Fender DRRI Alternatives? Help!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Musicmaster, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. Musicmaster

    Musicmaster Supporting Member

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    Hello my fellow TPGers,

    I've had a love/hate relationship with my Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue ever since I've had it... In particular, since I switched to vintage Fender Musicmasters. It's just too damn 'bright'! I've bought EQ pedals to try and tame the highs, but then you're sacrificing clarity, tone etcetera. I swapped out the stock Jensen for a Cannabis Rex, based on many online recommendations (some claiming it fixed the icepick highs) and it helped but hasn't cured the problem completely.

    Another gripe, that is definitely related to the one mentioned above, is that the DRRI notoriously doesn't take certain pedals well, dirt pedals in particular. I mostly play at bedroom levels and like to get my dirt from stompboxes, so this poses another problem for me! I've gone through a lot of overdrive and modulation pedals specifically because they didn't play well with my vintage single-coils-into-DRRI combination.

    Apart from these issues, I love the sound of Fender cleans... I never thought the day would come where I'd actually consider parting with my DRRI, but the above issues have been bugging me more and more (I have chronic migraine headaches, and the obnoxiously bright frequencies haven't been sitting well with me lately).

    I don't know much about the Super Reverb, Princeton, Twin, etcetera... Does anybody know if any of the other amps in the Fender lineup can offer me DRRI type clean tones, but with a less pronounced high end, and hopefully can take pedals a little better? Or, any other amp, period (not in the Fender lineup), that has great cleans and takes front-end dirt well? I'd prefer to stick with a combo amp, but I'm open to suggestions.
    Thanks in advance everyone.

    P.S. I had one more thing that I didn't love about my DRRI... I wish that it had even more clean headroom. I know that these are pretty clean amps, in general, even on higher volumes, but I would love an amp that I could turn up to ample volumes and have the tone sound the same as when I have it on bedroom levels, just louder! I like my DRRI on '2' or '3', but when I turn it up anywhere past '5' (which I do every once in awhile, with a drummer), the bright highs become even more pronounced and I lose that classic Fender clean tone that I like on low volumes. But honestly, I don't need to turn up often enough for this to be a real deciding factor in my amp choice. The first issues mentioned are my primary concerns that I'd like to address if looking at other amp choices.

    edit - I only play on the 'normal' channel (input #2), so any 'bright cap' removal suggestions won't help me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  2. kwicked

    kwicked Supporting Member

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    Bright cap clip if you haven't tried that, treble knob on guitar and amp (just kiddiding), and 5 is way more than bedroom levels so if you need more headroom and a good pedal platform, maybe a Hot Rod Deluxe to keep those fender cleans?
     
  3. Crikey

    Crikey Member

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    In my experience, the '65 Princeton Reverb reissue is at least as bright as the '65 Deluxe Reverb reissue.

    The new '68 Custom series amps (Princeton, Deluxe, Vibrolux, and Twin) are fatter and not as bright as the '65 vintage reissues, but they break up sooner.

    That brightness might be an inseparable part of the clean tone you like so much. Just a thought.

    If you get a chance, check out a '65 Twin Reverb reissue. It's a big, heavy, powerful amp, but it's got the headroom you want and the ones I've played haven't been as bright as the smaller amps are.

    You might also want to look at the new Hot Rod DeVille ML. Michael Landau had Fender rip out the Drive/More Drive circuit from the DeVille and simplify the circuit for big, rich clean tone. It's a 2x12 combo, as well.

    Good luck!
     
  4. H. Mac

    H. Mac Member

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    You don't like the highs, don't like the way it takes pedals, and aren't happy with the headroom, so another amp may be in your future.

    But while you say that you're trying to tame the highs, your post doesn't mention the tried-and-true methods: pure nickel strings; adjusting pickup height; or tubes swaps (especially to JJs, and a JJ in v1 is almost certain to darken any amp).

    There's also the beam blocker, which is specifically designed for taming highs, and which seem to work well.

    Amp placement is another major factor. The general rule is the closer to a floor and wall, the darker, and the further off the floor and away from a wall, the brighter.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Doug59

    Doug59 Supporting Member

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    Get a Gries !

    http://www.griesamps.com/id4.html

    I wanted to love my DRRI (both times I had one), but could never get over the brightness you mention PLUS it sounded incredibly harsh with ANY overdrive I tried with it. I purchased a Gries, problem solved.
     
  6. fuzzface71

    fuzzface71 Member

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    Hey Musicmaster!

    I love that Musicmaster Bass amp! It was my main home amp for years. And yes that sucker takes pedals very well.

    I have owned and played most of the Fender amps that you've mentioned. Had a DRRI , PRRI etc.. and yes they are "bright sounding" amps, specially the DRRI. The DRRI has a bright cap, that you can clip ( I haven't tried this personally since I've sold my DRRI eons ago)

    Why did I sell the DRRI? Because of the same reason you've mentioned.."not enough headroom" for outdoor gigs. I then replaced that amp with a Dr. Z Maz 38!

    Also I might add that because of the "brightness" of the tremolo/reverb channel, I've exclusively only used the normal channel.

    What I can really suggest to you is try to find a vintage silver face Vibrolux Reverb. It's only a few pounds heavier, they almost have the same size. The Vibrolux also has a switchable "bright switch". So, if you find it too bright just switch it off. And if you want nice pristine Fender clean, switch the bright switch back on.

    Also, I don't agree that Fenders, don't take pedals very well. Like you, I used to think that. It's the bright switch what's clouding your judgement! ;)

    Good luck!

    Btw, I'm back with a Deluxe Reverb, but a real '65! ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  7. fuzzface71

    fuzzface71 Member

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    Really JJ's can darken a bright amp? Haven't tried than one.
     
  8. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    What's your budget ?

    I gigged a '68 SFDR for over a decade (I swapped speakers in that thing on a fairly regular basis). I ended up trading it in (don't ask how) on a K&M Custom 50 w/loop. No regrets.
     
  9. H. Mac

    H. Mac Member

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    I've tried several tubes in the v1 slots of my tweeds, and the JJ 12AX7 darkens the sound noticeably as compared to other tubes. JJs came stock in my Vintage Sound 20, which seems pretty dark for a blackface clone. My buddy tried a JJ in the v1 of his Goodsell, and said it darkened it.

    I'm not sure that a JJ in v1 will darken every amp, but trying one might be worth the price. Lots cheaper than a new amp!
     
  10. david(j)

    david(j) Supporting Member

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    There are a lot of great suggestions here already, but the bright cap mod is where I'd start. Just do a quick google - there's lots of info on it. I did something similar with an ac15 and it worked very well and was simple. Different amps, I know, but similar concept.

    Before making any other purchases for an amp that's not working out for you, I'd try this and see if it does what you need.
     
  11. jdel77

    jdel77 Silver Supporting Member

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    Get a Hiwatt.
    Loud as. Clean. LOVE pedals.
     
  12. paddywhack

    paddywhack Silver Supporting Member

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    ...i'm Fender BF guy....i've played them since the start when i came of age in the mid sixties...i recently played a 68 Princeton reissue and thought it was pretty darn sweet....in a side by side comparison to a 65 Princeton reissue it had the more vintage Fender blackface tone going on....way less sterile sounding than the 65 and none of the ice pick tone you speak of....worth having a listen to see if it'll work for you...
     
  13. budglo58

    budglo58 Member

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    I understand what you are saying. I had a drri a while ago. Not a lot of headroom with hum buckets is what I remember. Hrdx ,blues deluxe might be a place to start or something in the tweed variety . The 59 bassman ri might be an option ,but is crazy loud for home . Personally the 57 deluxe clones are on my next list.
     
  14. fuzzface71

    fuzzface71 Member

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    I have had tweed Deluxes too. If you got rid of the DR because the headroom problem. I think a tweed Deluxe would be a step down for sure. Better tones maybe, depending if you like the tweed tone.

    The Blues Deluxe option is a great suggestion. I forgot about that one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  15. picnic

    picnic Supporting Member

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    Lots of love for the DRRI here. JJ's are a start. Speakers I've liked most are the Weber 12F150 and California. My current DRRI is all stock and sounds fine with the C12K. I like it clean as possible. Gigging I might get it 4, OD from a Red Snapper. My LP 496/500 have some natural grit at any level, but the tone is a nice alternative to my Tele.

    If you are looking for a different amp. Allen Accomplice. everything a BFDR wants to grow up and be. Much more headroom and you have a Master to dial in some hair. The RAW control is killer. Best thought out BFDR clone IMO. All the features I needed. Tone King Meteor is another serious contender, probably the best BFDR clone I've had on the clean channel.
     
  16. Musicmaster

    Musicmaster Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions!
    I hadn't really taken strings into account as a factor... Right now I use 10-46 nickel-wound D'Addarios, which say right on the package that they are bright strings. Maybe I should try some D'Addario pure nickels?

    I actually have swapped out my power tubes and some of the others with gold-tipped JJs.

    And I have experimented with pickup height, as well, without any great results as far as what I was trying to accomplish by doing so.

    And I'll push my amp right up against the wall and see if I notice a difference...
     
  17. Musicmaster

    Musicmaster Supporting Member

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    THIS! You've pretty much summed up my DRRI experience, in a lot less words... I guess I'll have to look up these Gries Amps! Although, I'm up in Canada, so some of these amplifier suggestions aren't going to help me much. I need something that I can find locally (Long-Mcquade, etcetera) or at least a company with a Canadian distributor who will freight it to me or something.

    edit - as I suspected, I don't think the Gries amps will be easily available for me in Canada, unfortunately. Although, they do sound like they would be up my alley and in my price range...
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  18. Musicmaster

    Musicmaster Supporting Member

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    Well, I was hoping $2500 or less...
    I'm not a gigging or professional musician, so any more than a couple grand starts to become hard to justify.

    I'm in the process of selling a guitar, which will bring me $1000 USD or so, and if I'm serious about an amp change I will sell or exchange my DRRI, which will hopefully bring me $700-$800... And then I've got some cash that I'd be willing to throw in on top of that, within reason.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  19. Musicmaster

    Musicmaster Supporting Member

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    I was just doing some reading... Does the bright cap only affect the Vibrato side?
    I've been plugging into the 'normal' channel, input #2, and this supposedly bypasses the bright cap, anyways...
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  20. dangeroso

    dangeroso Member

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    I might be missing something, but I don't see a DR style amp on the Gries website.
     

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