To buy or not to buy: Fender Blues DeVille 2X12

alphyn

Member
Messages
4
Hey all:

This is my first post here. I was browsing through a ton of very informative posts, and I wasn't quite able to find the exact info I need. So, here's my situation:

I just moved to Seattle. All my gear is still in LA, and won't be up here any time soon. I'm in the introspective (alone in my basement...) learning / practicing stage of my life, and playing gigs may be in my future but not anytime soon - although I might in my future life as a competent musician. I've always wanted a strat, so picked up a battered '94 American Standard for cheap. I'm planning on putting texas specials in them eventually. Now, I want a blues amp to go with it and I'm eying a 1996 Blues Deville 2x12 (not a reissue) for about $500 on craigslist. I'd like to explore the Hendrix, SRV, Clapton sound and am looking to recreate it to some degree.

Here's the gear I have in storage which will eventually find its way to me:

2001 Gibson SG standard w/iommi pickups
2003(?) Ephiphone Les Paul 7-string
Marshall JCM 2000 - DSL 401

I'm not planning on selling or parting with any of my current gear, so everything I'm getting now is to build upon my current collection of toys.

Here's my quandary:

Reason to buy the blues deville: I could probably get a good deal on the amp, maybe about $400. I've heard good reviews about the Deville. Great clean tones, warmer than the Hot Rod Deluxe. Different sound profile than the Marshall I have so I wouldn't just be duplicating gear I already have.

Reason not to buy the blues deville: Don't need it for gigging, and I don't need that much noise making power. I've read that it takes pretty high volumes for the blues deville to start breaking up which could limit its versatility for me since I would only be playing the amp at low volumes. I have a tube screamer which might mitigate that, though. The amp on craigslist is from 1996, and although it was manufactured in the US there sounds to be quality issues - especially with cold soldering connections. The mexican made reissues apparently don't have those issues? Ideal amp for me at the moment would probably be a 15w Blues Junior, not the 60w Deville. Also, if I were to choose between the 2x12 and 4x10 blues devilles, I would go with the 4x10 configuration. Actually, in 6 months I would probably get a bassman reissue once I save up enough money.


So, if I acted on impulse and picked up the Blues Deville tonight, would I be making a horrible mistake? If I never acted on impulse, I don't think I would have ever picked up a guitar. After all, I traded in my sax for a guitar on a whim at my local music shop when I was a teenage band geek and never looked back. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Marty DiBergi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
934
without getting into a huge long post which I sometimes do, I would suggest after reading your OP that your money would be more wisely spent on a silverface Champ or Vibro Champ.

You will get a built-to-last-forever hand wired amp that will sound awesome, break up when you crank it but not be too loud for the basement/neighbors, be more reliable and retain more value over time.

And it will sound great with your strat.

Edit: PS I have a bassman ltd reissue and if you have one in your sights for the future you will not be disappointed :)
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,905
I had one in the early 90s and didn't like it at all, but I was probably expecting a better distorted sound than it was capable of. I really don't like DSL-401s or Blues Juniors either, so I'm probably not the best person to give you advice.

For a bluesy sitting around the house kind of amp in that price range, I'd be looking at a Super Champ XD, and Egnater Tweaker or a Marshall Class 5.
 

alphyn

Member
Messages
4
Quick update. Planning on holding off on getting an amp. At least for today. I've heard a lot about the Bassman -- thanks Marty! I've seen a few in LA for about $600-800, and it sounds like my money would be much better spent chasing after one of those than trying to justify making the Blues Deville work out for me now. Ug, being patient...
 

Mika

Member
Messages
254
Yeh, get a bassman 59 ri instead...... or an vintage one even.....
All maps mentioned wont disapoint however
 

alphyn

Member
Messages
4
I've been seeing a lot of vintage bassman heads around. Is there a world of difference between a vintage head / cab and a reissue combo? My preference is to have worry free equipment, and delving into the vintage world is a level of commitment I don't know if I'm ready for yet. My current project is rehabbing my strat. I can only deal with one project at a time...
 

gtone

Member
Messages
1,064
I wouldn't be too worried about vintage tube Fenders - about as worry-free as you can get provided they're stock and running properly in the first place. The more modern PC board models are the unreliable ones, generally speaking.
 

Marty DiBergi

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
934
I wouldn't be too worried about vintage tube Fenders - about as worry-free as you can get provided they're stock and running properly in the first place. The more modern PC board models are the unreliable ones, generally speaking.
Sure, but per the previous question there are definite differences in sound/tone between a black or silverface bassman vs. a tweed reissue. I have reissue bassman and also a '73 siverface bandmaster reverb and they are completely different animals. I would advise against selecting between the two based solely on board mounted components.

The ri bassman has good speakers, good iron, metal jacks, chassis mounted tube sockets, and a finger jointed pine cab. There is a world of difference in quality between it and a hot rod series amp (IMO).

Also, my '68 Ampeg is a PCB amp that is a total killer. It's even got board mounted tube sockets (gasp). There are generalizations for sure, but often the issue of handwired vs. PCB boils down to a lot more than those two individual factors.

The OP needs to try a bunch of amps and pick one that speaks to him, while sensibly eliminating certain prospects in favor of others that deliver similar or more with construction and build quality in mind. It's not completely black or white.
 

alphyn

Member
Messages
4
Another update. So, I figured the real dilemma I was having was trying to find the best amp for $500 that I could get my hands on ASAP, not finding the best amp overall -- budget be damned. I took a look at the DeVille and it was a huge upgrade from what what I was previously playing on (which was nothing). So here it is in all of its dirty tweed glory:



I'm now in my hunt and seek mode for my next amazing amp. Since this DeVille is by far the best sounding amp I have ever owned, I can use it more as a baseline against other amps I would be interested in.

I'll be starting another thread about this amp and how to mod it to fit my living situation. The thing is a beast and moves a lot of air.
 




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