Is a Fender re-issue amp really a re-issue??

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by GVDobler, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. GVDobler

    GVDobler Synchromatic

    May 15, 2011
    Las Vegas
    Why can't Fender just remake a Blonde 1963 Bassman?

    I realize they might not want to because of they might not sell a large enough number of them to pay for the run. That's not what I'm asking. I don't think any of the reissues models are really remakes of the original. Looking at a Tweed $2,000 amp and it says it comes with a newly designed Alnico speaker. So.. it's not the same as an original.

    The question is could Fender make an original using exactly the same stuff that they used back in the day. Is it because the exact parts are not available? I know there are copies and similar amps available with the makers' version of what was going on in a vintage amp, but again, that's not the question.

    Just wondering...
  2. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    Yes they could. OK not the identical manufactured parts are avail, but that doesn't matter much really. A Heybauer or Hammond transformer is as good as the Schumacher was. I have often wondered why they don't make hand wired reissues. People in third world countries get paid $30 +/- a week in some places. That person could wire up old style turret boards at probably 40 a week or more. (one an hour) So figure the board would cost $1. They could do many more with tooling and process engineering. Instead Fender does stupid things like flow solder tube sockets to PCB's etc when that is NOT what buyers want.
    Don't get me started. Ditto for the cabinets. Particle board or MDF instead of abundant pine or similar.
    It's a classic case of using the latest technology even if that is NOT what the consumer wants.
    pmac11, Outlaw, MikeSchindler and 2 others like this.
  3. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    No, they can`t. You are not allowed to build them as they were used to be. It is a matter of current laws and restrictions on product safety and ecology.
    Robbie likes this.
  4. Wozob

    Wozob Country Gent

    Jul 6, 2014
    The Netherlands
    I don't think Fender would've survived making the same amps for 46 years.
    Henry and jdto like this.
  5. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Synchromatic

    Feb 25, 2019
    Kinda funny, I've had a Fender RocPro 700 since 1997 and only last night did I notice it was made in the USA.
    <scoots downstairs to see look at amps>

    97 Fender RocPro 700 is definitely particle board. At least it's not MDF.
    Brand new Mustang GT 100 is plywood.
  6. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Turret board amps are easily repairable; PCBs aren't. You sell more PCB amps when they break. Particle board is wood chips and glue; MDF is sawdust and glue. Plywood is thin sheets of wood and glue. Pine will have more resonance (not really a great thing) but makes better joints. If braced well, the resonance won't be an issue. It'll be lighter, too.
    Most people want new stuff, not rehashed old gear. One aspect is the parts aren't the same anymore. Jensen speakers are now made in Italy, and tho they make decent speakers, they're not the same as the 1960s originals. Transformers and caps and resistors are pretty much the same, and may actually be better and closer in spec. You're never going to find the same quality tubes these days. Tubes were on the way out fifty years ago. It's pretty much musicians and audiophiles keeping that market going.
    pmac11, Sid Nitzerglobin and Runamok like this.
  7. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    I know what you mean, and it can be frustrating.

    For what it is worth, I think Fender did a great job on the reissue 1959 Bassman. I played a Ltd. Edition model about 10 years ago at a Seattle-area jam session with my Gretsch G6122-1962. It sounded great; it had a vintage and "rich" sound.


    The owner informed me that his model had special, upgraded tubes and transformer that were actually stock for that particular model. Very nice, for something that wasn't hand-wired.


    This new '68 Vibrolux does have some hand-wiring, with custom-made Schumacher transformers. I haven't played it but I have seen some videos and one young man did a great job recreating the later-era Beatle sounds.
    freddyfingers likes this.
  8. Byron

    Byron Synchromatic

    Sep 4, 2009
    I'd have assumed an updated version combining some modern technology and components should be possible. Although I wonder about that's meant to be a classic but apart from Setzer, no one else has made it their own. If it's that good, why are they rarely heard or modelled?
  9. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    I personally wouldn’t trust any PCB amp anymore :mad:
    If you’re into vintage tone, you‘re into handwired amps.

    There are so many great amp builders in the US, I‘m sure you can get a superbly built clone as good as an original.
  10. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    I bought a used one cheap a few months back. Removed the speakers (I hate those Celestions in the Fenders) and after trying a few different tens - all of which were pretty good - I tried a pair of Jensen P10R alnicos and WOW, there it was. I used that amp for the last 5 outdoor gigs of the season and it just rocked. A terrific sound. Loud, bright and gritty and excellent with pedals. My friend Robbie was there for one of the gigs and he agreed it put out a really good sound.
    Robbie and GVDobler like this.
  11. Fasteddie42

    Fasteddie42 Electromatic

    Sep 18, 2018
    tip of the mitt

    Fender reissue amps are the overwhelming vast majority of all backline rigs...
  12. Fasteddie42

    Fasteddie42 Electromatic

    Sep 18, 2018
    tip of the mitt
    Yes no doubt handwired amps are easier to modify, easier to repair, etc.

    That's the advantage.

    The rest tends to be gatekeeping and elitism.

