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Fender Frustration

musicbymicah

Member
Messages
39
Does anyone find the newer Fender tube amps to be harsh and thin when turned up? I seriously shopped Fender a few years ago and finally came across a used Vibro-king and one thing is certain: the VK is completely different from any other current Fender model.

What do you think?




P.S. My VK was made in the last 10 years.
 

traviswalk

In the Great State
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,657
The VK is surely a different beast than the mass produced reissues currently being sold. Then again, the price point reflects that. I have not been woo'd by the new Fenders and have a similar experience to you.
 

steadygarcia

Member
Messages
1,227
I don't own a single Fender amp made after 1974. The newest Fender I ever owned was during the mid-90's when I had a Hot Rod Deluxe that I hated, but ended up selling for more than I paid for it. I'm tempted by the VK, however, as well as the 57 Tweed Twin RI. But I'm pretty sure I'll never buy either one. Too many other vintage offerings to tempt me.
 

GearHeadFred

Member
Messages
1,648
I agree with you. I had a Blues Deville that was an OK amp.. but never really 'sang'.. I decided to build my own Super Reverb kit amp.. point to point wired.. with real wood cabinet.. Muuuch better results!

No need to dump on Fender about this.. It's just that they have become a producer of products for the mass market and have to keep costs down to a minimum.. I read somewhere that inflation adjusted, a 1965 Super Reverb would cost almost $3000 in today's dollars.. That's about right.. You can buy a boutique "fender inspired point to point amp" for about that much.
 

Mickey64

Member
Messages
344
I have a '94 Vibroking, and I just bought a new '57 Tweed Twin. I also have a '72 Deluxe Reverb, which I suppose is almost vintage, and both the VK and Twin are, IMO, superb amps. I can also say, however, that my SFDR totally smokes the DRRI I once had. That may have partly been due to speaker/tube issues, but Fender's PCB based amps are definitely built to a price; not their fault, but it shows.
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,459
I have a 90's US made 4x10 Deville that I love... I'm also digging the new Blues Jr NOS model as well, even though it's MIM.
 

PRNDL

Member
Messages
498
Does anyone find the newer Fender tube amps to be harsh and thin when turned up? I seriously shopped Fender a few years ago and finally came across a used Vibro-king and one thing is certain: the VK is completely different from any other current Fender model.
There may be some truth in this. Fender has many budget amps, which always involve a tradeoff with tone due to less expensive / lower quality components.

OTOH, there's a great market for upgrades and mods.

The VibroKing is one of their professional amps (I believe it's a custom shop amp), which means better components and higher price. I believe there are several pro musicians that agree with you about its tone.

There are also some mid-priced models that can sound really good -- DRRI comes to mind.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,934
I owned a '65 Twin Reverb RI, and played mucho on a '65 DRRI. Both were solid amps. Not too inspiring, but they brought the cleans with no complaints.
 
Messages
3,041
There's a reason I don't own a Fender amp. Not only is the new stuff harsh and can be, you need to quit your job in order to figure out the different name designations for their amps!
 

wyatt

Member
Messages
4,169
Does anyone find the newer Fender tube amps to be harsh and thin when turned up? I seriously shopped Fender a few years ago and finally came across a used Vibro-king and one thing is certain: the VK is completely different from any other current Fender model.

What do you think?

P.S. My VK was made in the last 10 years.
Well, sure, it also has a noticeably different circuit than from any modern *or* vintage Fender. It's a little more oranges to apples than trying to compare say a '65 TR, '72 TR and a modern '65 TRRI.
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,706
I have a '94 Vibroking, and I just bought a new '57 Tweed Twin. I also have a '72 Deluxe Reverb, which I suppose is almost vintage, and both the VK and Twin are, IMO, superb amps. I can also say, however, that my SFDR totally smokes the DRRI I once had. That may have partly been due to speaker/tube issues, but Fender's PCB based amps are definitely built to a price; not their fault, but it shows.
My experience and opinion matches yours. The newer hand wired stuff, including the VK, really rocks.

However, the rest of the lineup is both great and terrible.

The reissue Super Reverb is actually pretty cool. I've owned 3 very nicely maintained original blackface Supers and I believe Fender got it right with this one.

My experience with the Twin Reverb Reissue was ok, not bad. I replaced the Emi Legend 125 speakers with a V30 and Mojo's version of a CL80, and that woke the amp up. But when I started playing more small clubs, the high-volume Twin was no longer a viable choice.

The '93 Blues Deluxe I currently have, with it's replacement V30 speaker, Sprague Atom filter caps and a couple "durability upgrades" is one of the best pedal platforms for small-to-midsized clubs I've owned.

The Blues Jr, with JJ tubes and a replacement G12H30 speaker is one of the best sounding Fender's I've ever owned, hands down, including probably somewhere near 25 vintage amps over the past 33 years.

