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View Full Version : Need Fender Blues Deville 410 Amp Mods....


jrockbridge
10-09-2012, 11:27 AM
I have an early 90's (? 94 ?) Blues Deville 410. It's a two channel amp, made in the USA. I've only used it as a 410 cab the last couple of years.

The overdrive channel is terrible but I don't really care about it. I don't use the crunch channel. I'd like to get the clean channel sounding better. Also, the reverb is dark and murky sounding but I don't care about the reverb. I have a VanAmps Solemate reverb that sounds great through the amp, so the reverb can stay dark and murky, since I don't use it.

I'd like to send off just the amp section to somebody and pay to have the clean channel modified. Who has a good reputation for modifying Fender amps?

Please, don't suggest paying somebody $1000 to rebuild the amp. The amp isn't even worth a $1000. If I wanted an new amp built, I'd start from scratch. My ceiling is about $500 and even then I'd have to debate whether it's worth putting that much into an amp that sells as a reissue for $1050.

I've noticed a business called Omega amps that seems to have experience modifying and repairing Fender amps. Also, I noticed a place called Andrews Amp Lab which seems to specialize in Fender amp repair and mods. Has anybody had any experience with these shops?

phsyconoodler
10-09-2012, 02:28 PM
Google Fromel mods and do the mods.The amp will improve quite a bit.
The Blues series are harder to mod than the Hot Rod series amps were but there are some good mods out there.

Jerry Glass
10-09-2012, 02:44 PM
...and you're going to have to describe what "better" sounds like to you. There's a lot of different takes on "better".

jrockbridge
10-09-2012, 07:38 PM
...and you're going to have to describe what "better" sounds like to you. There's a lot of different takes on "better".

More like a Bassman.

RJLII
10-10-2012, 07:30 AM
Please consider this......

I had a Tweed Blues DeVille I purchased new in 1994. After wrangling with all the same issues as you (dirt channel sucks, reverb dark, clean channel kind of blah) I looked in to MODs. Speakers, tubes, circuit mods, etc. Lucky for me I researched everything down to the gnats ass prior to doing everything and did a cost/benefit analysis. It turns out the cost of making the amp something it wasn't was going to cost more than selling it and buying something else. I sold it in 2009 and the buyer was tickled to death to have found it. I applied the money to buy an amp that had the sound I really wanted in the first place.

I'm guessing you can get $500 for your DeVille if it's in good shape. I've seen hand wired tweed bassman clones used for not much more than a grand. Here's one in the emporium (no affiliation): http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1153096&highlight=tweed

That fits your +$500 model. Vintage BF and SF heads are rather plentiful too.

phsyconoodler
10-10-2012, 09:02 AM
Gee I do the mods up here in Canada every week and I put in new filter caps too just to make it complete.All at 240.00 including labour.

Too expensive?Says who?

And yes,they do sound better in every way.Especially the reverb.

Chris Scott
10-10-2012, 09:18 AM
Gee I do the mods up here in Canada every week and I put in new filter caps too just to make it complete.All at 240.00 including labour.

Too expensive?Says who?

And yes,they do sound better in every way.Especially the reverb.


This.


The nits associated with this amp are by now legendary, and most any experienced tech (and phsyconoodler falls squarely into this category imo) can improve them quite a bit without it costing more than they're worth.

Really all depends on how far you want to take it...

jrockbridge
10-10-2012, 10:12 AM
Please consider this......

I had a Tweed Blues DeVille I purchased new in 1994. After wrangling with all the same issues as you (dirt channel sucks, reverb dark, clean channel kind of blah) I looked in to MODs. Speakers, tubes, circuit mods, etc. Lucky for me I researched everything down to the gnats ass prior to doing everything and did a cost/benefit analysis. It turns out the cost of making the amp something it wasn't was going to cost more than selling it and buying something else. I sold it in 2009 and the buyer was tickled to death to have found it. I applied the money to buy an amp that had the sound I really wanted in the first place.

