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Explain the goodness of a tweed amp to me...

tjinca1

Member
Messages
1,398
I'm not up on all the differences in Fender amps (blackface, tweed, etc). So, what is so good about a tweed? Is an original tweed blues deville a good tweed amp? I see one for sale, but at $500+ I doubt it's the good tweed type amp that everyone raves about.
 

trailrun100s

Member
Messages
3,569
I'm not up on all the differences in Fender amps (blackface, tweed, etc). So, what is so good about a tweed? Is an original tweed blues deville a good tweed amp? I see one for sale, but at $500+ I doubt it's the good tweed type amp that everyone raves about.
Tweed Deville isn't what they speak of...It's the old tweeds...Deluxe/twin/bassman...

I have a bassman...
 

Rusty G.

Member
Messages
3,143
Tweed Deville isn't what they speak of...It's the old tweeds...Deluxe/twin/bassman...

I have a bassman...
Also, the Champ, Harvard, Super, or any of the numerous clones out there today by many different amp makers, including Victoria, Clark, Lazy J (and many others).. . .even Fender's EC Series amps.

They have a magical sound, sprinkled with fairy dust that instantly makes anything you play a hit record. . .:hide

Actually, they are mid heavy and break up real soon on the volume dial. It's that broken up sound where the magic is found. For the record, I've got a Victoria 20112 and while it doesn't come with fairy dust, it does sound incredible. Starts breaking up around 3 on the volume dial and just gets gnarly from there. Check out some of Neil Young's numerous youtube videos of him playing his "Blackie" Les Paul into an old Tweed Deluxe to hear the sound.
 

RupertB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,316
Speaking generally, they're simple, touch-responsive amps that do well in the "edge of breakup to moderately overdriven" range of tones. Most have great harmonic content & their midrange presence cuts the mix nicely.

Some (tweed deluxes, especially) accentuate the low-mid frequencies. While it imparts a nice fat tone, it can cause a loose or "farty" low end. Not my choice for hard-rock/HM tones requiring fast response & tight bottom. Also because it seems to have a slight high-freq roll off.

When pushed hard, they get a thick, nasty blues-rock scream that a lot of folks love. Personally, I like them best when they're just starting to break up.

FWIW, my main gigging amp is a 5E3 (tweed deluxe circuit) build modded to pass slightly less low freq.
 
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PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,463
I'm not up on all the differences in Fender amps (blackface, tweed, etc). So, what is so good about a tweed? Is an original tweed blues deville a good tweed amp? I see one for sale, but at $500+ I doubt it's the good tweed type amp that everyone raves about.
I made this same mistake once and a TGP'er got me straight. A Tweed covered Blues Deville does mean not a Fender "Tweed" amp. While the Blues series were voiced somewhat like a tweed, the design does not qualify. They lean more towards a modern blend of a Twin meets Bassman, but w/o the BF scoop.

When it comes to a tweed from Fender. Think 5E3 or tweed deluxe, think '59 Bassman LTD, think low powered Twin. I believe most of the older tweeds did not have spring reverb onboard... But I think some of the newer clones haves added it.

Rupert covers their tonal qualities above. Great amps too.

FWIW... $500 for a US made Blues Deville is an ok price if the amp is clean.
 
Messages
12,054
I'm not up on all the differences in Fender amps (blackface, tweed, etc). So, what is so good about a tweed? Is an original tweed blues deville a good tweed amp? I see one for sale, but at $500+ I doubt it's the good tweed type amp that everyone raves about.
The 'tweed' are Fender amps built until 1960.

They have superior sound.
 

wgs1230

Fully Intonatable
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,132
I believe most of the older tweeds did not have spring reverb onboard... But I think some of the newer clones haves added it.
None of the real tweeds had integrated reverb, and only one of the '60-63 brown-panel models did: the '63 2x10 Vibroverb. Fender's portable tube reverb units weren't available until the very end of the tweed era in mid 1960.

There are modern tweed clones, mainly Bassman/Bandmaster combos, with tube reverb "add-on" units that mount to the side of the cabinet (Victoria, Clark, Kendrick etc.). Whether these circuits mess with the preamp frequency balance or phase margin depends on mods that have to be made at the send/return taps; I haven't heard one yet that had the available depth (aka "wetness") of a classic front-end tube reverb unit.
 

Leonc

Wild Gear Hearder
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,234
Okay, so you asked "What is so good about a Fender tweed?" and guys set you straight about what "a Fender tweed" means to most people.

