Looking for a good Fender Tube Amp? Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by webhead, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. webhead

    webhead Member

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    I've been browsing the forums all night looking for good suggestions for small/medium Fender tube amps. I've played the hot rod deville and blues deville at GC, and they sound great there, but I'm looking for something for basement playing and relatively small gig/sessions around town. Nothing major. I've been playing through a line 6 spider 1x12 for the last few years, and it's pretty crappy but I just use it for a clean channel for my pedals.

    I play more rock/blues than anything else, and am just looking for something with a good solid tone, reverb, and under 1k.

    What should I make sure to try out? I'm pretty stuck on Fender, but might consider something else if you can make a case for it :)

    Thanks, and I'm new here--so if there are any introduction traditions just point me in the right direction.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Jose Luis Garci

    Jose Luis Garci Member

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    I'd take a look at a Deluxe Reverb.
    It is quite different from the other modern options, but in my opinion, it comes from factory with a higher quality.
    If you need more headroom, Twin Reverb, which is my favorite.
     
  3. japhy

    japhy Member

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    Welcome . My personal fav. Fender is the Deluxe Reverb , but I would recomend, based on your needs and price range, a used and serviced
    silver face Princeton Reverb . ( my second fav. Fender )

    It's portable , overdrives easily , cleans up nicely at the guitar , and a good one should be under your $1k budget.

    I have no idea why Fender doesn't reissue that amp.
     
  4. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    Welcome to TGP! Everyone around here has an opinion :)

    Sounds like a Princeton Reverb to me. SF Princeton Reverbs, in decent condition, can usually be had for under a grand. Another option, to consider, is a Tweed Deluxe (5E3) clone. There are lots of builders out there and the Tweed Deluxe is THE killer low-powered rock/blues amp! The only negative is the Deluxe *may* lack clean headroom, depending on your situation, and you'd need to add a Reverb pedal or tank.

    Personally, I'd try and find a nice Princeton Reverb. Recently picked one up myself, and even with tune up and new speaker, it was well under a grand. Perfect "grab and go" amp. Takes pedals well. 15-ish watts of pure Fender tone!

    Good luck.

    -KD
     
  5. webhead

    webhead Member

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    Thanks for the tip on the princeton Reverb, I'll see if I can find one locally to play.

    Any opinions on the recent 95+ Hot Rod Devilles? There's somebody I know with a tweed finished deville 4x10 that I can get pretty cheap. It sounds good, but I'm afraid it's too much amp for what I need--60/5 watts.

    I'm used to solid state amp wattage, and 15 seems crazy low to me? What's the difference between ss and tube wattage ratings?

    What would you recommend if my budget was $500 or less? (which is what I can get that deville for)

    Thanks.

    -S
     
  6. japhy

    japhy Member

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    I think that the HRD has a great, LOUD , clean tone. I don't care for them
    in overdrive mode at all . That is only my opinion.

    You said two things in your first post that, to me , would rule out the HRD.
    #1 = Basement playing . IMO , the HRD is overkill for the home .
    #2 = Hauling it around for small gigs etc. The 4x10 would be to heavy and loud for me .

    To me, blues and rock need overdriven tones , and the portable Princeton Reverb is perfect for that . I think you would be suprised at the volume and tone the 15 watts can provide .

    If you want a clean amp , with stomp box dirt , then I think the Hot Rods are real good options.
     
  7. tdu

    tdu Member

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    I recently got a silverface Princeton Reverb and am very happy with it. I was also mainly looking for someone for home use + small jams/occasional gigs.

    If you aren't worried about them looking pristine, you can find some pretty good deals.
     
  8. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    I would try all of the hot rod amps. The Deville, while a great amp, is loud. My other guitarist uses one and he is barely above 2 most nights. The Deluxe Reverb is my favorite, and takes pedals very well. most of these amps can be found used in mint condition for the 400 - 500 range used. Great bargains.
     
  9. mild

    mild Member

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    +1 to the Hotrods, and Blues Deluxes - both are terrific amps.

