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SlagJones

The new generation of vintage amps

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After reading about the quality of vintage amps like Fender SF's and such, I was wondering if anything made currently by Fender or other major amp brands will ever become vintage or just end up in a landfill? Are Fender reissues of the Deluxe and Twin reverbs PCB and made in China? Reissues of classics but will they become classics themselves?

Aren't Vox AC30's chinese made and pcb now?

What will be the vintage classics of tomorrow? Or will people be looking for 100 year old SF's?

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I was wondering if anything made currently by Fender or other major amp brands will ever become vintage or just end up in a landfill?

The custom shop stuff is generally hand wired. I don't think you're ever going to see wildly mass-produced PCB amps, such as the Hot Rod series, or even the re-issue series, reaching collector status. In many cases, those amps get thrown away when they quit working, because repairing them sometimes costs more than buying a new one.

 

Are Fender reissues of the Deluxe and Twin reverbs PCB and made in China?

Mexico, I believe. And, as far as PCB amps, they're not horribly built.

 

What will be the vintage classics of tomorrow?

Anything hand built and wired.

 

Or will people be looking for 100 year old SF's?

Those, BF, brown face, and tweed Fenders, yes. Forever. The value and collectability of those amps will never go down. SF Fenders are among the best amp bargains you can find right now, because many were virtually identical to their highly collectible blackface cousins, yet garner a fraction of the price on the used market. Aside from that, it's a buyer's market right now, thanks to the "wonderful" economy.

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i hope i don't anger anyone here.... i'm not trying to offend. but new fender stuff is junk. i bought a reissue superreverb and at the time owned a hotrod deluxe too. when i bought the superreverb i thought that had to be it. no way! when i started to use the super at my rehearsals it just didn't have it. i sold the hotrod shortly after getting the super. i sold the super about a year ago. i simply won't buy another new fender amp nor guitar.

 

collectable amps made to day... uhm i don't know but the older fender stuff is cool. how is fender going to raise the bar when they are the bar? (as far as old combos go). ...ideas about stuff like marshall (head w/separate cab) i'm at a loss.

perhaps i just don't care for 6L6 based amps. i've liked some of the el84 stuff i've heard but prefer the 6v6 stuff that i've played and own. but honestly, i do not think the tube itself has the tone--i think it is the overall design...

 

my current amp is a mesa boogie blue angel 4x10.=P~

 

i like what i have heard about Victoria amps and Top Hat. but i've not played a Top Hat... i have played thru a new Gretsch Executive (made by Victoria). of course Gretsch is now a part of fender. oh god8-[ .... will fender buy gibson some day?8-[

 

hope i didn't offend anyone (well except the fender company =; )

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new fender stuff is junk.

It doesn't appear that this comment is based upon actual failures or defects, but rather that the that you tried simply weren't to you liking. I could probably find at least 100 currently made amps that I personally hate, but I don't know that my personal preference against them would necessarily qualify them as being "junk."

 

And, of course, you're painting some rather impressively built custom shop amps with that statement.

 

Now, that said, most, if not all mass-produced amps these days, including your new mesa, are "junk" by yesteryear's standards of manufacture. Just wait until that Blue Angel needs repair work done, and you get to find out just how extensive and expensive that can be. Today's amps aren't built with easy maintenance and repair in mind.

 

The offense isn't from those of us who recognize that manufacturing quality has sunk dramatically over the past 40-50 years. The offense if from the companies that have allowed that to happen to their products.

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An interesting notion M-Theory. Before selling my super it had developed a problem with the vibro input--it shorted out when i turned the amp up to performance/rehearsal level. I ignored it because the vibro channel wasn't that important to me. Then, just before i decided to sell it it developed a problem with the reverb. I assumed these to be very minor problems--a small short in the one input (easy fix ha ha) and probably a new tube for the reverb.

 

So, i opened it up. #-o:-& :-& as soon as i saw the insides i new that was it for me. I closed it up and sent it be repaired--it was under warranty anyway.

 

fast forward to about 3 weeks ago. my mesa (not new anymore--i bought new around 2004) developed an annoying pop sound... again at performance/rehersal level. after some thought i decided to open it up. thou mesa uses a circuit board it was clear that this was not anything like the super. i could find nothing wrong visibly. then i remembered a very commonly used technique in trouble shooting... while the amp was on i gently tapped on each tube with my rubber handled screw driver... i did so very gently.

 

AND BAAAAAM!!!!! i found the culprit!!!!!! a single el84 tube was making all that noise. I put a fresh quad set of tubes in and my amp is sounding gorgeous!

