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View Full Version : The Best Fender Blackface Clone?


wishkahdaddy
11-11-2009, 11:19 PM
What are your thoughts on who makes the closest modern version of a 60's style fender blackface? Second question would be how much would the amp you mention cost?

bluesjuke
11-11-2009, 11:26 PM
Clark Beaufort Reverb (BF Deluxe Reverb) $1479.
http://www.clarkamplification.com/

Chicken Picken' Amps, not sure of the price;
http://www.cpamps.com/index.html

Stu Daddy Amplification $1850;
http://www.stu-daddyamps.com/servlet/the-Amps-cln-Blackface/Categories

KCWM
11-12-2009, 06:59 AM
I emailed Mike at CPamps within the last week or two on an unrelated matter. I mentioned interest in his BF clones and he mentioned that he was not making them at this time. Maybe that changed, but if not, FYI.

eliot1025
11-12-2009, 07:11 AM
I don't know if these are "clones" per se, but the Cowtipper amps by Bruno and the EZG50 by Dr. Z are reputed to be fantastic blackface-style amps.

kelvinator60
11-12-2009, 07:12 AM
I LOVE my Allen Encore. Not a clone but an upgrade. I used to own a '66 Vibrolux. Never need another vintage Fender with an Allen around.

Senor Forum
11-12-2009, 07:19 AM
There are so many...

For a Deluxe Reverb killer, check out the Tone King Imperial. 20 watts, 6v6, 2 channel.

One channel is straight up BF and the other is more of a tweed era.

The reverb and tremolo are TO DIE FOR.

FFTT
11-12-2009, 07:27 AM
Check with VVT Amps in Waldorf MD.


The Allen Amps are also very well built.

Lots of love for Tone Kings too.

strumminsix
11-12-2009, 07:53 AM
Fargen does a great job as well!

picnic
11-12-2009, 07:57 AM
Of the amps I have/have had these three are the tops for BFDR clones

1. Tone King Meteor IIA
2. Fargen Blackbird 40
3. Allen Accomplice

bobcs71
11-12-2009, 08:24 AM
I like my Fargen BB, but it's not an exact clone. It's Ben's 'modified' BF amp. http://www.fargenamps.com/

For a more exact clone I've played Marsh stuff: http://www.marshamps.com/

lukeII
11-12-2009, 08:28 AM
For 6L6 Blackface my favorite is Bruno Cowtipper but for 6v6 I prefer Fargen Blackbirds

JoeB63
11-12-2009, 09:17 AM
Many of the amps listed above are not Blackface clones; they are variations on that theme. My lesson learned is that if you really want a Blackface tone, get an actual Blackface amp or a direct copy, i.e. the same exact circuit --- not an amp that supposedly improves upon a Blackface.

I had a Bruno CT. It was a nice amp, but I prefer an actual Blackface (or a real clone). I had a Carr Rambler, an amp that many say is a great Blackface-style amp. It doesn't sound like a Blackface amp.

To that end, I now have a Headstrong Lil' King, which is a copy of a Blackface Princeton, and I have a Clark Beaufort Reverb (a Fender BFDR copy) on order. I realized that the clean tone I like best is that of a Blackface circuit.

IMO, if you want Blackface tone on a budget, buy a DRRI. It's closer than any of the "improved" amps mentioned above. Though of course, you may prefer one of those variants. I just think it's important to understand the difference.

wishkahdaddy
11-12-2009, 12:50 PM
I started this thread because of needing some advice for my sound. I recently purchased a Carol Ann Tucana that is a dumble based circuit but truly is a marshall type of tone-to my ear anyway. It covers my need for rock very well and has a good clean that will work to a degree. I play in a band where our format is, "Where country meets rock" and I would like a good sounding fender blackface type amp for when I need to sound a bit more country. I'm hoping for a smaller 1x12 amp to run alongside my Carol Ann. I realize if I want a true blackface amp then I need to buy one. I also know that they are prone to breaking down as they are obviously very old. The are heavy and expensive. I'm not a purist, but I am picky so quality is very important to me. I'd like to pick up a used 1x12 at some point to meet my needs. Please don't just write me to pawn off your junk, I just need advice from others who have already gone down my path. FYI-currently looking at a Soldano Lucky 13 because the cleans are big and thick but the amp is also very heavy, a 2x12, and expensive to boot. Thanks

