Why did the Fender tweed amps fall out of favour so quickly?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by homesick345, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Growing up in the 60s & 70s, I have always paid close attention to the gear on stage as used by all sort of bands - rock, blues, jazz - all the big acts - you name it

    It seems to me the tweed amps disappeared quite quickly & as of the mid 60s, they were no where to be found...

    Hadn't been for the 90s blues revival, & people like Baier (Victoria) & Kendrick, I don't think I had ever seen a tweed amp. After this we had a tweed revival of sorts - but still,

    Why were they so promptly abandoned? this didn't happen to the bf/sf amps, Marshall , or any other famous kind of amps???
     
  2. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The new amps that replaced them were probably more important than the tweed amps themselves.


    Louder, more headroom, design aesthetics were more modern/less tailfin-ish.


    Think about knucklehead rock/nu-metal/cookie monster or the bands like that in the last 25 years w/ guys under 40 in them.

    Mesa dominates and Marshall's are seen as a "dad amp".
     
  3. D_Schief

    D_Schief Tele-Holic

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    Interesting question. I started playing guitar and hanging around music stores in 1966 in the Midwest (my home town had one Gibson dealer and one Fender dealer!) Now that you mention it, I don't recall seeing tweed amps at all at that time. (Maybe a Bassman, now and then?) My first decent amp that I bought in about 1967 was an Ampeg Reverb-a-rocket, followed by Kustom and then an Ampeg V4 (monster) and a SF Twin. Never even plugged into a tweed until post-2000. I'll bet I could have gotten some real deals on a Low Power Twin in the late 60's!

    Why is that? As stated, headroom definitely. Reverb, maybe. There just didn't seem to be the nostalgia for "vintage" or old stuff -- at least at the level since the '80s and 90's. And that IMO started with the old Les Pauls, but didn't immediately include tweed amps. I never dealt in vintage gear, so I'm sure lots of folks here have more to offer than my old memories and anecdotal info.
     
  4. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    The country western crowd were the pioneers of early amps (primarily tweed type circuits) but when rock n roll came along, more power, volume and sustain became the thing and had a bigger target audience for sales. That was mid 60s when the Beatles came along and everyone wanted to keep up with their large VOX amps they used on stage. That's when you started to see Twins, Super Reverbs, Super Six and larger Fender stage amps. At the same time Hendrix drove the Marshall amp line a few years later.

    Now, since more people play at home, there is a move towards smaller amps with more tone than volume.
     
  5. Cleeve

    Cleeve Tele-Holic

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    Front mounted controls.
     
  6. mitchfit

    mitchfit Tele-Holic

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    ..."It seems to me the tweed amps disappeared quite quickly & as of the mid 60s, they were no where to be found..."...

    makes sense that the production #'s from that time frame would be very small compared to those from present, per anum.

    subtract from those small issued quantities the collateral casualties that had their subscription to life prematurely cancelled by un-informed or abusive parents.

    subtract from the diminished remaining unit head count those that just died of natural causes.

    could be they never actually fell outta favor, but just became rarely available.

    $0.02,
    mitchfit
     
  7. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    :p
     
  8. peteb

    peteb Friend of Leo's

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    The same thing happened with cars. 50s cars looked so dated when the 60s cars came out, magnifying the underlying performance improvements
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    When I first started playing in 1975 the local shop (Daddys Junky Music) had a huge array of Tweeds in the middle of the store, maybe 15 or 20 amps in all sizes.

    They looked like Grampas ragged old suitcase that should have been thrown away years ago.
    Most typical late teens/ early 20s- 70s guitar player would probably walk right by one in the trash.
    With long hair and muscle cars and Marshall stacks in vogue, anything '50s was totally unhip and McCarthy; and we wouldn't touch it.
    I was in that shop often, and never heard anyone play them.
    The owner was 10-15 years older than me and clearly knew what they were, and probably had customers that knew as well, customers that would buy what they needed instead of wank on it for hours so us young'n'dumbs could become enlightened.

    I played and bought bought my first Tweed Deluxe around 1990, but later sold it to buy yet another Super Lead.
    Oh well...
     
