Fender Amps, Why Are They So Loved

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by yamariv, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. yamariv

    yamariv Senior Member

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    Went to see Joe Bonamassa the other day in Regina (Great show btw Joe..) and noticed his rig is now only Fender Tweeds which sounded amazing.

    I've been wondering this for a while, but what is it about Fender amps that would make Joe overlook all the boutique offerings out there? I've see other posts of guys on Forums singing the praises of Fender amps over everything else as well. Should I be looking at getting me a nice Fender Tube amp to add to my collection?? What kind of sound should I be expecting? What is it about them that causes such a cult following?
     

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  2. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    The tweed Fenders that Joe B is using are tweed high power Twins and a pair of tweed Bassmans. These late 1950s 6L6 powered tweed Fenders have a particular kind of sound.
    When you turn them up to 75% or more they deliver the thick, aggressive overdrive sounds you'd normally expect from a Marshall. That's not a coincidence, because the first Marshall was a clone of the tweed Bassman. If you then back off the guitar volume, you get the clean sounds Fender is famous for. So with just your volume control and a single boost pedal (an overdrive, distortion, fuzz, clean boost, whatever it is you prefer), you can get from clean to scream. When clean they've got good dynamic range and attack, and when pushed they compress (the Twin less so).

    The sound is fuller than the Marshall's from the JMPs onward. The Fender preamp gives more gain to the low mids than the Marshalls after the JTMs. This makes for a full bodied clean and a really fat distorted sound, but it can also get a bit flubby in the bass unless you're careful how you run it.

    I have three tweeds that I've built, and the tweed Super (like a lower powered Bassman) is almost a Swiss army knife of an amp.

    A word of caution. To get these sounds you have to turn the amp up and it's loud. These are not bedroom sounds.
     
  3. Dick Banks

    Dick Banks Senior Member

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    Kind of like your wife (I don't mean YOUR wife, anybody's wife).
    There is a certain tone your hear, and you get used to. Like for me, nothing sounds like a Vox AC15 but a Vox AC15. There are much more expensive amps that are probably *better*, but then again, I'm not listening for *better*.
     
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  4. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    A Fender tube amp is the Swiss Army knife of amps. Depending on your needs (clean headroom, fat overdrive, somewhere in between) Fender has, or has made, an amp that will get you where you want to be. They are awesome pedal platforms. They are easy to dial in...

    For me, it has ALWAYS been about having a great clean sound. I like HIGH POWERED Fenders because of this - 45 watts or greater. I will add pedals for my drive.....or put a Fender Reverb unit in front and use that as a type of overdrive, lol.....

    However, as I get older I am finding the Deluxe Reverb to be MY amp for everything that is not metal. A Bassman will work for that!!!!

    With power stages going from 5 watts to 100+ Fender has an amp for everything. Add humbuckers, it will drive harder. Want twang? Add a Gretsch or a Tele. Want jangle? Grab a Jazzmaster or Strat. It's almost that easy.

    Want a lot of mids? Grab a Tweed. Want medium break up with a slightly more scooped sound? Grab a Blackface. Want unending clean headroom? Grab a silverface. While totally generic, that's an easy to grasp reference.

    However...as has already been mentioned - unless you want CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN, and CLEAN - don't think you can reap the TRUE benefits of a Fender at bedroom or low volume. They have to be turned up pretty darn loud to get the goods you hear people praising. Also, if it is a silverface with a master volume, don't expect ANY overdrive until the amp is pushed to the point where you body begins to compress, and your heart stops...... :)
     
  5. Duane_the_tub

    Duane_the_tub Senior Member

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    Yes.

    You can, however, get a miniaturized version of this tonal dynamic with a Tweed Champ. IMO, that is the perfect bedroom amp.
     
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  6. rogue3

    rogue3 Senior Member

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    Fender Combos are bread and butter to the working musician forever. They have a legacy thats hard to beat.Crank them up and they sound.Stick a tube screamer in front and heaven.so simple.How many times i needed to go out and play...just grab the lux and dependable sound will be there.
     
  7. algs911

    algs911 Senior Member

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    My brother-in-law has modeled over 100 amps and he's got a wonderful collection of roughly 30 vintage amps. I tried them all! Some do one thing GREAT, others do great things differently. I bought the vintage Twin Reverb from him though. Why? It's the best clean tone amp I've ever heard. I can get really great OD/fuzz/distorted tones out of pedals, etc. Making a really nice, naturally distorted amp sound clean is impossible.

    For rehearsals I bought a Fender Hotrod Delux 3. It's ok, but not the Twin.

    Al
     
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  8. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Premium Member

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    Yes. What he says. The 5 watt tweed Champ is a great sounding amp that will introduce you to tweed chime and grind. If you want some fun buy and build a Mojotone tweed Champ kit.
     
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  9. Phil W

    Phil W Senior Member

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    Nah ...
    That'll be a MESA Mark V which admittedly is a very advanced Fender circuit (ish).
     
