Acquired for a very good price from my friend R who had two after listening to another friend (A)’s and comparing to two fine and sweet vintage models (’64 & ’65).
The old ones in good working condition are definitely sweeter sounding, but like all old tube amps can be temperamental. But these recent ones can be set up to be pretty good too. Just the right output for most small gigs, and they take pedals really well. They start to break up at about volume 4, and by 6-7 are delivering a nice rich overdrive with plenty of bite & definition. Treble and bass controls are very powerful and sensitive.
The tremolo wasn’t working and the amp was a bit noisy. The trem fault turned out to be a faulty footswitch which I could fix easily. Trem on these amps doesn’t work unless a (working) footswitch is plugged. The stock Fender footswitch is a really cheap, nasty thing and I dont need anything else on the floor, so I subsequently made a custom jack for the real panel footswitch socket which enables front panel control of both reverb and trem at all times – much better, for me at least. The noise was poorly-seated tubes. Removal, cleaning all the tube pins and reseating did the trick along with the replacement of one 6V6 power tube which had become microphonic.
Having now gigged this alongside my friend A playing old ones, his ’64 and ’67 did sound slightly better (and as a seasoned pro, he’s also a better player), but I’m certain it was a great buy.
It deserves a nice new set of tubes and I may also experiment with a few mods and speakers further to sweeten it, and will sit above my Lazy J 20 and below my Egnater Rebel 30 and Blackstar Series One 45 in terms of output.
And I gave in an turquoise-coloured jewel to distinguish it from others on stage!