    I would love to see people pick out handwired vs the dreaded PCB in a double blind test... Yarp :rolleyes:

    Make music.
  13. I had the bassman reissue, very potent amp. 4x10 pushed a lot of air. To me it had a better sound than the 4x10 hot rod series or the blues deluxe with 4x10. But ok th0ught part of that amp was still circuit boards. Dont know, as i never I opened it up

    The 57 twin reissue i have is all hand wired. I opened that one up to see. It’s like looking at the engine of a 1969 chevelle. You see engine, a few spark plug wires and a air filter. When i look at the engine section of the new Subaru, i see plastic and a bunch of stuff I have no idea what it is. But it dont look like a engine. Granted, the new Subaru i have will last longer than the chevelle , and is also better on gas, and extremely safe in comparison. So there is something to say about new tech.

    The twin, made in America runs around 3000. I am guessing that is due to American labor costs and fender making money on nostalgia. So they can make reissues, but they are expensive, not the common guitar center buyer, and for me, i dont like taking it out often as it costs too much, and if it gets banged up i feel like i lost part of the investment. Even though they are buying to be used.
    Groutsch likes this.
  14. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    I love Celestions (especially the alnicos), but I never understood why Fender started putting them in their amps. I'm not surprised that the Jensen alnicos sounded good/great in the Vibrolux :)
  15. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    I'm getting schadenfreude from this thread.
    pmac11, Groutsch and Stefan like this.
  16. S.R.Cash

    S.R.Cash Gretschie

    Aug 29, 2019
    Ontario, Canada
    Whatever they just did with the Digi Delexe Reverb, I'd be all in for a Digi TV Front Champ! New is good, mostly.
  17. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Well Wozob they pretty much have imo :)
    They might look different and have slightly different parts but all the basics are the same for the past 50 yrs.

    They're all good cleans amps, all sounding very similar.
    Reverb is good and samey on all.
    They're all good pedal platforms.
    None (except for new 30R) do overdrive unless you crank them to 8-10.
    None (except for new 30R) do distortion.
    They're all heavy one trick ponies (except for new 30R).
    Very few have modern features like loops, variable wattage, DI outs or independent EQs for each channel.

    Do the vintage Fenders sound any better than the re-issues?
    I've A/B'ed many and heard no evidence of it :)
    Wozob likes this.
  18. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    so cal
    At the time Fender was building these amps, all materials used by Leo Fender were affordable, common, quality components. Down to the readily available Schumacher Transformers. Labor was inexpensive and the demand for amps was in no way near what demand becomes now days on a global scale. The quality of components in those days was high, they were made nationally and utilized in a myriad of utilitarian electronic and audio electronic applications. Those parts made to that same spec, here in the states is now a niche market and very expensive.
    Doesnt mean you cant find comparable working "parts" made abroad but you asked about making this Blonde 63 amplifier of yore, the same today. The Reagan era clean air act put American Tube production to rest, and the onslaught of transistorized electronics in general since the 60s helped to kill these beasts almost completely but not quite. We jump forward to the 90's and EHX jumped back into the market with reisue Amp tube production, and companies like Mercury Magnetics who'd been making industrial transformers since the 50s, jumped into the audio electronics game to fill the need for "tone clone" replications of key amplifier transformers. Sozo capacitors were in the game too at first making marshall replication mustard caps and later the blue mallories seen in fender amplifiers. Lets not forget those vintage amps were built to be comfortable for 110v, not the current 120v. (and why I run my original 63' 6G6-B blonde bassman on an AmpRx voltage attenuator)

    FWIW.. I produce a version of a 1963 Blonde Bassman amp I designed called the Nocturne Blondeshell 63', and use a particular amalgamation of components with corrected fender schematics (the published ones on the net are generalized) to give the player a broken in feel and response of the original 1963 6G6-B (normal channel only w added tube spring reverb and switchable rectifier modes, as well as power modes).
    I rely on Mercury Magnetics Tone Clone transformers since they are the only production transformers made for builders that are accurately wound to the intricate spec of the original, down to correct iron. ...but there is a price for such a gem that is not built on an assembly line using top grade (ironic that these parts have become such) parts and in many cases have to be fabricated from the ground up. We do this with our head cabs and combo cabs, as well as the chassis and turret boards (fender used inexpensive fiberboard, and if requested can be used).
    Labor and parts prices, place this amp out of the hands of what the average player is willing to pay,by default.

    Some day I might be able to set up tooling and manufacturing in china for a drastically reduced price, and compromise in tone, response and quality.. So I continue to build per order, one at a time w a partnership of several small american businesses to make an amp.

    I do think Fender has attempted successfully to offer us some handwired amps that knod in quality and build to what they made in the past, but the price isnt much different on these particular amps from what small guys like me put out. This is why so many just have blues devilles or hotrod deluxes, or chinese vox ac15s, etc :)
  19. Robbie

    Robbie Country Gent

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    I was indeed and the sound was terrific
    Tony65x55 likes this.
  20. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    How much did a 63 blond bassman sell for in 63? $100 then is about $836 now.
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