New Gear vs Vintage Gear debate

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Aslan, May 5, 2016.

  1. Aslan

    Aslan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,152
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Location:
    Kansas
    I've noticed that whenever someone mentions that they are considering buying a new reissue amp (usually a Fender) immediately there is a feeding frenzy of posters telling them to buy vintage and quoting prices that are usually lower than the cost of the reissue new. I wonder just how much these folks really know about buying and trading amps. The classic vintage amps made between 1949-1967 are probably the most sought after, followed closely by the Silverface line from 1968-1980 roughly. A Super Reverb made in 1975 would be 41 years old if I bought it today, a blackface amp would be ~51 years old today. My point is that it is very rare any more to find a amp that old that has not been modded by someone (often with little or no skill), had master volumes added, speakers changed, transformers changed, etc. And many need to have the power sections rebuilt due to leaky caps. I have owned many amps in my lifetime and when you buy a vintage amp you have to factor in the cost of getting it up to what I call "gig worthy" level and good amp techs are not cheap. If you can actually do the work yourself then you are way ahead of the game and I envy you. I am fortunate enough to own a mint condition 1966 Tremolux & cab, but I also own a Super Reverb Reissue that I play out with that is excellent, so debating vintage vs new seems pointless to me, even many of the vintage amps I've owned in the past have all sounded different from each other!
     
    amphog, Abram4235 and Leonc like this.
  2. cap217

    cap217 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,158
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Location:
    Cleveland
    It has some merit but its mostly for discussion I think. Its nice to buy a Fender reissue off the rack and know there are no issues and there probably wont be. Its really hard to buy a "vintage" of just old amp and know what to expect. Unless you are buying from a collector or a high end music shop, you will probably get a piece that is rough and has issues or had issues that were fixed at some point. Then you have to retube it and start worrying about caps and power plug conversions and all that stuff. It becomes a never ending loop.

    I bought a collector piece 66 super reverb that had a power cable upgrade, tubes, and a few caps that needed changed and thought that would be the END of buying fender amps. Well its not, I still have a princeton reverb ri and I want to get a twin reverb ri now. I also searched for years on buying a vintage tele that was playable and nice and lighter and sounded good. I finally found a great 68 maple cap lake placid blue that had a pro refret and was playable right away. It cost a lot more than other 68s but was worth it but I never play it! I always grab a custom shop or build tele with 6150 frets and 9.5" radius and newer botique pickups.

    Vintage sounds like a great idea but its not the key or secret answer to gear wants.
     
    Abram4235 and darkwaters like this.
  3. kwicked

    kwicked Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,353
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Nothing wrong with the RI's but especially when inexperienced folks are thinking of buying a new reissue, it is good for them to know their options. In your Super Reverb example, a new RI is $1550. There are silverfaces left and right in good shape for around 1000, leaving 550 to get it in tip top gig shape (if even needed). You could likely sell that one for what you paid (probably not going to get 100% back on the maintenance put into it). Your new SRRI will sell for 8-900 when you decide to move it. Yes there have been some SFs that are completely hacked and should be avoided. Debatable whether the PCB RIs won't last but i have never once heard anyone argue that they will actually last longer than a vintage in good shape with current upgrades/maintenance.
    The RI's especially the SRRI can be great value at used prices, but it is good to get educated on value and options when making a purchase decision. None of this is even factoring in the tone and mojo, which some will say is better with a vintage amp.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2016
    Resonance7 likes this.
  4. amphog

    amphog Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,749
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    I have seen and bought blackface supers for 1200$. I also have RI amps. New amps,just as guitars always can use a set-up.
     
  5. logdrum

    logdrum Member

    Messages:
    2,117
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2013
    Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico/San Diego CA
    I payed 500 for a 1969 Bandmaster Reverb Head. IT came with old tubes and ANOS replacement set. The only things replaced were the volume knobs for a useable taper and a grounded 3 prong power cable and the input jacks as well. The replacement tubes alone are 500 if I bought from KCA or some other reputable vintage tube seller. This is a keeper. A little oversized for a 40 watt head is my only complaint.
     
  6. Rhythm Rocker

    Rhythm Rocker Member

    Messages:
    1,821
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    Location:
    New York
    There are advantages to both. If you can find a vintage amp/cab that's only been owned by one person and they
    took care of it thru the years, then it's something to consider. Reissues are available used and you can save a lot of money,
    than buying one new. Some peeps want a vintage amp for home and a reissue amp for gigging. That works for me.
     
  7. stratotastic

    stratotastic Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,961
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Location:
    Stranded in Philly
    I always notice this too. People love to exaggerate down the price. "You can get these for $______ all day long," usually about 25% below actual prices.
     
  8. Gotham City Blues

    Gotham City Blues Member

    Messages:
    4,243
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    I own a few vintage pieces and I would never advise someone -especially a rookie- to buy vintage. The vintage market is a minefield and unless you know what to look for, or the seller is reputable, it's too easy to end up with a dog so expensive it would make the Westminster Kennel Club blush.

