School me on Black Face Amps

pinkfuzz65

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,086
Hi guys, I've had to sell many of my amps and finally have a chance to buy one back! I'm looking for a 1x12 Fender/BF Style combo. I am not looking for a cheap alternative, I'm happy to spend a bit of money and get something that I can keep for a while as I want to eventually gig it (when things get back to normal). Here is some info:

I've owned a Maz 38 and a Bassbreaker 45. Loved the Maz, but I've got an AC style amp already and want to get something different. Loved the Bassbreaker, but too big and too much on the Marshall side.

Amps I'm considering - Victory V40 Deluxe combo. Looks great and sounds good in the demos, but have repeatedly seen that its not quite BF-ey. Can't really try.

Tone King Imperial - I've played it once and absolutely loved it. Might be a bit too expensive new.

Mark V:25 - Owned one briefly and was impressed with the head, but this was when I didn't know much about amps and sold it stupidly. I find Mesas hard to dial as I'm more of a set and forget guy.

Open to any other BF style suggestions as I am not very familiar with alternatives and even with Fender-made options that are better than the stock 65 RI. Good base tone is more important to me than pedal friendliness. Will most likely be driving it with a Centura or a The Dane pedal for different covers from Arctic Monkey, Black Keys to Beatles :).

Thanks!
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,675
If you're not looking for a cheap alternative and you have access to a reliable, reasonable tech, consider picking up an early 70's silverface era amp, have it gone through, recapped (filter caps, not tone caps) and blackfaced. On the early 70's amps, blackfacing is simple, and does not require a lot of component changes and rewiring.

For all the above, the tech I use would probably charge around $200. Meaning a $1,700 early 70's Deluxe Reverb would come in around $2,200 - $2,300 refurbished, recapped, blackfaced, respeakered and retubed. Not bad for a good, solid, bulletproofed vintage Deluxe Reverb with a blackface circuit mod that's 100% ready to roll.

P.S. I've owned a handful of both 60's blackface and early 70's silverface Deluxe Reverbs and I personally prefer the punchier feel of those early silverface DR's, but to each their own.
 
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pinkfuzz65

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,086
If you're not looking for a cheap alternative and you have access to a reliable, reasonable tech, consider picking up an early 70's silverface era amp, have it gone through, recapped (filter caps, not tone caps) and blackfaced. On the early 70's amps, blackfacing is simple, and does not require a lot of component changes and rewiring.

For all the above, the tech I use would probably charge around $200. Meaning a $1,700 early 70's Deluxe Reverb would come in around $2,200 - $2,300 refurbished, recapped, blackfaced, respeakered and retubed. Not bad for a good, solid, bulletproofed vintage Deluxe Reverb with a blackface circuit mod that's 100% ready to roll.

P.S. I've owned a handful of both 60's blackface and early 70's silverface Deluxe Reverbs and I personally prefer the punchier feel of those early silverface DR's, but to each their own.
Thanks for your quick reply! Sadly, don't think this could work as there are no good techs where I live (honestly I would give this a try myself as that would be the best bet and my tech skills are by no means advanced) but finding a 70s Silverface here would be really hard as well!
 

leighianson

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,722
Here’s my thoughts. I’ve been through quite a few Blackface style boutique amps and finally about a year ago I realised that I really needed to try the real thing and bought a 66 Super Reverb. In my opinion if you want that sound nothing does it quite like a fender from that era. Since buying the super I’ve also acquired a 66 Bassman AB165 which is also great, it’s got the same tonal character just more aggressive and a little less swirly and 3D sounding
 
Messages
1,049
Hi guys, I've had to sell many of my amps and finally have a chance to buy one back! I'm looking for a 1x12 Fender/BF Style combo. I am not looking for a cheap alternative, I'm happy to spend a bit of money and get something that I can keep for a while as I want to eventually gig it (when things get back to normal). Here is some info:

I've owned a Maz 38 and a Bassbreaker 45. Loved the Maz, but I've got an AC style amp already and want to get something different. Loved the Bassbreaker, but too big and too much on the Marshall side.

Amps I'm considering - Victory V40 Deluxe combo. Looks great and sounds good in the demos, but have repeatedly seen that its not quite BF-ey. Can't really try.

Tone King Imperial - I've played it once and absolutely loved it. Might be a bit too expensive new.

Mark V:25 - Owned one briefly and was impressed with the head, but this was when I didn't know much about amps and sold it stupidly. I find Mesas hard to dial as I'm more of a set and forget guy.

Open to any other BF style suggestions as I am not very familiar with alternatives and even with Fender-made options that are better than the stock 65 RI. Good base tone is more important to me than pedal friendliness. Will most likely be driving it with a Centura or a The Dane pedal for different covers from Arctic Monkey, Black Keys to Beatles :).

Thanks!
If you want something blackfacey, you liked your Mark V, and you want something pretty simple to dial in, you might want to look into a Mesa/Boogie Lone Star (there's a Lone Star Classic and a Lone Star Special – I can't remember which one has 6L6s in the power section, but that would be the one you want).

