Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Equipment Notes - Part 6

My favorite amp is a 1967 Fender Twin Reverb. This amplifier is from the magic "blackface" era, and any mystique about these amps is well deserved. I've used blackface Fender amps for most of my career. I lost a beautiful 1966 Fender Pro Reverb in the fire in 2007. There is a certain tone about tube amplifiers that suits my playing style, and the old Fenders seem to always have the sound I like. The Twin Reverb is one of the most desirable amps of all time. It has the right combination of volume, tone, class and mojo. You see these amps everywhere, from jazz shows to rock bands to country acts. They are a consistently good performer. The "blackface" era runs from late 1964 to 1967. During that time (1965), the Fender company was sold to the CBS corporation. CBS made some changes to the amplifier design, and these changes began to show up in 1968. To distinguish the newer series of amps, the color of the control panel background was changed from black to a bluish silver color, and these amps are referred to as the "silverface" series. Although the changes were minor, "purists" shun the silverface amps in favor of the older blackface series. Most amp repair shops will change the components in a silverface amp for you to have it perform more like a blackface model.

I had the amp shipped to me from Oregon, then I took it to Tim Pinnell at Top Guitar Guitar Pro Shop in La Mesa, California. Tim has a magic touch for servicing these old amps and getting them to operate and sound the way they should. He knows exactly which parts to change and which parts to leave alone. As usual, I was not disappointed with his efforts.

I had heard about a Modification called a "soul control" that was being done at the Bluetron amplifier shop in Nashville. It allows you to increase or decrease the negative feedback to the tubes. The results vary from a super clean tone in the low setting to a fat, rich harmonic sound when turned up. It also gives the amp a little more volume. Tim researched the mod and installed this control on the back panel of my amp. This type of modification should not decrease the collector value of the amp because it is such a useful modification, and a minor change.

The amp is fairly clean and in good condition for being over 42 years old. It is a lot heavier than I would like, but it has enough volume and headroom to handle any type of gig. I wouldn't mind having a smaller Fender tube amp, perhaps a Deluxe Reverb, for the smaller gigs so that I wouldn't have to lug the heavy Twin. Notice in the photo that the previous owner added removable casters. I'm happy for that!

Here is a photo of the amp:


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