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1968 Fender Showman

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
So, I bought a 68 Showman (silverface) today, well actually I put a hold on it at a dealer, gonna drive down and check it out this weekend.

What should I expect with this amp? Kind of a silly question, but you can only get so much from reviews/crappy Youtube clips.

I know they are loud and clean, and lack reverb. This one appears to be an early 68, hopefully it will have the AB763 circuit, but I'll play it first and decide on the sound rather than the circuit.

Supposedly it's been maintained, it was a players amp, and it has some newer filter caps (maybe all of them) and a three prong cord.

I was initially looking for a lower wattage model, one of the 2 6L6 variety, but this is a good deal and the amp is clean. I figure I can use some overdrive pedals with it to get some breakup. I also have a few reverb pedals, my Mr. Springgy works good in the front of all my amps, even with a bit of drive.

Thoughts or comments?

 

jzilla

Member
Messages
1,498
i have a BF showman and LOVE It. headroom for days. huge, full, warm, dynamic and detailed. not a cheesy, sterile clean. tons of character but no hair (breakup) unless you want to deafen your neighbors in the next city. takes pedals beautifully. this amp has taught me how pedals are supposed to sound. one thing, i never use the vibrato channel. the normal channel sounds so much better to me.

btw, if you find it to be too loud you can always have a tech install a half power switch. my tech said it's a very simple job and will not adversely affect the tone.
 

sliberty

Member
Messages
3,946
How much did you pay?

I have a 68 Bandmaster, with the AB763 circuit. It is essentially the lower wattage amp you were hoping for, but maybe with less desireable transformers. It's not a bad sounding amp, but the cleans are a little blah. When cranked up, the little but of crunch that you get is sort of pleasing, but nothing to write home about.
 

sesroh

Member
Messages
83
Instead of adding a half power switch, why not just pull two of the power tubes (from each far side)? Then it will be running at half power.
 

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
i have a BF showman and LOVE It. headroom for days. huge, full, warm, dynamic and detailed. not a cheesy, sterile clean. tons of character but no hair (breakup) unless you want to deafen your neighbors in the next city. takes pedals beautifully. this amp has taught me how pedals are supposed to sound. one thing, i never use the vibrato channel. the normal channel sounds so much better to me.

btw, if you find it to be too loud you can always have a tech install a half power switch. my tech said it's a very simple job and will not adversely affect the tone.
jzilla, thanks very much for the info, that's helpful. It's what I was hoping for with the Showman. No I didn't intend to crank it up to distortion, but I'm hoping hitting it with a TS type pedal will get it that classic Strat/Blackface tone, among others!

I thought about doing that half power switch, though I didn't know how easy it would be. I figure since the amp is already not all original (which isn't important to me!) a few mods for use aren't bad. I would like to have a tech look it over anyway.

Good to know about the normal channel, I always assumed the Vibrato channel would be the one to go to with the mid control, sounds like that may not be the case.

How much did you pay?

I have a 68 Bandmaster, with the AB763 circuit. It is essentially the lower wattage amp you were hoping for, but maybe with less desireable transformers. It's not a bad sounding amp, but the cleans are a little blah. When cranked up, the little but of crunch that you get is sort of pleasing, but nothing to write home about.
sliberty, I haven't bought the amp yet, they are asking $495.00. I'm not gonna commit to a price until I've had a chance to play it and look it over. I have store credit at the shop I'm looking at and they're good guys to deal with. They had a silverface Vibrolux Reverb that I was interested in, but I didn't make a move right away, and it sold quick. My bad! Would have loved to have it. Though I like the fact that the Showman is a head!
 

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
Instead of adding a half power switch, why not just pull two of the power tubes (from each far side)? Then it will be running at half power.
That's a good thought as well, though I don't know that either the half power switch or pulling two tubes will make a drastic volume difference, just less headroom. I have a feeling either way it will be a loud bugger! That's why I'm thinking in terms of just using it for full cleans.
 

jzilla

Member
Messages
1,498
Instead of adding a half power switch, why not just pull two of the power tubes (from each far side)? Then it will be running at half power.
would that be the same thing? assuming it is, i like the convenience of a switch...
 