    I had an original 1958 Telecaster and found a 1958 Custom Shop Tele that is a superior guitar in every respect. Sold the '58 and kept the CS. No regrets.
     
  9. kwicked

    kwicked Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,353
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Well vintage does include collector grade and player grade stuff. My post was only about player grade, if you are looking at the higher dollar stuff, you had better know what you are doing or have it checked out by someone who does. Two very different categories within vintage.

    Lol, totally true but it is very easy to search Ebay sold prices and search CL all over the country to see what stuff is really going for.

    It is really just about knowing what else you could get for the price (or way less) if you are looking at buying a new reissue or current production amp.
     
  10. clarkram

    clarkram Member

    Messages:
    2,879
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Woodstock GA
    Not to sound obtuse, but you state that the new vs vintage debate is pointless, yet you start a thread on new vs vintage?
     
  11. b80

    b80 Member

    Messages:
    1,603
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Location:
    Mississippi, USA
  12. Aslan

    Aslan Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,152
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Location:
    Kansas
    Clarkram,
    After reading your post I agree I am guilty as charged!!! LOL

    Honest, I'm not a troll!
     
  13. ripgtr

    ripgtr Member

    Messages:
    6,958
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I have a SFDR that I have gigged for 15 years. I have a BF pro reverb I have had for 25 years.
    Both are pretty stock, except for some easily reversible mods I have done. I have the speakers that came in each - which might be the originals, but who knows. But using other speakers in them now.
    Both have been recapped, filter and cathode bypass, by me. Pretty easy job.

    I think the reissue stuff is pretty good, I gigged a DR reissue before getting mine. I think mine sounds better and I think the other 7 or 8 (BF and SF) I tried at the same time I picked mine sounded better. But the RI sounded pretty good, I gigged it quite a few times.

    Not sure the prices now, I got these pretty cheap back then. But if they ARE more, and as you say, because they are in demand, there may be a reason.
    I could gig a DR RI - I did - but I like mine better.
    But, whatever works for you is cool.
     
  14. clarkram

    clarkram Member

    Messages:
    2,879
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Woodstock GA
    Hahaha, no problem. Fwiw I have a1964 Deluxe Reverb in incredible condition, but I don't gig it. Too easy to get banged up, so I bang up newer amps instead.
     
    bullet6759 likes this.
  15. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

    Messages:
    2,964
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Had a SRRI. Power transformer died after the warranty had expired. Had it fixed and sold it.

    Bought a '71 SFSR. No issues whatsoever and cost less than the Reissue did initially. I've had that amp for 10 years and it fired up every time.
     
    Resonance7 and bullet6759 like this.
  16. bullet6759

    bullet6759 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,722
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Location:
    C.T.
    GOD I wish every one thought like you I would have every 40s 50s 60s 70s amps all to my self for nothing.[​IMG] vs[​IMG]
     
  17. bullet6759

    bullet6759 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,722
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Location:
    C.T.
    Some times new isn't better.^^^ ask the dinosaurs.
     
  18. ROKY

    ROKY Member

    Messages:
    7,090
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
     
  19. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

    Messages:
    3,744
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    Parksville, B.C.
    I think new vs. vintage is the wrong question to ask. First answer the questions that are important to you:

    What sounds better?
    brand name
    boutique vs mass produced?
    PCB vs PTP?
    chasis mounted vs. board mounted tube sockets?
    simple vs. complex circuits?
    feature set
    cost/budget
    resale value
    used vs new?
    availability to try in area
    reliability
    repairability
    maintenance
    collector or player?

    Then we can debate if new or vintage is better for you.
     
  20. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Member

    Messages:
    965
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2016
    I count myself along with the other vintage folks and yes...........I've advised folks to consider vintage over new. The points made about the potential pitfalls of vintage amps are completely relevant and should be considered. I own a '67 Bandmaster combo conversion, '67 Bassman w/2x12, '68 Ampeg V22, MTI era Ampeg V3 combo, '69 Univox U-1000 System and a '68 Gretsch (Valco) Pro Bass 6170. My only "modern" amp is a Supro 1624T which of course is essentially a throw-back to the 60's itself. Why the vintage amps? Well I've also owned a number of current production Fender's, Vox's, Marshall's, Line6, and Budda. At least to my ears, there is a sound to a vintage amp (certainly not all of them) that just isn't present in newer stuff. You can't replicate aging on transformers or 30 years of a speaker being played or a 30-40 year old RCA blackplate 6L6. And there is also the thrill of hunting for these great old relics that sometimes still sell very cheap. But it's getting tougher and tougher to find them at a bargain.
    Now in regards to repairing older amps, yes, they commonly are in need of new caps, tubes, etc..... Perhaps I'm just in a good location (or I'm willing to spend more on this stuff than others) but I have two outstanding amp guys not far away. One is Skip Simmons (Skips Amps) and the other is Benjamin Fargen (Fargen Amps). Skip tends to be very much a purist while Benjamin is more inclined to mod things if he see's an advantage. Neither of their shop rates are painful and the work is impeccable. And with the older P2P amps, usually repairs are not complicated.
     
    ThinPaperWings, amphog and bullet6759 like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice