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Advice on possible BF Deluxe Reverb purchase

lchender

Member
Messages
238
Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if I might prevail upon the resident experts on vintage Fender amps for an opinion?

I have the opportunity to buy a 1965 Blackface Deluxe Reverb. It is cosmetically pretty clean. The trannies are all original (dating to late 1964 or early 1965), but the speaker is not. There is a replacement 1963 Jensen that has been reconed (I believe it's a C12) currently in the amp. For some reason, the rectifier in there now is a Sovtek 5Y3 (Which, I believe, should be a 5AR4). All the glass is Sovtek. There's no cover and it comes with a non-original footswitch.

I'm not concerned about the speaker being a non-original recone as it sounds good. What concerns me is the 5Y3 rectifier. Considering that it's the wrong rectifier, I wonder if the circuit has been messed with (perhaps an attempt at 'brownfacing' the amp??) or if the guy just yarded out the 5AR4 (and other expensive NOS glass) because he's being cheap? I don't know much about rectifiers, but I'm unsure if it's safe to substitute a 5Y3 simply because the tube will fit in the socket. Is it possible that using a 5Y3 could damage a Deluxe Reverb in some way if it was just put in with no adjustments to the amp (rebiasing or whatever)?

Anyhow, does everyone think this is a reasonable deal at $2300?

Thanks!
 

BudLite

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,024
post a pic of the chassis if you can, I think some folks sub the rec tube for more sag. I would use a GZ34.
 

GearHeadFred

Member
Messages
1,643
I can't comment on the value... but the 5Y3 in there, in itself, is not a problem. I would take a look inside the chassis as at that price, you are paying for an unaltered BFDR.

You would simply need to readjust the bias when you revert to a 5AR4/GZ34 recto... assuming no other changes have been made.
 

lchender

Member
Messages
238
Thanks guys. I was concerned that a 5Y3 could damage the amp because of too many tubes drawing on it, or because of higher voltages in blackface amps as compared to tweed or brown (obviously I know little about the technical aspects of these amps). Would it hurt the amp if the owner just stuck a 5Y3 in there without rebiasing?

I don't have chassis pics, but my tech is able to peek at the amp before I buy to confirm the circuit hasn't been majorly altered.

What to do you guys think of the price? Is $2300 reasonable for a 1965 with a non-original, reconed (but period correct vintage) speaker?
 

GearHeadFred

Member
Messages
1,643
The 5Y3 draws 2A filament current, same as the GZ34.

It's "dicey" to change rectifier types and not re-bias... but probably no harm done if the amp is still working.
 

Funky54

Member
Messages
4,896
I'm no authority, but the value of all amps including the Deluxes have dropped some. I think for a recone and incorrect speaker thats on the high side, but I dont buy and sell good stuff often.
 

DGTCrazy

Mod Squad
Staff member
Messages
16,168
For the amp to be worth $2300, I'd expect the Original Foot-switch, Speaker and Cover. Especially in this market. I own one, and a BF Princeton Reverb...both with the original extras. However....regardless of the speaker....I'd immediately put a vintage EV SRO in it!
 

Clockwork Dog

Member
Messages
39
I think the 5Y3 has a lower current output than the 5AR4 so no harm to the amp. Less headroom and probably breaks up faster than the 5AR4. Hard to say on the price without
going over the amp and seeing what's what.
 

sideman

Member
Messages
2,371
Hard to tell from thread so far whether you know what to look for in the amp. You want original transformers (check stamped date codes), a fairly unmolested chassis w/ no drilled holes and a bunch of the old blue Mallorys, a good chart, a clean face plate, and decent original tolex. That amp is one of the few vintage Fenders as to which I wouldn't worry about the speaker much. Cause those Oxfords weren't very good. So the question is what's mkt a decent price for a good BFDR. There's probably a difference of opinion, and my number is below alot of asking prices, but I think a fair price is 2k. As above, it would be good to post some pics of the amp unless you know about this stuff.
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,241
The 5Y3 draws 2A filament current, same as the GZ34.

It's "dicey" to change rectifier types and not re-bias... but probably no harm done if the amp is still working.
It's only a problem when switching to a HIGHER rated (lower voltage drop) rectifier. He went the other way.
 

lchender

Member
Messages
238
Thanks for chiming in on the rectifier, Mike! I really appreciate it! I'm relieved to know that switching to a 5Y3 hasn't harmed the amp.

Thanks also for your input, sideman. Unfortunately, I don't have any pics, but did have the opportunity to inspect it in person. It checks out as a 1965 as far as I can tell. The tube chart date stamp code (OD) indicates April of 1965 and the chassis serial number also checked out as 1965. All the trannies either date to late 1964 (606-4xx) or early 1965 (606-5xx) according to the codes stamped into them. the faceplate is FEIC, not FMI. The tolex, face plate, and cab are almost immaculate. I'm told the speaker is a reconed 1963 Jensen from the brownface era (it has the old fender brownface style cap on the back of the speaker), but I couldn't find any codes on the speaker to verify this. I didn't open it up to look at the chassis, but I didn't see any holes in the chassis from former mods that had been reversed or anything like that. The only thing that was weird to me was seeing a 5Y3 installed in it, and the obviously incorrect speaker. My tech has agreed to peek at it internally before I decide if I want to buy it or not. How does it sound to you, based on that info?
 

BudLite

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,024
I would need to look at the chassis , if I see blue tubular caps missing, I start to get a bit uncomfortable.
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,241
Thanks for chiming in on the rectifier, Mike! I really appreciate it! I'm relieved to know that switching to a 5Y3 hasn't harmed the amp.

Thanks also for your input, sideman. Unfortunately, I don't have any pics, but did have the opportunity to inspect it in person. It checks out as a 1965 as far as I can tell. The tube chart date stamp code (OD) indicates April of 1965 and the chassis serial number also checked out as 1965. All the trannies either date to late 1964 (606-4xx) or early 1965 (606-5xx) according to the codes stamped into them. the faceplate is FEIC, not FMI. The tolex, face plate, and cab are almost immaculate. I'm told the speaker is a reconed 1963 Jensen from the brownface era (it has the old fender brownface style cap on the back of the speaker), but I couldn't find any codes on the speaker to verify this. I didn't open it up to look at the chassis, but I didn't see any holes in the chassis from former mods that had been reversed or anything like that. The only thing that was weird to me was seeing a 5Y3 installed in it, and the obviously incorrect speaker. My tech has agreed to peek at it internally before I decide if I want to buy it or not. How does it sound to you, based on that info?
Great idea to let your tech have a peak. If it's had a cap job that's a good thing. ALL amps that age that will be played should have one done, otherwise you're risking your investment.
 

Rumblur

Member
Messages
749
Tubes mean nothing. IF the iron is good and there's no cutting/modding, then I'd jump on it and IMMEDIATELY take it to a great AB763 guru like Dave Foxx and have him "do his thang".
 

Blue Strat

Member
Messages
30,241
Tubes mean nothing.
Agreed, especially if they're old and worn. If they're in good shape they definitely mean something but not compared to having the correct transformers.

IF the iron is good and there's no cutting/modding, then I'd jump on it and IMMEDIATELY take it to a great AB763 guru like Dave Foxx and have him "do his thang".
I don't know Dave, but Fender handwired amps aren't rocket science. Anyone worth his salt knows what to do.
 

guitarcapo

Senior Member
Messages
2,326
Seems a little high on the price for what you are getting. Basically you are paying a premium for it being a collector's item (because lets face it you don't need to pay that kind of money for the sound it makes).... and a collector wouldn't value it that high with a different speaker, non USA glass, wrong pedal...I'd expect an original cover at that price as well.

Even if it did have all those things. Now you have an amp you can't gig with for fear of damaging and devaluing it. Those amps start to become something totally different from a tool to make music.
 

Peteyvee

Premium Platinum Member
Messages
56,014
You can take them out and gig with them, just observe common sense and keep drunks at bay. Besides, anyone who knows anything about amps will think it's just another RI anyway...
Back to the OP, I agree it's a priced little high, but if the chassis checks out with all the blue molded caps and absolutely no mods, 1800-2K is fair these days. Tell him you have to track down a footswitch and a cover...
 






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