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Fender Rivera era amps?

'63-Strat

Member
Messages
520
I own a Rivera era super champ, was my first amp and my Dad got it used at local mom n pop place. Still have it and it easily holds its own with my other amps (XTC Classic, Mesa Tremoverb and Mesa Heartbreaker). Sounds amazing into Bogner 2X12 w V30s.
 

jnovac1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,209
This thread makes me wonder why Rivera amps have poor resale value.
that is how i’ve ended up with a pair of twin reverb iis. some stellar tones at a wide range of volumes, and superb pedal machine. kinda what tgpers want, huh? yeah, yeah, they weigh a ton. two tons in this case...
 

nickelwound

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
446
Got a Champ II and PR II. The Champ is a more recent acquisition.
It’s been getting the most play time along with my brown Princeton.
 

Jimmy MAck

Member
Messages
800
Good reply edward. Channel switching??? Not what you'd expect, I found the pedals that came with the amps kinda useless, but YMMV. I've had the Super Champ, the Concert, and now the PRII. I switched the speaker recently to an Emi GA64 SC, and I think it's great. Yes the clean channel is superb, but I also spent some time tuning into the Lead channel and I got a nice mild OD tone I can really live and gig with. (I don't go for heavy OD and I do use a pedal for that if needed). So with tinkering, I have a tone that is at the edge of breakup and more. But it sure is a great tone, especially with Gibson hum bucker tones, and pretty much everything else. Turn up the MID control, and it all changes - for a different "better"
 

jay42

Member
Messages
7,083
I usually add the following in these threads:
My Concert is a high-plate non-hrm Dumble now and compares quite favorably to a Fuchs HRM I worked on recently. When it was stock, the best tone was achieved with an EV-15L. The mid-boost/OD channel made sense with that speaker.

I A/B tested against BF and SF amps and ultimately replaced the OT with a Heyboer 2/4/8 Super Reverb piece I bought from Dave Allen. That led to a much improved full amp distortion tone. It was sour and less centered before the swap. hth
 

jnovac1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,209
I have a Deluxe Reverb ll that I bought new in 85. Have went through may other amps but have no thoughts of getting rid of it.
approaching necrothread territory.just arranged to pick up a dr ll in the morning, looks legit. has a ceramic tone tubby, should be good. can’t wait! had one back in the day, missed it ever since...
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,513
Which Fender amps was he involved with?

Is there someplace on the web that goes into this level of detail? Other than here...

For some reason I thought the Prosonic was a "Rivera" but I just learned otherwise. Thanks for the education guys :D

Rivera was involved in Fender amp design 1981-1985. The tube amps he worked on were the Super Champ, Champ II, Princeton Reverb II, Deluxe Reverb II, Twin Reverb II and the Concert (confusingly with no "II", although it's obviously the same species, although apparently Bill Hughes had a hand in it--maybe that's the reason). That's it. The Rivera-era solid state amps were designed by Bill Hughes (ex-Ampeg) and Bob Haigler (long-timer who worked on the Zodiac series of Fender SS amps).

Rivera also had a hand in the conception of the solid state amps of that era--the London, Montreux Showman and such, although the design was done by Bob Haigler and Bill Hodges. None of the "Rivera-era" amps have red knobs, and none of the RK tube models are left over from that era. While I've never been able to find a specific, explicit mention of who designed the Super 60, the RK Dual Showman and the Champ 12 were done by Mark Wentling, formerly of Music Man, with input by Hughes. Wentling, Hughes and Haigler also did the SS "Fast Four" of that era. Remember, Rivera gets purged from Fender after the buy-out because he was backing a rival buy-out offer. Rivera's designs were old school PTP, were expensive to make, and apparently not very profitable for Fender, although they were well-received.

The name that I've never seen crop up in published history of Fender amps regarding the red knob is "Paul Rivera". What I have seen is that Fender wanted to make a clean break with the Rivera designs, and that the red knob amps were designed by people other than Rivera. If anyone has documentation that suggests otherwise, I'd love to see it. I'm not dissing RK amps (or Paul Rivera), but for the sake of historical accuracy I'd like to stick to what's been documented.
 

easyed

Senior Member
Messages
2,561
I had a Concert II 2x10. It spent as much time in the shop as with me.

Rivera's contribution was the pull-boost that borrowed the 1/2 of the reverb recovery for the gain boost (killing the reverb).

I loved the amp until I pulled the boost. It went south - big time. No volume, tone like an early '56 transistor radio with a 3-1/2 inch speaker.

My late brother had worked as an amp tech and kept it for a couple of months. He gave up and I got it back

The tech replaced one of the power tube sockets, the "roach" optocoupler, a couple of resistors and small caps. The bill wasn't to bad.

