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Help! Fender 64 Custom DRRI vs Alessandro Handwired DRRI

Tootalladam

Member
Messages
6
I'm on the hunt for a new amplifier and I've narrowed it down to these two, Fender 64 Custom Deluxe Reverb RI and the Alessandro Handwired DRRI. I play roots rock, southern rock, americana, blues. I'm chasing my own tone in my head, but the players that really have "it" for me are Derek Trucks, Johnny Stachella, Drew Smithers, etc. Again I'm not trying to copy those tones, but they are good reference for where I'm starting. I'm drawn to the Deluxe because 22 watts is perfect gigging volume, can set volume to four and bring a pedalboard for Dead flavored gigs, and could run the amp hotter for more straight up Blues/Rock gigs. These amps are few and far between so playing them in person first isnt an option.

Basically the want list is this:
1. Pedalboard friendly with the volume lower
2. Able to turn it up and get "That" sound with a Les Paul/SG. Sustain, Bloom, natural OD lead sound.
3. Modern components with vintage design, not looking to go down the vintage rabbit hole. Reliability with great tone.

Any thoughts or opinions would greatly help me out. Budget is around the $2k mark, but obviously coming under that would be a plus. Plan on using this amp for recording in home studio and gigging in small to medium size venues, whenever gigging becomes a plausible again. Also have a Weber Mini Mass attenuator so being too loud is not really an issue, as I have run non master volume amps in the past and gotten away with it with the Weber.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Cheers!
 

Bloomfield fan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,360
Are the transformers the same or different in the reissue vs the hand wired? All Alessandro is doing is reworking the circuit board (I could be wrong). Does Fender use the same cabinate?
 

Tootalladam

Member
Messages
6
From what I can tell the transformers are different. Alessandro states on his website that he keeps the transformers from RI. As far as the Cab the RI uses birch-ply and the 64 Custom used Pine.

I know that the 64 Custom is a reworked circuit, so this isnt exactly apples to apples, but they are both going after the same thing. I only know Alessandro amps by reputation, and I'm wondering if it isnt worth saving around $500 and going for the Alessandro over the 64 custom.

How much of a difference will be noticeable sonically based on the Cab and transformers alone? Could some of those tonal changes be accomplished through handwiring the board with new components, which is what it appears Alessandro is doing?
 
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Stormin

Tele's and Plexis
Messages
4,123
Are the transformers the same or different in the reissue vs the hand wired? All Alessandro is doing is reworking the circuit board (I could be wrong). Does Fender use the same cabinate?
It’s not a PCB rework. He completely guts them and drops in a “handwired” circuit. If I was in this situation, I’d look hard at the Alessandro. IMHO, the ‘64 Custom is too much money for what it is.

https://images.app.goo.gl/qUCZf9C3ZLQYRWLT7
 
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LaceSensor1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,922
After getting mine this past weekend, I highly recommend looking at the Lil Dawg Amps Wonderdawg. I rehearsed/gigged this DRRI for 3 or 4 years so I am very familiar with what it was capable of. I am absolutely loving this amp. Since I already owned this DRRI I opted for a conversion as compared to just buying the whole new amp from Jim (Lil Dawg Amps)

https://www.littledawgamps.com/the-wonderdawg/

 

Tootalladam

Member
Messages
6
@LaceSensor1 Could you go into detail about what changed for you between the standard DRRI and the Lil Dawg? How are you using it? What tonal changes did you notice? Thanks ahead of time!
 

LaceSensor1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,922
@LaceSensor1 Could you go into detail about what changed for you between the standard DRRI and the Lil Dawg? How are you using it? What tonal changes did you notice? Thanks ahead of time!
Here's my NAD thread which has a short demo clip, albeit recorded via camera phone and most likely compressed for upload.

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/nad-blackface-heaven.2148987/

Overall:
The DRRI has a very nice clean sound but DRRI feels anemic and lifeless with decent if not poor overdrive. The Wonderdawg solves all of the common DRRI complaints and yields a more authentic sounding and feeling blackface amp.

Mod Notes:
My DRRI was modded with a bright switch wired to a push/pull volume pot on vibrato channel. I installed NOS RCA blackplate 6V6s (which I ultimately ditched.) I also settled on a Weber 12F150 50 watt after trying the Jensen P12Q and C12K reissues. I also have a Dr. Z brake lite installed (and still do in the Wonderdawg conversion)

Core Tonality:
The fundamental tonal center remained very much deluxe reverb (Fender Blackface). The wonderdawg does have more authority and most likely can be attributed to the american made transformers. Compared to a DRRI, the Wonderdawg has a better version of the classic Blackface glassy snap.

Feel:
The DRRI can be a fairly stiff feeling amp depending on what you're used to. The DRRI clean tones sound pretty darn good but not much to be felt under the fingers. On the Wonderdawg the clean notes feel really cushiony and bouncy under the fingers. It is hard to explain unless you have played an amp that feel like this. I would imagine there are a lot of vintage blackface and boutique amps that also have this feeling under the fingers.

Overdrive:
The DRRI overdrive is a very boring, buzzy, fizzy sounding breakup with very unnatural transition into and out of tube breakup. The Wonderdawg has a very tasty snarl when breaking up and when you turn up to 7 or 8 you can get the notes to hang on solos, not quite feedback but close to it (Strat w/ no overdrive or boost). I cringe saying this but the "touch dynamics" are unreal on the wonderdawg. The DRRI would never do this without pedals and even then only in very limited situations. The Wonderdawg breaks up a little sooner and this is most likely from a hotter bias. If I use the attenuated input it is very similar to the breakup volume of the DRRI. I was never happy with the overdrive from the DRRI, and this is what ultimately led me to this conversion.

Super Switch:
This adds a whole new flavor of blackface which the DRRI does not do. More mids and more breakup.

Tremolo:
The Wonderdawg has no tremolo. I always found the DRRI tremolo speed range to be very awkward to use live, so I never used it.
 
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HotBluePlates

Member
Messages
9,891
I'm on the hunt for a new amplifier and I've narrowed it down to these two, Fender 64 Custom Deluxe Reverb RI and the Alessandro Handwired DRRI. ... Budget is around the $2k mark ...
If the budget is $2k, you could buy any silverface Deluxe Reverb or (shopping carefully) and actual blackface Deluxe Reverb, and own the real thing rather than "a replica."

Here's a 1967 Deluxe Reverb that is pretty much straight & unmolested that sold for $1700.
 




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