tube amp

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.

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An unsung sleeper from the black- and silver-panel years sees its DNA scrambled to intriguing ends.

Classic cleans and excellent pedal-platform versatility. Nice onboard reverb and tremolo. Light weight for an amp of this size.

No output-reduction feature.

$1,299

Fender '68 Custom Pro Reverb
fender.com

4.5
4.5
5
4.5

Fender's '68 Custom series won plenty of fans by resurrecting the stylish silver-panel amps of the late '60s and '70s and making some of those models into more modern gigging machines. One of the newest additions to the lineup is the '68 Custom Pro Reverb—an evolution of an amp that debuted as a black-panel model in 1965.

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Original Willie Nelson Photo by Larry Philpot

To celebrate PG's upcoming annual Amp Issue, our editorial director lays waste to Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias' 1984 hit.

To all the amps I've loved before
Who travelled in and out my door
I'm glad they came along
I dedicate this ridiculous "content"
To all the boom boxes I've blasted before

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