#1
I'm in the market for a new amp and, because I'm a cheap-ass, I scour Craigslist searching for the deal of a lifetime on the only amp I'll ever need. I realize most high end amps will cost well over $1000 but I've kind of come to terms with not having a top-of-the-line or boutique amplifier.

Anyway, today on craigslist, I saw an ad for a Vintage Silverface Fender Twin Amp. The guy says it's from the 1970's and is asking $500. I emailed him with the following questions:
Does the amp have built in reverb?
What year is it from?
What modifications and/or services have been performed on the amp (to the best of your knowledge)?
Have you ever had any issues with the amp or speaker or any part of the amplifier?
What size speaker is in the amp and what model speaker is it?
Does it include any foot switch or cover or anything other than the amplifier itself?

What else should I look for when buying a Vintage Fender amp? Does anyone have experience with Twins from the 70's? Is $500 a good price? I need good to fantastic cleans and I like Fender's cleans but I don't think I've ever heard a Twin in a scenario where I knew it was a Twin and could pass judgment on its tone. I've heard Fender Deluxes and liked them. Let me know what you think.

Thanks a lot,
Jacob
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#3
I just did a quick Google shopping search and it's coming up with Fender Twins from the 70's going for $1,000 and up. $500 is starting to seem like a great deal.
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#4
ask if it have a master volume knob or no? also ask for the codes on the speakers, it has two. and the codes on the transformers... also, is there a tail under the fender logo on the grill or not? these will give us an idea of a realistic year. cbs didnt keep the best records of this stuff honestly, but we should be able to figure this out.
#5
man if i was you id just jump on it... 500$ is given for such an amp.

at one point i wanted a twin reverb and i could not find one under 1350 canadian dollar... if this one is in good condition... you should buy it.
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#6
we recently dated a super reverb at work as a 71 with these numbers. serial numbers dont really do it for the seventies amps... sorry bout the double post, on my phone helping you... edit: ^ thanks, saved my double... TS, it is a good price if its not fubar...
Last edited by gregs1020 at Aug 3, 2009,
#7
I'm still waiting for a response from the guy and when I get one, I'll email back and ask for the stuff you said, gregs. I'll keep you updated as I find stuff out. The posting says it has just been collecting dust in his living room and he needs to get rid of it and that it works fine so if it's in good condition, I probably will snatch it up and maybe have a tech look at it. Thanks for your help. Man, I hope it hasn't already been sold.
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#9
Sorry to bump my post but this amp will have heavenly cleans, won't it? The other sites on the internet say it will.
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#10
it will have heavenly cleans. And the reverb will be awesome.

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#11
Well that cleared that up, thanks. I'm psyched now.
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#12
There are people who know a lot more about Fenders than I but I will say I've played some very rotten sounding SF twins.
#13
Weird, that seems to be contrary to pretty much all of the reviews on harmony central. Does anyone else feel this way about Fender Twins? Mind you, I'm gonna try it myself to see if I like the way it sounds, but if it's going to sound terrible, I'd like to save myself the trouble.
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#14
Not all SF twins are the same, like I said, some sound very good, some sound very rotten. Especially cranked, a lot of them are just not pleasant sounding overdriven. Fizzy, harsh and brittle.

Go check it out first.

Edit: I will reiterate that there are some very good sounding SF amps, several of them nearly identical to their BF counterparts, but at the same time, there are some very bad sounding ones as well.
Last edited by al112987 at Aug 4, 2009,
#15
Are there any years specifically that the silverface's sound bad? I played one at GC in the used section, and I was blown away, and it was only $699.
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#16
The most maligned SF amps are the ones that have the ultra-linear transformers, so the 135 watt TR, and there was a 60 or 70 watt PR and SR, and the 100 watt Bassman. I think the year where these started popping up was '73? I'm not sure.

Edit: I say they sound horrible, but at the same time they might be usable to you. My idea of a Fender has always been their full, rich and warm clean tones at lower volumes, and that warm, creamy sounding overdrive that you get when you crank them. Which is why I am particularly fond of BF DRs, SRs and tweeds. The later SF amps just sound very different in comparison. And again, I'm just talking about certain SFs, there are several that sound very good, early ones are pretty much identical to BF Fenders, one my favorite guitar tones, Jerry Garcia's strat tone from the Europe '72 tour was all being played through a SF Twin reverb.
Last edited by al112987 at Aug 4, 2009,
#17
I own Silverface Pro Reverb 70Watt with ultralinear transformer.They sound fantastic clean.Do not even try to use bosster, overdrive or distorsion.They sound very bad.If you need clean this is it.If you like a little crunch like basmann you can use tonebone adapter with EL84.You can get 35 watt from previous 135watt and fantastic blues or rock-country sound.
#18
Silverfaces are more bright, a little more harsh, and have a good bit more headroom. Overdriving a twin is a joke though, you will have trouble doing it even at gigs. In all my research it seems like people really dislike SF mostly because of the headroom. Most people love the grind of a Fender being blasted, and this sound generally is a blackface DR or SR, but for sparkling cleans the SF stuff is fine.