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
would that be the same thing? assuming it is, i like the convenience of a switch...
This will rile up the purists and collectors (or maybe not!) But I was thinking about having the tremolo controls turned into master volume/power scaling controls. The guy I spoke to said the trem is flaky.

I would prefer the half power switch over yanking two tubes. I would think that just pulling two tubes could stress parts of the amp and make stuff run at higher voltages, though I could be wrong. I think a properly implimented half power switch or MV/scaling would be better, especially scaling because you can run the tubes at less than full power and extend their life. I have a friend who's a great amp tech and amp designer, I would trust him with this kind of stuff.

But I have to see what I think of the amp stock before I go planning mods on it, I may like it just fine as is. My wallet would appreciate that too!
 

rockstarjay

Member
Messages
368
The price sounds about right. Don't mod it, just use less efficient speakers and or power tubes with less output.

The way to get the sound is to overload the input stage with an od or distortion and turn down the volume a bit.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,522
The price sounds about right. Don't mod it, just use less efficient speakers and or power tubes with less output.

The way to get the sound is to overload the input stage with an od or distortion and turn down the volume a bit.
Those small bottle GE's are a nice "less output" choice for the Fender amps.
I'm pretty sure all the "single" Showman amps are 8 ohms, as opposed to the Dual Showmans which are 4 ohms.
That amp would be fine with a 16 ohm load, and that will knock the power down another 33% or whatever the exact number is.
Shouldn't be too hard to tame with the milder output tubes and a single 16 ohm speaker. That would probably get you below half the advertised power right there.

Turn down+pedal? Sure, that too!
 

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
The price sounds about right. Don't mod it, just use less efficient speakers and or power tubes with less output.

The way to get the sound is to overload the input stage with an od or distortion and turn down the volume a bit.
Actually I think that's a good suggestion, as when I had a blackface inspired amp I found I liked the sound of a Tubescreamer type pedal pushing the front end, even at less than ear bleed volumes.

I talked to the guy I'm going to have look over the amp and he recommended against power scaling the amp, as it would need some holes drilled as well as a heat sink and fan for amps over 50 watts.

He proposed modifiying the amp to run a pair of 6L6s and a pair of 6V6s, and using the ground switch location to put in a three way switch so I can run 6V6s/Both Pairs/6L6s. I think that's a great idea. I also may have him mode the Normal Channel to a tweed twin sounding preamp.

Those small bottle GE's are a nice "less output" choice for the Fender amps.
I'm pretty sure all the "single" Showman amps are 8 ohms, as opposed to the Dual Showmans which are 4 ohms.
That amp would be fine with a 16 ohm load, and that will knock the power down another 33% or whatever the exact number is.
Shouldn't be too hard to tame with the milder output tubes and a single 16 ohm speaker. That would probably get you below half the advertised power right there.

Turn down+pedal? Sure, that too!
Also good ideas. I should be able to cover all of my Fender tones with this amp! I'm getting excited!!
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,106
That's a great, great amp. I was using a '68 silverface Dual Showman for a while and it has the best cleans of any amp I've ever owned. It's on the bench right now because it desperately needs a cap job, but I'll get it up and running again soon.

Takes pedals better than anything, too. Find a nice OD or two that you dig and you'll be in bliss. Very practical gigging amp that way, because it sounds basically the same at any volume from acoustic levels up to spine-crushing.
 

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
That's a great, great amp. I was using a '68 silverface Dual Showman for a while and it has the best cleans of any amp I've ever owned. It's on the bench right now because it desperately needs a cap job, but I'll get it up and running again soon.

