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  1. #1

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    Is anyone here using a Fender Deluxe Reverb as a jazz amp?

    I wanna pick your brain. Pretty general questions.

    I've only had brief interactions with the amp. All positive.


    Any Fender Deluxe Reverb users?-fender-deluxe-reverb-1967-jpg

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Same here Barry! In particular, I was able to try a 1965 out at a local guitar show with a nocaster. It sounded so good, and I've wanted one ever since. Recently I found a great tech and amp builder in my area who says he will build one for $1,000, so I'm thinking about it, and I'm starting to save. The sound of most amps that I have tried just haven't knocked me out like the Deluxe '65.

  4. #3

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    Hi Barry, I'm assuming you mean "not" re issue DR's?
    If you are including those then it should be mentioned that more than one user has commented on the very "shrill" top end prevalent in the re issue but not to be found in the original DR.
    I am one of those.
    I just took delivery of a couple of Polytones and was pleasantly surprised at not having to use any eq to remove nasty frequencies. Just plug in and bypass the pedal board.

    When playing through the re issue DR I have to enter the land of sonic sculpting and do a special dance and prayer to get to where I want.
    Removing the bright cap helped but didn't solve the ice pick problem.
    So I'm going to sell it and try a Gries 5 watt.

    The point of my post is "watch out for the ice pick" in the re issue DR's.

  5. #4

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    Thanks for chiming in, guys. When I played through one, it was with a non cut Kingpin with a single fixed p90 in the neck position. I don't recall ice pick but I tend to play fingerstyle and this one also had flats. Maybe that dulled the ice pick.

    Either way, I was curious at what point does the DR break up where it can just no longer be clean. I loved the smokey, whiskey soured cleans it seemed to have. Just wondering at what point does it become an OD mess. I tend to play in my bedroom and if I played a gig, it'd likely be solo and more intimate in terms of necessary volume.

    What I'd be looking to do, if I went this route, would be to have a special single channel build. Just have to find the right builder.

  6. #5

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    Hello Barry.

    My '65 DRRI breaks starts to break up religiously at around 4.5. Chords, especially when hit with any forcefulness, display distortion. I replaced the speaker with a Weber (BF 150 I think, its been a couple of years) and I changed the preamp tube to a cooler tube.

    Now the amps breaks up religiously at around 4.7 or so. It appeared got a little more headroom out of it.

    I don't get a chance to play it unless the wife and kids are out of town but I am hoping it is the amp of my future, as I continue to improve.

  7. #6

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    I have an original 1965 Deluxe Reverb. It's a phenominal amp and does just about any style of music with ease. Having said that, I been using solid state amps a lot recently for jazz, but for anything else I go to the DR. I recently got a Cannibis Rex speaker for it, but haven't had time to install it. The original Oxford was great, but time took its toll and the cone disintegrated sometime in the late 1980's.

    "Here's a short clip (sorry about the buzz- I've replaced the filter caps since this was recorded)



    Here's a pic of it hiding in a closet with a '66 showman head. I need to get a better pic.
    Last edited by Engine Swap; 06-01-2014 at 11:41 PM.

  8. #7

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    I have a DRRI and happy with it considering what a real DR would cost. Wish I still had by real BF PR but its gone.

    With the DRRI I use the first channel to get more headroom, the Fender reverb add another boost to pre-amp. For more head room you can change the pre-amp and reverb tubes and better power tubes can help too. So not the real thing, but clipping the cap and playing with tubes you can dial in a sound you like. If you want to go further there are transformer replacement kits for more vintage sound.

  9. #8

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    I have an original '65 DR too, but I had a lot of supped up work done on it to make it a Boogie, like they used to do with Princetons. I didn't like it at first but now I think it's an incredible amp. Still sounds like a DR. A super DR. I need to replace the speaker, so I haven't played it for a couple of years. But I need to because I love that amp for smaller, simpler gigs.

  10. #9

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    I have an original '64 Deluxe Reverb, non original speaker in it.
    Its a great amp. It don't use it for gigging (NYC), mostly for home playing.
    It can be a little bright but I think that has a lot to do with the speaker I have in it and I'm looking to do a speaker swap soon.
    it does cleans really well up until 3 on the volume. 4 and up on the volume is where the amp really starts coming to life. Really smooth natural overdrive, so musical! For a Jazz player it would probably be too much dirt, but for other situations, to me,that's where this amp shines.
    Also gotta say,...match it up with a Strat or a Tele and it's glorious.

    At the end of the day, I think it's a really cool amp. There are a lot venues around NYC that have the reissues as their back line. I've played the one at the Stone weekly with a 20 piece orchestra and it would hold up with the amount volume from all the players.

  11. #10

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    A couple of months ago I got the new 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb and I love it. I got it for rock and blues with a strat or tele. I tend to play jazz through a Cube 80xl. A couple of weeks ago I played an Eastman ar371 though it and loved what came out. Very Kenny Burrell-ish tone. I found that it had plenty of head room. I was turning up to 4 1/2 or 5 to get a little bit of break up and loving it. That is too loud for most home playing. The 68 has the bright cap removed and I'm sure that that helps. Fender says that they removed the bright cap to increase picking dynamics, I say it does that nicely. I do agree that the 65RI is too shrill.
    On a further note: I played a 65RI Princeton Reverb at Guitar Center last week with a 339. I almost fell off my chair it sounded so good. If I had any money left I would not hesitate to get that amp for playing Jazz. Some will disagree, but, for me, that is the sound. Just my 2 cents.

  12. #11

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    I'm ashamed to admit that I've never played through a Princeton. I really must remedy that.

  13. #12

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    My band mate uses a DRRI loaded with a Weber speaker. He uses an Andersen Metropolitan and always sounds fantastic through it. He plugs into the reverb channel with bright cap in place no problems.

    I used to own the amp and never really bonded with it, but then, at the time when I sold it, I was using Strats and a huge distortion packed pedalboard.

    I have a PRRI which I adore, yesterday I put the original Jensen C10R speaker back in (did have a Red Fang 10), plugged in my strat and was greeted with the sound I originally bonded with. Bright, spanky, clean and it plays well with all my fuzz boxes. I was so impressed with the strat sound that I neglected to plug any of my archtops into it! Think I'll remedy that tonight.

    And on another note, I'm currently using my tweed Pro Jr as my main gigging amp, again loaded with the Jensen C10R, and after a couple of tube swaps to tame the hiss, couldn't be happier with it.

  14. #13

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    If I were to get another deluxe, I'd probably go for the Custom '68. The one I played through was really nice.

  15. #14

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    I use a reissue with various guitars.
    I don't find it particularly shrill, or it might depend on the guitar being used.
    Here is a short excerpt with a Gibson 335.

  16. #15

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    My #1 amp is a Silver Face Deluxe from the mid 70's. It's a great amp. And covers a lot of bases. My speaker has been changed out for a Weber. So, I have a lot of clean head room.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by D.G.
    I have a PRRI which I adore, yesterday I put the original Jensen C10R speaker back in (did have a Red Fang 10), plugged in my strat and was greeted with the sound I originally bonded with. Bright, spanky, clean and it plays well with all my fuzz boxes. I was so impressed with the strat sound that I neglected to plug any of my archtops into it! Think I'll remedy that tonight.
    Hmm, a lot less "zing!" with p90s and min-humbuckers. If I were going to mainly play guitars with those pups through the PRRI I'd probably opt for the Red Fang.

  18. #17

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    I'm lucky enough to own an original '64 Deluxe Reverb with the original speaker (70's recone). It's been recapped and had the reverb driver and output transformers replaced due to failure of the originals. I play a homebrew Tele with a Charlie Christian PU in the neck position ( I posted some pics in another thread if you want to see it) and a cheapy Bill Lawrence Keystone PU in the bridge. So far, I've not found anything that I care to play that this combination won't handle. They're really fine amps. I am considering, just as an experiment, replacing the original baffle with one carrying a pair of JBL MI10, 8 ohm speakers wired in parallel - the transformer will handle the 4 ohm load just fine and it ought to sound really clean with the JBL's.

  19. #18

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    I'm lucky enough to own an original '64 Deluxe Reverb with the original speaker (70's recone). It's been recapped and had the reverb driver and output transformers replaced due to failure of the originals. I play a homebrew Tele with a Charlie Christian PU in the neck position ( I posted some pics in another thread if you want to see it) and a cheapy Bill Lawrence Keystone PU in the bridge. So far, I've not found anything that I care to play that this combination won't handle. They're really fine amps. I am considering, just as an experiment, replacing the original baffle with one carrying a pair of JBL MI10, 8 ohm speakers wired in parallel - the transformer will handle the 4 ohm load just fine and it ought to sound really clean with the JBLs.

  20. #19

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    My first amp was an original 64 DR that used to belong to Merle Travis. Who at the time I only knew as "some country guy". I wanted another amp, some stupid high gain multi channel thing, but thank god all I could afford at the time was the Fender. I still have it, it's still stock, save for some filter caps that needed to be replaced and I use it every day. Love it.

  21. #20

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    If finally played a Princeton. Very nice! It was one of the SF ones they have out now. Even though I was not fond of the guitar I was playing through it, it still sounded nice. Much, much nicer to my ears than the HR models. Wish I had more time to spend on it and the SF DR next to it but I had my son's birthday party to attend. Turned 5.

