Overview of classis Fender amps?

The_Nuge

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Hi!

Please school me on classic Fender amps! Anyone know where I can find an overview of the classic Tweed, Brown- and Blackface models - preferably with not only basic specs, but also a description of what the different ones sound like!
Why, you say? Well, I have three great amps (Soldano SLO clone, Dumble clone and Marshall YJM), but I might need something lower wattage and more portable soon... And I wouldn't mind having a go at building one again!
For the record: It'd be used for Blues & "Classic Rock" and needs to have good OD tone and preferably reverb (don't like distortion pedals, although I do have a TS9 and a fuzz). Using an attenuator would be an option.

So, school me :D
 

ARandall

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Well, the tweed deluxe is supposedly the most recorded amp in history.....the 5E3 version from the late 50's. No reverb though. Supposedly the early ZZ top was recorded with this amp....youtube is your friend of course.

The blackfaces are much cleaner, so you could go Deluxe reverb there and get it all.....tremolo, reverb and dirt - attenuator most probably needed though.
Tweed dlx clones are done by every man and his dog, the blackface are more rare should you want a kit to build.
 

colchar

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Hi!

Please school me on classic Fender amps! Anyone know where I can find an overview of the classic Tweed, Brown- and Blackface models - preferably with not only basic specs, but also a description of what the different ones sound like!
Why, you say? Well, I have three great amps (Soldano SLO clone, Dumble clone and Marshall YJM), but I might need something lower wattage and more portable soon... And I wouldn't mind having a go at building one again!
For the record: It'd be used for Blues & "Classic Rock" and needs to have good OD tone and preferably reverb (don't like distortion pedals, although I do have a TS9 and a fuzz). Using an attenuator would be an option.

So, school me :D


Depending on size they might be too loud to overdrive. But you have a TS and one of those, coupled with a Fender amp, is one of the most familiar drive tones in popular music.
 

The_Nuge

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Depending on size they might be too loud to overdrive. But you have a TS and one of those, coupled with a Fender amp, is one of the most familiar drive tones in popular music.
Yes, from the little experience I have, they're all too loud to overdrive if you want to stay friends with the neighbours - hence the attenuator :thumb:
 

colchar

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Yes, from the little experience I have, they're all too loud to overdrive if you want to stay friends with the neighbours - hence the attenuator :thumb:

Yeah but if you have a TS there is no need for an attenuator. Just pop it in front and off you go.
 

The_Nuge

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Yeah but if you have a TS there is no need for an attenuator. Just pop it in front and off you go.
Won't that sound fizzy? I'm becoming a big fan of attenuators, as I feel they help the amp "breathe", even if the amp has a useful MV...!
 

Splattle101

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Hi!

Please school me on classic Fender amps! Anyone know where I can find an overview of the classic Tweed, Brown- and Blackface models - preferably with not only basic specs, but also a description of what the different ones sound like!
Why, you say? Well, I have three great amps (Soldano SLO clone, Dumble clone and Marshall YJM), but I might need something lower wattage and more portable soon... And I wouldn't mind having a go at building one again!
For the record: It'd be used for Blues & "Classic Rock" and needs to have good OD tone and preferably reverb (don't like distortion pedals, although I do have a TS9 and a fuzz). Using an attenuator would be an option.

So, school me :D


For specs and stuff, start here:

Fender Amp Field Guide

It's an excellent reference. :thumb:
 

Splattle101

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Doh! DavidRamey beat me to it. Didn't see your post, DR. ;)

As far as sound is concerned, here's my Readers Digest version:

Tweeds
1947-60
  • Not a lot of clean headroom, with even less headroom as you go back to earlier models.
  • Lots of mids. Lots. Low mids abound. Really full sounding.
  • Cleans are warm and full.
  • As you turn up to overdrive, you get a really aggressive mid range noise. However, it can get quite flubby and farty in the bottom end because of the low mids and bass. Pedals deal with this beautifully.
  • The later, bigger tweeds (30-80 Watts, meaning the narrow panel Super, Bandmaster, Bassman & Twin) are tighter sounding, with a more focused overdrive.

Summary
Warm, fat, and dirty. Big sounding because of the mids. Loose in the bottom end (great for swampy blues). Take pedals really well. Aggressive. Later, higher powered models tighter.


Blackface
1963-68 (or so)
  • Much more clean headroom.
  • Less mids. MUCH less low mid.
  • Extended top end.
  • Gorgeous, open, sparkling clean sound, as a result of the EQ changes.
  • Better designed power supplies, so tighter sounding in the bass.
  • Extremely biting and agressive overdrive if you turn them up loud enough to distort. This is really loud.
  • Even the 20 Watt amps have good headroom and that classic clean sound.
  • The big Twins are so clean it's just stupid.
  • Take pedals really well, but differently to the tweeds. Where the pedal is just pushing and sculpting the tweed, with the blackface you need the pedal to add a lot of distortion, unless you're willing to play very loud.

Summary
Awesome clean. Surprisingly excellent, mean and nasty overdrive ("Fenders don't do dirty, etc, etc, etc, etc :rolleyes:). Great with pedals, and really great if you like to control your sound with pedals.

The silverface amps continued on in the blackface tradition, but they changed some stuff, and f**ked some things up along the way.

I leave the brown and blonde amps of the early 60s to those who have some actual experience with them. I've only played a few brown amps, and I've never gigged one or owned one.
 

colchar

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Won't that sound fizzy? I'm becoming a big fan of attenuators, as I feel they help the amp "breathe", even if the amp has a useful MV...!

No, it won't sound fizzy. That combination is on more famous recordings than you can count.
 

Tazz3

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I wonder what sounds better with a les Paul an old fender or Marshall lol
 

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