I'm guessing you can get $500 for your DeVille if it's in good shape. I've seen hand wired tweed bassman clones used for not much more than a grand. Here's one in the emporium (no affiliation): http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1153096&highlight=tweed

That fits your +$500 model. Vintage BF and SF heads are rather plentiful too.

I'm not trying to turn this amp into something it's not. But, yes, if you really don't like anything about the sound, selling makes more sense. These amps don't sound like a BF, DR, Twin or Tweed. If that's what you want, it is best to look elsewhere. Fortunately, for me, I do like the Deville clean channel. I can already get the amp to sound very good stock. It has a greasy sound which is somewhat similar to a Bassman IMO. I think it just needs a little mod expertise to get it into the sweet spot.

As I posted above, I'd really have to think about whether mods were worth it to me if the cost was $500. But, it seems like many people do mods for about $250. The reissue Deville is $1050 but I think I only paid $699 new. So even with shipping costs added in, I'd still below the price of a new one and mine would sound better. Some people buy the reissue, pay for mods and are very happy.

I've discovered that Jim at Omega Amps seems to be one of the most popular and trusted shops for these types of mods. I appreciate that there are many other good alternatives but his seems to be the expertise, price and reputation I've been seeking. Thanks for all the input everyone. :aok

bluesky636
10-10-2012, 04:45 PM
I have a Blues Deluxe Reissue that I have heavily modded myself.

For an original Blues Deville, the first mod that is an absolute necessity is to install a bias pot. Fender sets the bias on these amps way too cold. Then put some decent tubes in it (I like JJ's) and bias the output tubes properly. Stick a NOS 12AY7 in V1. Just those three things will make a noticable difference in the amp's sound.

After that, you can modify the tone stack if you like. I replaced the bass cap (0.1 mfd) with a 0.022 mfd Orange drop. That rolls the bass off faster below about 60 Hz and gets rid of a lot boomyness. I replaced the stock 0.022 mfd middle cap with the same value Orange Drop, and the 250 pf ceramic treble cap with the same value silver mica. These changes make the tone stack much smoother sounding.

I also replaced the stock plate resistors in the phase inverter. I removed and jumpered R50 and replaced R51 with a 1 watt 82K ohm resistor. Ths change brings the output stage in line with the 59 Bassman reissue.

The power supply in the Blues Deville is pretty stout, so no changes there are really required. I didn't bother replacing any coupling or bypass caps in my amp either.

http://support.fender.com/schematics/guitar_amplifiers/Blues_DeVille_schematic.pdf

Geosh
10-10-2012, 04:55 PM
I have a Blues Deluxe Reissue that I have heavily modded myself.

For an original Blues Deville, the first mod that is an absolute necessity is to install a bias pot. Fender sets the bias on these amps way too cold. Then put some decent tubes in it (I like JJ's) and bias the output tubes properly. Stick a NOS 12AY7 in V1. Just those three things will make a noticable difference in the amp's sound.

After that, you can modify the tone stack if you like. I replaced the bass cap (0.1 mfd) with a 0.022 mfd Orange drop. That rolls the bass off faster below about 60 Hz and gets rid of a lot boomyness. I replaced the stock 0.022 mfd middle cap with the same value Orange Drop, and the 250 pf ceramic treble cap with the same value silver mica. These changes make the tone stack much smoother sounding.

I also replaced the stock plate resistors in the phase inverter. I removed and jumpered R50 and replaced R51 with a 1 watt 82K ohm resistor. Ths change brings the output stage in line with the 59 Bassman reissue.

The power supply in the Blues Deville is pretty stout, so no changes there are really required. I didn't bother replacing any coupling or bypass caps in my amp either.

http://support.fender.com/schematics/guitar_amplifiers/Blues_DeVille_schematic.pdf

You have any details how to install a bias pot? Also, is there a way to make a test point like on the made-in-mexico ones, so I can check bias with just a multimeter? I keep trying Google and all I have found so far is pretty worthless.

