Which Fender and why?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Gringo13, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Gringo13

    Gringo13 Tele-Holic

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    I primairly play original and cover country, alt. country, and roots rock n roll (Waylon, Stones, Tom Petty type of sounds). I generally prefer my amp tone to have some slight breakup with guitar volume full up, but clean up when I roll it back to 75%. I am currently amp-less and need to remedy this asap. I have narrowed it down to the following amps and I demoed them all side by side at GC yesterday.

    '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb, '68 Custom Twin, and PRRI (I don't care for the '68 Princeton as much)

    Pros and Cons:

    '68 CDR
    Pros- two channels/two tone stacks
    Better clean head room for band settings and better bass response than PRRI
    I dig the stock speaker and will only have to change tubes (unless stock tubes are miraculously good)
    Classic Fender reverb and tremolo, but something seems just a tad weak with the reverb

    Cons- Perhaps too much volume before edgy breakup (mostly home and studio use and my band gigs are all mic'd venues), so will probably need to use pedals more often
    Not my favorite clean nor distortion tones out there, but still versatile (I guess this could be a "pro"?)

    PRRI
    Pros- Unique (and one of my all time favorite) clean tones
    Reasonable volume for home and most gigs
    Easy interplay between clean breakup tones, but not crazy about distortion
    Sweet reverb
    Easy to carry and transport (I'm not an amp weight snob, but the PRRI is a paperweight to me)

    Cons- flabby distortion on low notes
    Limited headroom before said distortion eats my tone
    Replace speaker, tubes, and possibly OT, with no guarantee it will cure the fuzzy low note distortion
    Cabinet concerns

    '68 Custom TR
    Pros- the daddy of Fender amps... This amp can literally make you feel the tone (even at reasonable volumes)
    The biggest clean tones
    Better EQ
    Two channels/two tone stacks
    Actually sounded great at all volumes (I was surprised it didn't sound anemic below 3.5)
    Sweet reverb
    Only mod would be tubes and perhaps casters, but doubtful
    It's a Twin, so I can't help but want it haha

    Cons- No amp distortion at my playing levels
    Heavy beast
    My girlfriend will leave me

    I know it seems like the CDR is the obvious choice and I know would love it, but I'm not completely sold on it yet. I need someone to just slap me and say get it. Something tells me that the PRRI with a British flavored alnico speaker could be special for what I do... but only if I can tighten up the low note fuzzy distortion just a little, but then I'll have dumped serious money into a RI amp. And then, there's that damn Twin tempting me... kinda like the woman just chilling out over at the end of the bar making everyone stare, but is dangerous as hell and you know it. Plus, the Twin can also wreck your home.

    So tell me... which mistake should I make?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  2. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Personally, I'd go for the TRRI, not the custom. But either way, classic cleans, great pedal platform, too.

    Looking at your list... if you're gonna need pedals to control the DR anyway...

    And no, they don't sound anemic at low volumes. I play my '69 TR at home, and it sounds great.
     
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  3. Gringo13

    Gringo13 Tele-Holic

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    Damn you. haha

    But seriously, I get what you're saying. The reason I like the '68 TR is because I prefer the speakers and I like the custom channel for some of my riffs and licks (reminds me just a little of my Bassman LTD that I regrettably sold).

    How a Twin at low volumes sounds better to me than many other classic Fenders is a mystery to me. My brother has a '69 Twin and it's the same way... alive at all volumes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  4. Rialto1564

    Rialto1564 Tele-Meister

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    Did you leave off the 68 Vibrolux intentionally? You may be interested in the way the channels are voiced.
     
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  5. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    The 68 VL is a very nice amp. Of course, if the Deluxe has too many watts for your usual needs (as I think I gather), the VL won’t help.

    My impression is that whatever the amp, you’ll mostly use pedals to get your grit … even a Princeton is quite loud for home use when cranked, no?

    In this case, as @moosie suggested, the Deluxe might be the right one for you (but I’d go for a used DRRI, which I liked significantly better than the 68 Deluxe when I tried both).

    May I also add a stray suggestion? If I were you I’d do a quick check to see if there’s a vintage Fender head around your wattage in the vicinity. BF/SF Bandmasters tend to cost less than almost all the alternatives you named, to correspond well to your sonic needs, and to be very portable (12 kg or so)… and you’ll have a vintage, handwired amp that will retain all its value as time goes by. Heck, my 35-w BF Tremolux might really be your ticket from the description of what you want, even though the Bandmaster’s solid state recto is probably a plus in your case. Mine sounds sweet and full even at low volumes, and I can’t imagine it would be different with the Bandmaster.
     
  6. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If I really did suggest the DR, it was a mistake. Thought I recommended the Twin.

    Know how I know? I always recommend the Twin :D, no matter the requirement.
     
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  7. Hackweed

    Hackweed TDPRI Member

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    Ok I'll be the vote for the '68 CDR. Perfect cleans at home , but gig volume on 5 delivers that beautiful edge of breakup tone, really lovely with both Tele and Strat. I gig country - modern and classic. It's also relatively light.
     
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  8. cboutilier

    cboutilier Tele-Afflicted

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    My vote would be for a late 70s DR or Pro Reverb
     
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  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If you're going to drop a grand on an amp, it should have your favorite clean and distorted tones.
    Maybe the ASAP is a factor in choosing an amp you don't really like all that much?
    I'd buy a really cheap used Peavey or Mustang for the ASAP and save my money for an amp that actually made the sounds I needed and liked.