    If you are finding either too loud, then the obvious choice is the Fender Blues Junior - the smallest, sweetest Fender Tube amp. You'll find plenty of love for this little guy over on the fender forum.

    http://www.fenderforum.com/

    Hope that helps,
    Jono
     
  10. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Member

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    I think a Princeton Reverb would work for you. I already have a 66' PR, and have used it live on sereral occasions,but in some venues it didn't have enough fire power to stay as clean as I wanted. My amp guy found me a 70' Princeton Reverb chassis and built me an amp around it. He made the cab about 1" taller, installed a 72' Deluxe OT,12" Eminence Governor, also installed the Torres gain mod. This amp now puts out a VERY clean and loud 18 watts. It's become my main gigging amp. I've already used it on big concert stages with no problem, but it's still great for home practice.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. nland

    nland Member

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    Having owned a Hot Rod Deville 212, I can tell you from experience that it is much too loud for home playing. I could barely get the volume past "1" without rattling windows in the house. I wound up selling it for that very reason. In my opinion it's a great sounding amp, with great clean tones and reverb, but you'll really never be able to enjoy its fullest capabilities at home.

    I'm in the same boat right now. I'd love to have a tube amp, but simply can't due to volume issues. I'm also playing Line 6 stuff right now too as it seemed like a good alternative.
     
  12. lcjc800

    lcjc800 Member

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    The new Super-sonic is a nice tube 1x12. 3 channels, reverb, boost and all foot switchable. A little more money for a lot more amp. GC is carrying them now for about a grand and I heard they will be coming in black soon if that is an issue. 60 watt 6L6 clean and 2 different OD/Gain flavors, you owe it to yourself to give it a listen.
     
  13. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Webhead, Could I ask...how come you are limiting it to Fender? Is it specifically their sound you want? I mean...
    there are lots of other sound also that are pretty amazing. The little Peavey Classic 30 isn't a bad price and has
    some really nice cleans and OD. Carvin Vintage 33, or Nomad have some nice sounds...etc.

    I mean, it's perfectly cool, I just wondered how come you are stuck on Fender, to the exclusion of other suggestions?
     
  14. webhead

    webhead Member

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    I'm not ruling out any other options, but I've really grown to love the fender tone that I've heard out of friends amps in the past. Seems like a safer choice for me than starting to venture out of my comfort zone into other amps.

    If there is something else you would recommend that I could go try out before I buy (given that I might have to make a long haul drive to pick up something older), I'm totally willing to go check it out. I've just been bitten by the Fender bug and really 'think' that's what I want.

    I'm playing an early 00's fender american deluxe flametop strat w/ noiseless pups, as well as an early 00's Gibson les paul standard. And an acoustic that I don't plug in very often. Mostly playing zeppelin tunes for fun, blues on the strat, and trying to get back into playing on a daily basis.

    I traded my last amp in on the Gibson a while back and want to get that tube tone back. It was a Kustom TRT100 head with a jensen 4x12 cabinet. Too much amp for my basement, sorta, sure sounded nice ;) So I know what 100 watts of tube sounds like--too much. But looking at a 15 watt princeton--just not sure if that's going to be enough?

    Thanks for the input guys, gives me something solid to think about. I'm not that experienced at looking at amps yet, so the more options I see the more I know.

    -Scott
     
  15. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    No, that's cool! Makes sense to me. I was just thinking, with all the knowledgeable folk here, you might benefit from somone (more knowledgeable and that have played through more amps than me) elses suggestion too.

    But it is perfectly valid to know you want a Fender and mention it like you did. I was just curious. Thing is, even if someone steered you towards something that was perfect for you other than a Fender, if you are at all like me, even with great tone It'd be a nagging question about "but I wonder if Id'a liked a Fender, a REAL one, better?" so you really ought to keep to your original thought!

