Silverfaces, Are They Really That Aweful?

Discussion in 'Other Amps' started by BadgerO, Jul 16, 2016.

  1. scott6762

    scott6762 Member

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    I never had a problem owning a silverface Fender amp. I still own one. I have a 69 champ and I think its a great amp.
     
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  2. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

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    Start the reactor... Free Mars!
    Silverface was influenced by CBS ownership of Fender.
    It was the Fender amp, mainly very clean and also very important was mega-bass response.
    Leo felt strongly that guitar amps should have a lot of bottom end all the way down to sub-sonic frequencies.
    (all the way to using transformers designed for flat response below 20 Hz)
    And that philosophy was maintained in the silver face amps.

    (sort of the opposite of a Marshall which rolled off the lows intentionally)

    Another thing about silver-faced was the low noise.
    CBS did all kinds of tweaks to lower the hum and buzz noises of the typical tube amplifier.
    The Pre-CBS amps (blackface and brown face) were a lot noisier.

    Then the most prominent feature was the reverb: the long decay hi fi reverb which defines Surf Music.
    Was a big feature of silver face amps.
    No other amp maker has made spring reverb like this, before or after CBS amps.


    The Downfall:
    The end of the era basically occurred when CBS tried to change guitar players to solid state amps.
    This attempt was a complete failure which almost put Fender out of business permanently.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Fender Solid State amps sounded awful, and players did not want to buy them.
    But this was all part of the transition: amp makers believed that the era of vacuum tubes was ending in 1969. The thought that transistors would take over.
    Even the manufacturers stopped making high voltage parts...

    And they were completely wrong of course. Because of stupid decisions, they lost a lot of money and a lot of customers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
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  3. BftGibson

    BftGibson Well-Known Member

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    Silverfaces have became my main amps..Normal channels modded aggressive-trem Optimized-3Fenders.jpg left pristine..
     
  4. Kookaburra

    Kookaburra Member

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    I didn't get the memo.

    I've had a number of both BF and SF amps, and the SF amps were great. I never was in a position to do head to head comparisons, but my main gig amp for some years was a SF Twin, and it was a fine sounding amp.

    Of course, the BF amps were great! My fave of all of the SF/BF crowd was a 68 Bassman head (BF circuit). But all the others sounded good too, and were gig worthy as all get-out.
     
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  5. SmokeyDopey

    SmokeyDopey Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I played a '78 Silverface Twin a few times and it was one of the best amps I've ever played.
     
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  6. aryasridhar

    aryasridhar Well-Known Member

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    I am lucky to own a 1964 BF Vibrolux Reverb & was also able to try a few silver face amps, e.g. a SF Super Reverb.

    They’re very different, ones with tube rectifier sounds much more jangly and spongy while the solid state rectifier SF amps sound stuff (not a bad thing).

    The overtones in a BF fender amp is absolutely incredible. Forcing one to be expressive (my personal opinion).
     
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  7. GIBSON67

    GIBSON67 Well-Known Member

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    I have a unmodded 1974 Super Six Reverb, she's loud and proud but don't expect pleasing overdrive from it once cranked. Their made to be clean.

    I use it mainly for bass, but a Strat into the vibrato channel is punchy and sweet! One day, I might mod the normal channel, but my Marshalls handle
    that overdriven sound, very well!
     
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  8. Kostas

    Kostas Member

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    I had these two ('73 & '66) for three years, I played with them in the same cabs with the same guitars, the differences were minimal. I sold the Bandmaster because people pay more for BF amps. I bought the Bassman about 10 years ago, the seller had the amp serviced, it's quiet and it has never given me any trouble. Works as it should, take pedals well.

    [​IMG]

    The good thing about SF amps is they're cheap compared to what you get, the classic Fender clean tone. I remember 10-15 years ago reading about Americans buying SF amps for $200 & $300 and that's why I started looking for an export model. I got mine for a little more than 500€ and it has been my main amp all this time. I'm not saying I don't want a boutique version of a Fender (like a Tone King) but I'm not paying 5 times my amp's price to get a similar one.

    One thing I realized is that the vintage models of the three classic brands have different but equally great clean tone. I loved the cleans on both the AC15HW and the 1959HW.
     
  9. BftGibson

    BftGibson Well-Known Member

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    hey67, had my guy mod all the Normal's on my fender's & keep Trem side..all stock. We got them breaking earlier,,it became the sound been searching for of the crunch & leads. It turned those amps into beasts...would love to try that amp you have...just even more Super goodness to be had
     
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  10. BftGibson

    BftGibson Well-Known Member

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    74 Super-2019 Gibson LPJ p90--RAT..2 mics...its rough,,,non mixed ..my poor wife just had neck surgery the week before,,she just placed the vocals,,but you can hear the 74 Super doing its thing...NON mixed-not final vocals mix of "South"

     
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  11. SmokeyDopey

    SmokeyDopey Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    We recorded this in 2014 using a '78 Silverface Twin and a Deluxe (Reissue). The Twin was used on one of the guitars, then used it for bass (running through an Ampeg Fridge).

    No pedals, amps with knobs (almost) pegged.
     
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  12. BftGibson

    BftGibson Well-Known Member

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    cool man...i enjoyed that !!!!
     
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  13. deadear

    deadear Active Member

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    Although they are not the same as the originals. I recently spent some time with the 68 Custom reissue, Deluxe Reverb. That Custom channel is very nice. I would like to buy one in the future.
     