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  10. lung plunger

    lung plunger Senior Member

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    I've been impressed with tweeds since seeing this:



    Never personally played an old tweed, but would love to. I've been a Vox guy all my life. Something about that top boost gets me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
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  11. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    HAHAHHAHA, yeah...but also WAY harder to dial in. Albeit easier than a MKIV. I could not wait to get rid of the MKV I had....same with the MKIV. That advanced Fender circuit is too complicated for me ;)
     
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  12. sk8rat

    sk8rat Senior Member

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    hard to explain it but tweed fender amps have a very sweet tone. I am currently on the hunt for one myself.
     
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  13. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    Joe Bonamassa explains his move from the four 100 Watt heads to the tweeds in this vid. It's long, but he tells the story in the first 7.30 min, and how it affected his playing (for the better):




    In this vid, he demonstrates the sounds available from a Les Paul into a tweed:

     
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  14. yamariv

    yamariv Senior Member

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    Very nice write up, Thx! I've always been very confused between the tweeds, silverface and blackface etc.... So if I were to dabble in the Fender Amp world and I am looking for a nice Crunch to good distortion in a smaller portable home/small gig set up what should I be looking for? I'm not really a huge clean sound guy, I really like my crunches and medium distortion..
     
  15. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    How loud can you play? For home, I'd say follow the above advice and go tweed champ. Another path to consider is building or have some build you a tweed deluxe. The new Fender Custom 68 amps are kind of cool. In that line I would look at the Princeton Reverb or the Deluxe Reverb. Both would be quite loud for home use if you were going to try to get the crunch/distortion....

    Others can chime in with their advice. I am not good at the "home" volume thing because I have no neighbors and play LOUD all the time....
     
  16. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Premium Member

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    Right, a tweed Deluxe is close to 15 watts. It's really loud for home but nobody complains when I play. As far as sound, the Deluxe has more clean overhead than the Champ but will also get much dirtier. Tweed Champ = Funk 49 and Tweed Deluxe = Cinnamon Girl (or so I'm told.)
     
  17. gball

    gball Senior Member

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    Hard to dial in but awfully rewarding when you get the hang of it. My MkV is the one amp I will never get rid of.

    Nonetheless, I am jonesin' for a Tweed Champ.
     
  18. NotScott

    NotScott Premium Member

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    I have vintage tweeds, Marshall and Vox amps and I think the Joe B videos above explain it very well. The tweeds have this thick, low mid punch that fattens up nicely when you crank them up. The combination of grind and thickness make them very unique, particularly the Bassman. In comparison, my AC30 will grind with anything out there but, it is focused in the upper mids. If I am playing on a loud stage and need to make sure I can hear myself and I have a choice between my Bassman and my AC30, I am going with the Bassman. Comparing the two when cranked, the Bassman sounds thicker and bigger than the AC30. The Marshall is its own sound with a bit of the tweed low mids (primarily due to cabinet selection) and some of the Vox high mids. However, the big-bottle Marshalls don't compress like an AC30 and Marshalls don't get that AC chime either. Marshalls also need to be at hideous levels before they start to sound near as fat as a cranked tweed.

    MMD did a good job above explaining the differences between the varying Fender genres.

    As for home use, a Champ may be your best bet. I have used my deluxe from home to small gigs but, I have cool neighbors and I am used to playing loud so my recommendations for a cool home amp may be worthless.:naughty: I do like to refer to my Deluxe as the mini-Marshall though. :dude:
     
  19. matthew bear

    matthew bear Senior Member

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    I'll throw in the token recommendation for a Swart over a fender. Main reason being it's a lovely combination of all the best attributes of fenders, plus they offer Master volume circuits for lower volume. A tweed champ is still loud as balls if your in your living room...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

    This is the 22 watt AST... Kind of a mix of tweed and Blackface deluxe amps, to my ears. I have one and it's sweet, but loud as all hell! (again, in your living room) I've never gigged a place where I got to here the natural drive in this amp, it's always been a pedal platform... BUT they do offer this as a MV amp, and the grind is awesome!
     
  20. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Fender Tube amps run the gamut from awesome to dreadful IME. There are so many variables, there really is no "Fender Tube amp tone". Tweeds are thick with plenty of gain and distortion, Brown ones are big bottom with tons of mids but a lower peak on the high frequencies and less gain and distortion, Blackface/ silver face are scooped , that accounts for their clean tone, more bass and highs will do that, they have a different character when breaking up. I won't talk about the others because IMO they are too varied but I will mention the Riviera era amps, real sleepers and great amps.
    Matching a dirt pedal to a Fender is a real science. IMO a tweed doesn't need one, if you must have a pedal, try a boost
    Brown Fenders are weird in that their treble response is so different that pedals that work with SF/ BF amps will sound wrong with brown face amps and vice versa, it all depends on the voicing of the pedal against the voicing of the amp.
    RI Fenders are okay but nowhere near as good as the old ones, they don't have that lively looseness, because they are filtered differently from what I understand.
    The other thing is that they all radiate sound in a very even way through a club,much more so than a Marshall or Vox, really even sound propagation.
    Lastly, the reason why Fender tube amps are so admired because they can last forever. A vintage marshall or Vox makes for constant headaches if used professionally, but a vintage Fender can be as reliable, or more reliable than any new amp, boutique included.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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