 

Another thought:

while rehearsing for an up and coming gig my other guitar player in the band was buggin me about my sound (i was using my blue angel). he keep asking about this and that and this and that. So i finally told him that i would bring my brand new super to the next rehearsal (HE WAS delighted... he played fender too).

 

Fast forward. At the next rehearsal we were working on a new song and my other guitar player was buggin me even more about the sound i was getting. he tried adjusting the controls he asked me to try the neck pup.. the bridge pup.. he was trying everything. HE CONCLUDED... bring the other amp to our show. This is a true story. I think it's kinda funny...

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Fast forward. At the next rehearsal we were working on a new song and my other guitar player was buggin me even more about the sound i was getting. he tried adjusting the controls he asked me to try the neck pup.. the bridge pup.. he was trying everything. HE CONCLUDED... bring the other amp to our show. This is a true story. I think it's kinda funny...

They're totally different amps. I personally don't care for Supers. You have to get them up to between 4-6 to get them singing, and then they're too damn loud. They can sound fantastic when they're in their groove, but that's an ear-splitting level. Run them at reasonable volume levels and they're lifeless. Beyond that, they're heavy and clunky to lug around.

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They're totally different amps. I personally don't care for Supers. You have to get them up to between 4-6 to get them singing' date=' and then they're too damn loud. They can sound fantastic when they're in their groove, but that's an ear-splitting level. Run them at reasonable volume levels and they're lifeless. Beyond that, they're heavy and clunky to lug around.[/quote']

 

Ha...sounds like my Red Knob =D> . Although the sweet spot on mine starts at around 7. Before that is as you say, flat and lifeless...don't like pedals to much that low either. Although I've learn how to skin that cat with an EQ...I leave one with it hooked to the FX loop. Love it now...LOL, although wasn't like that always. Thing is build like a tank...will out live me that's for sure.

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Personally, I think tube amps should be hand wired, point to point on a metal chasis, simply for the reason that heat is an enemy on phenolic or other printed circuit boards. I just bought a 60 watt 1x12 dual 6L6 amp that has the tubes mounted upside down on a PCB with a metal cage to protect the tubes from knocks. I wonder how long it will be before the ROHS lead free solder turns to dust.

 

I've fixed several big screen TVs lately for friends that suffered from the heat of large hybrid ICs that degraded the solder connections to the point that failures occurred. I'm not a TV repair guy. I'm an electronics field engineer, but the theory is the same. Heat is a killer and tubes are some of the worst offenders. Give me point to point wiring any day.

 

Oh, and the other thing that irks me is that the input and output jacks on the new amps are soldered to the board and enclosed in a plastic housing. Things like this make for ease of factory assembly, but offer little in the way of user maintenance.

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I think so too Dave...or at least have some kind of isolation from the high heat components. One of the biggest isues with the Hot Rod series...the deluxe mainly. I've heard of people with one with 10 years and no problems, but just as many with isues after 6 months to a year due to heat....guess it depends on how many hours you put on one. Less expensive and quicker to just run a PCB in them than hand wirring one at a time I be thinking.

 

Anyhow I don't belive all the bad rap about PCBs are due to heat either. Some of them can be a pain in the you know what to get around or work on.

 

IMO my Red Knob is a perfect example of such. All the knobs, or pots, and jacks are mounted on a long PCB srtip. No heat, but damn what a pain in the butt to change one if you need to. Not only that but it has 30 gazzillion little wires jumping from the PCB srtip to the tube socket that break just by looking at them.

 

Shoot I'm late for my appointment...hope I spelled my babbling correct 8-[

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the tubes are NOT part of the main circuit board on my mesa blue angel. the inputs (there are only 2) and tone/volume pots are bolted to the chassis and not soldered directly to the circuit board. The piece of "junk" reissue superreverb (i do not own any longer )..... all inputs, volume/tone pots and tubes are soldered to it...

 

Read anything by Gerald Weber. He used to write for "Vintage Guitar." Maybe he still does... He's got some very interesting things to say regarding tube amps. Also, Mark Baier provides some super cool info on "vintage" styled amps too.

 

my guess on what will become collectable in about 30 years.

 

Mesa boogie amps and

PRS guitars

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They're totally different amps. I personally don't care for Supers. You have to get them up to between 4-6 to get them singing' date=' and then they're too damn loud. They can sound fantastic when they're in their groove, but that's an ear-splitting level. Run them at reasonable volume levels and they're lifeless. Beyond that, they're heavy and clunky to lug around.[/quote']

 

ur right about being "...different amps." what kind of amp do u play thru M-Theory? do you play?

 

I agree with you about needing to get them up in volume to push the power amp into the sweet spot... but come on.... they don't get much louder after 4 anyway

 

yes... they are heavy but not as heavy as a marshall stack.