  10. drmcclainphd

    drmcclainphd Tele-Afflicted

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    Fads. They went the way of art deco and tail fins is all. That's the bottom line. Above that it could have been things like music production companies trying to maintain their stranglehold on artist control and inventing "looks" to go with sounds based on non-traditional stuff -- as different as possible from the norms. Think of the eras of disco and new wave (no amp changes like you mention, but most others things did). It could have been the up and comingness of us baby boomers, us commonist debbil worship boojie woojie rockinroll git-tar players, wanting to remake our world in our as yet undefined image as long as it wasn't (yuck) O L D. Maybe some of that plus manufacturers wanting new looks for their new, space age (we didn't have the word high-tech yet) designs that had no tubes, but rather those little germanium and silicon do-hickeys that were so great that everyone just had to stick an extra little emblem on their stuff, bragging it was chock full of Solid State. And it could have been any number, even just one, of some harmless little idea that became a full blown meme (Got milk? Where's the beef?) and for reasons we still can't determine, went viral and forced some cognitive shift.

    Things are new, and the earlier adopters get them to be cool at a level above that of the less knowing. Then the less knowing find out and adopt these to raise their cool quotient, while the earlier adopters decide these are no longer cool, and the thing becomes common but popular. After a while everybody has it, it loses the popular and is just common. By now the uber-cool have adopted something new to pass along to the masses, who lose interest in the now old things, but the ubers decide it was cool all along and it becomes vintage, nostalgiac, and even some with interest if not training in engineering stuff adopt the older for reasons derived from real and/or concocted factoids. Cars, aircraft, music, clothes, hair styles, even play: pool halls -> pinball -> video machines then consoles then computer game then networked, and at each step there's a resurgence of whatever was two steps previous. Many try to blame our materialistic society and the corporate greed that drives it around in circles for this, but they've only discovered and harnessed a common phenomenon. It has probably been going on since cave-dad was banging a rock in his hands onto another on the ground, and along comes cave-son, picks up two rocks in his hands and bangs them together: "Hey dad, look, this is cool!" "Banging one on the ground has always been good enough for me, and should be for you too." "But dad, that's so OLD!"

    Sociologists claim their field is not an extension of psychology. We psychologists agree. Sociology does not have a sub-field anywhere nearly as successful as social psychology, a field where you can make millions helping companies make billions, and all you have to do is convince the company that you're smart enough to see The Next Big Thing coming. Oh, and re-brand your little scattergun approach to social psychology by naming it "marketing".

    It's not likely marketoids came up with the ideas behind the changes you mentioned, but certainly once in motion they convinced the companies to go full tilt behind it, in order to create a market where everyone is replacing stuff for reasons having nothing to do with actual utility. As spake (why do these guys always spake and we don't? marketing) by Saint David of Byrne, "Same as it ever was". And was it not he who again noted "Same as it ever was"? If you ask those who were there at the time, you're likely to get some colorful and plausible responses, many of which could be true or good enough to be true enough, and a lot of variations on the twin themes of "Who knows?" and the Talking Heads quote. The ones to ask, you won't be able to find. The star marketoids of time lost out when someone else saw the Next Next Big Thing coming, and moved on to sell cruise ship tickets for floating Disneylands, then conversion kits to make a VW bug look like a Lotus racer, and finally make the big time when they tell a pharmaceutical company "So what if your blood pressure medication has the side effect of making people grow hair? Anyone can sell blood pressure medicine. YOU can sell what people will pay big money for -- a cure for baldness. But the cure requires they keep buying it", and they retired on their Rogaine profits and won't admit to ever have worked in music.
     
  11. Gringo13

    Gringo13 Tele-Holic

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    I get that the country, swing, jazz, and maybe some blues guys wanted more tightness and headroom, but I'll never understand why there wasn't more tweed amps used by the late 60's and 70's rockers and dirty blues guitarists. Tweed amps are THE rock n roll tone, imo, and very similar to Marshalls. Marshalls were everywhere, but rarely is a tweed spotted in that era.

    I know Neil Young used his Deluxes for his signature rock tone and I've heard that Clapton and ZZ Topp occasionally used small tweeds in studio. Also, I know Robbie Robertson used a Bassman from time to time, but I've never figured out why they weren't more popular.

    Maybe because there just wasn't that many tweeds that made it to England?
     