  22. #21

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    The DRRI is nice. U just need time to learn the EQ. Played one for 5 gigs with a 6 piece band recently. I think it cuts well i a ensemble. I got no issues with early break up or the ice pick sound people talk about. Dont take i off the ground and sitt a few meters from it when u try it out. Thats My advice.

  23. #22

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    Since this amp is reputed to be the most-recorded guitar amplifier in the world historically, perhaps it deserves its own thread here on the JG Forums. (I searched but couldn't find one dedicated exclusively to this amp).

    Please feel free to contribute everything you know about this truly classic model, mods, tips, tweaks, preferences, etc.

    There are basically two flavours, original blackface/silverface and reissue. The main difference between them is that the original blackface/silverface models was point-to-point hand-wired and the reissues have a circuit board. Many people think that electrons don't know the difference between traces on a circuit board and a hand-soldered connection and they are right, but the way electrons behave in the older version of these amps creates a different sonic experience for the listener that is not imagined. Those players with the "ears to hear" can usually "feel" the difference between a new reissue and a vintage model, all else being equal. And it's a fact that some of the Fender circuit board material used in their amps was slightly conductive and was inadvertently a part of the circuit to a tone-affecting small degree.

    Here's one of the best articles I've ever seen about the differences between the old a new versions and importantly a great description of the many possible tweaks and upgrades you can do to get a reissue sounding more like the vintage model we've all heard on probably thousands of recordings.

    http://reitzel.com/schematics/Fender...ifications.pdf

    To mod or not to mod:

    My experiences with modding may be worth sharing, I've had some good ones and a few bad ones. My advice is that, if you have a pristine un-modded example of any vintage amp, please don't screw around and alter it very much and only perform mods that are reversible. I say this for two reasons. A.) Lots of us prefer things in their original state and they are more valuable over time both economically as well as sentimentally, and B.) You can screw up a good thing.

    Bad Experience #1: Vintage 50's Fender Tremolux repair job to lower the noise floor. The tech only changed a pot and a cap and the amp was quieter with less hiss at idle. Conclusion: All the warmth and sustain were gone and the amp now sounded clinical and with much personality missing. Kinda like Randall McMurphy at the end of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", the tone had been lobotomized out of it.

    Bad Experience #2: Cream '63 Fender Bassman amp completely re-tubed (because it was 1977 and I naively thought "it was time" because the tubes were old, even though they still had great tone and were only mildly microphonic.) Conclusion: What the hell was I thinking and why didn't I learn from Bad Experience #1 not to fix it if it ain't broke? The amp was less microphonic and now very sterile sounding. I didn't know enough back then to ask for my old tubes back and now I imagine somebody else is buying them from eBay for $40 a pop from the guy that did my repair after he threw them is a parts box that went into storage with other old parts/junk. Lobotomized again. (Or perhaps "self-castrated", you can imagine what part of the tone went missing.)

    Bad Experience #3: In the early 80's I got the bright idea that I could have a tech rewire the amp so channel 1 could be a switchable "overdrive channel" in series ahead of channel 2 so I could go from clean to dirty easily. Not only did the mod make the entire amp sound truly tremendously horribly awful, the tech had drilled holes into the chassis to accommodate his wild wiring scheme that may have looked good on paper at a cost of $250 in 1980's dollars. Then I had to pay another tech $250 to put it all back like it was and then it sounded fine again. Conclusion: What was I thinking? I paid $275 for the amp (a pristine all-original 1966, by the way), then another $250 to have it sonically destroyed and another $250 to have it restored. I then decided my great ideas were too expensive.

    Great Experience #1: The tech that restored my baby said I could switch from 6V6 tubes to 6L6 tubes if I want because the transformer was powerful enough to support it and the mod was reversible. I did that on his recommendation and the amp sounds absolutely killer. Louder, cleaner and fat as you could ever want without getting "tubby-sounding". Conclusion: One of the best decisions I ever made, I would most likely cry like a little girl if I lost this amp.

    Great Experience #2: I bought a 1967 off eBay for $1,300 a few years ago. The USPS managed to destroy the speaker baffle so I had to make a new one, but the amp sounded very nice although I knew it could be better. So, took it to a tech and we re-tubed it with NOS and it sounded pretty much better although not as perfect as I wanted. I read the article at the site I mentioned earlier in this post and made three small changes.

    1.) Removed the V1 tube since I only ever use the second (reverb) channel.

    2.) The original reverb pan was dead-sounding so I swapped in a brand-new one which sounded much better, but was a bit too boingy and splashy even at a low reverb setting. Then I changed the original reverb return tube which is normally a 12AT7 with 12AU7, which lowers the voltage. That made a fantastic difference, far more than I would have suspected. The pan had been tamed!

