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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by tfarny, Mar 25, 2021.
Is there really a better gigging amp? They were, and continue to be, popular for a reason.
My first amp was a Silvertone twin twelve (don't remember the model number). It was loud, but that was the best you could say about it. The reverb was horrible and the general tone was flat. It got me into my first band, but the day I got my new Fender Bandmaster in 1965, everything changed. Not only MUCH better built, but the sound of the Fender was night and day superior to the Silvertone. I guess I've kept that "prejudice" to the current day, though I like Marshalls, Boogies and Voxes too.
I still have my Fender ProReverb I purchased about 1963... The only mod I made to it was to add and RFI trap with modular power plug adaptor about 15 years ago This enabled me to bypass the polarity switch and ground the chassis and eliminate RFI interference. When I was playing gigs in the 60's-0's I remember not having the polarity switch the "correct" and frying my lip when it touched the microphone...I never learned from my mistakes till I was older. I do need to change the capacitors and clean the tube sockets since Im getting a bit of "pop" occasionally but other than that when I "push" the amp with my mid-80s Les Paul custom..it still sounds great.
Would I ever sell it? Probably not! Would my boys when I'm done? maybe my youngest not my oldest since he plays and I'll probably will it to him!
Well you are missing the brown era of Fenders which was around 1959 0r 60. So silverface wins the longevity race.
They made the tweed Champ all through the Brown era. No Brown Champ, straight from tweed to black, in fact the first half of '64 Champs were black but still 5F1's in narrow panel cabs.
I'm a Traynor man and their amps are as good as it gets, quality-wise, even the SS models like the DG30. Made in Canada, they never had much penetration in the states, but should have. If people had any idea how good they are, the ones on Reverb and ebay would be snapped up fast.
Check post #14
The Dano, Silvertone, Valco, Wards etc weren't bad at their price point. Yes they were less sturdy, many having 1/4" pressboard speaker baffles etc. Dead simple inside. Aluminum chassis. Poor covering material. I have had several. None really sound as good as the BF/SF Fenders. But some sound pretty good . Some of my favorites are the 59-62 Dano line. Especially the 2 x 12 Explorers, Centurian etc.
However, many of the great bluesmen like Freddie King, Albert King played the Valco, Dano etc amps. They had to early in their careers as they were cheap. You can see the amps in old videos occasionally. Not a good sound often. Maybe it's the recordings.
I remember all sorts of amps and guitar brands from the 60s, but a more modern one nobody ever mentions is Peavey.
I think it might have been part of Leo's mission that his amps be long-lived. We might take it for granted that there are schematics AND high quality, neat, organized wiring diagrams for all vintage Fender amps, but the decision was intentionally made to produce and widely distribute both. It almost seems like the Colonel giving away his famous blend of herbs and spices, but that is what Mr. Fender did.
So look at the results. When it comes time to repair a vintage Fender amp, there is no need to guess what value to choose for any component because it's right there. It doesn't matter what state it's in when it lands on a tech's bench because it can always be taken back to its original circuit. So they survive. What goes on in a Magnatone? What goes on in any of the 5 versions of a Gibsonette GA-8 or whatever? It can be figured out, but not as easily and quickly (and therefore cheaply and reliably) as with a Fender.
The one decision to make the schematics and wiring diagrams decades ago contributes greatly to widespread proliferation of vintage Fenders today. At least that makes sense to me.
Its a matter of taste. I vastly prefer Super Reverbs to Marshall Super Leads. Reissue or otherwise.
I would love to get my hands on a pre-master volume Silverface Drip-edge Super Reverb, or a Super Six. Either one would make me a very happy picker.
Fender manufactured professional grade instruments sold by music store owners and knowledgeable associates. These musicians further educated the already knowledgeable customers who highly valued the amps and preserved their function and value. Sears purchased lesser amps and hired less knowledgeable employees to resell them to less knowledgeable customers who valued the amps less and let them go to make space for some less precious foo-foo in which they'd also lose interest?
The only musical instrument that my parents bought for me was an old upright piano when I was seven years old.
To their credit, they had it serviced and tuned, and it was a great presence in the household for many years.
When it came to guitars and related gear I had to buy my own and, although I knew about Fender because the neighbor kid had it, it was out of my reach until I was grown. Once I got my first one, there was no going back. Just wish I could have gotten a new rig like that in 1966.
I bought Fenders back in the day as they were cheap, plentiful and sounded good. Fast forward 30 years and there are x times more people that want them. Fender made more amps than anyone.
Those whose taste leans toward the BF/SF sound are fortunate that originals can be bought for less than it costs to build the same amp today. Saw a BFSR at my local GC the other day for $1200.
I've had four BF and SF Supers, and while with the right speakers they are closer to a Marshall sound than say a Twin, I got tired of fighting for more fat mids from them.
I wish same Year Marshalls were only $700- $1400!
I love Marshall fatter cleans too much, but can't afford the cost of the vintage Marshall amps I used to own.
Vintage hand wired Fender amps are the steal of the century!
Except the little ones.
It was the early 60's when I was growing up and learning to play the guitar. My first electric guitar was paired with a Gibson amp. I think it was a Skylark. It was larger in stature; but my firends Princeton Reverb down the street kicked its ass. I suffered through years of self loathing and feelings of inadequacy until I found a couple vintage Black Face Princeton Reverbs in the 90's. And miraculously I still sounded mediocre. You could go down the board and Fender amps kicked everybodies asses consistently. There was a Silvertone amp that had 6 10's in it and it did pretty good; but it was ugly and if it got wet the particle board would just crumble. most of the other brand amplifiers were crumbly particle board back then. Supro was completely laughable. My friend had a Marshall single stack and it was loud. I had acquired by then a Fender 1963 brown Tolex Deluxe amp. I Put a 12" JBL in it and put it in on a chair and it would blow away my friends Marshall stack, Twin Reverbs and just about any other amplifier in standard night club configuration. It was and still is an amazing 18W amplifier. A tip of the hat to Leo Fender and his legacy. He set the standard by which all others would be judged to this day in power, tone and build quality. The Fender amps have retained there intrinsic value and gone completely out of the price of affordability on the open market. That's probably why them seem dominant in the market place.
There is a significant Traynor crowd in Sacramento Ca. where I live. A lot of people still use them.
Vox used to be hugely popular. The Rolling Stones, for instance, used them when they were first starting out.
Sunn was getting big for a while in the mid- to late-60s then Marshall came on with more available volume and that was that for them.
I just had my Fender Bandmaster Reverb head converted to a massive tone machine. Not your typical Fender now.