Takes pedals better than anything, too. Find a nice OD or two that you dig and you'll be in bliss. Very practical gigging amp that way, because it sounds basically the same at any volume from acoustic levels up to spine-crushing.

Excellent info, thanks kludge! That's what I wanted to hear!
 

ROKY

Member
Messages
7,223
Thoughts or comments?

I have the same year and model -- great amp -- very classic sounding !

I've been running it into a single cab w/ an Eminence Tonker and pairing
that w/ a 1962 Bassman and the 2 amps together sound incredible !!

I like the Vibrato channel more, as I think having the mid control is a
big plus in adding body to the tone(s). I don't have a lot of use for
scooped mids - in fact I run the mids anywhere from 7 to 10 w/ the
treble pulled back to 5 and the bass at 3 .
 

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
I have the same year and model -- great amp -- very classic sounding !

I've been running it into a single cab w/ an Eminence Tonker and pairing
that w/ a 1962 Bassman and the 2 amps together sound incredible !!

I like the Vibrato channel more, as I think having the mid control is a
big plus in adding body to the tone(s). I don't have a lot of use for
scooped mids - in fact I run the mids anywhere from 7 to 10 w/ the
treble pulled back to 5 and the bass at 3 .
Good to hear, I plan on running the head through a Thiele ported 1x12 with an EVM12L. I also have a Freda 1x12 ported cab (bigger than the Thiele) that has an Eminence Man-O-War. It seems weird but the Man-O-War sounds pretty good with blackface type amps!
 

ROKY

Member
Messages
7,223
Good to hear, I plan on running the head through a Thiele ported 1x12 with an EVM12L. I also have a Freda 1x12 ported cab (bigger than the Thiele) that has an Eminence Man-O-War. It seems weird but the Man-O-War sounds pretty good with blackface type amps!
Not surprising at all. Although I haven't tried the Man-O-War, the
newer Eminence speakers I've tried are all excellent .

You definitely have some good cabs to use with the Showman.
 

voojo

Member
Messages
3,415
Well, I got the Showman, and all I can say is WHAT A TONE! Man I couldn't be happier with this thing. I have had a couple of boutique blackface clones, and while they were great amps in their own right, this thing just oozes "blackface" type tones (even though it's a silverface!)

It's warm & the clean tones are just sublime, even (surprisingly) at lower volumes. I was afraid that 85 watts would be hard to manage, but it's got such a mellow tone that it's never grating, even at full tilt. Tone of the gods at higher volumes! I don't miss reverb at all, but I have my Mr. Jackson Springgy pedal and together the combination is magical. I don't know what circuit this thing has, though I know it has been maintained, it has a three prong cord. I don't care what circuit it has, it sounds so good as is.

I now think these silverfaces are absolute bargains, and I couldn't be happier! Strat + Showman = magic. P90s + Showman = Magic. Humbuckers + Showman = Magic. Revtrons + Showman = Magic. Ok I think that's enough!
 

ROKY

Member
Messages
7,223
Well, I got the Showman, and all I can say is WHAT A TONE! Man I couldn't be happier with this thing. I have had a couple of boutique blackface clones, and while they were great amps in their own right, this thing just oozes "blackface" type tones (even though it's a silverface!)

It's warm & the clean tones are just sublime, even (surprisingly) at lower volumes. I was afraid that 85 watts would be hard to manage, but it's got such a mellow tone that it's never grating, even at full tilt. Tone of the gods at higher volumes! I don't miss reverb at all, but I have my Mr. Jackson Springgy pedal and together the combination is magical. I don't know what circuit this thing has, though I know it has been maintained, it has a three prong cord. I don't care what circuit it has, it sounds so good as is.

I now think these silverfaces are absolute bargains, and I couldn't be happier! Strat + Showman = magic. P90s + Showman = Magic. Humbuckers + Showman = Magic. Revtrons + Showman = Magic. Ok I think that's enough!
I agree, completely; glad you're digging it ! :BEER
 




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