Posted on Dec 07 2017 01:46 PM
WoodyJ I had the Deluxe Reverb in the living room yesterday
and it not sound that bad. I was looking at a reissue Fender
59 Bassman LTD but it has no Reverb or tremolo which I like
in the Deluxe Reverb. The only other Amp would be the Fender
Vibro-King. When the local music stores don't have a Bassman
or Vibro-King in stock it's hard to compare. A friend in Canada
say that I should keep the Amp he also has one. In the 45 day
return at Guitar Center I've played the Amp only 3 times. Twice
in the old band and once yesterday. I do like the fact that very
light and not to bad on my back. It would seem for Surf and Rockabilly
music is the 22 watts loud enought? What about 60's music does it
cover that music.
Please understand that my comments are just one man's opinion and others may disagree, which is cool. I'll try to clarify some of my previous comments.
In my experience the Deluxe Reverb is tonally the best sounding lower-power blackface amp that Fender has ever made. However, it does lack clean headroom if very high volume levels are needed. Installing a quality higher-power speaker and quality tubes does make a noticeable difference in clean headroom but even so-equipped, it still doesn't come close to matching a Twin or even a Vibrolux or Super Reverb.
Properly maintained Silverface Deluxes are fine amps. I had a silverface '69 that sounded absolutely great. It had a Celestion Greenback (25 watt) speaker which was fine for studio work but didn't provide much if anymore clean headroom than a stock speaker. I never gigged that one.
In a live venue of any size, as long as there is P.A. (FOH) support for the amps, a Deluxe Reverb or even a Princeton Reverb will work just fine. But in a large room and/or with a very loud band - The Surge, The Madeira, Dick Dale, et al - 22 watts just isn't going to get the job done unless you want amp distortion.
Deluxe and Princeton Reverbs are perfect amps for Surf recording because the have "that" sound. IMO the Vibro King is voiced more for Blues and Top 40-style Rock than for Surf but those are really nice, hand wired (and expensive) amps.
Bottom line: If your band plays at reasonable volume levels and plays in small-medium size venues with no FOH support, a Deluxe Reverb should work just fine. Beyond that, 40+ watts will definitely make you happier.
I concur with much of what you say, but would like to add a few thoughts. Finding an amp requires knowing how much volume your need, not want, but actually need. Doubling the wattage of an amp, only raises the volume a barely perceptible 3db, assuming the same speaker efficiency. There's a difference between a Deluxe and a Vibrolux, but it's not a big difference. If you look at Fender's lineup in the mid '60s you will find that the output of the amps roughly doubles at each tier. The 6 watt Champ, the 12 watt Princeton, the 22 watt Deluxe, the Vibrolux at 35 or the Vibroverb at 40 would be in the same tier, with the Twin weighing in at 85 watts.
I use either a Winfield Typhoon (5 watts, old-school Vox preamp design) Winfield Cyclone (15 watts, think AC-15) or a Deluxe Reverb and I have a Twin for the rare outdoor or large venue gig. The Twin is hardly ever used. I remember playing a gig in a large restaurant, using just the Deluxe and there were children seated near the stage plugging there ears. The Deluxe was clean as a bean all night. I went to listen to another band and they were doing an outdoor gig, the lead guitarist playing through a Deluxe which stayed clean and was audible a block away.
I've seen a lot of guitarists buy too big of an amp and then complain that it doesn't sound as good as they expected. There was a thread for hand-wired Vibroverb RIs on a Fender forum and the most common lament was that it was too loud. A 40 watt Vibroverb is a bloody loud amp. I'd love to have one, but most places where I play it would be too powerful to ever hit the sweet spot, which is what I love about the Deluxe, it straddles the sweet spot at just about the perfect volume for most gigs and we do a lot of clean Surf.
I'm not saying that anyone should buy any certain amp. That is far too open of a question to answer in general terms. But I think it's important to be realistic about just how much amp you need. The only time I ever had a complaint about not being audible, I was playing lead on a Bass VI through a 300 watt bass amp and a reverb tank (at an outdoor gig at a car show) and I've been too loud playing a 15 watt amp. One size cannot possibly fit all.
There's one other aspect to this, and it has a lot of bearing on the subject. We perceive the things we hear differently, based on the volume. When the telephone system was first being developed, they came up with something called the Fletcher Munson curve which has since developed into Equal Loudness Contours, which plot how we perceive various frequencies at different volumes.
The bottom line is, an amp sounds different to our ears at different volumes. So, someone tries out an amp at the store a cranks it up a bit, then comes home and has to keep it much quieter. The amp literally sounds different in these situations. This has nothing to do with wattage, speaker design, speaker efficiency or anything else, it is a function of volume and only of volume.
Smaller amps usually sound a bit better than a larger amp at low volume, because the smaller amp is working harder and compressing naturally, while a big bruiser like a Twin is nearly breaking an idle at living room volumes. This has an interesting effect in itself. If you lookup Equal Loudness Contours at Wikipedia you will see that the hearing response is flatter at greater volume. When a small amp is compressing naturally that compression tends to "flatten" the sound somewhat making the output reminiscent of the way sound behaves at higher volumes.
FWIW, changing the speaker to one of greater rated wattage does not, in itself make your amp any louder. There is usually a decibel/watt @ one foot rating on most speakers and a more efficient speaker can make you amp louder, but that is not a direct corollary to a speaker's power rating. That rating simply states how much power a speaker can handle without incurring damage. Generally, a 2:1 ratio is used for safety. A 22 watt Deluxe should have a 50 watt (rated) speaker, a 40 watt Vibroverb a speaker rated for at least 80 watts, etc.
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