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Alternative to older Deluxe Reverbs
Old 18th November 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 

Alternative to older Deluxe Reverbs

Does anybody know of any decent alternatives to older Deluxe Reverbs? Something with a similar wattage and tube complement? Music Man? Some other old model that's handwired? I'm wondering if there are any good steals out there that are just as good. Everybody seems to be swiping up all the old Fenders and sellers are boosting their prices.
Old 18th November 2013
  #2
I don't know about any steals. There are some current boutique builders who are making great deluxe circuits. I would go that route. But it's not that cheap either. It's an investment tho
Old 18th November 2013
  #3
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FFTT's Avatar
 

If you don't care about reverb and want an amp that gets the goods at lower volumes, you might try something based on a Marshall 18 watt circuit.

In Fender, you jump from DR @ 20 watts up to Tremolux, Vibrolux Reverb & Super at 40 watts.

You might look for a clean used Allen Amps Sweet Spot or Accomplice.

In new modern amps, try the Tone King Imperial just for perspective.

If you stlll want a 6V6 circuit, then either of the Bad Cat Classic Cats are still good options.

For more Blues oriented tones the 5E3 Tweed Deluxe circuit may be preferable to the cleaner DR circuit.
Old 18th November 2013
  #4
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I would agree there are a number of companies who make great reproductions or "inspired by" versions of the DR sound. As far as an overlooked, sound-alike gem from the original era of DRs? Something on a par with the Traynor YBAs sounding like Marshall plexis?

I dunno. Don't think so.

The pre-Ernie Ball-era Music Mans have their own thing going on--they're great amps in their own right--but I wouldn't call their sound close to what a vintage DR does.

Those blackface and early silver Deluxes are very special amps. There's a reason many guitarists accept no substitute.
Old 19th November 2013
  #5
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Call around the repair shops and see if they might know of someone selling
something cool or if they have an abandoned amp that just needs the cost of repairs covered.

Once you know what you want for sure in an amp, there is nothing better than
knowing you have a great tube amp tech around the corner who can fix anything that might come up.

Even if the seller tells you everything has already been refurbished, its safer to assume you may need to have it gone over again, depending on workmanship and components used.

Keep your eyes peeled for clean used

Reeves 18
Reinhardt 18
Aiken 18
Ugly Amps 18
Allen Sweet Spot V-18, Accomplice, Encore
Gries 20 & 35
Tone King Imperial
Suhr Badger 18

These are all high quality builds.
Old 19th November 2013
  #6
Gear Head
 

Victoria is one of the first that comes to mind...

Also, as mentioned previously the Tone King Imperial is a really, really nice sounding Fender Deluxe Reverb flavored amp (with more gain on tap too if that is your thing).
Old 19th November 2013
  #7
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kafka's Avatar
You won't regret a Jim Kelley for a single moment, although they aren't exactly cheap.
Old 19th November 2013
  #8
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FFTT's Avatar
 

I got a bit spoiled by my friend's real '65 DR with a Vibrolux 40 Watt Transformer.

One of the best alternates to a DR is a '65 Ampeg Gemini I
30 watt bridged and gets the goods way under 1/2 volume.
Old 19th November 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
+3 on the Allen Sweet Spot. I built the kit version and happily sold my original '71 Deluxe Reverb. I have 0 desire for any other amp ever.
Old 19th November 2013
  #10
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If you can find one, check out a Groove Tubes STP-G. No effects, and it is just a rack mounted head, but it is a great DR type circuit otherwise, with some modern (modern at the time of manufacture, anyway) Aspen Pittman additions to the EQ section. Pretty odd duck, but I love mine.
Old 19th November 2013
  #11
Led
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If you just want the clean reverb sound a Fender 75 does it well and is still not really well known.
Old 19th November 2013
  #12
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Learn to DIY buddy, then the world is your oyster. People seem to think vintage amps were made of wizards spells and unicorn bones, but they were made of the best value/most readily available components Leo Fender could source back in the day - nothing magical. It's not hard to make a new amp that sounds as good as an old amp - just arm yourself with a soldering iron and copy the widely available circuit schematics of the era. The hardest part is making the jump into the DIY realm.

If you can't fathom building a clone, I personally feel the Brownface era of Fender circuits are the unspoken champions of tone. If you come across a 6G2 Princeton, 6G3 Deluxe or 6G4 Super within your budget - snap it up. They certainly won't disappoint. With a pedal or two the 6G2 and 6G3 can nail every tone from Wicked Game to Hot For Teacher. It's an old pic but here's my DIY 6G2 mini stack - certainly the best amp i've ever owned (let alone made).

