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Why is there little respect for the Rivera era Fender's??

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Bill Beck, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. Bill Beck

    Bill Beck Tele-Meister

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    The topic about the Super Champ got me to thinkin'.
    They are excellent amps with great built quality...yeah, the distortion channel is either love it or hate it, but the clean tone makes up for it.

    For the price of a HRD, you can pick up a handwired vintage Fender...who wouldn't go for that???
     
  2. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    well..

    I guess it's personal opinion....but to me the clean tone in the Rivera/Fender amps is awful - it's cold, flat and lifeless. By adding all the geegaws, Paul Rivera sucked the life out of the "Fender Tone" IMO.

    He was trying to get a "modern sound" and lost the classic one in the process. Add too much junk to the circuit and you're going to lose something.

    He did.
     
  3. Bill Beck

    Bill Beck Tele-Meister

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    Ouch!!

    :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  4. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

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    I blame Dick Dale long before Paul Rivera....

    I'd actually make the argument that Dick Dale took the life out of Fender amps 20 years before Paul Rivera's designs. The late '50s tweed amps are among the most gorgeous sounding amps on the planet (luckily a copycat named Jim Marshall came along and retained this style of circuit, and still uses them today). Dick Dale came in to the Fender factory and demanded loud and clean...Thus the march was on. Loud and ultra clean was the sound of surf, and that is the market Leo went after, and did OK with for several years during the early-mid '60s. However, as the invasion thing happened in the mid-late '60s, that tweed sound was brought back in force as the UK super groups made great use of that raunchy/rich thick Marshall tone that was completely foreign to the current Fender amp lineup. Don't get me wrong, I like the superb clean tones of a tuned up Super Reverb as much as anyone, but there is a good reason why tweed Twins and Bassmans and are $5k+.
     
  5. Mik

    Mik Tele-Afflicted

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    Respect's gotta be one reason why Rivera Super Champs sell f

    There are 3 or 5 fans of the Rivera era Concert who chime their favorable opinions when that amp is asked about on this forum. I'm one of them. I like both clean and drive channels. But it's a 20 year old 50 lb. amp and the current Fender line of amps competes directly with it-diluting demand for the Riveras.

    The Super Champ is exceptional enough to have attracted a following.

    There's respect for them just not widespread, not near a concensus. It's a different Fender that doesn't appeal to many of the tweed, Brown and BF crowds. Seems to me that the current lineup of Fender tube amps (not the reissues) is more closely related to the Rivera line than the Fender classics of the 50s and 60s.

    Mik
     
  6. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    PR 2, my experience

    It just sounded bad. I had always played Fenders (mostly old black Bassmans). I needed an amp, saw the PR 2 new in a shop in Hollywood. (I had never heard of Rivera at that time). Looked at the features, size, etc. Seemed to be just what I needed, and it was a Fender, with reverb and everything. It worked all right at home, low volume. As soon as I took it out with a group, it just sounded awful. I don't mean "not quite Blackface tone", I mean crap! The clean was just not there, and the boost switch was terrible. I have since gutted it and made it a sort-of Deluxe Reverb. It's got the right parts, there was just too much junk on it, I guess.
     
  7. Bill Beck

    Bill Beck Tele-Meister

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    I totally disagree...

    I have owned many DR's, SR's, TR's, and a few '59 Bassman RI's. The Rivera era Fender's, at least my PRII, is a little darker sounding than a DR, which I like. I don't have to turn the treble darned near off like on a DR. My style is more jazzy/R&B. If I were doing strictly country, I would prefer a DR, as it's more "twangy" sounding to my ears.

    My PRII sounds better when cranked. I don't use any of the pull pots. Just straight clean with a SD-1 Boss for o.d. As another member here says, "Your mileage may vary"!
     
  8. swingin guitarman

    swingin guitarman Tele-Meister

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    I liked the Rivera Era Fender Amps

    I gigged regularly for three years with a PR II. It was may main amp. The secret to the Rivera Era Fender amps was installing a better speaker and getting the bias properly adjusted. I had an EVM 12L in my PR II, and it was more than enough amp for most gigs. Some of the Rivera era amps didn't facilitate proper bias adjustment. Some minor changes to the circuitry made it much easier to properly bias the amp. My biggest criticism of the Rivera era Fenders is the lead dress isn't the best. The wiring on some of the amps I've seen looks like a rat's nest.
     
  9. Fret Wilkes

    Fret Wilkes Friend of Leo's

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    Concert 1-12

    I got this amp in 1982 along with the first run of 57RI Stratocasters. Initially, I put a JBL in it...now there's a LOUD, HEAVY amp! It always sounded ok to me.

    Within the last few years, a local R.I. amp tech named Manny Bettencourt gutted it, and "Mannyized" it. I am not technical enough to know what he did, but the amp sounds OUTRAGEOUS! The clean channel sounds excellant, more immediate than the deeper sound of my HR Deluxe clean channel. The distortion channel was the biggest change. It is a real fire breather now, if need be, with great crunch. I actually play pretty clean most of the time, so I don't really tap what it can do. A little dialed in dirt on the drive channel thru the Weber California 12 that is in it now was very reminiscent to me of Roy Buchanans tone (using a 52RI Telecaster), I was thrilled as you can imagine.