Once it was working "properly" I sold it quick for cheap. IMO, Mr. Rivera's design of the boost was quicksand for what was a good amp to begin with and drowned it.
 

hank57

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
9,234
I read once this was in response to Mesa amps.

I had the PR II for a while. I’d get one again. Surprising how loud a pair or 6V6 tubes can get!!

The boost is usable if you engage it and then dial in the amp. But I didn’t like it as a dirty channel for a clean amp.

Just the same I liked the clean channel which is easy to get dialed.
 

natmiss

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,558
I gigged the Concert for a number of years. Great sounding amp on the clean channel. Not so much on the dirt channel. Way to heavy and loud for today's gig scene. It's my music room amp now.
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
10,571
I gigged the Concert for a number of years. Great sounding amp on the clean channel. Not so much on the dirt channel. Way to heavy and loud for today's gig scene. It's my music room amp now.
I gigged one from around '84 - '89. Something like that. The issue with the OD channel is that it sounded kind of ratty. But it sounded a lot better with a compressor of OD pedal in front of it. I just saw a video my old bandmate posted from '87 I think. Sounded pretty decent. This was before cell phones, so it must have been a real camera.
 

SirJuxtable

Member
Messages
274
I have a DRII and it is definitely bigger and beefier than it's DR counterparts. I believe it is in the same big solid pine cab as the Concert, which definitely gives it a beefier sound.

Unlike the Champ II, SC and PRII, it is a true "channel switching" amp as each channel has a separate tone stack and it doesn't borrow from the reverb tube.

A couple notes so far in my time with it (about 7 months so far)

- The footswitch does appear to have a different resistance on the circuit than the pull knob, so I do notice some tone suck with the footswitch plugged in. I hear this is an easy fix for a tech.

- I swapped the speaker that came with it (a no-name Fender speaker that was common in 90's solid state Fenders) with an Eminence Red Fang - sound classier, weightier, and has sweeter highs now. The other speaker was actually nicely voiced for the amp imho though, but this is a definite upgrade for me.

- The distortion channel is a bit grainy and ratty, as some have pointed out. I can coax useable tones out of it, but it takes much care, and usually I end up not liking it the next time I plug in. Did a tube roll for the first 4 preamp tubes and the gain channel improved with some NOS tubes, but still feels congested to my ear. One thing I will say, is when you really crank the volume it starts to sound much better. It's possible you just can't get the goods from the drive channel in an apartment during quarantine, but that at gig volumes it starts to sing much more nicely.

- I mostly live on the clean channel, which delivers in spades for me. Can't comment on whether it achieves "Blackface Fender Cleans" but it is definitely Fendery to my ear and easily recognizable as such. Takes pedals like a champ.

- The reverb tank in there is a modern Ruby tank and it sounds awesome to me. Not sure how it compares to the original. Popped in a NOS AT7 for the reverb and it had less gain than the modern tube that was in it and felt like it brightened up the circuit a bit. Like it much better since the tube swap. Feels clearer and less mushy throughout the range of the reverb knob.

I'm going to take it to my tech and have him give it a once-over. Check the caps, the bias, fix the tone suck of the footswitch, and see if he can't get the gain channel to play more nicely. I'll report back with how that goes.

All in all, it's a fantastic amp for the price, and I feel like I'll hold onto it forever. I can't really justify spending 3 times as much or more for a Blackface era DR, so this will have to do. I wish it were a little smaller for portability like a normal DR, but I do think the oversized cab gives it a fullness and weight that is quite special in its own right, so I'll learn to live with it.

TL;DR I have a DRII, the clean channel is awesome, put a new speaker and some NOS tubes in it and I love it even more. Going to see if my tech can make the lead channel sing.
 

Gemini2

Member
Messages
1,738
My first real life exposure to Fender reverb and Fender amps in general was when a friend brought over his 1983? Fender (Rivera) Concert 4x10 to jam with us. I was playing through a Randall RG-100 half stack and remember him slicing through the mix while I’ll kept turning up. It was an aha moment.

Years later I’d come into possession of a very clean Fender (Rivera) Super Champ, but it was nothing like that big Concert.
 

harvey j

Member
Messages
1,600
Tralfax - sorry, I have nothing at all on the RPG-1 or RPW-1. I know they're contemporaries of this range but you're the first person ever to bring them up with me. For all I know, Fender could have built the front and rear panels as shown in the '83 catalogue, and then called it a day. Sorry again. Try the FDP.

DrBob - can I have your amps' serial numbers?

best wishes

SP
Why is Fender not doing a Super champ reissue, small amps today rule.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,513
Why is Fender not doing a Super champ reissue, small amps today rule.
Weird tubes, overdrive channel with few if any fans, weird footswitch that actually passes signal if I recall correctly. Vintage examples are still not expensive enough to justify re-issue.
 






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