Old 19th November 2013
  #13
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Many clones were made of the Fender 5E3 Tweed Deluxe amplifier including those by: Mission, Clark, Victoria, and dozens of others. Many were sold in kit form, and for that matter still are. Go to Ebay and search on "5E3" and you may find what you are looking for.
Old 19th November 2013
  #14
Gear Head
 

I see this Ampeg Gemini I is touted by jazz musicians for its clean sound. Does it have any breakup at all as you crank it?
Old 19th November 2013
  #15
Gear Head
 

No, I don't just seek the clean sound, but need some breakup at the top too.
Old 19th November 2013
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Led View Post
If you just want the clean reverb sound a Fender 75 does it well and is still not really well known.
No, I don't just seek the clean sound, but want some breakup when turned up too.
Old 19th November 2013
  #17
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case View Post
Many clones were made of the Fender 5E3 Tweed Deluxe amplifier including those by: Mission, Clark, Victoria, and dozens of others. Many were sold in kit form, and for that matter still are. Go to Ebay and search on "5E3" and you may find what you are looking for.
I've had the Mission kits bookmarked in my browser for years, ever since working with Howard Harrison on the Infinite Monkey Theory album and being amazed at the tones coming out of his build. http://www.missionamps.com/5E3kit.shtml

Definitely gonna cobble one of those babies up next time I have some free time (which probably means never, LOL!)
Old 19th November 2013
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Led View Post
If you just want the clean reverb sound a Fender 75 does it well and is still not really well known.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case View Post
Many clones were made of the Fender 5E3 Tweed Deluxe amplifier including those by: Mission, Clark, Victoria, and dozens of others. Many were sold in kit form, and for that matter still are. Go to Ebay and search on "5E3" and you may find what you are looking for.
I see they have 15 and 30w models. Is either favored over the other or are they both great tone machines?
Old 19th November 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelshaf View Post
I see this Ampeg Gemini I is touted by jazz musicians for its clean sound. Does it have any breakup at all as you crank it?
Cranked, it certainly does. Mine does, anyway. Very beefy, very Who's-Nexty, really fun. It'll do sort of the same thing at lower volumes with a boost pedal -- I've got an Angry Troll, which works great with the Gemini.
Old 19th November 2013
  #20
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Oldone's Avatar
Try the Silverface version which in my mind is just as good as the Blackface version. They run cheaper.
Old 19th November 2013
  #21
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FFTT's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Cranked, it certainly does. Mine does, anyway. Very beefy, very Who's-Nexty, really fun. It'll do sort of the same thing at lower volumes with a boost pedal -- I've got an Angry Troll, which works great with the Gemini.
and you get dream verb and tremolo, although I like the tremolo better on my '64 Reverberocket.

That's actually a perfect amp for him with a tight detailed speaker.

My Gemini, can take me into the Keefer Zone, Beatles, Zep, Whoville, Heartbreakers, smooth jazz, Spy-Surfer, just an incredibly versatile amp designed for recording and that's without a pedal, just a few guitars.

This is just camera mic and the amp is running with top boost engaged.
No Pedals, just the attack changes the response.
The amp is only on about 4.5 on the volume.
I love the way it gets the goods so easily.

I've upgraded mine substantially with NOS tubes as needed and $300.00 into the Fane AXA12,
but they can be found working or restorable in your budget.

Old 19th November 2013
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

It's not the same power tube compliment, but if you take the back off of a Traynor Guitarmate (YGM-3) they sound in the ballpark of a Deluxe Reverb at a fifth of the price. Also handwired with great parts. I'd also look at the early 70s Silverface Deluxe Reverbs that are very close to the 60s models but come in at well under half the used price.
Old 19th November 2013
  #23
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FFTT's Avatar
 

If you want to hear a broad selection of affordable vintage amps, you gotta check out LeonC's channel.

One of my faves of an ugly little amp that probably sat unused for decades.

Old 19th November 2013
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
If you want to hear a broad selection of affordable vintage amps, you gotta check out LeonC's channel.

One of my faves of an ugly little amp that probably sat unused for decades.

Agreed. He really does a great job capturing the best parts of the sound of underappreciated vintage gems.
Old 19th November 2013
  #25
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FFTT's Avatar
 

Leon is also a gifted tech who knows the strengths and weaknesses of each build.
Old 19th November 2013
  #26
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I'll also agree with the silverface Deluxe Reverb recommendation. You can get a late 70's to early 80's silverface DR for under a grand pretty easily. They sound just as good as any other Deluxe Reverb out there. There are some slight differences in the circuit when compared to the ones in the blackface era, but you can easily swap out some components and make them identical.

Next up on my list would be the mid sixties Ampeg amps, like the Gemini or Reverberocket. These will usually have different tubes than you'll find in a DR, and their sound is different, but a lot of the characteristics will be very similar. For instance, I have a late 70's SFDR and a mid 60's Ampeg Reverberocket II. They sound great together in a stereo pair because they're very similar in tonal response, but different enough that they stand out from each other. They stay clean and break up under pretty much the same conditions, so if I drive the front end of one to get just a touch of grind, the other will too. The Ampeg's aren't identical, but if you want a similar sounding amp with the same build quality and general characteristics to a Deluxe Reverb, then those Ampeg's are definitely worth checking out.
Old 19th November 2013
  #27
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 

I've actually come to prefer the natural Ampeg breakup to Fender breakup, which usually requires more gain to get any where near the same response.

My favorite Fender is still a BF or SF Vibrolux Reverb.
I also like the versatility of being able to mix and match 2X10" speakers to really shape your tone to perfection.
Old 28th November 2013
  #28
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taherbert's Avatar
My vintagesound 112p is sort of a super charged Princeton reverb with a 12 inch speaker. One of the best amps I've played or heard. Priced under $1500. I think they make a deluxe clone too.

Sent from my XT907
Old 28th November 2013
  #29
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noah330's Avatar
I have a Tone King and really like it. That being said the DR is my least favorite Fender amp.
Old 29th November 2013
  #30
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one of the smaller Bruno Cow Tipper amps (I think there's a 22 watt version) would be a nice alternative to a DR, and probably sound even better.
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