  12. BobbyB

    BobbyB Tele-Afflicted

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    One word....Volume!
    People wanted more stage volume....Twins and Marshall stacks took over.
    Now our hearing is half gone, small venues complain about noise all the time and Tweed is back....lol
     
  13. J_Lee

    J_Lee TDPRI Member

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    A lot of people liked the reverb that was added to Fender combo amps in the early to mid 60's.
     
  14. duceditor

    duceditor Tele-Meister

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    I think there is another factor: The sheer number of guitarist and thus amps exploded just after the tweed amp period ended. I.e, in comparison to present numbers tweeds are rare beasts. And since the people that owned them treasured them they were retired from public view and then passed on to people who collect them rather than use them. Sort of like older Ferraris.

    -don
     
  15. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    If you're younger than about 60 today, you can't imagine how the 60s ditched the 50s as fast as possible. Nixon and nukes went out like white socks and rolled-up blue jeans. If there was anything remotely 50s about you, you got pounded behind the bleachers. The Beatles, Beach Boys, and electric Dylan replaced Elvis, Bobby Vee, and folk Dylan in overnight revolutions.

    By 1964, the Strat had been tossed into the rubbish bin with saddle shoes and DAs; it was perhaps the guitar Pete Townshend smashed most. As for the LP, it was considered a dinosaur by the time Kennedy was president. Only when people like Mike Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix came along did these 50s relics start to become iconic.

    As noted above, in 1963 Brit cool replaced US cool. Everyone wanted an XKE and a Vox. But the loud clean sparkly headroom reverb thing (think Ventures) was first-half 60s, and it too faded away as the Fillmore ballroom replaced Shea Stadium. Tweeds didn't really die; they just came back as Marshalls...

    So the question could be: why did 50s Fender Tweeds ever come back? Neil Young is important, but Layla was the moment the world changed. Sha-na-na at Woodstock; the '55 Chevy in Two Lane Blacktop, and Eric Clapton's Champ reveal the death of the 60s letting the 50s back into American cultural history...
     
  16. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I dig this
     
  17. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The "old" factor must have been played, I agree... As classy as the tweed looks (now), it must have been associated with grandpa at some point :(
     
  18. danlad

    danlad Tele-Meister

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    Good point. If you take a Marshall as a souped up Tweed, then that sound dominated for decades.

    I'm a bit younger (but not as much as I'd like anymore) but watching old footage of the likes of The Band, Neil Young and Stephen Stills the Tweeds hung around quite a bit.
     
  19. drmcclainphd

    drmcclainphd Tele-Afflicted

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    In my case it was Uncle, who looked old enough to be a grandpa to my young mind, and had used his while doing session work for Boots Randolph.

    Lest anyone doubt the constant flow of history in this, recall between tweed and those tilt-a-whirl Vox Super Beatles and the coming of the Transformers of music, Marshall and everyone else's dual 4x12 cabs, there lived for a time the amps made from the tuck and roll Hyde of the mythical Nauga: Kustom. Although good enough to act as its own marketing, it too fell from favor. Being a brand, not a recognized style or design, it has followers, but not likely to ever have a style resurgence. A shame too. In 1968 the best touring PA on the road was Credence's and consisted of four off the shelf Kustom heads. Those same can be found for $100 to $200 these days. Very few Kustom owners can recall ever needing to get one repaired, and that wasn't because they were padded. They're still superbly designed and built amps, almost 50 years later. "Sound like" was never mentioned because they were designed to amplify sound, not alter it. So when people wanted to sound like Hendrix and were convinced owning the same equipment would bestow that honor, off with their Kustom heads and on with amps whose distortions were called a feature rather than a bug. And of course the sparkly naugahyde covers pretty much guaranteed that the lounge association they became known for sentenced them to death along with their last bastion of their adopted stylists -- disco.
     
  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    While I agree that a Tweed Fender does overall look "classy", I have a wide range of vintage and antique and even ancient stuff around the house and garage (including a '56 Chevy drag car), and tweed covered suitcases are just not the least bit classy looking to my eye.

    Tweed Fenders are cool DESPITE the tweed.

    How many would wear that same cloth as a suit, or cover their computer or toolbox or couch with it?

    Tweed without the amp is NOT COOL!!
    (IMO)
     
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