Vintage vs Boutique

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by homerayvaughan, Dec 4, 2005.


  1. homerayvaughan

    homerayvaughan Supporting Member

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    I'm looking for your opinion as to which way you would go - vintage or boutique - in selecting an amp with a certain tone in mind. I have been looking for a Deluxe reverb style amp. I know several people say to stay away from the reissues. In buying a silver/blackface, I know that resale would always be there, but may need more service/maintainence, where as a boutique version (Carr Rambler?) would command the same price, if not more, but what will it be worth in 10 years if I want to sell it? The vintage Fenders would retain value. I have seen Deluxe reverb "clones" that look interesting as well - I would not feel as bad modifying one of these instead of a vintage one.
     
  2. monstermike

    monstermike Member

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    The reissues are really hard for me to enjoy playing through, although they're not terrible. Reissue blackface Fenders all seem to have a weird mix of hard, brittle treble and weird, compressed, squishy mids. Many people disagree with me. That's why there are choices.

    Of the other options, a blackface Deluxe is stupid expensive these days and may need maintenace. It is, however, the best thing available for pure Deluxe Reverb tone. Early silverfaces are cool, too. Later silverfaces have basically the same circuit, but terrible lead-dress, a heavier cab with a glued-in baffle (they did that to Deluxes, right?) and the pull-suck volume knob make them less desirable. Not to say they're not good amps.

    Of the boutique stuff - well, you're basically paying blackface prices at that point. Allen stuff gets good reviews, and the last time I saw Johnny A, he was raving about a Carr amp (I didn't hear it - we were all on rented backline). My personal favorite is the Victoria Victoriette (6V6 version), but that's not a Deluxe Reverb clone. It does the Deluxe thing with a little more tweedy roundness and brownface Princeton tremolo.
     
  3. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Everybody already knows what I'm going to say. A decent original early SF is hard to beat-money in the bank value, rock solid reliability (with a little massaging at the first you should get another 35 years out of it), the tone you expect to hear. I'd look for one of those then get someone good (like Allen) to bring it up to spec...
     
  4. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Buy whatever amp sounds the best to your ears. Both are good and don't worry about what the value of it will be in 10 years. Even if you can only get half of what you paid for a used Carr Rambler (should be about $1400 or less) you will have spent $70 a year over that time. This hardly anything to worry about, heck that's only 10 meals at McDonalds every year for ten years.
     
  5. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a '67 BFDR, which I probably would not think about buying now due to cost. Also had a DRRI, played one for 6 years.

    If I were in your spot, a SFDR would be top pick. I've heard so many good ones, just as good as any BF and cheaper. But for the same money, you do have other choices. One of them is the DRRI. I agree with Monster Mike's comments. I got mine to a good place sonically, at the expense of 3 major repairs, plus tube and speaker swap. Add it up, it's not that much less than a decent SF. Good amp, but ultimately not worth it to me.

    I'm more curious now about other amps in the DR territory. David Allen's stuff is high on that list, also Gries and Fargen, Tone King, Bruno, maybe Sewell. Haven't heard any of these yet, but hope to. Once you turn away from vintage -- and think more about getting the right amp than about depreciation -- there are many worth trying.
     
  6. Beam Tetrode

    Beam Tetrode Member

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    I'd go with an Allen. Vintage stuff is not really worth playing these days. From a player's perspective, originals are unreliable, noisy, rattly, etc...
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    See, this I don't get. It really doesn't take all that much to make the originals rock solid. You've got your point to point wiring, you're hardwood cab, your decent quality tube sockets, pots and hardware, you've got the tone that most of the clones are trying to reproduce and you've got an amp with a track record of surviving in good shape after nightly gigs. What's going to be MORE reliable than that? Perhaps something that costs 2-3 times as much with mil-spec wiring and high tech caps, but for the dollars you're not going to get something better. You can find DRs in VERY good shape for less than $1k (in fact, Willie's in Minneapolis has a pair of mine on consignment, and if they sell I'll get about $800 back, I would have sold them for that 6 months ago happily and had no takers). You can put $200 into decent tubes and caps, see if the speaker is OK (these are but you might find one thats not) and if not upgrade to a Weber and have the amp for $1200 max out the door and ready to gig for another 30 years!
     
  8. Geetarpicker

    Geetarpicker Member

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    I'm with drbob1 silver face deluxe

    or

    Heck if you don't need as much gain, a non-reverb blackface deluxe is also an option. Most poo poo the non-reverb models, however the normal channel is hotter on them than you'd think.
    Most folks plug into the vibrato channel on blackface reverb amps, but on the non-verb ones the normal channel is the hotter of the two. If you can make up for the gain elsewhere (pedals) and don't mind no reverb you are set.

    A blackface non-reverb deluxe can be had for a grand and sometimes way less.

    Last year I got one for $450, put in 4 new caps, new output tubes and a new speaker and I've been gigging.
     
  9. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Or you can do what I did, which was to buy a used DRRI (it doesn't even have to be in working order), gut it and have it rebuilt using the DR circuit and upgraded components. Probably costs about the same as buying and restoring a silverface DR but you end up with all new components, wiring, etc. Check out the link below for the story.

    Wayne
     
  10. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    What model year? And are they blackfaced?
     
  11. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    One's a 68 in good shape, the other's a 73 in excellent shape. The 68 doesn't need blackfacing, of course, the 73 hasn't been touched either. They both sound great as is, I just don't need 3 of them:D
     
  12. Babaji

    Babaji Member

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    The silverface Fenders, especially the early ones(67-70) are the best Fender bargains out there! I'm not sure of the date of the change to the dadoed baffle board, but the 67-70 period tends to have the blackface(traditional Fender) screwed in baffle board. The thing to remember is that these are hand wired amps...and can be modified to Blackface specs(+ some other tweaks) and will be as good or better sounding than the original Blackfaces. I used to buy BF Deluxe Reverbs all the time for around $100-$125. Not anymore! Save your $$ get a silverface(of your choice) and convert it. Properly serviced it should be around for another 30-40 years!
    Bill
     
  13. Hank Linderman

    Hank Linderman Supporting Member

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    I'm going to be sorry I said this, but....

    I recently bought a used master volume Twin. 130 watts, Weber CA speakers, modded beyond recognition. Horrible sounding. I took it to my amp tech and he replaced the tranny with a deluxe, 2-6V6's replaced the 4-6L6's, new V30's, re-capped, etc. Total cost was less than $1000.00. It is the best Fender amp I have ever played - 36 watts, plenty loud and tone for days.

    I just bought another 70's MV Twin. I may buy more - this is the cheapest way to get a quality point to point amp these days.

    It's still pretty heavy, though....H
     
  14. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm not looking for one so I won't be sorry ... '70s MV twins can be tremendous deals. They seem way undervalued in consideration of sound and build quality. The best couple twins I've ever played were '74s I think. Having heard these, I probably wouldn't even consider paying extra for the BFTRs.
     
  15. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I have a late 70's SFDR. I got it for $500 about 2 years ago. Blew the fuse, PT and recto tube 5 minutes after I plugged it in. The previous owner(s) had a science project going on under the hood. Took it to one tech who butchered it further. Took it to a better tech and the the thing has been going strong ever since. Total cost of this whole episode including all parts and repairs, Reverend Alltone Speaker, Weber copper cap rectifier and tubes was <$1000. The amp is now a tip top working BFDR (electrically) and I couldn't be happier.

    The moral of the story is that OLD FENDER'S DONT DIE they just need a cap job.
     

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