As far as deciding if this one is any good, I would be most interested in:
1. Where did he get it?
2. What service does he know of before he bought it?
3. What service has been done since he has had it?
4. What has been done to damage/preserve it while it has been sitting?

Over 30 years these amps generally get a lot of little modifications done, and sometimes it is not for the better. The best answer for all these would be; I am the original owner, I had it serviced by a tech every decade or so (here is paperwork proving this,) I have kept it in a climate controlled storage unit, and it has not moved, except when I made sure it worked before trying to sell.
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#19
Quote by al112987
The most maligned SF amps are the ones that have the ultra-linear transformers, so the 135 watt TR, and there was a 60 or 70 watt PR and SR, and the 100 watt Bassman. I think the year where these started popping up was '73? I'm not sure.

Edit: I say they sound horrible, but at the same time they might be usable to you. My idea of a Fender has always been their full, rich and warm clean tones at lower volumes, and that warm, creamy sounding overdrive that you get when you crank them. Which is why I am particularly fond of BF DRs, SRs and tweeds. The later SF amps just sound very different in comparison. And again, I'm just talking about certain SFs, there are several that sound very good, early ones are pretty much identical to BF Fenders, one my favorite guitar tones, Jerry Garcia's strat tone from the Europe '72 tour was all being played through a SF Twin reverb.

The UL transformers were a little later than that, I think like 75/76ish. Not all of the Bassman 100s have them, but all of the later 135s did.
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#20
After a little more research it looks like UL pushes the output tubes a good bit harder, so an UL with 4 6L6s would actually be 135 not 100 watts. So what I had heard, that the 100s were not UL and the 135s were, apparently is true.

Edit: Also it is apparently not too hard to 'take the UL section out' of the circuit.
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BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#21
I got a response today.

Honestly you probably dont want my amp then- it's not in the greatest shape and it's something that has a really specialized market... It probably is one of the best amps you could ever buy, but it needs work and tweaking- it is oooooold- like over 30 years old, and it looks it. Probably needs new tubes etc. I'll send you a picture.


Here are the two pictures she sent me





Maybe I'll offer $100 or so dollars less and then put that money into getting it back into shape.
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#22
Honestly I don't think it looks too bad, but I also think its cool to have a beat looking amp. Actually, everything Fender makes looks cool when its beaten up.....
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#23
^ Wait, so you asked her a few questions about the condition/history and her response was "You probably don't want it?" That's a deal breaker, it probably doesn't work. I've always had people happy to respond to my questions, and very helpful, to be upset about your questions is ridiculous. I can tell you from experience the tech job will be around 250-400 for new tubes, caps, and some random stuff it will no doubt need.
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Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#24
What about doing this to the amp? http://www.andrewsamplab.com/blackfacing.htm
Does anyone have experience with Andrews amp lab? Also, how much do new tubes cost and which ones would sound good in a Fender Twin?
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#25
Quote by Natrone
Honestly I don't think it looks too bad, but I also think its cool to have a beat looking amp. Actually, everything Fender makes looks cool when its beaten up.....

I agree. When I bought my Bassman I had plans of retolexing, new hardware, etc. When I finally got it, I reglued a few spots, tightened some things up, and replaced a knob, that's all I will ever do. It looks georgous as is, I just wish my Avatar cab had a similar worn look (sort of.)
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Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#26
Quote by guitarded32
What about doing this to the amp? http://www.andrewsamplab.com/blackfacing.htm
Does anyone have experience with Andrews amp lab? Also, how much do new tubes cost and which ones would sound good in a Fender Twin?

It depends on the year, etc how easy that would be. The later the model the further from blackface it will be, and the more work the tech will have to do to get it back. Tubes will be around 60-100, I have ruby's in my Bassman, but I haven't tried others...
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Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#27
Quote by guitarded32
What about doing this to the amp? http://www.andrewsamplab.com/blackfacing.htm
Does anyone have experience with Andrews amp lab? Also, how much do new tubes cost and which ones would sound good in a Fender Twin?

Well, depends on the tubes. You'd obviously want to put in a really good set, possibly even NOS tubes. If you go the NOS route, you're looking at around $200-300 for tubes alone, preamp and power. I think. However, if you just get modern tubes, it'll probably be $50-100
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#28
Change of plans, she answered my questions I just didnt notice because she wrote the responses in the part of the email that was quoted from my original message to her

Does the amp have built in reverb?yes
What year is it from? 70s- don't know specifically
What modifications and/or services have been performed on the amp
(to the best of your knowledge)? None
Have you ever had any issues with the amp or speaker or any part of
the amplifier? It haa a little hum, the light doesn't work
What size speaker is in the amp and what model speaker is it?
Whatever size comes on a standard fender twin
Does it include any foot switch or cover or anything other than the
amplifier itself? No


So she doesn't seem to know too much about it. She says it hums and the light doesn't work but I've heard reports of slight hum in a lot of Vintage Fenders and my friend's light doesn't work on his deluxe. This keeps getting iffier and iffier. I might offer to buy it at a drastically reduced price because of all the work it will need.
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#29
Keep in mind it IS already at a drastically reduced price.
Quote by necrosis1193
As usual Natrone's mouth spouts general win.

