Blackface...Silverface

rastaman

Member
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2,100
I know nothing about Fenders, what's the difference in a Blackface and a Silverface? If it makes a difference, a Princeton Reverb.
 

Tinman

Member
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1,948
Here's a quote from the fender field guide that might help:

Thru the 50s, 60s and 70s Fender was in a wattage race with the other amp manufacturers. Fender sought to increase the output of the amps while lowering the amount of distortion. As a result, the Silver Face amps tend to be "cleaner" and sometimes sterile sounding even at high volume than Black Face amps. Most people believe that the black face amps of the 60s are better sounding when overdriven than the silver face amps. Attempting to improve the sound of their silver face amps, some owners have opted to have the stock circuit altered so that it's the same as the black face amps. Generally this simple modification will be an improvement, but it will probably not sound exactly like a black face. Durring the 70s, the volatges produced by the power transformers in silver face amps steadily crept upwards, and lowering these volages is not typically part of the mod. In general, the older your silver face amp is, the more it will benefit from being "blackfaced". The late 70s high power silver face amps (Twin, Bassman 135, Showman, etc.) with the ultralinear output transformers are generally not worth the effort to convert.
 
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2,667
rastaman said:
I know nothing about Fenders, what's the difference in a Blackface and a Silverface? If it makes a difference, a Princeton Reverb.
About $500 bucks:D

Sonically, both can sound very much alike. I have a Blackface, and have tried many Silverfaces that sounded as good if not better. To me it's like a lot of other amps, it will depend on the speaker, tubes (old or new), caps, etc. The Silverfaced amps are underated, and can be changed to Blackface specs with a few reversible changes - some like the Silverface tone better.
 

GerryJ

Member
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4,993
homerayvaughan said:
About $500 bucks:D

Sonically, both can sound very much alike. I have a Blackface, and have tried many Silverfaces that sounded as good if not better. To me it's like a lot of other amps, it will depend on the speaker, tubes (old or new), caps, etc. The Silverfaced amps are underated, and can be changed to Blackface specs with a few reversible changes - some like the Silverface tone better.
+1...I've heard a TON of great players thru silverfaces. Unnless you're really into heavy power tube distortion, in which case, for fenders, tweed is better than blackface, which is better than silverface.
But nowadays if you're into heavy distortion, you wouldn't get a Fender anyway.
 

hasserl

Member
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4,711
When it comes to Princeton Reverb amps the circuits really didn't change between the black face and silver face amps, until about '77 I believe, when a Pull Boost was added to the volume. The sf amps used a 5U4GB rectifier tube, the bfPR's used a 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier tube which provides a higher B+ voltage for increased headroom.

There were some differences in the cabs though, with the sf amps using a speaker baffle that was glued into a dado joint. These cabs might also have rabbet joint corners. The bf amps used a speaker baffle that was screwed into place, and finger jointed corners.
 
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2,916
rastaman said:
I know nothing about Fenders, what's the difference in a Blackface and a Silverface? If it makes a difference, a Princeton Reverb.
Princeton Reverb doesn't sound that much different between original blackface and silverface. On the other hand, Princeton Reverb II has blackface cosmetics, but is a different amp. Of the three, I like the PRII the best.

I don't know if this makes too much difference to you, but since your name is "rastaman"; the Wailers used silverface amps quite a bit, at least going by videos I've seen.
 

rastaman

Member
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2,100
riverastoasters said:
Princeton Reverb doesn't sound that much different between original blackface and silverface. On the other hand, Princeton Reverb II has blackface cosmetics, but is a different amp. Of the three, I like the PRII the best.

I don't know if this makes too much difference to you, but since your name is "rastaman"; the Wailers used silverface amps quite a bit, at least going by videos I've seen.

"rastaman" is really a nickname that rhymes with something. It's misleading I know, but I used it anyway. I knew people would get the wrong impression :jo .
 

Guinness Lad

Member
Messages
15,865
hasserl said:
When it comes to Princeton Reverb amps the circuits really didn't change between the black face and silver face amps, until about '77 I believe, when a Pull Boost was added to the volume. The sf amps used a 5U4GB rectifier tube, the bfPR's used a 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier tube which provides a higher B+ voltage for increased headroom.

