Cheapest way to get into brownface Fender territory?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by dewey decibel, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

    Messages:
    9,265
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer
    Curious- I'm rocking bf Fender amps right now, but my two favorite amps are the brown Vibrolux and the brown Pro and I'm dying to get closer to that sound. Plus my Pro Reverb is just getting too heavy.

    So, what are my options? Right now I'm considering a Princeton Reverb, as these sound a little bit closer to the browns than the other bf/sf Fenders. I've built a couple amps, so a kit or putting something together is an option, but I'm not a tech by any means. I'd prefer something I could mod over something I'd have to put together from scratch. I'm thinking I could get a '70s PR for around $600-700, mod it a bit, and get close.

    Otherwise I'm looking for around 30 watts, 6L6s, and it needs to have a fair amount of headroom. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Brick

    Brick Member

    Messages:
    1,171
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Being a very biased Allen Hot Fudge with Nuts owner I'm going to suggest going with an Allen kit. Especially if you have the ability to build it yourself -- http://www.allenamps.com/kits.php

    The HFwN 1x10 kit is $799 and the 1x12 kit is $849.
     
  3. topbrent

    topbrent Member

    Messages:
    442
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern UT
  4. Kingofdogs1950

    Kingofdogs1950 Member

    Messages:
    126
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2006
    +1 for the Allen HF/w Nuts. Its rated at 35 watts with 6L6s. Mine is for sale...

    Mark

    [​IMG]
     
  5. mcgriff420

    mcgriff420 Member

    Messages:
    1,557
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Not sure how much modding you'd want to do on this amp but when I'm ready for a brownie I'll be getting one of these from Quinn Amps http://quinnamp.com/

    I'm definitely going for the all octal version!

    ..
     
  6. wgs1230

    wgs1230 Fully Intonatable Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,362
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2005
    Location:
    On The Bus
    In terms of buying to mod, that's a long walk ime. Here's an important question: how important is the multi-tube "Harmonic Vibrato" found in the brown Pro (but not in the Vibrolux, which uses the single-tube bias vary circuit that was carried over exclusively in the later Princetons) to your search? B/c there's really no way to add that to a bf/sf Fender without major surgery, which among other things means losing a channel (and you're running the gauntlet on voltage stability, esp. with any reverb model). If you want the full-blown HV circuit, you've probably got to pony up for a vintage piece or go for Ted Weber's Pro kit.

    Also, as a 20+ year owner of a brown Tremolux rig (and former brown Bassman owner), I can tell you that the 35-45w browns really don't have comparable headroom to their bf descendants. The plate voltages are typically softer and they're mostly tube rectified, which means more compression and softer highs at clip (given the same cab).

    There are mods we can make to, say, a sf Bassman which will produce more mids and harmonic rawness, but if you want a brown sound without the vintage pricetag, I'd suggest looking at the Allen offerings, the Weber kits or the Victoria Victorilux/Victoriette models first.
     
  7. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

    Messages:
    9,265
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer
    Thanks for the responses. It looks like there's no sleeper amps out there that will get me close for short money?

    That's a nice looking amp.




    That's a good point about the vibrato. I honestly wasn't even thinking about that, it was more the basic brownface tone. But I think I'd be happy with either- I'm not looking for a specific sound as far as the vibrato's concerned, and I think I might actually prefer the bias vary. I think anything different than the optic I have now would be a plus.


    As far as the headroom thing- I'm aware of that. It's sort of what I'm after- I don't want a super clean sound, I want it a little "warmed up". But I do need a fair amount of headroom. The Allen Hot Fudge looks interesting, but I've never played a brown Deluxe so I'm not sure about the headroom, even with 6L6s. I did try a brown Princeton and it was more like a Marshall than a Fender to me. Or more like one of those little Supro amps- anyway, it was a screamer. I don't really want that. But it seemed like a Vibroverb or Pro had enough headroom.

    If it helps I was thinking a sf Pricenton Reverb with the PI mod and a bigger speaker would have enough headroom for me.
     