 

you've just mentioned 2 reasons why i had no problem saying good bye to my superreverb....

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After reading about the quality of vintage amps like Fender SF's and such' date=' I was wondering if anything made currently by Fender or other major amp brands will ever become vintage or just end up in a landfill? Are Fender reissues of the Deluxe and Twin reverbs PCB and made in China? Reissues of classics but will they become classics themselves?

Aren't Vox AC30's chinese made and pcb now?

What will be the vintage classics of tomorrow? Or will people be looking for 100 year old SF's?

[/quote']

depends which vox ac30 you're talking about...

 

ac30 heritage 2

ac30 heritage 2L

ac30 custom classic

ac30 amplug

ac30 HH head

ac30 custom classic head

ac30 custom classic 2

ac30 custom classic 2X

 

actually, they're all hand wired except that amplug thing... and that's no ac30...

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there's probably going to be some demand for

 

 

-blues custom 30's (spring reverb, tube rectified, class a/ab switchable... if there isn't high demand, i'll be dumbstruck...)

-fender champs (duh... and rather than list a bunch of fenders, i'll just say "any fender that people seem to like already")

-swart atomic space tone (never heard of it? too bad, it's a great boutique amp i wish i could afford... and actually find in a store... they sell very fast...)

-leslie g37 (solid state power amp, but w/e)

-leslie g27 extension cab (hey, i can have a tube power amp!)

-almost anything from motion sound with a tube in it or no onboard amplifier

-solid state amps (when metal players finally realize that if they're going to just use a distortion pedal anyway, and want nothing but tons of headroom from their amps... it doesn't pay to have tubes...)

-ac30's (there will always be demand... they're still hand wired, so it makes sense...)

-fender reverb units (darn surfer music!)

 

 

i think mostly the leslie's, motion sound's, and the atomic space tones...

really, the atomic space tone amp is awesome... i want to get an atomic space tone head and hook it up to a couple of leslie g27's or a motion sound srv cab... really badly...

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There's nothing fundamentally wrong with printed ciruit board construction; it's just that tubes hanging upside down naturally vent their heat upwards toward the board. Lots of us lean the amp backwards and the heat can't fully escape so it accumulates inside and compounds the problem. Then, there's the issue of serviceability with the jacks and pots soldered to the board instead of being mounted to the chassis and wired to the board. Single board construction is good for the bench repair guy, but bad for the user. The bench repair guy will replace the entire board or repair the board using surface mount components that are not available to the end user, i.e. input and output jacks and tube sockets.

 

If and when you have an input or ouput jack failure, you can't just go to Radio Shack and buy a new one unless you hardwire it to the board and screw it to the chassis. Then, you still may run into clearance problems with the board right there underneath the new part.

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The piece of "junk" reissue superreverb (i do not own any longer )..... all inputs, volume/tone pots and tubes are soldered to it

That surprises me, because the one reissue that I saw the insides of recently, I believe it was a Deluxe Reverb RI, had pots and jacks on a daughter board, but tube sockets mounted to the chassis. As a PCB built amp, it didn't look like a terribly flawed design.

 

Same for the Mesas, Soldanos, some of the Marshalls, Bogners, and many other recent PCB amps. Tube sockets, and often jacks, switches, and pots are mounted to the chassis and connected to the PCB with flywire or ribbon.

 

Still, PCB isn't ideal for tube amps, regardless, but with some of these things, it would be extremely difficult to build them any other way. Especially the high gain models, since you'd have nightmares trying to keep noise and oscillations out, with wires running all over the place.

 

Component quality used in PCB builds isn't often top shelf, either, and repair work, when it becomes necessary, can be costly, because getting underneath some of the boards can be very challenging and time consuming.

 

what kind of amp do u play thru M-Theory? do you play?

Do I play? Sometimes, I wonder if I ever do anything but. I work with 3 different bands, one that plays nearly every weekend, doing rock/pop cover tunes, one that's a power electric blues band that does festivals and large stage shows, and a local jam band. I also do session work now and then, when when the opportunity arises.

 

My main amp for the past 5 years has been a custom build on a '66 bassman, that closely resembles a 1987 plexi Marshall, but with some unique twists. I also frequently gig a "Baby Will" Vjr conversion that I built a couple months ago, and even my SE EL34 Vjr (this one is my jam band amp). Baby Will is only in regular service until I get my next custom build done, and I haven't started that yet. Then, Baby Will will become a backup amp.

