I have heard good Fender Twins Live, So why can't I find one that sounds good?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by 67PLEXIFREAK, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. 67PLEXIFREAK

    67PLEXIFREAK Member

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    I have heard good Fender Twins Live, So why can't I find one that sounds good?


    I was inspired to play guitar by a guy I played drums for in the 90's and he played a strat with a vintage silverface Fender twin and vintage TS808. I do not know the year or what speakers he had but every time I try the new ones or some with replacement speakers they don't have the tone I am looking for. Some have told me he must of had JBL's with the blackface circuit from late 60's.

    Any advice on how to find "The Holy Grail" of Fender Twin amps please advise
     
  2. Pleximan

    Pleximan Member

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    It could be the guitar, old production tubes, That Twin probably did have JBL's. It could be the guy you played guitar with? The fingers are a good portion of your tone.

    If you want the holy grail of Fender Twin tone buy an original vintage 65 Twin reverb. It will cost around 2,000+ But that's the tone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  3. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    JBL's certainly help... As do NOS preamp tubes, but if you're a marshall player, you may need a few hours time to adjust both guitar and amp tonality and playing style. Try putting the treble on 7 and the bass on 3, then adjust the mids however... Give it a few minutes to let your ears adjust... That's gonna be close to true twin tone.

    Also know, it's gonna be clean up until the volume is at 8, and the your ears will be bleeding. It's not gonna breakup like a princeton reverb... Ever.
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Member

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    Are the ones you've tried in stores the reissues? Those are usually biased really cold to make the output tubes last longer. If you don't mind burning through some glass a bit more quickly, you can get them to sound much better by increasing the voltage bias.

    Oh, and there are basically three types of vintage Twins.

    BF - 85W
    SF - 100W
    SF - 135W Ultralinear.

    If you can play it loudly and not need a master volume, the BF 85W'ers. If you need a master volume, the SF 100W'ers. Most, but not all people agree that the 135 W'er is the most sterile sounding, thus least desirable.
     
  5. Lance

    Lance Member

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    True, you should never really have a need to have the low end knob over 4. Mush & flab.
     
  6. btjguitarman

    btjguitarman Supporting Member

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    I've kind of had a similar thing going on... recorded years ago with a borrowed and absolutely beat to crap 68 SF twin that sounded amazing and as I've started to want to move back into big glass/big iron, haven't been able to find one that sounds anywhere near as good. I wonder what it was that made that one so good....
     
  7. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    I'm in the other camp on twins. Non JBL's that is. But if you need big and super clean the JBL's are great. The big magnet vintage Utah's are great in twins. Punchy and not so sterile sounding.
    Of course... it's a wide open question for sure.
     
  8. ROKY

    ROKY Member

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    I have a '68 Showman head, a '78 Super Twin Reverb and a '73 Traynor MKIII,
    which has 4 EL-34s instead of 6L6s - other-wise it's a Canadian Fender Twin.

    I like the Traynor the best of the 3.
     
  9. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    My brothers early 70s twin with JBLs always had a gritchy broken glass thing going on. I have encountered this occasionally in other Fenders all the way down to Deluxes. Never took the time to dig in and find out why but sometimes it comes up. I have used Twins as house backlines many times and I don't find them all that hard to deal with. Bright switch off, treble 3-4 (4 max), bass 3, and mids up around 7. I like the Vibrato channel but usually don't use any reverb or tremolo, or vibrato if you will. Also a Twin Reverb on two or three is going to pretty stiff and slow. If you are expecting it to be springy or squishy it won't happen. You will have to push the notes out. They won't bounce out at those volumes.

    I have a late 60s with original Oxford speakers and it manages to sound just fine though I never use it any more.

    hunter
     
  10. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I played a mid 70s Twin (UL, MV) with orange frame JBL's. Sounded absolutely fabulous. Loud as f*ck, of course, but what a great sound.
     
  11. kimock

    kimock Member

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    The original Jensen C12-N's sound great, handle the effects more gracefully.
    The JBL's are louder, fuller, cleaner, but not so accommodating for pedals, with the exception of octave dividers maybe.

    The only Twin Reverb variant that makes for a seriously GREAT guitar amp is the 80 watt black face.

    And we heard a lot more of them sounding their best decades ago when the AC voltages were lower.

    The BF Twins run relatively high plate voltage and when you you combine that with 120 volts and higher coming out of the wall they sound pretty bad.
    Pinchy, bright, stiff, just generally unpleasant.

    So if you want a good sounding Twin you have to do your best to cripple that high end.
    Steel tube shields, Variac down below 117, mismatch impedances, run the small bottle JAN Phillips 6L6's, turn the bass off, mids down, dime the treble, non judicious use of tone and volume controls on the guitar etc.

    That'll knock down the high end, smooth out the ridiculous amount of bass and sub-bass garbage those amps have, being the mid forward, clean up the reverb, knock the power down to 60-65 watts and generally get the Twin handling more like a big happy Vibrolux Reverb.