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  14. AlvisX

    AlvisX Well-Known Member

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    Awful ? Maybe,but nothin a hot iron can't remedy

     
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  15. Metroman

    Metroman Well-Known Member

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    69 Dual Showman Rvb Ive had since 73.
    1 x Altec Lansing 418H x 1 Altec 421A. Also have a couple more 418H Series II

    I did have it modded to Blackface, and ODS mod. Lar Mar MV
    BF/SF circuits are very similar. BF probably has a bit more gain.
    I also often jump the channels, disconnected the Rvb/Tremolo. Use NOS glass in it.
    Still has the original Preamp tubes, and they still test strong, and they probably have 20,000 hours on them. Tech-Friend/Richie Hall said leave them alone.

    If you have a Silverface circuit, you can use a Barber Launch Pad to correct the out of phase thing going on, and jump the channels.

    I also have a bunch of 1 x 12s loaded with Hemp coned JBL E120s, 90w Celestion Cream, 150w Celestion G12H Redbacks, 4 x 100w Pulsonic Fane Cresendos.

    My DS with 2 Altecs takes pedals great. OD with pedals from this amp is killer, and is so loud it will chase you out of the room. Hiwatt loud.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
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  16. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    I can't help but find some similarity between this threads question & the thread about the JCM 900 getting a bad rap. They both happen to follow the very successful & much loved models that rocked the music world before them. In both cases their problem is.. they are different! Obvious enough but none the less, it's the reason they get any $hit talkin done about them as not being the same as the amps before them doesn't have to equate to them all being bad amplifiers.

    Despite the 'Bad Rap' these amps get there are still going to be people who love them &, as the clips here attest, find themselves able to use these amps in truly some very awesome sounding ways. Honestly, there really were some great sounding guitar tones in all the clips posted here. In fact, I didn'y hear a bad or undesirable guitar sound in any of the clips posted here! Say'n.

    After using Fender in my early teen years, I came back around to using older & Vintage Fenders again during what I call my 'Quest to Find My Tone' period. The first amp during this quest that really hit home & worked for me was a '64 Fender Bassman. The tone was very organic, interactive & responsive to my playing. It also saturated my guitar tone with tube tube filled harmonic goodness when pushed through my 4X12 cab.
    My only complaint or general unhappiness was the tube rectifier that took away the tightness I wanted & gave me that low end flub. Although I definitely appreciated that tube rectifier tone I still longed for something tighter at times so my quest continued onward.

    After picking up an old Blackface Dual Showman for keyboard duty, I found a '72 Bandmaster Reverb that gave me that tightness along with some Master Volume Pre-Amp gain.
    At first comparo I felt the tone to be less organic than the Bassman but it was still raw & natural enough with the added tightness of a solid state rectifier to make me happy at Rock 'n Roll band volume.
    Fair to mention, I also felt attention needed to be given to the EQ especially when using the bright switch to prevent ice-picking. There are just some highs that you can't get on that Bandmaster Reverb without flipping the bright switch on but, it could still be somewhat tamed with the Treble & Mid knob to a certain extent. However, I usually found myself foregoing the Bright switch altogether & getting enough high end from just the Treble & Mid controls.

    Fenders Stacked!!.jpg

    I think my impression of the Silverface Bandmaster Reverb improved when years later I was listening to a gig I recorded and realized the amp I thought I was using was a JMP Marshall wasn't a JMP but.. it was actually that Silverface BMR!
    That was a big No $hit kind of moment for me as I recalled the idiom, 'Tone is in the Fingers'. But honestly, taking the time to set up & coax Your Sound out of Your Gear has to be just as important.
     
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  17. BftGibson

    BftGibson Well-Known Member

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    I will take my Silverace & SLX all day long...anybody bashing a silverface or SLX..well anytime ya wanna A/B what ya got//lets go,,,lets put em up,,,,lets play metal=funk-R&B-country-jazz...i seriously will pay for the video to be done...
     
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  18. Wildeman

    Wildeman Well-Known Member

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    I agree, spend the time to know the gear you have. I can get good sounds (imo) out of almost any amp, SS or tube.....I'm talkin bout decent amps here, there are those 15.00 dogs out there that sound better off.
     
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  19. DaDoc

    DaDoc Well-Known Member

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    No, they don't sound awful.

    I have four Silverfaces, a pair of Twin Reverbs and a Pair of Champs. One of the TR's is a '75, which I had modded to BF specs, compete with a BF faceplate..GREAT amps! :cool:

    One thing about the later SF Twins that WAS awful was that horrible master volume that just didn't work well no matter how much one fiddled with it..My other SF Twin is a '69..It's unmodded, as it's basically the same as a BF, only with a silver faceplate..That one would be one of the last amps I would ever turn loose of! :D

    The Twins are my "clean side", I run them through a TC Electronics Chorus unit, ala Eric Johnson..More recently I scored a Sola Sound Tonebender Fuzz..That sounds awesome through the Twins as well, it nails that cool Yardbirds-era Jeff Beck fuzz tone better than my Marshall does.

    The Champs sound great as well..I run those in stereo through an Electro-Harmonix Cathedral Reverb, a great sound that is also easy on the ears..A friend of mine actually uses a pair of SF Champs for gigging small clubs, and gets an awesome tone!
     
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  20. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    You know it's worth mentioning that at this 'Quest for Tone' period I was rotating amps between the '72 Bandmaster Reverb, '64 Bassman, '76 & '77 Marshall JMP 50watt Master Volume & a '73 & '75 Marshall JMP non MV 4 holers.

    The only amp that stands out as anything close to easy for me to identify is the Bassman because of the rectifier low end flub being able to be heard! The rest of the amps easily become damn near indistinguishable between themselves.

    In fairness, that is in part due to my personal moderate use of any Master Volume gain as I prefer to simply up the pre-amp so to have a strong pre-amp push working the powetubes instead of a pinned out Overdriven pre-amp tone, which no doubt would make the MV Marshalls much more easily identifiable even when compared to the Bandmaster Reverb.
     

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