Blues_N_Rock
11-12-2009, 01:13 PM
I purchased a (note heavy) BFSR clone from Rick Hayes at Vintage Sound Amps in Florida. It plays very well and is made with top quality components. I saw the guts and the workmanship looks clean. The amp was well packed for shipping and could probably be dropped from a 2nd story building with little damage. Overall the quality and build of this amp will last a lifetime. He was a pleasure to deal with....always answered every e-mail and he was very patient with my questions. He will build them anyway you want from an authentic BF to a modded version. He also makes smaller amps in the size you are looking for. Check it out.

http://www.vintagesoundamps.com/

Another option is to purchase a silverface model and mod it to blackface specs. It maybe a cheaper option to go. If you get an earlier version of a silverface amp it could already be blackfaced.

fullerplast
11-12-2009, 01:37 PM
I started this thread because of needing some advice for my sound. I recently purchased a Carol Ann Tucana that is a dumble based circuit but truly is a marshall type of tone-to my ear anyway. It covers my need for rock very well and has a good clean that will work to a degree. I play in a band where our format is, "Where country meets rock" and I would like a good sounding fender blackface type amp for when I need to sound a bit more country. I'm hoping for a smaller 1x12 amp to run alongside my Carol Ann. I realize if I want a true blackface amp then I need to buy one. I also know that they are prone to breaking down as they are obviously very old. The are heavy and expensive. I'm not a purist, but I am picky so quality is very important to me. I'd like to pick up a used 1x12 at some point to meet my needs. Please don't just write me to pawn off your junk, I just need advice from others who have already gone down my path. FYI-currently looking at a Soldano Lucky 13 because the cleans are big and thick but the amp is also very heavy, a 2x12, and expensive to boot. Thanks

IMHO, you need some focus and need to correct some invalid assumptions before you get useful advice. "Blackface" covers a lot of territory. You've added some useful info above, but also made some bad assumptions.

First off, for a 1x12 you are talking Deluxe Reverb. If you want that tone, many the "better mousetraps" won't really get you there. I've tried. Just get the real deal. If you want to experiment with modern interpretations, have a blast....you now have a list in this thread. BTDT.

Don't assume old means unreliable. It doesn't. Nor are they heavy unless you put a heavy speaker in them. You can go reissue for an inexpensive new version, silverface for an inexpensive handwired old version, or blackface for a more expensive collectible old version.

Pick your pricepoint and start looking here and on Ebay. Shouldn't take long to find one.

riffmeister
11-12-2009, 01:43 PM
I've owned Bruno, Allen, & Tone King. None are "clones" but all are BF inspired. My persoanl fave is the Tone King Meteor 1x12 which weighs in at 47 lbs. Big sound, superb reverb & trem, multiple power tube options, and best of all....it sounds great!

Groberts
11-12-2009, 01:47 PM
I've owned Bruno, Allen, & Tone King. None are "clones" but all are BF inspired. My persoanl fave is the Tone King Meteor 1x12 which weighs in at 47 lbs. Big sound, superb reverb & trem, multiple power tube options, and best of all....it sounds great!

Mmm. Tone Kings are beautiful sounding!

As for Deluxes, I played one yesterday at GC. I don't even think it was a reissue. Not sure. But it sounded classic. Very Fendery.

wishkahdaddy
11-12-2009, 03:27 PM
To Fullerplast. You are probably correct about what you said in your post and I'm showing that I'm not well versed in Fender Blackface amps-that I do admit. What I do know is I've talked with two "oldtimers" who have told me that their old fender blackface's would break down a lot. I also watched a very good guitar player in a fairly well to do band while in Austin, TX last summer on vacation. He had 2 blackface amps at the gig. About halfway through the gig one went out. He switched to the other amp so quick it would make your head spin and missed about 1 verse of 1 song during the switch (obviously well practiced!). I chatted with him afterwords and he told me he loved his amps but they broke down a lot so he learned to gig with two. Hey, maybe I just talked to or witnessed the only 3 people on the planet who say these things break down, but that's the limited knowledge I have so obviously I'm leary. Again, I'm not a purist. I just want to get close to that classic sound that you hear come out of the old blackface amps but have a new model. Perhaps they truly don't exist but that is why I asked. Thanks

KCWM
11-12-2009, 03:40 PM
It's modern, but I REALLY dig my Deluxe Reverb Reissue. In fact, I have two (though I'm selling one). After playing an actual Deluxe Reverb, I realized that the DRRI is pretty close, though, obviously, not 100% of the way there. I equate it to an off brand cereal imitation...it comes really close, you can identify what it was going after, but it's not quite the real deal. I know someone people who won't eat anything but the off brand after trying it. The same can be said for reissues. Everyone's ears are different.

