Rivera Fandango?? What are you experiences with them??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jazzygeoff, Oct 23, 2005.


  1. jazzygeoff

    jazzygeoff Member

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    I understand that they are based on the 'Rake/Jake' series but have a more knarly lead channel.

    I've read the reviews over at H-C and I seem to run across a lot of comments about the boosts being to loud, could some of you comment on that? How do owners of these amps work the boosts in their gigs?

    As well how do the FX loops compare to what else is out there. I do want to run either a TC Electronics G-System and or a TC G-Major in the loop. Anybody see a problem with that sounding like it should?
     
  2. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    1. Fandango is like a Rake/Jake with a more gnarly lead channel. Slightly harsh.

    2. The boosts on Riveras are set so they are a good level, but only if you have the amp pretty wide open. If you play at lower levels, and most people do, then they are set too high. Different people have different strategies - some guys always engage one or both boosts, other guys never use either (that's rarer). I tend to dial the clean sound with the Ninja Boost engaged and then use the disengage to drop back a lot. On the other hand I dial the gain sound with the boost off and then kick it up. The most common mod for Riveras is to add controls for the amount of these boosts.

    3. The effects loops on Riveras in my experience, do just what you expect, and normally that is just what you want. I've never had a noise or level problem with those loops. The only caveat I would have there is that on the new Clubster/Pubster series the loops don't have send and return controls and I haven't used them either. But I would be really surprised if the G-System was unhappy with the effects loop of a Rivera model. I've used a Fireworx in there no problem, also Eventide Eclipse.
     
  3. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I had one for about two weeks and was seriously disappointed. The boost was excessive IMHO. The loop seemd to work as it should. I just thought the amp sounded terrible. Clean was okay, but I couldn't find this great Marshall like distortion people rave about. It just sounded like a very small, harsh, cheap amp, only louder. I actually had people that are familiar with my playing come up to me at the two gigs I used it on and tell me how bad it sounded. I know Riveras have a great reputation, but at least with this one amp, I can't imagine why.
     
  4. fjs1962

    fjs1962 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've owned a few Riveras, the last being a Fandango 100. I sold the first two before I realized they can sound really bad if the output tube bias is set too low. When set up correctly I think the Riveras get about the closest you can come to the Fender and Marshall in one amp thing. Not exactly like either, but close enough for gigs. The Marshall side of every Rivera I owned was more like a JCM800, nothing like a old Plexi for what it's worth.

    My favorite of them all was the Fandango 100, and I'd have kept it but at 85 lb it was a bear to move around.

    Like was mentioned earlier, the boosts on the Riveras seem dialed in to playing the amps at loud gig levels. They can be excesive for low volume playing.
     
  5. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I had a Fandango 55w combo for about 2 years. Used it a LOT for gigging and also to record my band's debut album.

    It is an *incredibly* versatile amplifier, and sounds really good to boot. I didn't find the "British" channel (Marshall-y) to be harsh at all unless I made it so, and the "American" channel (Fender-y) was quite good as well.

    The boosts...well... yeah. The boost on the Brit channel was really good at just about any volume for doing a lead boost kind of thing - kick it in, rip the 8 bar solo, kick it out to go back to rhythm. The "Ninja Boost" on the clean channel ... not so much. Great sound, and I used it a lot for recording, but live it was next to useless because it was SO MUCH LOUDER than the clean (American) channel.

    I thought about having the boost-mod done, where they fit a volume pot to the boost so you can set the level, but frankly, shipping the amp to Calif. & back PLUS paying for the mod made it a deal-breaker.

    When I switched from all-humbuckers to mostly singles & P-90s, I found myself wanting a cleaner clean channel, bought a different amp, and eventually sold my Fandango.

    But it was a really good amp, and I certainly wouldn't hesitate to buy another one if I wanted to get those sounds again. Second time around I'd probably go with the Quiana though, to get a more shimmery clean channel, and I'd probably hold out for a used one that already had the boost-mods done.

    --chiba
     
  6. ccoker

    ccoker Supporting Member

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    one thing I have learned having had numerous Riveras, Rakes, Fandango, Chubsters, R30s, etc..

    I always run the boost on on ch1, run the gain up high and dial in my solo tone, back off the guitar vol for rhythm tones
     
  7. jazzygeoff

    jazzygeoff Member

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    So what's the point of having the boost anyways then? I hate having something on a piece of my equipment that doesn't work as advertised or is poorly designed. Is the boost poorly designed for gigging out? Or is poorly designed for someone who wants to use the amp at lower volumes? Could someone pipe in with how they use the boost in positive way?
     
  8. jazzygeoff

    jazzygeoff Member

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    some one also has said that the lead channel of the Fandango is
    is that Gnarly in a Rev Billy G way or in a buzzbox way?
     
  9. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    I have had the 50w Quianna 2x12 for 3 years and love it. It sounds great, is built like a tank, and has a classy look I never get tired of. I was torn between that and a Fandango, but I got a chance to try out the Quianna and it was a perfect match.

    I would liken the channel boost to what happens when you hit a tube amp with a volume pedal boost. If the channel is clean and low volume (ie. lots of headroom) there is a big increase in volume and a thickening of the sound. If the amp is pushed (either preamp or power stage), the effect is a very pleasant thickening of the sound with a small volume increase.