There were some differences in the cabs though, with the sf amps using a speaker baffle that was glued into a dado joint. These cabs might also have rabbet joint corners. The bf amps used a speaker baffle that was screwed into place, and finger jointed corners.
+1 Most of the changes happened starting with the biggest amps i.e Twins and Supers. Deluxes and Princetons changed little if at all. If money is your main concern buy a Silverface because they are basically the same sounding amps except for the faceplate. Im sure somebody will respond and say there is a world of difference but they would be splitting hairs. The wiring may differ some cloth vs. plastic insulation but this will not really matter much. Any Fender amp can sound great or sound worn out and old, it all depends on the particular amp your evaluating. I personally would recommend a silverface for the money. Another amp along the same lines which sounds just as good if not better would be a Tone King Imperial but these might cost a couple hundred more depending on the deal.
 

Boogie92801

Member
Messages
2,236
Although I agree with what most of you said I think there is also some difference in the part suppliers throughout the years. Fender used different vendors and that may contribute to variations in amp tone over the years.

I recently looked for a small practice amp and I played a few silver face vibrochamps, deluxes and princetons. I have to say that as far as the Princeton’s I played two silver faced ones sounded very thin and weak. I finally bought a black one that was much better sounding.
 

Colt

Member
Messages
1,301
I say bite the bullet and get the blackface. After mods, it's almost the same ballpark price wise anyway. Just get the "real deal". 68's are fine and easy to convert to blackface, and a great way to safe some money..but still..just go black. YOu'll never go back....hahaha

(sorry to silverface players....haha)
 

mad dog

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,975
As others have said, it can depend on the model. Personally, I prefer 70's SF twins with the master volume over BF. Princetons I don't think there is as much difference. With DRs they're equally cool when you get a good one, a bit different but both fine. My buddies blackfaced VR with Kendrick speakers is by far the best VR I've ever heard. Especially considering the economics, I'd look hard at silverface examples. The key thing is, get a good one, regardless of cosmetics. They're all great amps.
 

Crazyquilt

The Fool
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,540
My '68 SF Princeton Reverb absolutely smokes. It has a GZ34 rectifier, as it happens. My research, and everyone I've spoken to, seems to agree that, until the push/pull volume boost was added, there was no difference between the SF & BF PRs. Even if some of the components are lower quality, the question is: which ones? A cap job is hardly out of line for a 30 year old amp, for example. Maybe a better speaker (I have a Weber 10F150T in mine, because the original had been blown before I got it.) Even so, that still puts you ahead, cost-wise, of a BF.

I suspect, in the end, the prices are only going to go up for both, and it may be that the difference in prices, at least for the smaller Fenders, will become smaller, as the prices for 70s Fender guitars have risen, relatively & absolutely.
 

cheesey

Member
Messages
845
skip both and get a tweed amp , i was a longtime silver/blackface user and never tried tweed , then i got a 59 tweed super amp replica and :jo
what took me so long!
 

mkg

Member
Messages
1,795
cheesey said:
skip both and get a tweed amp , i was a longtime silver/blackface user and never tried tweed , then i got a 59 tweed super amp replica and :jo
what took me so long!
Or get something that falls between the two, a brownie. I came to a realization similar to cheesey's, except that it was a brown Deluxe clone http://www.allenamps.com/hotfudge.html
Mine's the one with nuts. It's got a sound all its own, but can be characterized as a bridge between tweed and bf/sf.

:BEER
 

brianf

Member
Messages
1,431
I'll never understand why folks mod Silverfaced amps. I have yet to hear one that does not sound great the way they were built.


brianf
 

gnappi

Member
Messages
297
brianf said:
I'll never understand why folks mod Silverfaced amps. I have yet to hear one that does not sound great the way they were built.


brianf
Agreed. My Silverface Quad Reverb has everything I want in an amp. Since it was pushing 30 years old, I re-capped it with Atoms, and Orange drops, and played it right next to one that had the original caps, with my speaker cabinet and neither my friend (who owned the other Quad) nor I could detect the slightest difference in tone with the supposed "Tone Monger" special caps. With all the hoopla on the net about the caps "warming" the tone, we thought that the amp sounded fine already, so neither of us saw a reason to change anything to blackface specs. Regards, Gary
 




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