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Early 70s SF Deluxe Reverbs - why do they seem to go so cheap? Any reasons?

Sudsy100

Member
Messages
49
I was wondering . . . does anyone know why the early 70s Deluxe Reverb 1x12s seem to sell for such low prices . . . about $850 to $1000 on average? I'm talking about 72, 73, 74 . . . the SF non-master issues. I'm in Canada, but checked the eBay.com completed listings for reference, and came across the general selling prices.

I just picked up a 1969 Drip Edge Vibrolux Reverb (and it is indeed very sweet for sure!), but was thinking about also adding a SF Deluxe Reverb to the harem as one last piece of the "arsenal". I paid $1,350 for the VR, which is a very good price up here in Canuckland . . . especially in the smallish city where I live. EX condition, perfect working order, all original.

I'm not a Fender expert (more of a Hiwatt guy from way back), so I was wondering if there's any specific reason why the early-70s DR's seem to go so cheap (other than the fact they're not BF's). Is there something about them that makes them undesirable or not up to snuff? I'd always thought an early-70s SF DR would be an excellent addition, and there's a couple here for sale in the $1,400 to $1,500 range. I almost pulled the trigger, then came across the lower prices they seem to go for.

Any input or info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,839
I was wondering . . . does anyone know why the early 70s Deluxe Reverb 1x12s seem to sell for such low prices . . . about $850 to $1000 on average? I'm talking about 72, 73, 74 . . . the SF non-master issues. I'm in Canada, but checked the eBay.com completed listings for reference, and came across the general selling prices.

I just picked up a 1969 Drip Edge Vibrolux Reverb (and it is indeed very sweet for sure!), but was thinking about also adding a SF Deluxe Reverb to the harem as one last piece of the "arsenal". I paid $1,350 for the VR, which is a very good price up here in Canuckland . . . especially in the smallish city where I live. EX condition, perfect working order, all original.

I'm not a Fender expert (more of a Hiwatt guy from way back), so I was wondering if there's any specific reason why the early-70s DR's seem to go so cheap (other than the fact they're not BF's). Is there something about them that makes them undesirable or not up to snuff? I'd always thought an early-70s SF DR would be an excellent addition, and there's a couple here for sale in the $1,400 to $1,500 range. I almost pulled the trigger, then came across the lower prices they seem to go for.

Any input or info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Well there were some circuit changes I believe before 1977 when the major circuit change -- the much-maligned pull-boost circuit -- was implemented. I don't know that the changes were as extensive as on some other BF amps -- I don't think the SFDR ever got the changes to the bias circuit that the bigger amps got, but I'm sure someone here will be able to more accurately and thoroughly detail the circuit changes that did take place throughout the SF era.
 

Sudsy100

Member
Messages
49
Well there were some circuit changes I believe before 1977 when the major circuit change -- the much-maligned pull-boost circuit -- was implemented. I don't know that the changes were as extensive as on some other BF amps -- I don't think the SFDR ever got the changes to the bias circuit that the bigger amps got, but I'm sure someone here will be able to more accurately and thoroughly detail the circuit changes that did take place throughout the SF era.
Thanks! I tried to do the most research I could, and TTYTT, I couldn't find a single reason why an early-70s SF DR wouldn't be an excellent amp. It know the 1972 I'm gonna check out is probably gonna have the A1172 or A1270 circuit, but if it sounds great, then that's fine by me. The only factor was resale value (not that I intend to sell it, but you never know what will pop up). Seeing as it costs $150 to $175 to ship from the U.S. to Canada, I figure $1,300 to $1,400 would be borderline fair locally. I don't mind taking a $200 hit on equity seeing as there's a limited supply here in Victoria (pop about 280,000).

BTW--I just bought the 69 Drip Edge "Vibrolux Reverb-Amp" today, so just got a chance to take a brief look at it a few minutes ago. All my previous research indicated the BF circuit was discontinued in 1968, but it was a gray area. Anyway . . . it's got the the blackface AA864 listed on the tube chart along with the GZ34 rectifier. I haven't had a chance to open it up fully yet to take a look for the blue caps, but it appears it could indeed be a BF circuit. Bonus if so! Regardless, I fell in love the minute I played one chord through it :).

Still . . . seeing as the 69 VR cost me $1,350, I'm a little gun-shy about going any higher for a 72 DR. I know the proof is in the ears, but it'll be a tough call.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,613
The reason why they're "so cheap" (and $1000 isn't THAT cheap) is that there are so many of them. They've been very popular amps for a long time, and considering that a 1981 DR sounds a whole lot like a 1965 DR, that saturates the market pretty good for people looking for that sound.