  8. wgs1230

    wgs1230 Fully Intonatable Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,362
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2005
    Location:
    On The Bus
    If a Deluxe-type poweramp with 6L6s isn't enough headroom, the PR most likely won't be, either. Also, what PI mod are we talking about? The PR is using half a 12AX7 in a split-load config, and trying to convert that to the 2-stage long-tailed PI in the brown V'lux/Pro means losing either half a preamp gain stage (with major re-routing) or killing the trem.

    If you don't need reverb, here's an alternate suggestion, not pure brown Fender but definitely not bf/sf, either: try to find a sf Bandmaster head, which lacks a tube rectifier but already has the long-tailed PI wiring. Convert the trem from opto to the Princeton's bias-vary wiring; maybe convert the treble pots to 350k-A with the .003 bypass cap, for the 70k tapped response (not everyone likes this, but they were omnipresent in the mid-wattage browns); consider some sort of compromise on the V1&2 plate load arrays to knock the plate volts down to around 190-200v (the sf Bandmaster shows roughly 60v more than the primary gain plate v's in the brown Pro); and, once a 3-prong cable is installed, remove the ground switch in favor of a subtractive negative feedback pot in series with the stock NFB resistor (what Allen calls a RAW control).

    Those changes would put you closer to a real brown sound than any PI mod to a PR, imo.
     
  9. scottlaned

    scottlaned Member

    Messages:
    648
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA
    +1 on Allen and Weber.

    If you've got extra money to blow or if you don't know how to build, get Allen to build you an amp. Brown Sugar rocks.
     
  10. sabby

    sabby Member

    Messages:
    2,109
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    FWIW, a Brown Pro has a SS rectifier, as does the Concert. The Super has a GZ34 rectifier, and even this is a lot louder than, say, a Tweed Super. If you want the crazy Brown Trem, get one of these three. The Princeton/Deluxe trem is really cool, but not the same. FWIW, I got my Pro about 18 mos ago for 750 with a blown speaker and unoriginal cab. It needed recapped, but it's still cost me about what a new Allen would.
     
  11. Crikey

    Crikey Member

    Messages:
    989
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    Dr. Z says his Z-28 model is somewhat brownface Deluxe inspired (the circuit is different, with an EF86 preamp, though). Tonally, mine is bigger and stouter than a tweed, but not as deep/bright/scooped as a blackface -- and when I crank it, it does remind me of an old-school Marshall. It's loud and big-sounding for a two-6V6 amp, but I expect most 6L6 amps would have more headroom. You can get it as a head, 1x12 or 4x10 combo.

    Good luck!


    Crikey
     
  12. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

    Messages:
    9,265
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer
    No, wasn't talking about a mod to a long tail PI, just what's commonly called the Stokes and Paul C mods. I do realize the PR isn't that close to a brwon, it's just closer to what i want then most other bf/sf amps.

    A lot of this talk of headroom is difficult because some of these amps I've used on the bandstand and some I haven't. So while you can get a good idea off stage and from looking at specs you'll never know what's enough till you actually get on the gig. My experience is that generally the blackfaces have more clean headroom than the browns of the same spec. Of course, they aren't the same spec- you know what I mean. But my point is I think a bf/sf Princeton Reverb (with the mods and a decent 12" speaker) could hang with a brown Deluxe. But again, that's just a guess. The brown Princeton I played with for a couple hours seemed more like a 5E3 in terms of headroom. I'd love to find a dealer that carried some Allen amps.

    But yeah, initially I started looking for a sf Bandmaster Reverb head that was maybe a bit hacked up that I could have my way with. But then I started thinking maybe it would be better to either a) start from scratch, or b) start with something that was closer to what I was looking for. There's lots of wierd amps out there that are similar to the Fender tweeds and blackfaces, but I guess not so many that are similar to the browns.


    I'll also have a look at the Z-28. I do like amps with the EF-86, but not so much for this application.
     
  13. topbrent

    topbrent Member

    Messages:
    442
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern UT
    This is incorrect. What you described is a nfb cut, and it is what is known as the "Soul Control" mod.

    The RAW knob is a 250k pot in series with the 10k mid pot (or 6.8k fixed resistor)to ground. It functions as variable tonestack dump.

    The same RAW function can be replicated using a single 100k-500k mid pot, but all of your normal 6.8-10k range will be in the first quarter of a turn and then boost city from there on out.
     

Share This Page