The Lone Star is kind of a reimagining of the original Boogies: it's their modded-out take on one of the bigger blackface Fenders, like a Twin or a Vibroverb, but it's also got a second channel that's much more Mesa Mark-style and can get pretty high gain at any volume, unlike an original blackface. The root architecture of the circuit is straight from the AB763, Fender's basic circuit for almost all the blackface amps (tricked out in various ways for different models), so you get a big, gorgeous clean tone that can be extremely Fenderish but also has a much wider EQ range than any one blackface amp (In my experience), and you can also turn up the gain on channel 1 to use it as a crunchy rhythm tone.

The second channel is a revamped version of the first Boogie, which is to say that it's also based on that Fender circuit but adds a high-gain cascade to the preamp that you can control independently of the master volume. It's not going to get as high-gain as, say, the Mark IV or Extreme modes on your old V:25, but it sounds like plenty of gain for the sort of thing you want to play. Definitely give a listen to some Lone Stars, because it's a very distinctive Mesa/Boogie gain sound, much richer, thicker, more compressed/sustaining, and more midrangy sound than a blackface (and there's a 3-way switch on ch. 2 that's something like Normal/Thick/Thicker, so you can really get the famous Mesa lead tone) ... but you've got channel 1 for Fender needs, and as with every Mesa/Boogie, the EQ is gonna be very powerful and responsive, so you can really sculpt both channels.

Maybe you're dead-set on a single-channel, no-master-volume amp – I don't know the Victory or the Tone King you mentioned very well, so I'm not sure if that's what they are – but if you're open to the idea of a channel-switcher with preamp gain and a master, I think you might be really into the Lone Star. The low-gain channel is so good that they've subsequently cloned it into a lot of their other amps: Rectifiers, for example, started with a "clean" channel that was just a (much-hated) lower-gain version of the same Marshall-based design as channel 2, but now they've got essentially the same Fender-based design as the Lone Star on channel 1, and the cleans are glorious.

Oh, and no 5-slider graphic EQ on the Lone Star, just pretty standard gain, EQ, reverb, and volume controls, plus the Thick switch and an extra second gain control on channel 2. You'd still want to read the manual, because all Mesas are variable beasts that can transform a lot with not much tweaking, but it's not like dialing in a Boogie Mark.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,181
A ton of options here. I have an older Oldfield Club D’Lux and I love it. The new ones are different and more expensive but that’s an option. Allen makes some great stuff in that vein as well. The Tyler JT-14 is a tweener — basically a BF Princeton with a 12” speaker.

The Tone King, since you know you like it, would probably be your best bet though. Check Reverb until you find one used.
 

pinkfuzz65

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,086
Thanks all for all the input. I think i need to add one thing - I am not in the US or in Europe. So it's a bit hard for me to find amps where I am. Especially since here it's all 240v so any US fender is an issue even if i manage to strike a good bargain and ship it here.

Definitely up for the challenge of looking for the best option and there are plenty of retailers who ship here. Just super hard to find good deals on used. One of the reasons i chose the victory is cause i can ship it here from online retailers at about the same cost I'd be able to find a Vibrolux or a DRRI. (the DRRI is slightly more expensive actually).

If you want something blackfacey, you liked your Mark V, and you want something pretty simple to dial in, you might want to look into a Mesa/Boogie Lone Star (there's a Lone Star Classic and a Lone Star Special – I can't remember which one has 6L6s in the power section, but that would be the one you want).
Was just watching videos on my way to work of this so funny you mentioned it! I would love one but a brand new Lonestar here is around 3k USD! so a bit crazy. might check to see if i can find myself a nice Mark V:35 as i wouldnt want the 10" Speaker on the MkV25 combo.
 

pinkfuzz65

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,086
I’m more of a tweed guy, but if I were to go shopping for a blackface style amp I’d get one that runs 6L6’s.
I have my EL84s and 34s Covered so i would definitely be leaning on more of a 6L6 or 6V6 amp.

Edit: that said, i am flexible as I've had amps that put out tones that you wouldn't imagine were possible with the stock tubes, so at the end as long as they have the tone mojo, I'd still be happy.
 
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rmconner80

Cantankerous Luddite
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,001
I agree nothing sounds like a good vintage BF amp. That said, they also have their limitations in gigging use, which is why I moved away from vintage in favor of amps like Carr or Tone King that do a more modern BF clean tone; a tighter, more articulate, earlier breakup; and take pedals better. But if you just want that perfect 60s sound, usually BF will indeed deliver it best.
 

silver surfer

Member
Messages
1,878
Check out the WonderDawg at LiL Dawg amps. Jim the builder is excellent to work with if you want to fine tune the amp. Available from 12 to 40 watts. Can run 6v6 and 6L6 power tubes and has a switch that goes from Deluxe to Super Reverb. All that and his prices are very fair.
 

Red House

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,113
Thanks all for all the input. I think i need to add one thing - I am not in the US or in Europe. So it's a bit hard for me to find amps where I am.
I'm sure it would be helpful if you'd just state where you are.
 

Rotten

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,258
I've owned many BF and SF amps over the years and have really enjoyed them. However, I found that they were a bit of a challenge to keep noise free; always something going on. I've become of a fan of Gries amps, which allow me to get beautiful BF tones without the noise. I should also add that as with any amp, speakers make a huge difference. In fact, sometimes I think the mojo that comes with old amps often comes from just having old speakers.
 




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