There were some circuit changes over the years, but I have a 1979 SFDR with the push/pull volume knob, and it sounds better than most Deluxe Reverbs of any year that I've ever heard! A lot of that is due to the speaker and the amp being taken care of so well over the years. Don't pull the volume knob, and you've pretty much got the blackface circuit. There are some minor changes besides the added circuitry for the push/pull knob. They added a recording out at one point. It doesn't really hurt anything. They also changed the rectifier, but you can always change that back. You just have to swap rectifiers and then rebias the power tubes. No soldering required. The lead dress started to get a bit sloppy in as the years went by and they attempted to fix that (or the parasitic oscillation it could cause) with snubber caps across the power tubes. The snubber caps are easily clipped, and the lead dress can be fixed up, if you want. It would rarely make a difference in sound.

Honestly, pretty much all those old Deluxe Reverbs sound pretty similar. Any circuit changes made over the years don't matter anywhere near as much as the changes they made to the speakers. It's the speaker that makes or breaks this amp for most people. My advice, if you are a collector, get a blackface. If you are a player, get any model you can find cheaply, and take the money you saved and get it looked over by a tech, buy some good NOS glass, and throw a good speaker in there.
 

ledzep618

Member
Messages
4,751
It's because they made tons and tons of Silverfaces. They market is still saturated with them and they sound great.
 

Sudsy100

Member
Messages
49
Thanks a million to all who replied. It's greatly appreciated!! That was exactly the kind of info and feedback I was looking for.

At the price the guy is asking locally, I'll definitely take a pass. But, my eyes are peeled when an early-70s SF DR comes up in the $1000 or so range.

Cheers . . . and thanks again! :aok
 

smolder

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,512
Honestly, pretty much all those old Deluxe Reverbs sound pretty similar. Any circuit changes made over the years don't matter anywhere near as much as the changes they made to the speakers. It's the speaker that makes or breaks this amp for most people. My advice, if you are a collector, get a blackface. If you are a player, get any model you can find cheaply, and take the money you saved and get it looked over by a tech, buy some good NOS glass, and throw a good speaker in there.
+100 - this is very good advice.
 

paulbearer

Member
Messages
5,505
Agreed...
I have an original '65, a '94 Blonde DRRI, and a '79/80 which I hadn't played in two years until yesterday... (had been thinking about selling the '79). It sounds great!
For some reason I had myself recalling it as an ultralinear so had squirreled it away, but it's not... though is a loud 20 watts... and definitely affordable.

There were some circuit changes over the years, but I have a 1979 SFDR with the push/pull volume knob, and it sounds better than most Deluxe Reverbs of any year that I've ever heard!
 

HayekFan

Member
Messages
1,526
Yeah, I think it's mainly the cosmetic stuff. The cabinet construction isn't as nice. The non underlined logo isn't as nice. The lead dress isn't as nice and the wire is plastic instead of cloth. They're just not real sexy amps. But they do sound nice. Great little workhorse amps.
 

Sudsy100

Member
Messages
49
+100 - this is very good advice.
And advice I'll definitely take! I want player's amps, although my 75 & 76 Hiwatts have a sentimental/collector appeal to to me . . . and now the 69 Drip Edge VR.

Other than that, the only thing I factor into a purchase is that I don't lose more than 25% in equity/resale value if an unexpected gems plops in my lap and I decide to sell.

Suds . . .
 

jondom22

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,418
I bought a 73' SFDR in Brooklyn for $650 in 2009. Was a lil dusty and the guy hadn't used it in 15 years so it needed some work, but considering I was going to have it blackfaced, new speaker, re-capped anyways, I would say I got a pretty decent deal.

Some of the price discrepancy between ones that are selling for $800-$100 vs. $1400-$1500 prob is due to the fact that guys on TGP probably have spent good money getting it recapped, retubed, new speaker, modded, etc. and if you are looking for an amp to play out, those are all things you would most likely want/have to do to get it right.

With that being said, I recently purchased an Earth Sound Research G2000 head, which is a 99% clone of a SF Twin Reverb/Dual Showman Reverb circuit in head form that is point-to-point handwired for $280 plus a Zvex Distortron (which I bought used for $70), and it didn't need any work besides a retubing/biasing/adding a grounded power switch. Literally all my caps were spec and my amp tech, who's been doing this since the 60's and used to work on 48th st in the heyday with other techs like Jess Oliver said there is no need for me to do any other work to it...

