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Why Won't Fender Sell Heads??

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by bravescoob, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. bravescoob

    bravescoob Tele-Meister

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    I have considered buying a new Fender amp for a long time cause I love the cleans (who doesn't). To this day though I have not, due to their unwillingness to give us separate heads. Why on earth does Fender insist on offering almost all of their iconic amps only as combos? And when they do offer heads they're as expensive as the combos! Sure there are the Super Sonic and BB45, but no Twin?! No Deluxe?! Etc. I am thinking they are trying to keep it so only the Fender name is seen on stage?
     
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  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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  3. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    And won't a Twin head be the same as a Dual Showman head, or would the output tranny be bigger in the DS?

    But I get it, not recently.
     
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  4. bravescoob

    bravescoob Tele-Meister

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    LH- Ya, wish they still did!
     
  5. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    I imagine it's just because their most iconic models were mostly combos, so that's what people mostly want to buy.
    They have made many heads though, even in recent years. They're just not a regular staple like the combos.

    The other reason might be the fact that you can still find all sorts of great deals on actual fender silverface heads from the 70s. Keep an eye out for a Bassman, Bandmaster or Showman, they aren't usually too expensive.
     
  6. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    They had Supersonic heads in 22 and 60 watt. There were also IIRC Champ and/or Superchamp XD heads? Prosonic 60 Watters too.

    Possibly just no demand.
     
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  7. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/amp...MI6tnX9qfO4gIVDNbACh0jKwfiEAYYAiABEgLrh_D_BwE

    the Bassbreaker heads are still around, but as I recall they are EL84 power tubes, and may not be what the OP is looking for.

    OTOH, Reverb has some where north of 400 Fender guitar amp heads listed. Both with and without matching cabs. Some pretty decent stuff to be found there. I found a '66 BF Tremolux there, very decent price, excellent condition. Why settle for something new when you can buy the actual, classic amp head?
     
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  8. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I don't know. Fender has rolled out new lines: Mustang and Bassbreaker. And in guitars, they've been doing pick'n'mix in several lines for years. I think one day they may decide that rolling out a line of "RI" heads, including smaller heads like a Deluxe, would make money. Bottom line!
     
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  9. bravescoob

    bravescoob Tele-Meister

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    Heard great things about Sonics. Can't imagine the no demand thing tho- probably only 20% at most of the guitar players I know and see live are using combos.
     
  10. bravescoob

    bravescoob Tele-Meister

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    I know most Fender lovers believe the vintage are better- with guitars totally agree. I have just had too many techs advise me against vintage amps because even if they were built well, they say electronics just are less reliable after so many years vs the used newer stuff. Don't know if this is true? Still it is a given that a 40-60 yr old car for example is just going to need some work.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  11. bravescoob

    bravescoob Tele-Meister

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    Fair; I just feel like heads are always more versatile, convenient, and potentially sound better since you can pair w/ deeper cabs made of decent wood.

    I have been looking at those vintage head models that you mentioned- I am quite worried about reliability though. It seems like anything that is 40-60 yrs old is going to need work/maintenance that costs additional money. A few techs advised towards getting newer used Fenders for that reason.
     
  12. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    A 70s Fender (despite not having the same stellar reputation of the 60s models) is still a very solidly produced piece of equipment. The quality of the parts is mostly fantastic and they will still be kicking long after many current amps have died.
    Since there is no pcb board, everything is accessible and serviceable. Modern fenders are much more difficult and expensive to repair if something goes wrong.

    Those old amps just need a bit of care and maintenance, much like how a car needs the occasional change of oil or tyres.

    On my 74 Vibrolux, I've only changed the electrolytic capacitors, as well as some tubes and resistors, and it works fine.
     
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  13. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    I prefer heads too when given a choice.
    I have the SCX2 head, and a Mustang I head, but that one's a DIYer.

    20190603_171507.jpg
     
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  14. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know nothing about the history or marketing strategy at Fender that could directly answer your question.
    However I do know the guys over in the Shock Bros forum can build anything you like anyway you like it.
    You could do some checking over there and find some to work with you on building you a head. Seriously, no pun intended.
    Most are very nice people too. I’m guess it could be more economical too.
    Good luck,
     
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  15. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I do run mostly head units as I like to run them through different speaker configurations than what Fender envisioned much of the time. That said, I would still like to convert some vintage heads to combos as well, so it goes both ways depending on the amp.

    Why they don't offer more of them today? Likely a matter of lack of interest by potential buyers. Believe me, if Fender surveys indicated a huge demand on heads, all you would see were head units.
     
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  16. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    I dunno who these 'techs' are but I'm guessing sales clerks with new amps to sell.

    Any serious tech worth his salt would rather see an old tagboard wired Fender amp. Even a nonprofessional like me can recap, service and tweak an old one in a couple hours.

    Here's my 83 Superchamp being recapped. Couple of hours - changed transformer to 240v, bias checked. And these ones are cramped and a bit funky as the first amps with footswitched channels.

    IMG_20190425_160807.jpg

    I rebuilt a 68 Vibrochamp from a storage locker. It was missing the large tube sockets, pot, and a myriad of bits off the tagboard plus some cosmetics - the cloth coloured wires had all faded yellow which caused some entertainment getting tremolo working.

    I'd rather buy an old one and spend $200 on tech fees than blow 40% of purchase price on a new one leaving the showroom. Like buying an old Chevvy, you want one where the cosmetics are OK - not too schmick - and it plays OK. And old one can be rejuvenated to good working condition and there's still bargains like Silverface Bassman heads, Brown and BF Tremoluxes and the like.

    My 78 Vibrochamp cost me $Au600 - I owned it four years and made $150. My 68 cost me $750 to working. Sold for $850.

    My Superchamp was about $1300 landed in Oz (import tax and shipping is poisonous). I reckon I could get that back plus the $150 on recap bits and the Alessandro speaker I bought.
     
  17. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    I had forgotten but a few years ago I put 1/4" jacks and plugs in all my combo amps. Also bought a bunch of gender changers so I could run any amp with any speaker.
     
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  18. bravescoob

    bravescoob Tele-Meister

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    I get that- combos have their place for sure. On the lack of demand I just can't believe that is the case based on what I see at shows. I rarely see a band using combos. Perhaps though the sample groups Fender polls are musicians of different ages and genres than I see and play with live.
     
  19. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    Fender put out limited edition heads of both the PR and Deluxe Reverb RI amps over the last few years, this seems to be what they do now, they only offer them as limited production for a short time and then they are gone. It's too bad, I also prefer heads so I can pick the cab and speakers to use.
    Al
     
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  20. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think you might find many people here who hold an opinion quite the opposite. Yes, it is typically recommended that a vintage amp be examined by a reliable, experienced tech to find out exactly what you got - but in my case, for example, even after replacing the filter caps and a few others, I have a wonderful, well made amp that will most like be good for the next 20 years at which time, it may just need another check up and replace a few components. In the last 20 years, I've owned 7 different tube amps, still have 5, and have not experienced any significant repair costs. I've replaced a few tubes. YMMV.

    You might just read through a number of threads in this forum, here on TDPRI:

    http://www.tdpri.com/forums/glowing-bottle-tube-amp-forum.96/

    If your tech is advising against vintage amps, find another tech. They're out there.
     
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