RJLII
10-10-2012, 05:39 PM
I'm not trying to turn this amp into something it's not. But, yes, if you really don't like anything about the sound, selling makes more sense. These amps don't sound like a BF, DR, Twin or Tweed. If that's what you want, it is best to look elsewhere. Fortunately, for me, I do like the Deville clean channel. I can already get the amp to sound very good stock. It has a greasy sound which is somewhat similar to a Bassman IMO. I think it just needs a little mod expertise to get it into the sweet spot.

As I posted above, I'd really have to think about whether mods were worth it to me if the cost was $500. But, it seems like many people do mods for about $250. The reissue Deville is $1050 but I think I only paid $699 new. So even with shipping costs added in, I'd still below the price of a new one and mine would sound better. Some people buy the reissue, pay for mods and are very happy.

I've discovered that Jim at Omega Amps seems to be one of the most popular and trusted shops for these types of mods. I appreciate that there are many other good alternatives but his seems to be the expertise, price and reputation I've been seeking. Thanks for all the input everyone. :aok

I'm hearing you. If you can craft the tone with some tweaks then by all means go for it. Here's hoping you get there with a minimum of grief ;)

bluesky636
10-10-2012, 05:49 PM
You have any details how to install a bias pot? Also, is there a way to make a test point like on the made-in-mexico ones, so I can check bias with just a multimeter? I keep trying Google and all I have found so far is pretty worthless.

This is just one of the many kits out there. It sounds like it includes the test point also. It does require drilling the chassis which may be a problem as you would have to remove the chassis and probably the boards. I have seen others that use a small multiturn pot or simple trim pot like Fender uses in the reisssues.

http://torresengineering.stores.yahoo.net/fenbluesdevn.html

I actually removed the 1-ohm cathode resistor that Fender installs for the test point because I use a bias probe that allows me to safely measure both cathode current and plate voltage with a DVM.

http://www.amp-head.com/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=70

RJLII
10-10-2012, 05:57 PM
I actually removed the 1-ohm cathode resistor that Fender installs for the test point because I use a bias probe that allows me to safely measure both cathode current and plate voltage with a DVM.

http://www.amp-head.com/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=70


I have the same bias tester. It really works nice.

Geosh
10-11-2012, 04:08 PM
This is just one of the many kits out there. It sounds like it includes the test point also. It does require drilling the chassis which may be a problem as you would have to remove the chassis and probably the boards. I have seen others that use a small multiturn pot or simple trim pot like Fender uses in the reisssues.

http://torresengineering.stores.yahoo.net/fenbluesdevn.html

I actually removed the 1-ohm cathode resistor that Fender installs for the test point because I use a bias probe that allows me to safely measure both cathode current and plate voltage with a DVM.

http://www.amp-head.com/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=70


I always hear mixed reviews about Torres stuff. I think R87 is the bias resistor, and I can just swap in a pot (and resistor) to get it adjustable, but does anyone know what value pot and resistor I should use?

Also, how exactly do I wire the "test point"? I would have to add a 1 ohm 1% resistor between the cathode of one tube and ground right? Then I just measure the voltage drop across this resistor to set bias?

I know it is a simple job, but nobody is sharing how to do it.

Thanks!

bluesky636
10-11-2012, 04:42 PM
I always hear mixed reviews about Torres stuff. I think R87 is the bias resistor, and I can just swap in a pot (and resistor) to get it adjustable, but does anyone know what value pot and resistor I should use?

Also, how exactly do I wire the "test point"? I would have to add a 1 ohm 1% resistor between the cathode of one tube and ground right? Then I just measure the voltage drop across this resistor to set bias?

I know it is a simple job, but nobody is sharing how to do it.

Thanks!

Compare the schematic of your amp

http://support.fender.com/schematics/guitar_amplifiers/Blues_DeVille_schematic.pdf

with that of the Reissue

http://support.fender.com/schematics/guitar_amplifiers/BluesDeVille_Reissue_2004_schematic_Rev-A.pdf

and go from there.

blues24
10-11-2012, 05:10 PM
Omega is the way to go......