    The only drawback is it is so dang LOUD! I only use it in a couple of clubs, or when I sit in with a particularly loud band. My HR Deluxe w/Weber California 12 gets most of the work.

    If you are interested, I can put you in touch with Manny, he's a great guy and loves to talk music, amps, etc. I'm sure he would fill you in on what he did. All I know is he took a coffee can full of electronics out of it saying..."this was choking off your sound".

    Fret
     
  10. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    Had a 4x10 Concert for a few years

    It sounded OK. Some days better than others, but it never had that "special
    something" that a great amp has.

    It's sometimes described as "flat" or "cold", and I guess that's the problem.
    There was very little swirl or "3D" to the tone. I tried all different tube
    combinations, with some effect (12AX7LPs in the preamp helped).

    On the other hand, some guys love them.

    They are very well made, of the best materials available at the time and can
    give excellent service.

    Mine is gone now, don't really miss it.
     
  11. BADFISH

    BADFISH Tele-Meister

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    Good amps that will "Get the job done"............

    In my personal Experience, They are good Amps ..........until they bump heads with some of these new Amps they are throwing out (DR. Z, Victoria, tophat etc.) . And when you Sport the Fender Name plate you will always be judged against the Tweeds, Browns and Blackface amps. So, Good luck..................
     
  12. Spanky

    Spanky RIP

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    Fender Riveras

    Really PGA's--Pretty good amps, well made PTP's--I have a very nice 82 Concert 1-12" that's a good "working" type of amp--have a JBL in it and just retubed with 5881's that fit this amp particularly well--I also have an 82 Super Champ that is a sweet sounding little amp--great for recording etc.
    These amps are what they are-I'd rather spend $450 for one of these than $450 for a PBC Fender HRD or others--how many PTP amps can you get for that price with that quality of components ? NOT many----having said that ---does it sound anywhere near my Allen Encore---------No Way !--but it's a good little versatile amp---and really if you wanted to use one as a "platform" amp to Blackface or Mod--it's a great starting point----I like em for what they are-----last of the Fender PTP's-----
     
  13. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    I used to have the 2x10 Rivera-era Concert. It was LOUD and heavy. But then I heard a *real* Fender, and the Concert just didn't measure up. Compared to a blackface amp, the Concert's clean channel was dead, dull and lifeless, like a Mesa but not as bad as a Mesa. The gain channel plain sucked. The lead dress was an absolute rat's nest, what a mess. In it's favor, it had good transformers and good quality parts. I ended up selling it and have never looked back.
     
  14. Bill Beck

    Bill Beck Tele-Meister

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    I know that tone is subjective...but...

    The Rivera era Fender's were REAL Fender's built by Fender in Fender's facility along side the other production amps of the era.

    I have owned a couple of Prosonics, and although they sounded different than a Twin Reverb, in a good way too, I consider them to be real Fenders.

    When BF Fenders first came out, alot of folks who were used to the Tweed tones probably thought that the new BF amps were too different for them too.

    Just wanted to throw that in. BTW, I have heard some great players coax some pretty darn good clean tones out of their Mesa's.
     
  15. Bill Beck

    Bill Beck Tele-Meister

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    Just got to thinkin'-Yeah, they are trash!!

    The more folks that hate 'em, it'll keep the prices down for us guys that love 'em. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  16. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

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    2x10 Concert

    Tremo..I have the same 2X10 Concert as you had. I've had it new since 82. My comments are identical to yours. I just haven't gotten around to selling it.

    Even though it is all-tube, the circuit is much more complicated than a blackface or silverface amp. Because of that, the PTP wiring is a nightmare. No wonder Fender went to PCB's!

    The clean channel IS dull and lifeless, and the drive channel is just awful. The entire drive channel is a waste of 6 knobs. It would make a good 'donor' chassis candidate to build better amp from. It is REALLY loud though!
     
  17. John Harrison

    John Harrison Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Concert 112

    I had an '83 Concert 112, upgraded to the EVM12L speaker. My bandmate had the same, with the stock speaker. I switched from using a Vox Viscount 2x12; my bandmate from an Ampeg V4.
    We lost our sounds. My Concert did loud and clean, but was sterile. It's what started me into using pedals, to try to regain some tone. It also weighed a ton - more than the Vox!

    Now, maybe, with some tweaking, the amp might have been enhanced, but, wasn't the allure to the Rivera-designed series that they were "Fender's Mesa Boogies"?

    I traded the amp to a guy who claimed to have the magic mod for the amp. I saw the amp, 6 mos. later, in a consignment shop. The guy who was test driving it was complaining that it sounded sterile.

    YMMV.
     
  18. Bill Beck

    Bill Beck Tele-Meister

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    That might be the case in the bigger amps.

    But as far as the PRII and Superchamp goes, it's neat and tidy inside, looks as clean as a SFDR. No rats nest at all. The clean tone is fabulous.
     
  19. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

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    John....

    not knowing any better...I tried some of the mods that Torres engineering sells for the Concert. The mods were awful.....I removed them and the amp is back to stock. There are some particularily poorly designed circuits in this amp...the 'Bright' switch circuit comes to mind. The effects loop circuitry also probably sucks tone out of the amp. Does anyone ever use or need an effects loop? Seems like a dated feature at least for me.
     
  20. Mike Better

    Mike Better Tele-Meister

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    Re: John....

    Where else would you put the Eventide? :)

    Mike
     
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