    3.) I replaced the tube in V4 (I think?) with the best NOS I could find, I read somewhere that Fender always used a premium European tube in that socket rather than RCA, Sylvia or whatever else they were stuffing into the rest of the sockets. Conclusion: WOW! Changing the old reverb pan for a new one and the new tubes for VOS, this amp has all the killer sonic qualities that my '66 model has, except the reverb is still not quite as sweet on the '67. But, the '67 breaks up earlier and has great grit and edge at relatively low volume as well as being fat and full. Just not as clean at older volumes than the '66 with 6L6's. And swapping tubes cost me nothing, they were laying around gathering dust.

    Personality, yes vintage amps have loads. The '66 has a solid-state rectifier (stock, I think) and the '67 has a tube rectifier (stock, I think) and therefore has the much-sought after "SAG" factor that provides a natural compression. SAG compression sort of adds the early breakup into the overall sound in such a way that it gets edgy and responsive without being necessarily audible as a "distortion".

    All vintage amps each have their own personality for many reasons, each has a slightly unique tone. Modern gear doesn't tend to have as much variation between example of the same model, mostly the difference is due to aging capacitors and other components. In my experience, sometime tubes that are slightly microphonic found sound great and better than a similar tube from another company with zero microphonics.

    Capacitors: These (along with tubes) probably have the biggest effect in creating the personality of the amp. Be careful when replacing them for several reasons, the most important of which is that you can literally kill yourself if you don't know what you're doing. The second most important is that you can ruin the tone depending on which caps you replace. This ain't hifi, caps shouldn't be replaced "just 'cause they are old".


    Speakers

    The speaker makes a huge difference to the overall tone and you need to match your choice of speaker with your personal tonal preferences. I use JBL D120F's, but many other people find them overly-bright. I find them to be an indispensable upgrade from the original stock speakers, although these were available in many Fender amps as a factory upgrade in the '60's (and perhaps early '70's). The article linked first in this post providers a rather comprehensive summary of subjective speaker test results for the Deluxe Reverb, an interesting read.

    FWIW: I did professional audio and sound design for many years and have played in bands since the early '60's. Over this long period of time I have seen the evolution of guitar amps and sound systems almost from their very inception. We went from low-wattage amps in the 50's to higher-wattage amps in the 60's, rising from around 15-20 watts to 300 or 300 watt beasts. This happened because venues got larger and crowds got bigger, so you needed a couple of hundred watts just to be heard at the back sometimes. But, PA systems more or less followed this trend and we went from having a couple of column speakers for vocals in the mid-60's to incredible sound systems that can be 500,000 watts or more in large venue. Now that the PA sound systems have achieved such incredible development and with such improved stager monitoring , we no longer need 200 watt amps. (In case you think I may be covering rock and roll history here, please remember John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra tours where he used several Marshall stacks. And this is a guy who played with Miles Davis.) My point is that small amps such as the Fender Deluxe Reverb can be everything you might need for a lifetime in today's world where the PA system does the heavy lifting.

    Know Your Tech: Make sure you know the tech you are dealing with is very familiar with these specific amps if possible, they are just "electronics", they do have individual personalities that are expressed tonally and every change made can potentially create audible differences, not always good. Find an amp tech that understands this and is aware of these subtleties for best and most satisfying results.
    Last edited by Dirk; 03-20-2020 at 07:12 AM.

  24. #23

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    Had the reissue and it was great traded it away and wish I hadn't, but my buddy is real happy. Only mod I did was change the reverb tube to a lower gain tube. I'll probably end up with another one day.

  25. #24

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    Here's my 1965 DR (along with a 1966 Showman head). Owned both of these since the mid-80s. Got the Deluxe at a pawn shop for $20 with the warning "if you plug it in, smoke comes out". Had a shorted output tube and a burned grid resistor.

    [/url]

    It's been modded 6-ways to Sunday back before we knew these things had value. I saved all the original parts and plan on putting it back to stock next winter.

  26. #25

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    I had a blonde DRRI with a P12Q and upgraded tubes. I foolishly sold it to get into modeling (amp, not fashion) and really regret it. It was a nice sounding amp that sounded just like you would expect a 22w 6V6 Fender amp to sound. Lush cleans. Nice reverb. Sweet break-up. Didn't like the opti-tremolo but it wasn't aweful, just not as good as a bias tremolo. Farty bass at high volumes but if you want a tight bass, get a Recto. I think a lot of guys want to to be all things. It is what it is and works great in small venues and with well-mannered drummers and in a studio.