    Still plenty of "too loud" power, but a whole lot less unpleasantness.
    Oddly, treble on ten is more gain and mid than bright on those amps.
    The earlier post 3 7 3 for T M B is conventional wisdom for "flat" in the preamp, but the overall design of the Twin has so much sub-low garbage going on that you have plenty of bass with the control all the way off.

    That's all dependent on guitar and speaker too obviously.

    Anyway, if you want a decent sounding Twin Reverb, get a stock BF with the original speakers and run it at the stock voltage for starters.
    Work from there.
     
  12. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    The voltage issue is an interesting one (continuing from another thread). I was playing last night... Bf bandmaster through d120, and a suped up 6L6 princeton reverb build I put together, also through a d120... I used an Amp Preserver and dropped the voltage 6 volts, then another 6... Surprisingly better, and not subtle. So I measured... Was getting 124.8 straight from the wall out in my shop.
     
  13. OiRogers

    OiRogers Member

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    As a Traynor nut and a Fender nut, I think I need to find a MKIII. :bow

    Is there any other model nomenclature or just MKIII?
     
  14. kimock

    kimock Member

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    I was very surprised by how much better the Twin sounded and felt running closer to the stock voltage and a little below.
    I guess Fender really had it right with the original specs and values at 117 or thereabouts, at least to my ear for playable clean sounds and pushing the amp a little.

    Again, the lower voltage trip isn't the best for everything, or even for older Fenders in general.
    My blonde Bassman sounds fine whatever I feed it, but for sure the BF Twin Reverb's are just wrong at 120.

    I looked for a good one for 35 years, finally found a decent one, but struggled with it mightily until I accidentally ran it 110. Huge improvement.

    Anyway, OP, if you're looking for a good Twin, buy a Variac first.
    You're gonna need it.
     
  15. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Oh, one more thing regarding the SF Twin and Tube Screamer routine.
    The SF Twin has the lower plate voltage already, so not such a big deal there, but if you're going for "boosted Fender" I think the key is speakers.
    You'd be better off with a couple of Celestion's than with the JBL's for that, and probably better off with a pair of Celestion's (or anything you think has nice speaker breakup) at 8 ohms total load to the amp.
    So 2x16 ohm in parallel.

    That's a good hot guitar sound.
     
  16. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    My stock '67 sounds dandy. Not searching cause I gots it.
     
  17. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Member

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    Hi Steve, what is the twin reverb's ohm output? Are you suggesting 8ohm cab to create a mismatch or is that what a twin expects to see?

    I have a Showman head. Wondering if a 8 ohm 2x12 into it's 4 ohm out would be a cool sound?
     
  18. e h e

    e h e Member

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    I'm not sure these suggestions are really going to scratch your itch. JBL speakers have some unique qualities when used in these amps, but don't present any panacea. Ironically, they may make the Twin and its variants less tonally versatile and tend to react with gain pedals in a way that most people don't care for.
    Twins get a very distinct lower mid emphasis going as they are wound up, unique in the Fender line. Impedance mismatching de-emphasizes this, and robs some punch and tonal range. The amp's best and most unique sounds are a direct result of their PT/OT/4-6L6/2-12" setup. I don't know of any amps that can scale it down too well
    The big question is this- what did you dig about your inspiration's sound? Was it the pedal or the amp, or both?
     
  19. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    Continuing the digression...

    Ran the very same rig this evening, but with an old Les Paul deluxe with sorta hot mini humbuckers... vs the new '57 classics in a light SG. Dropping only 6 volts sounded better. Later, I measured the wall... 122.4 volts. Just when I was thinking I could just make an adjustment inside an amp with dropping resistors, a variac is sounding like a much better solution.
     
  20. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Optimum for Twin Reverb is 4 ohms.

    If the application was "turn it up lead guitar" and you were expecting to lean on a Tube Screamer or similar device to help accomplish it, you'd be pushing the amp in that direction with the mismatch and more colorful speakers.
    It's a good sound. I've gotten my ass kicked plenty of times by guys with Celestion loaded Twins and tube screamers.

    I have a BF Dual Showman, they're fine with a mismatch too, although I personally prefer a single 15 to a 2x12 for my own purposes.
    Fenders are fine with misc loads, it's a big feature for me.

    The diff between one, two, or, three, eight ohm speakers in parallel with a Twin or Showman or Bassman is a great way to get different sounds, dial in different guitars, and move the sweet spot around dynamically.

    Anyway, I don't know if any particular 2x12 would marry that Showman or not, 2x12's are a little tricky, plenty of ****** ones out there, so if you try it and don't like it, it's more likely the cab than the impedance.
    Try it again with a single speaker or different 2x12 before you abandon the idea.

    The impedance mismatching routine on the Fenders has real utility, it's worth pursuing.
     

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