If you want a blackface Fender, pick up a reissue at Guitar Center. See if it's what you like. If not, take it back. If it it's almost there, then you know you probably need an actual older model. If it IS there, well, then you have two options...one keep it, or return it and try to find a used one. I know the Deluxe Reverbs tend to go for around $600-$700 around here used. I've seen one or two lower, if you're really patient.

Of course, some see returning it as an abuse of guitar center's policy.

jokerjkny
11-12-2009, 03:50 PM
clark & headstrong, NO DOUBT

VanStone
11-12-2009, 04:10 PM
+1 for Allen Amps.

V

dividedsky
11-12-2009, 04:43 PM
Chicken Picken' Amps, not sure of the price;
http://www.cpamps.com/index.html


My next amp will be from him. BF prices aren't currently on the site but you can email Mike for the info.

pjrhd28
11-12-2009, 04:54 PM
The Tone King Meteor II

And you get the tweed on steroids channel to boot.

1 x12 combo $1500 to $ 1800 used ???

jaydub69
11-12-2009, 04:57 PM
+2 for Allen Amps. Can be found used for a great price.

BluezyBruce
11-12-2009, 11:21 PM
I see Mike's( www.cpamps.com (http://www.cpamps.com) ) amps have been mentioned a few times on the subject. I currently use one of his 59 bassman chassis amps and to be honest I won't use any other amps built these days. I have looked around and keep coming back to Mike because I know and like the way he build his amps. I have owned three and am patiently awaiting my fourth at the moment. Mike's amp have a certain mojo to them. Very sweet and when I put them next to an original I have been very pleased by the sound, feel and sensativity on the strings. Mike's amps are great and I recommend them to as many people as I can.

With that being said I do know where one of my old amps are which just happen to be a Blackface deluxe built with a Vibroverb output stage. Why because I like and use 6L6 tubes mostly and need a little more clean head room. If you are interested in the amp I can direct you or let you know who owns it. It is for sale at a local music store. Anyway it is loaded with Mercury Magnetic trany's all through and has been played on very little. not sure what your looking to spend but let me know if your intrested.
Just so you know I like playing my tweed amps more so that is why I let it go.

Bruce

FFTT
11-13-2009, 12:06 AM
The VVT Amps are all hand wired, built road read for working musicians.

The Allen Built Allen Amps are quite nice and reasonable.
I really liked my friends Sweet Spot.

We A/B'd to his 65 BF DR and it was very close tonally.

The Tone Kings are also very well built, but they do use proprietary
hybrid PCB construction. Lots of Tone King love around here.

I would also look at the Category 5 Amps and Pure 64, both fine builds.

go7
11-13-2009, 09:35 AM
I had Keith at Clara amps build me an exact DR circuit. Best amp yet. The reissue just a teaser.. Enjoy

Phishy4
11-13-2009, 09:40 AM
I had a chance to buy a '64 Deluxe reverb a month or so ago and I wound up walking out of the dudes house with his Allen Accomplice instead. It wasn't that the Accomplice was "better" but I liked the tone I personally got out of it better. Part of it was that it was set up with 6l6's and a 2x10 baffle, so it was sort of vibrolux-ish setup with the AB763 circuit. I'm sold on Allen stuff now, love it. Fargen makes really nice blackface type circuits as well.

ScioBro
11-13-2009, 03:33 PM
stu-daddy amps of Warren Mi.

I'm using his 64 BFDR clone. ~$1600

you can get tweed 5E3 or BF Vibroverb
whatever you want.

I'll bet Stuart will be cheaper than others.

hand made & covered cab.s
MM tranny's

bobbypols
11-13-2009, 04:30 PM
Bought an allen encore used, spent $100 and removed the master volume and did some modifications to add chime and head room. Now a tone monster and it was not lacking before either. The neat thing was that it is in 1x15" format and to get a vibroverb near the cost of $1300 CAD, no way.

doublescale1
11-13-2009, 07:25 PM
Headstrong is one of the tops in mid-sixties blackface tone reproducitons - closer to clones than an Allen which admits to being blackface inspired but has many other tone options available with their modified chassis build - a lot of people love that kind of amp and they do sound real good - Headstrong recreates the original chassis build, and only updates what they have to for modern safety requirements - Clark will also be a great clone option, as mentioned in previous threads - I own a Headstrong and love it - I had a 68 "drip-rail" Deluxe Reverb that I put 250.00 into to get it back to fighting shape - sold it to the other guitarist in my band and he still gigs the hell out of it - a Silverface model, put in good running order may be what you what to look into as well. Good hunting. If true blackface tone is your goal, there are a few viable ways to go - but watch out for "blackface inspired" amps - they will not be what you say your looking for.