    The other guitarist in my band had a little Fender Champ, that I just loved. I didn't know he was selling it and he sold it to the harp player (damn!).
    I eat my heart out at gigs, thinking how wasted it is on a harmonica :)

    But that little amp is easy to carry, gets LOUD and seems to have some great tone in it.

    Also, it depends on what you play, and what you want in the amp. I mean, do you need reverb, and IF SO....do you want it footswitchable? (I like reverb, and when the amp has it I always expect it to be footswitchable, because I do turn it off and on while playing as "effect") because if so, the Hot Rod series is not the thing.

    I'm no Fender expert at all, but after I bought (and I truly am happy with it, but some things on it bug me) my Hot Rod DeVille, I actually was kinda sorry I didn't buy a Blues DeVille instead.

    Do you need an effects loop?

    I bet the Princeton also that folks here have mentioned is a good balance.

    If I were you though, I would take the guys suggestions here, plan on spending a whole saturday in one or two (or more) music stores..bring one of your guitars or both, and a list over which kinds of Fenders you like...BUT I would also vow to myself "I am not going to buy any amp today". If the salesman is helpful, get his card and let him know you'll make sure he gets the sale credited to him for his help!

    Just spend some time playing through them, and try and find stores that have an "amp room" where you can crank it up...

    THEN...ideally you probably will be down to two or three different that you feel could be the one, so ask the other knowledgeable folk here if they think they would fit the bill...or any negatives with any of the final conteders (for YOUR use, which sounds like at the moment...a lot at home, some out playing maybe open mic and jams, etc.).

    Also, I would go through the User reviews on Harmony-Central.

    But that's what I'd do. In reality...I often break that vow of "not going to buy today".
     
  16. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Oops...one other BIG main question for you,

    Playing in small places, do want a totally Fender Clean tone or do you want a "tweed" type that will break-up nicely even at lower volumes?

    It's hard to get both in one amp. If I understand correctly, with Fender, you get a clean tone that almost never breaks up, but can use a pedal of course to get breakup...or you get one that breaks up...somewhere up the dial.
     
  17. webhead

    webhead Member

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    If by break up you mean towards metal distortion--then no. I'm looking for something that will just get more intense as the volume goes up, so a nice sharp clean sound I think.

    Showing my experience here (or lack thereof).
     
  18. DrSax

    DrSax Member

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    Blues Jr. is a great little amp. Perfect for home and gigs. I've gigged medium sized rooms with a mic'd Blues Jr. and it sounds great. The new tweed ones are catching my eye lately, gotta try those...
     
  19. nland

    nland Member

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    One of the things I was thinking about "might" be helpful. I just looked at the Fender website and noticed that two of the amps I was thinking about were discontinued: the Pro Reverb and Concert. They are however, still making the Twin. What was nice about these 3 amps (and the twin still does it) is that they had switchable power levels. The Twin can be switched from 100 to 25 watts, and the Concert and Pro Reverb were 50 watts (maybe 60?) and could be switched down to 15 watts. In essence, you could reduce the power for home playing, and switch up for gigging which is not a bad idea. The Concert had 4 10"s in it and the Pro Reverb was a single 12" speaker if I'm not mistaken. For all I know, it's possible that the Concert amp may have been out of production for more than a year, and I recall that selling for over a grand. The Concert and Pro Reverb were part of the Pro Tube series for a while.
     
  20. webhead

    webhead Member

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    Thanks for all of the advice guys!

    So over lunch I went to 2 guitar stores here in town. I tried out a Princeton (w/o reverb) 1967 or so, the Blues Junior, Hot Rod Deville, and a blues deville.

    Of all of them I felt that the BJ had a great loud tone, but not a lot of bass to back it up when compared to the HRD. It's probably not a fair comparison, but the HRD just sounded so much fuller to me. This was with the volume set to 12, and master set to 6, and guitar set to 8 (strat) on the HRD, and the volume and master maxed and guitar set to about 7 on the BJ.

    Same great highs, at least to my ear, but the HRD seemed to have a much better low end.

    Can anybody tell me what I'm really hearing? :)
     

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