...so sometimes you actually get a good deal and don't even need any work.

If you're looking for a SFDR sound to use as a player and lookin to save money, check out some old Traynor's, Ampegs, and Gibson amps as well. Those old Traynors used very solid Hammond Power and Output transformers, which not only gives you great power/volume/headroom, but that iron is really what makes the tone shine.
 

morglan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,503
Actually, I've recently been watching prices, and some of them seem to be going for MORE than I had expected ($1300-1500 shipped).

My situation is similar to yours. I was trying to decide between a VR and DR. Ended up getting a BFVR for a song ($395!), but still had to fix my curiosity, so I grabbed an early 70's (72 or 74, can't recall right now) SFDR.

I will probably be letting the DR go in the near future--to my ears, the VR sounds better and does more than the DR.
 

Sudsy100

Member
Messages
49
Some of the price discrepancy between ones that are selling for $800-$100 vs. $1400-$1500 prob is due to the fact that guys on TGP probably have spent good money getting it recapped, retubed, new speaker, modded, etc. and if you are looking for an amp to play out, those are all things you would most likely want/have to do to get it right.

If you're looking for a SFDR sound to use as a player and lookin to save money, check out some old Traynor's, Ampegs, and Gibson amps as well. Those old Traynors used very solid Hammond Power and Output transformers, which not only gives you great power/volume/headroom, but that iron is really what makes the tone shine.
Good point about the prices for well-maintained or tweaked ones. I'm not an eBay junkie by any means, but one thing it has going is availability and selection. I wouldn't at all be squeamish about buying a $1,000 jobbie though. Like I said, I'm in a smallish city, but there's enough tube gurus around to count on, and adding $100 to $200 into the total cost to bring one up to snuff is well within the limit.

The main things about buying online to Canuckland are: 1. The seller has to ship via USPS because UPS & FedEx absolutely rip us off with insane fees (up to 66 lbs can be shipped via Priority International, so there's no reason not to use it), and 2: The seller has to pack it like a tank and declare it at a lower value. I know that might sound demanding, but it's just being pragmatic. If an amp is shipped from the U.S. via UPS/FedEx and declared for $1,000 to $1,200, then I'll end up paying WAY more than I would buying within the country. I can probably live with declaring an item at true value (I'd pay 12% tax ), but I'll never use UPS or FedEx (I'd pay an extra $200 or more in fees on top of shipping and any tax).

Funny you mention the Traynor stuff. The first job I had in 1971 when I was 16 was at the Yorkville factory in Toronto. I walked in and asked, "do you have any jobs?". The guy said, "do you have a driver's license?" I said, "yes" . . . and he said, "you're our new delivery guy taking the amps to all the music stores in the city." If the Homer Simpson "Whoo-Hoo" had been around, I'm sure that's what woulda come outta my lips :)

BTW . . . I played a fair share of Traynors back in the day. Excellent amps, and I'd buy a old Guitar Mate or a Bass Master in a second if I was back in Toronto. I didn't really like the Custom Special that much though. I can't tell you why because I don't know the specs, but it always sounded fizzy. Played a Ampeg V-4 for a few years back in the 70s too . . . an acquired taste for sure, but that sucker can honk it out like crazy.
 

Sudsy100

Member
Messages
49
Actually, I've recently been watching prices, and some of them seem to be going for MORE than I had expected ($1300-1500 shipped).

My situation is similar to yours. I was trying to decide between a VR and DR. Ended up getting a BFVR for a song ($395!), but still had to fix my curiosity, so I grabbed an early 70's (72 or 74, can't recall right now) SFDR.

I will probably be letting the DR go in the near future--to my ears, the VR sounds better and does more than the DR.
Shipping included, the prices you mention sound about right based on what I found. Among the recently sold SF DR's (before shipping) in my saved Research List are:

1974 - $966
1975 - $1,175
1972 - $1,050
1974 - $1,050
1971 - $1,199 (recapped, matched Tungsol 6V6's, Sprague inverter caps, Jensen 50W (assuming a new C12N)

A couple needed a tad of TLC, but didn't appear to be anything major.

If you decide to unload yours, lemme know. It's a long shot because of the shipping cost, but done the right way to save on certain "fees", it could work out.

Suds . . .
 
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