Amp DIY

A close-up look at the author’s Fender Vibrolux, with a 12" Celestion Alnico Gold on the preamp side of the amp and a lighter, 10" neodymium Jensen Jet Series on the other.

How to expand classic Fender amp sounds with different speaker configurations.

As you know, replacing or augmenting the speakers of your Fender amps is the easiest way to organically change your guitar tone. So, let’s discuss some alternative speaker configurations for classic Fenders. We’ll also explore some basic knowledge about resistance, current, and power distribution along the way, which will enable you to safely experiment.

Read MoreShow less

Need more headroom or gain? Spin the bottles.

[Originally published: 9/2/2019]
You might guess from the title of this column that I love Fender amps. And you’d be right. From a musical and engineering perspective, I think vintage Fender blackface amps are the best ever made. With bright, American-style speakers, they deliver pure and natural tone. Their channels, with volume and EQ, are intuitive for any guitar, bass, or keyboard player. It’s impossible to not find a decent tone in less than 10 seconds. From a technical perspective, their handmade tube-based circuits are simple, and they were built with high-quality components. And today, there are easily available parts and schematics, and an abundance of other online technical information, which makes it possible for many techs and players—including you—to service these amps.

Read MoreShow less

The Victorilux comes in the 3x10 configuration discussed by our columnist, plus 2x12 and 1x15 combos.

Our columnist is a Fender die-hard but finds thrills in an inspired modern alternative: the Victoria Victorilux.

I am extremely loyal to vintage Fender amps. I love their clean and transparent tones, and how their simplicity makes for amplifiers that are not only collectable but serviceable. I do play other guitars and amps besides Fenders, although I have to admit that I always measure them against the brand and often try dialing them to a sound as close as possible to Fender tone. But this month I want to share a story about a Fender-inspired amp that I love: the Victoria Victorilux.

Read MoreShow less

Kemper Profiler Stage, Nueral DSP Quad Cortex & Line 6 HX Stomp (clockwise from top)

A deep dive into faux amps, futuristic setups, and how to use modern technology’s powers for good.

The jump between analog and digital gear has never been more manageable. It no longer takes a rack full of outboard gear with a six-figure price tag to help realize not only the tone you have in your head, but the expansive workflows that started to pop up in the early ’80s. We’re now about a decade into the modern era of digital modelers and profilers and it seems like the technology has finally come into its own. “This is really the first time in a while where you can have bar bands playing the exactsame gear as stadium acts,” says Cooper Carter, a Fractal Audio Systems production consultant who has done sound design and rig building for Neal Schon, James Valentine, John Petrucci, and others.

Read MoreShow less
x