Kmaz
11-13-2009, 08:18 PM
+1 for Stu Daddy. I have his tweed Deluxe and it's an outstanding amplifier. Got it at great price also.

GenoBluzGtr
11-14-2009, 06:52 AM
I have two blackface amps, neither are the 'real deal, but I think either will get you where you wish to be.

First up, an Allen Sweet Spot. If you want Princeton Reverb vibe with some extra balls, this is it. I owned a Clark Kanee Reverb at one time, and it was a killer PR clone. I think I like the Allen just a bit more... not because of better-vs-less-better, but the Allen combines a couple of tweaks that make the amp more giggable... Middle control that adds midrange above moderate settings so you can get hints of tweed in your tone if you like it. Also larger iron and a tweaked phase inverter for 18-20 watts with 6V6s and 25-28 watts with 6L6s. You can get it in a 12" combo (I like my 10" with a Ragin Cajun, but a 12 would add a touch of bottom).

Next up is a Deluxe Reverb Reissue that has been gutted and re-done as a Handwired Point-to-Point amp with quality components, Mercury Mag iron throughout (PT, OT, Choke, and Reverb OT), Switchcraft jacks and switches and CTS pots. The only things left original are the chassis, tube sockets, Cab, reverb pan, and Face-plate/knobs. The conversion also included changing the vibrato circuit over to a Power Tube Bias-Vary type instead of the Opt-Bug style 'ticking' type. Vibrato now works on both channels as well.

So, you see, there are all different kinds and levels. If you want true vintage style DR tone, there are a couple out there, but remember, you can try out a dozen different vintage Deluxe Reverbs and they will all sound somewhat different... settle on the things that you want, and the things that will make a difference to you, and find that amp. Not all Blackfaces are identical.

bluesjuke
11-14-2009, 08:36 AM
+1 for Stu Daddy. I have his tweed Deluxe and it's an outstanding amplifier. Got it at great price also.


I have his Tweed Pro 5E5A and knowing what I know from having that I would say his BF is no less perfection.

Sleepless
09-26-2011, 01:10 PM
Hi.
I'm planning a Blackface Princeton Reverb replica build and I'd like to know if you guys have heard of the best transformers I could put in there. I have tried Mojo/Heyboer's trannies and I'm not convinced. Do you know of something better? What are the Marshall's Merren Audio transformers equivalent for Fender clones?
Thanks!

Lublin
09-26-2011, 03:01 PM
You can get a real vintage Blackface for an excellent price nowadays. Why go for the imitation? Go straight to the source. :)

slider313
09-26-2011, 06:04 PM
+1 for Stu Daddy.

shapeshifter
09-27-2011, 01:25 AM
IMHO, you need some focus and need to correct some invalid assumptions before you get useful advice. "Blackface" covers a lot of territory. You've added some useful info above, but also made some bad assumptions.

First off, for a 1x12 you are talking Deluxe Reverb. If you want that tone, many the "better mousetraps" won't really get you there. I've tried. Just get the real deal. If you want to experiment with modern interpretations, have a blast....you now have a list in this thread. BTDT.

Don't assume old means unreliable. It doesn't. Nor are they heavy unless you put a heavy speaker in them. You can go reissue for an inexpensive new version, silverface for an inexpensive handwired old version, or blackface for a more expensive collectible old version.

Pick your pricepoint and start looking here and on Ebay. Shouldn't take long to find one.
:agree

Sleepless
09-27-2011, 04:08 AM
You can get a real vintage Blackface for an excellent price nowadays. Why go for the imitation? Go straight to the source. :)

I can build one myself for $1000 at most. A real blackface one in good condition is in the $2000/2500 ballpark. That's a no brainer for me... And I don't even weigh in the fact that I like building amps and don't much rely on the "vintage is better than imitation" hype. I don't build imitations, I build electronic amp circuits. In that matter, a circuit is a circuit, period. All that matters is the way you build it (and I'm good at that) and the components you put inside. That's why I was asking if you knew what the best new blackace clones transformers out there are...

I found them for Marshall amps but I haven't found them for Fenders yet...

lumco
09-27-2011, 04:32 AM
I can build one myself for $1000 at most. A real blackface one in good condition is in the $2000/2500 ballpark. That's a no brainer for me... And I don't even weigh in the fact that I like building amps and don't much rely on the "vintage is better than imitation" hype. I don't build imitations, I build electronic amp circuits. In that matter, a circuit is a circuit, period. All that matters is the way you build it (and I'm good at that) and the components you put inside. That's why I was asking if you knew what the best new blackace clones transformers out there are...