    I also run a Yamaha UD stomp (8 channels of chorus/delay) in the effects loop and it sounds great, although lately I have been digging the sound of a guitar straight in with no effects.

    Shawn.
     
  10. ccoker

    ccoker Supporting Member

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    I just look at it as Ch 1 sounds best to me, for solos and overdriven rhythms with the boost on as opposed to off

    I don't consider it a "lead boost" but just a way to get the tone/gain I want out of it.


    the nice thing is with a med output humbucker (PRS with Tom Anderson H2 bridge) I can get a singing EJ/Gary Moore (I know, different but... ) with the vol up on the guitar and back it off and it cleans up nicely for old brown chunky stuff or more for less, almost voxy stuff with it barely on (with cap across pot so it doesn't get muddy)


    the Fandango does have a more agressive tone than the Rake and more gain. I had one, I should have tried different speakers instead of the 75s it had in there
     
  11. jazzygeoff

    jazzygeoff Member

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    Nice... What about the 1 x 12 combo will it grind? Or to do it is a 4 x 12 in order with a head?
     
  12. jazzygeoff

    jazzygeoff Member

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    Thanks for the explanations. I just blew a UD stomp out the door great pedal but I had no time to program the thing.

    So you are saying the stock 'verb is pretty meaty and has a lot of delay presence to it? Is it hard to set the 'verb up between crunch and cleans?
     
  13. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    Programming the UD isn't bad, although I can't build up a chorus preset that will touch the ones Alan Holdsworth did.

    I keep the reverb around 2 1/2 to 3 which is low enough that it just adds a bit of extra meat and presence but is not obvious. That setting works well for crunch and clean. When setting up crunch/clean, I just think of it as having to dial 2 separate amplifiers for the given room/volume/guitar combination. I use the boost on the clean channel as another tone shaping control, and leave it one setting for the night. Some nights I just use one channel and do everything with my guitar volume.

    The real fun is playing with the Vintage/Modern switch, the Focus, and Pull Warm controls. Its hard to describe what they do to the tone, but they do change the feel of the amp.

    Shawn.
     
  14. MusicGearGuys

    MusicGearGuys Member

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    Man Im a bit bias since Ive known the Rivera's for many years, but the Fandango is awesome!

    Great Fenderish clean tone and the gain channel from the Knucklehead Reverb.

    For over the top lead work try a T-Rex Allberta or some kind of 808 pedal.

    If you cant solo on this, then you might want to pick up another hobby.

    Gregory:dude
     
  15. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    This was also my experience with the two Rakes I've owned.

    Unlike Soldano, Rivera does FX loops right.
     
  16. uberschall

    uberschall Supporting Member

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    I had a Fandango 1x12 for a year and for the most part was really happy with it. The sounds were great for both gigs and low-level stuff. As everyone has said, you have to experiment with the boosts and come up with a scheme that works for you. The reason I sold it was, with the boosts and the many pull knobs for EQing, it was too hard to settle on sounds- I was always tweaking. The construction, footswitch and looks were all great- I had the blonde. If I were to buy another, it would be in a head format; 2x12 would be a pain to lug around.
     
  17. ccoker

    ccoker Supporting Member

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    that was one of the problems I had with the Fandango was the amount of knobs, can spend a lot time playing with them, getting it dialed perfectly then my 16 month old walks by and it's time to start over !
     
  18. p.snail

    p.snail Supporting Member

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    I had a fandango when they first came out. I bought it. Played it for about 2 months and then traded it for a PRS. I don't think I'll ever own another Rivera again. I was really disappointed in the tone of the amp. The gain was really harsh, almost unusable. It had a weird midrange "nasalness" (if that's even a word) to it. The cleans were good, but no better than an old twin. I'll stick to my Matchless. Although a Vox would be cool too.;)
     
  19. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    The point of having the boost the way it is is if you open the amp up enough, then it's the right level.

    Thing is, opening up the amp that much is a lot less doable these days than back when Paul Rivera designed the boosts. I'm old enough to know that even in small clubs people used to run amps flat out all the time. Loud as hell, and not that much fun for anyone except the guitar player. But that was the way it was. The Rivera "Ninja Boost" is something that came from that time.

    Another point is that the old M/S series Riveras have this feature called "Slavemaster" which is pretty useful although you have to commune with the amp for quite a while to get around to understanding how it fits in your picture. That thing can take care of the fixed boost levels.

    OK so when they left "Slavemaster" feature off of later amps, it was maybe a good idea to think about adjustable boost. On the other hand, they were presumably reducing the complexity of production, and adding knobs was not the idea. It was only in the past few years that guitarists seem to have had their levels brought under control (and not all of them have). So it wasn't the big a deal to leave the boosts where they are, and make it a mod for people who want it. I predict that eventually, Rivera will figure out a way to make the boost adjust stock.

    I personally do not have a problem with the boost levels, one reason is that I use an attenuator a little bit.

    And the point of having a feature on an amp is not that it has to make sense to everyone that uses the amp - just as long as enough people use it. When you think about the fact that a many (most?) used Riveras can be had for under $1000 then it's actually reasonable to get one just for the clean channel and play it with just the boost on or off.
     
  20. SFW

    SFW Member

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    The boost on the dirty was designed to be a gain boost, not a volume boost. Not the ninja... that's a different story.
     

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