The "Custom" Vibrolux Reverb sounds truly terrible to my ears, and is nothing like the original VR (had a '67 up until a few years ago).

The Deluxe Reverb Reissue is, in my opinion, one of the worst sounding tube amps Fender has put out since the red-knob Super 60. It sounds absolutely nothing like my original '65 or '70-'71, which both sounded incredible. In fairness, I hear that a speaker upgrade, bright-cap-clip and JJ 6V6's make a world of positive difference.
 

MickeyJi

Member
Messages
1,992
I have one of the new Deluxe VM (Vintage Modified) amps here to try out. This is a really sweet sounding amplifier! 40 all tube watts, two channels, Celestion speaker. It's got the classic blackface clean sound - and it's not thin or harsh at all but warm and lush. Then it's got a good drive channel which isn't really what one would expect from Fender. AND it's also got a cool digital effects section with a very good reverb (I frankly can't hear much difference between this and a standard Fender tube reverb) plus chorus and delay. Just like the SuperChamp XD, this a great deal for those on a quest for classic Fender tones but with limited funds.

:RoCkIn
 

musicbymicah

Member
Messages
39
My experience and opinion matches yours. The newer hand wired stuff, including the VK, really rocks.

However, the rest of the lineup is both great and terrible.

The reissue Super Reverb is actually pretty cool. I've owned 3 very nicely maintained original blackface Supers and I believe Fender got it right with this one.

The "Custom" Vibrolux Reverb sounds truly terrible to my ears, and is nothing like the original VR (had a '67 up until a few years ago).

The Deluxe Reverb Reissue is, in my opinion, one of the worst sounding tube amps Fender has put out since the red-knob Super 60. It sounds absolutely nothing like my original '65 or '70-'71, which both sounded incredible. In fairness, I hear that a speaker upgrade, bright-cap-clip and JJ 6V6's make a world of positive difference.
I seriously tried that Vibrolux and it was awful! I can't stand the factory DRRI! I tried a '57 Bassman RI and it blew chunks.
 

musicbymicah

Member
Messages
39
Being on the market for a new amp, I have all but eliminated Fenders current offerings, and I was a die hard Fender owner in the 60's and 70's. Nothing today compares, the quality is horrible, and the price points are outrageous, even when adjusted for inflation. In my humble opinion of course.

In my search, I have found quite a few clones with high quality parts, wood cabinets, PTP wiring, etc. for nearly the same money Fender is now asking for their PCB reissues with bottom of the barrel electronics and cardboard box build quality. And the clones can be as much as 25%-50% less than the same CS models with better build quality. If a reputable low volume clone builder can offer an amp at a reasonable price point and remain profitable, Fender should be able to do the same via mass production buying power. Their not doing so means they are either price gouging and/or inept at running a company. Leo is no doubt spinning in his grave.

My .02 cents, and worth every penny! YMMV. Flame away!! :)
No doubt! If anyone can offer something great at a reasonable price, it should be Fender.
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,706
I seriously tried that Vibrolux and it was awful! I can't stand the factory DRRI! I tried a '57 Bassman RI and it blew chunks.
I didn't know they did a '57 Bassman reissue. The '57 Twin reissue I tried was actually pretty cool.

The '59 Bassman 4x10 has always been a good solid player, once you get the speakers broken in. Pre breakin, it could sound harsh. Maybe that's the problem with some of the reissues?
 

musicbymicah

Member
Messages
39
I didn't know they did a '57 Bassman reissue. The '57 Twin reissue I tried was actually pretty cool.

The '59 Bassman 4x10 has always been a good solid player, once you get the speakers broken in. Pre breakin, it could sound harsh. Maybe that's the problem with some of the reissues?
Whoops... I meant '59 RI.

They seem to operate within expectation at low volume, but when turned up, the high started clawing at my inner ear! the lows started to disappear.
 

sqadan

Member
Messages
943
Lots of bashing here about "quality" etc... and no stories about breakdowns, poor sound etc... to back it up.

A brand new Fender amps is NEVER going to sound like a vintage original that's been beaten on for 40 or so years...

The DRRI and The 59 Bassman LTD are both excellent amps AND good value for the money... All it takes to get a good sound from either is a little time on the speakers to break them in and decent tubes. I have both of these amps and they sound great to my ears....

The Reissue Super is also a great amp in was in close competition with the Bassman at one point when trying to make up my mind.

If Fender's reissues were so horrible, I doubt I'd see so many of them on stage after stage, show after show, club after club. And they certainly seem to fly out of the music shops.

I have nothing against boutique clones... but some folks don't seem to give the stock stuff any chance at all.

Me thinks there are a lot of snobs on this board who could not be bothered with ANY production amp at a workingman's price point.
 




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