I found them for Marshall amps but I haven't found them for Fenders yet...

I like your explanation.:agree

grateful.ed
09-27-2011, 08:51 AM
Hey Blackface experts:

I picked this up recently and posted some pics. Anyone have any info on it?....tried to find some info before I bought it, but there's not much out there. I know Headstrong makes solid stuff, so I went for it....for about the same as a silverface goes for these days.

My amp tech experience is simply changing tubes and biasing power tubes, so the only thing I can tell you from these pics is some of the little pieces are different colors than the little pieces in BFs/SFs:rotflmao

I had a DRRI for quite a while and the lower volume clean seems about the same, ...but the edge of breakup and distortion on this thing...:bow


http://i1011.photobucket.com/albums/af238/epiombino/DSC01022.jpg

http://i1011.photobucket.com/albums/af238/epiombino/DSC01021.jpg

BobbyRay
09-27-2011, 11:30 AM
IMHO, you need some focus and need to correct some invalid assumptions before you get useful advice. "Blackface" covers a lot of territory. You've added some useful info above, but also made some bad assumptions.

First off, for a 1x12 you are talking Deluxe Reverb. If you want that tone, many the "better mousetraps" won't really get you there. I've tried. Just get the real deal. If you want to experiment with modern interpretations, have a blast....you now have a list in this thread. BTDT.

Don't assume old means unreliable. It doesn't. Nor are they heavy unless you put a heavy speaker in them. You can go reissue for an inexpensive new version, silverface for an inexpensive handwired old version, or blackface for a more expensive collectible old version.

Pick your pricepoint and start looking here and on Ebay. Shouldn't take long to find one.

This

ThePitbullofLove
09-27-2011, 11:39 AM
I listened to this one at an amp & guitar show in Raleigh this weekend, and it sounds fantastic!


http://www.3rdpower.com/product_AD112.htm

http://youtu.be/E6qboUCQVGU

obasnoj
09-27-2011, 03:23 PM
the dr z ezg50 rocked me

Sleepless
10-26-2011, 06:42 AM
So I guess no one knows about who builds the best blackface transformers replicas, I'm particularly looking for Princeton Reverb transformers... :huh

boogieman90
10-26-2011, 07:05 AM
Dave Purple Hays of Hayes amplification. He is an artist.

guitarmook
10-26-2011, 07:11 AM
"Where country meets rock" and I would like a good sounding fender blackface type amp for when I need to sound a bit more country. I'm hoping for a smaller 1x12 amp...

I played in a very similar band for several years. And I've owned a number of original Fender Amps. Super Reverb (blackfaced Silver), Deluxe Reverb (also blackfaced), Vibrolux (still have that one), an original 53 Deluxe, and a brown (60?) Pro.

I loved the tight, bright, with a bit of a scoop in the mids, and a present but not boomy bottom end, very, very clean sound from the big Fenders. But I also liked the mid-heavy, thick, chewy oomph from a good tweed deluxe, when it's time to rock a bit.

The best amp I found that covered those two bases in one easy-to-carry package was a Tone King. (Comet 40A) - 1x12, and lightweight. Running 4 6v6s, it did the clean fender thing beautifully. Then go to half-power, and it would do the tweed roar just as well. And I never struggled with headroom or projection. Even on outdoor stages.

Then I got an AxeFX, and could add a couple versions of Vox to the arsenal as well...

Sleepless
10-26-2011, 07:14 AM
Dave Purple Hays of Hayes amplification. He is an artist.


Sweet, thanks for your input, I've just sent him an email. If you have other recommendations to make I'm all ears! :bow

boogieman90
12-06-2011, 06:17 AM
You will be very pleased with Dave's work. None better!

Sleepless
12-06-2011, 06:24 AM
Wrote Dave a couple of weeks ago to ask him if he could sell me his transformers. He answered that he actually puts Mercury Magnetics trannies in his amps... Nothing uncommon I must say...

NeilYoungFan
12-06-2011, 06:37 AM
Going through this thread again, it's pretty sad how some prices have skyrocketed since 2009.

woof*
12-06-2011, 07:31 AM
Going through this thread again, it's pretty sad how some prices have skyrocketed since 2009.

Yep, and makes me glad I held onto my Super's and Pro's. I have tried many clones, but most are some sort of modified blackface amp. That in itself wouldn't be all bad except instead of modifiying for more clean headroom improvements, they mess with the preamp, adding master volumes and mid switches and all kinds of stuff. I'd say just save your money and be ready to buy when an original for a fair price comes along.