Quote by Silverstein14
man, Natrone you're some kind of ninja I swear


Quote by gregs1020
plexi


i realize the longshot that is. little giant to humongous one.


Rest In Peace Stevie Ray
#30
Get a serial number and I'll find you the year. The hum is no big deal if its not loud, my tech took that out of my Bassman with just some wire placement changes. It has been worked on at some point, guaranteed, so who knows what has been done. I'd say at this point if you are serious, then go for it, but expect at least $250 of repairs before you even fire it up.
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Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#31
Yeah, but I only have like 500 dollars and I'd like to get a working amp.
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Last edited by guitarded32 at Aug 4, 2009,
#32
Well, its a tough call then. I bought my Bassman in 'working condition,' got home played for 45 minutes and it blew smoke out of the back. The tech got it back to factory specs and sound, but for $420 more than I had already paid for the head... Tough call indeed.


Edit: Vintage amps are bombs until proven different by a tech. I blew up a bunch of **** in the Bassman, that a tech would have saved...
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#33
I'll ask her if she would let me have someone look at it before I purchased. Other than that, I'm asking her for the serial number, speaker and transformer codes, is it has a master volume knob, and where she got it.
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#34
Quote by guitarded32
I'll ask her if she would let me have someone look at it before I purchased. Other than that, I'm asking her for the serial number, speaker and transformer codes, is it has a master volume knob, and where she got it.

It does have a MV that's the knob all the way right, sectioned off by the blue trim. Transformer codes she will have to remove the chassis for, which I doubt she will do. Taking it to a tech is a good idea, pre-purchase, but they will charge you a fee just to open it up and look... Who will pay that if you don't buy?
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#35
Quote by guitarded32
I'm in the market for a new amp and, because I'm a cheap-ass, I scour Craigslist searching for the deal of a lifetime on the only amp I'll ever need. I realize most high end amps will cost well over $1000 but I've kind of come to terms with not having a top-of-the-line or boutique amplifier.

Anyway, today on craigslist, I saw an ad for a Vintage Silverface Fender Twin Amp. The guy says it's from the 1970's and is asking $500. I emailed him with the following questions:
Does the amp have built in reverb?
This is an unnecessary question. After the blonde series, all Twins had reverb.

Quote by guitarded32
What year is it from
Does it really matter? To my way of thinking the circuit designation is more valuable information. There were some undesirable (imho) changes made to the later Silverface amps.

Quote by guitarded32
What modifications and/or services have been performed on the amp (to the best of your knowledge)?
Have you ever had any issues with the amp or speaker or any part of the amplifier?
This is really important. Mostly people didn't hack up twins since they were already a stout amp. But mods do decrease the value.

Quote by guitarded32
What size speaker is in the amp and what model speaker is it?
You have to go all the way back to the tweed series to find a twin that was NOT 2 -12s. The only question is: who made those 12s? Some of the Blackfaces had the coveted Jensen speakers. Silverfaces didn't. They had Oxford or Utah or another brand or two.

Jensen speakers, more than the component values was the reason Blackfaces sounded great.

Quote by guitarded32
Does it include any foot switch or cover or anything other than the amplifier itself?
Original footswitch and cover do add value to the purchase. But honestly, I'd much rather have a well cared for amp without these things, than a road-weary amp with a cover and footswitch.

Quote by guitarded32
What else should I look for when buying a Vintage Fender amp? Does anyone have experience with Twins from the 70's? Is $500 a good price?
Circuit designation, and condition (exterior appearance) are the most obvious gauges or what a Silverface is worth. Unless it's very ratty, $500 is a great price.

Quote by guitarded32
I need good to fantastic cleans and I like Fender's cleans but I don't think I've ever heard a Twin in a scenario where I knew it was a Twin and could pass judgment on its tone. I've heard Fender Deluxes and liked them. Let me know what you think.

Thanks a lot,
Jacob
You might want to consider a Super Reverb as well as the Twins you're looking at. Less power, but 4 -10s. Similar weight, but considerably more bulky. These amps don't command as high a price as a Twin, and imho they're a better choice. If you could find a Blackface SR with Jensen speakers, I think you would like it.
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#36
Okay, deal's off. After I sent her a second email with a few follow up questions, she replied saying she had sold it. I'm a little ticked off that she led me on and then sold it to someone else but this way I can continue saving and get a combo in a higher price bracket. Anyway, thanks for all your help even if it amounted to nothing.
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Boss ME-50
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