Fender made lots of different amps and models during the 50s "tweed era." Big, small and all shapes and sizes in between. They don't all sound the same...many sound a bit different from eachother and have varying levels of clean headroom, natural overdrive, etc. Of the tweed era amps, I'd say the most popular are

Deluxe (5E3)
Bassman (5F6/5F6-A)
Champ

The Champ is a little single-ended amp. A little screamer. Delicious grindage. As they say, pretty much a one trick pony...but it's a helluva trick.

The Deluxe is powered by a pair of 6V6s and is just loud enough for use in a band, if you don't need a great deal of clean headroom. Its cleaner sounds are big, open and gorgeous. It's overdriven tones are raw, raucous and loose. Lots of grind here and it comes on early.

The Bassman is powered by a pair of 6L6s and is a 4x10 combo. It's way louder than the Deluxe and produces a big, lush, full-bodied clean sound and overdrives wonderfully. Early Marshalls were based off this design and it's considered the holy grail by many.

One thing that distinguishes many tweed era amps distortion is that it tends to be relatively raw and can get a bit wooly/flabby or overly compressed, particularly on the lower powered amps.
 

Hand of Doom

Member
Messages
4,486
So, what is so good about a tweed?
Other than the fact that there is nothing bad about them?

Seriously, they are FAT, greasy, sweaty pigs that are rewarding for people who love to wrangle the tone out of guitars. Bacon of the amp world.
 

Matt Sarad

Member
Messages
919
I have a narrow panel Fender and a Victoria. One sounds old. The other sounds not so old. I use the Fender mostly. It is nastier.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,672
Other than the fact that there is nothing bad about them?

Seriously, they are FAT, greasy, sweaty pigs that are rewarding for people who love to wrangle the tone out of guitars. Bacon of the amp world.

That's actually a great description. For what I do a tweed Fender is a great "second" amp, I need something tighter and quicker (like a blackface Fender) for my main amp. Other people it's the opposite.
 

RJLII

Member
Messages
10,319
Tweeds have a fuller, more organic sound versus the Blackface variants. Lots of harmonic overtones to my ear too. The lightweight cabinet and baffle construction make a contribution to the tone as well. Watch some demo videos of Victoria/Clark/Tungsten amps and you'll get the picture. They're all over YouTube. I was firmly in the Blackface camp for a long time (and still like the sound) but my Victoria Ivy League is getting all my attention lately. It's tough to beat for Blues and Jazz. Check out the interview with Mark Baier below. He spells out the differences pretty well.

 
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mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,986
Some great comments here. I find - as Leon outlines - there are many different tweed sounds, not just one, so it's not all that easy to generalize.

As to why they are so good, it starts with the circuits. My favorites are the tweed deluxe, tweed tremolux, tweed pro and lo power tweed twin. Different advantages to each, but they share a raw, alive feel I don't usually hear in later fenders. Some of the brownfaces do that too, but with a tougher, more spare kind of sound. And in the later fenders, the BF and SF VR seem to carry on some of that tweed thing, mainly in the easy, smooth overdrive.

Descriptions don't really hit it. You have to play some of these amps. My current favorite right now is a Victoria Trem de la Trem, inspired by one of the tweed tremolux circuits. It has this hot, alive kind of presence. As much feel as sound. That to me is the essence of why tweeds are so satisfying to play.
MD
 

Bob Arbogast

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
999
Not all tweeds are crated equal. A Bassman doesn't sound like a Deluxe. A Deluxe doesn't sound like a Champ. Some tweeds are mid-focused, but not all. A tweed Bassman has a mid-scooped tone stack very much like a BF amp (not identical, but in the same family). And a tweed Champ . . . well, it's just plain ugly-sounding. The Derek and the Dominoes album is supposed to be a stellar example of tweed Champ tones. But I, for one, don't find the tones on that album especially appealing. To my ears, it definitely sounds like a little amp pushed too far!

YMMV!!!

Bob Arbogast
 

efnikbug

Member
Messages
632
I'm not up on all the differences in Fender amps (blackface, tweed, etc). So, what is so good about a tweed? Is an original tweed blues deville a good tweed amp? I see one for sale, but at $500+ I doubt it's the good tweed type amp that everyone raves about.
When people mention "Tweed," they're usually referring to the old Fenders from the '50s. The "Tweed" in Tweed Deville is just the covering. Not saying that a Tweed Deville won't sound great to you.
 




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