 

I also have a few other vintage amps, a BF Pro Reverb, a Gibson GA19-RVT, and a SF Vibro Champ, but I don't gig them any more. Two of them will be sold, as soon as the market turns a bit more favorable for doing so. Most recently, I temporarily re-acquired my kid's Blues Jr., which I've been using as a rehearsal amp. My overwhelming preference is for non-master volume, single channel, EL34-powered heads w/a closed cabinet.

 

I agree with you about needing to get them up in volume to push the power amp into the sweet spot... but come on.... they don't get much louder after 4 anyway

This can be said of just about any tube amp.

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This is the blues band, and it's been through several incarnations over the past 3 years, as well as numerous periods of haitus. The only original members are the leader, who plays hammond, the drummer, and myself. The recordings on the page were made when we were a 9 piece band w/horns. Really cool stuff. Right now we're gearing up with our strongest lineup to date, for a blues competition this month, a show of our own in early June, and opening for a national act on June 20. Hopefully, we'll get a festival or two as well. We played the Fargo blues festival last year, and that was a lot of fun. Two of this band's members are MN music hall of fame inductees, and one was in a band that had a top 20 hit years ago. It's really cool to work with these guys...some heavily talented, very top notch professionals. This band has to juggle schedules with a national act that the bass player, drummer, and organ player all work for when he's gigging in the midwest.

 

http://www.myspace.com/sweetpauliet

 

 

 

This one is the pop/rock cover band...a rather dysfunctional organization, but it somehow stays busy fairly busy. This myspace account is finally being taken over by someone who's willing to put some time into it. I can't stand dinking around with them myself. This band has also seen some various incarnations over the past few years, and lead singer and I are the only original members at this point. The recordings were done a couple years ago. Working with this band is totally different than the blues band, for more than the obvious reasons. The blues band is a heavily rehearsed, precision-type band, whereas this one is much more of a footloose rock band.

 

http://www.myspace.com/lunaseaband

 

 

 

Here's the page for the Sunday jam. We don't have recorded music up here yet, but we will eventually. I have been known to drag my digital recorder out now and again, though I haven't for quite some time...I suppose I'm due. I do have some old recordings from a year or so ago that I could toss up on this site, but I kinda wanted to get fresh stuff together. If you're ever in the SW twin cities area on a Sunday evening, stop on by! We get some rather frightening talent into this thing, both on a regular and a chance basis. In spite of that, the leader of the jam, who is the lead singer from the rock/pop cover band, makes sure that everybody, regardless of talent or experience level, gets a chance to play or sing, if they choose to. She's a very gracious and open host. This thing makes Monday's extremely difficult for me, however. I have a day job as well.

 

http://www.myspace.com/cysopenjam

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sweet M-Theory! thanks for posting those links... i totally dug the blues thing... thanks again for posting. I hope others in the forum will wander in here and have a listen!!!

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Our other guitar player showed up yesterday with a Fender Supersonic 1x12 amp. It looks like a nice one with 8 tubes in the back all lit up. I still like my Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 better, though. I no longer have to carry a stack of effects pedals to hook up...just the Sanpera II foot controller.

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M-Theory - really dug the blues stuff. I love blues and have done a few Blues Festivals here (3-piece) - our drummer is 60 and our bass player is legally (almost 100%) blind and an Albino black man to boot. He's 58 & He knows Blues :-s I'm 57 so they call me the kid.

 

I grew up in Northern Michigan and came here to Florida where blues was "lacking"... when I met the bass player a few years ago we talked and I asked him what his favorite style of music was - he replied without hesitation CHICAGO STYLE BLUES - I knew he was "my guy"!

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i totally dug the blues thing
M-Theory - really dug the blues stuff.

 

Thanks, guys. I really dig that stuff, too. It's powerfully emotional stuff to play, although that particular band is also very demanding and mentally exhausting. It's pretty intense stuff that requires a lot of focus and precision. I love it, though, not only for the challenge, but for the soul connection. To me, there's nothing more satisfying to the soul than powerful electric blues. The rock band is fun, but it's not the same release for me.

 

The blues, in many forms, can be a real bore, but when it's done right, with great attention to dynamics and song selection, as well as, of course, true passion, it's THE most powerful form of music to my ears. The weird thing about it is that it just doesn't draw very well, probably because a lot of typical blues bands don't heed the potential for boredom very well, yet the fans who DO come out to see blues bands are some of the most passionate people I've ever met. They TRULY appreciate every single note, like no other crowds that I've ever played for.

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I've always loved the blues, especially modern blues and the remakes of old black blues tunes. My favorite CD is the Allman Bros live at Fillmore East. I never tire of that one. I'm also a Gov't Mule fan.

 

Good stuff, m-theory. BTW, your name suggests super string theory...another interest of mine.

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