd=1
     
  20. 5965

    5965 Tele-Holic

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    Carlton, Ritenour and Graydon are/were West Coast studio/session/jazz guitarists who have been in bands at various times in their careers. Most people have heard them or their music without knowing it. They're all very talented. They've all got websites, if you're interested.
     
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