    If you really want BF/SF Fender reverb distortion sounds, (is that the kind of distorted sound you like? Maybe since you miss your Bassman LTD, and want a British speaker, you really want tweed distorted and clean tones?), For a well thought out purchase you can get more amp out of a '70s original than a new RI.
    Or look at used/ new hand wired Tweed clones for more of a Bassman sound (more than BF/SF that is), like a 5e5/ 5e5a Pro or Super/ Bandmaster.
    Or Proluxe/ Deluxe upgraded a bit to get rid of the "flabby distortion on low notes" you said you don't like with the PRRI.

    For $1000 you should be able to find an amp that gets your clean to distorted sounds on your guitar vol knob.
    Get the right amp!

    Sorry to go off the list but I'm not in the sandbox when I hear "I want apples, which of these oranges should I buy".
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  11. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    In full disclosure, I am not real impressed by any of the reissues. They sound okay, but considering that you can get a SF Twin for about the same price as the reissue, why do it? My amp tech keeps telling me to stay away from all the reissues due to thin traces on those circuit boards. Not trying to dump on Fender, but his shop is full of reissue amps awaiting repair.

    I suggest looking for a Silver Face amp that meets your needs or else a hand-wired Reissue if you insist on new.
     
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  12. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Gringo, IF you are locked into a new Fender, then the SuperSonic series might do it for you. There is one AB763 based preamp and one preamp that is based more closely to the 5F6A circuit...a bit hotter and has gain/MV controls. I don't care for them, but they will give you what you are asking for in some form.
    I suggested that SFVR in Chatanoogo because it is similar to the circuits of the new amps you mentioned but is much better built. IMHO, none of the new amps you mentioned will do what you really want T some kind of reasonable...that is what other folks call too quiet ime...lol....volume, then find you a Fender Pro Sonic. It has the best construction quality of any Fender outside of the handwired Custom Shop,amps since the vintage handwired era ended in 1985. It is also one of the most versatile Fenders ever built...it will do anything you can dream up ime. That includes early '50's tweeds to modern high gain. IMHO, a Pro Sonic is worth more than any of the new Fenders...including the SuperSonics...that have been mentioned in this thread. Others' mileage does vary, though.
     
  13. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

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    This was my exact thought as well. If the CDRRI is too little and the CTR is too much, then the Custom Vibrolux RI should be just right. I played one a few weeks ago: It was superb. If I gigged more for paying gigs, I'd buy it right now.
     
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  14. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    Ha! Simple rules are easy to live by! And I misread your post. The “if you need pedals anyway” is a valid argument, too. In actual fact, the one reason why I CANNOT buy a Twin (and therefore tend not to consider it) is my back. Just could not carry it around.
     
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  15. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

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    Are we talking lots of gigging, or mostly playing at home? I think the Princeton is a brilliant amp for home -- not too loud, but excellent tone and fantastic reverb and trem (although, I have to say I've only played an original blackface Princeton Reverb and don't know if the reissues are pretty faithful). Since you mic for gigs, I'd imagine that any of these would suffice. The twin reverb is a beast, but it's also a handful to move around. Unless you enjoy lugging 60 or 70 pounds of amp around, of course...
     
  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I was trying not to drag the OP down the rabbit hole, but since we're there.... when I say get the TRRI, I meant get the SFTR from '68 through '76.

    EDIT: It'll need a bit of service, of course, one time. You can have a qualified tech do the work, but to be sure, ya know... better do it yourself. Get you some amp textbooks, build a testing workbench, and learn how not to shock yourself to death.

    Or you could just get a Mustang III.

    Isn't this fun? :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  17. Ira7

    Ira7 Doctor of Teleocity

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    You guys are evil.

    He listed three options, and you just HAD to throw a bunch of additional ones in there, didn't you?

    I know...I know:

    You're just trying to help, and you may very well be right.

    But it's almost a form of entertainment as I envision this poor guy agonizing over an amp purchase, and you adding fuel to the fire!

    :lol::D:lol::D:lol::D:lol::D
     
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  18. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    I’m afraid you’re right. It’s only that I’ve just been there myself, then have been convinced to at least check if I could find a vintage one on the market, and I’ve found one that costed less than the DRRI I was about to buy, and put a huge, huge smile on my face. And the thing with vintage amps is that they don’t cost much more than a comparable new amp. Aw, it’s addictive, I’m already lusting after a small tweed, while loving my little BF head.

    But back to the OP. Did I say that any of the three you suggest would probably be a fine amp for you, plus maybe also the V-lux? Just do yourself a favor and go and try a few. Don’t buy unseen. I could not quite believe the tonal difference between different specimens of the same model. The DRRI (the one I liked best apart from the Vibrolux) was “ok” in one case, but on the shrill side, and just “great" in another, even at very moderate volumes. Go figure…
     
  19. Ira7

    Ira7 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sometimes I think when we agonize over purchases, it's motivated by fear over buying something WRONG, which is of course subjective.

    Rather than buying what we think is BEST, which is also of course subjective.

    In other words, fear drives our purchases more than anything else, which I guess isn't right or wrong or bad or good. It just is.

    I mean, there's absolutely no way you can go wrong with a new Twin or DR (vintage stuff that's need checking and work is another story), but I guess because it involves so much money, it's the FEAR that drives us crazy.
     
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  20. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The fear observation is a good one. The funny part is that you will never make the perfect choice anyway. Even if you managed to research the hell out of it, your needs might shift completely in 6 months due to a change in music interests, instruments, skills, etc.

    So, try them out and just go with what speaks to you, there is no fear of divorce if you are wrong and you can always sell it off later.
     
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