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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink What's everyones favorite surf amp?

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I find different guitars like/respond to different amps. My Tele's/Strats LOVE the SF Vibrolux or Super Reverb (and the 65 Deluxe too) while my Jazzmasters seem to really like the less scooped mid vibe of the Tweed Deluxe clone (JM's I find to be very picky and don't get on with many amps which by rights they should!). Everything gets on good with the BF Bassman although it does tend to break up early. Nothing seems to like the Vibroking which I assumed would be the "holy grail" of surf guitar amps, but it isn't, at least not to my ears. Again, breaks up very early and not in a nice way. This is all single coil research, I don't really use humbuckers.

Mine is my 65 Twin, but its too frickin' loud. The twin matches well with my Strat with standard pickups. I love the tone.

I'm hoping to go smaller club amp this summer, if dollars permit. I want that 65 Twin sound in a small amp. Maybe
65 Vibrolux re-issue
68 Vibrolux re-issue or
65 Deluxe re-issue.

Surfcat
AKA - Agent Trey "Shadowhawk" Montgomery - MI6 Cool
AGENT OCTOPUS - - Surfcat Logo by Shawn Dickinson

Agent Octopus on the Web!!!
Blue-Eyed Surf CD - BANDCAMP

Reverb Galaxy Website
Angle of Attack CD - BANDCAMP

Peace be with you...

Last edited: Feb 27, 2020 08:07:50

ArtS wrote:

Mine is my 65 Twin, but its too frickin' loud. The twin matches well with my Strat with standard pickups. I love the tone.

I'm hoping to go smaller club amp this summer, if dollars permit. I want that 65 Twin sound in a small amp. Maybe
65 Vibrolux re-issue
68 Vibrolux re-issue or
65 Deluxe re-issue.

If you have $500, you can get an SPL Reducer. It’s a power soak, not an attenuator. No tone loss and you can turn it down to silence. I use it with the ‘62 Twin and it’s absolutely wonderful. It’s also very interesting to hear the tone change as the gain is adjusted. Higher gain stops sounding good to me after about 10 o’clock, but it’s cool to hear how smashed and dirty it gets past that.

https://spl.audio/studio/reducer/?lang=en

Daniel Deathtide

Thanks Tide. Part of the problem is I'm in my late 50s and lugging the 200 lb, awkward 65 twin is tweaking my back, knees....

Surfcat
AKA - Agent Trey "Shadowhawk" Montgomery - MI6 Cool
AGENT OCTOPUS - - Surfcat Logo by Shawn Dickinson

Agent Octopus on the Web!!!
Blue-Eyed Surf CD - BANDCAMP

Reverb Galaxy Website
Angle of Attack CD - BANDCAMP

Peace be with you...

Art, have you tried a Quilter Tone Block 202? Great sounding, clean Fender tones at 4 pounds!

Guitar player for The Driptones surf band.
https://www.driptones.com/

Right, copy that. I feel you - that ‘62 is heavier than the 120w ‘74 TR! I use Showmans for shows; I think I’m never going to bring a Twin to a show again!

I guess you should just get a Tonemaster Twin?

Daniel Deathtide

nah,I'm still a tube guy, that's why I'm thinking of the vibrolux or deluxe. Appreciate all your suggestions!

Surfcat
AKA - Agent Trey "Shadowhawk" Montgomery - MI6 Cool
AGENT OCTOPUS - - Surfcat Logo by Shawn Dickinson

Agent Octopus on the Web!!!
Blue-Eyed Surf CD - BANDCAMP

Reverb Galaxy Website
Angle of Attack CD - BANDCAMP

Peace be with you...

I'm a tube guy as well... I have a '76 Princeton, and a '65 Bandmaster (Bassman transformer). Having said that, I play through the Quilter more than anything else. It's so clean, loud, and light as a feather! Yes

Guitar player for The Driptones surf band.
https://www.driptones.com/

Last edited: Feb 27, 2020 15:50:29

Agree Agree Agree Agree Agree Agree

I am a tube guy as well. I have Brownface amps and I use my Quilter more than anything! Killer surf sounds and ONLY a few pounds.

Matt "tha Kat" Lentz
Skippy and the Skipjacks: 2018-
Skippyandtheskipjacks.net
https://www.facebook.com/skippyandtheskipjacks
Otto and the Ottomans: 2014-2015
The Coconauts surf band: 2009-2014
www.theamazingcoconauts.com
Group Captain and the Mandrakes 2013
http://www.gcmband.com/
The Surfside IV: 2002-2005, 2008-2009
the Del-Vamps: 1992-1999, 2006-2007
http://www.dblcrown.com/delvamps.html

Last edited: Feb 27, 2020 17:23:41

Look at all the Quilter love from us tube guys!

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

Here is my surf tone monster combo...'64 Gemini II & '65 Mosrite Ventures.
For those famiuliar, the Gemini II has the best reverb & tremolo on the planet. The reverb is very drippy; in fact the control doesn't even SAY "reverb" on it; it says "Echo". The amp has a feature called "repeat percussion". You turn up the tremolo intensity, then there is a "click" stop...then the tremolo goes into a "tremolo on steroids" mode, that sounds like an on/off switch being worked rapidly. Think "Crimson & Clover". It is very clean until you boil it, then the gain compression is unbelieveable. This amp will be buried with me.
image

image

I’ve never had to occasion to play an Ampeg Gemini, but I’ve heard that the reverb is exceptional. There seems to be a degree of regional preference when it comes to amps. When I live in Minneapolis (during the late ‘70s) Ampegs were popular and Peaveys were not well regarded. In Denver, at the same time, Peaveys were loved and Ampegs were all but unheard of.

I’d love to try one out.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

I've got the luxury of using the bandmate's '61 blonde piggyback Showman and a reissue Fender (blonde) tank. The other guitarist uses the same bandmate's blonde piggyback Bandmaster with the same type of tank. We actually swapped a while back as the 15 in Bandmaster cab was great for rhythm work but a bit too dark for my Jaguar on leads. On the other hand, the other guitarist had a (modern) Jazzmaster that was/is very trebly especially through the 2x12 Showman cab.

We swapped and now it's all Goldilocks. THIS is the classic Fender and/or surf tone although we're trying to devise a way to keep him from selecting that bridge pickup. Smile

I recently acquired a 65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue as I hadn't had a Fender combo in forever and wanted to do some experimenting in a covers act vs my standard EL84 based amps. I also thought it might be a handy and compact backup for the blondes since they are vintage and therefore occasionally persnickety.

For better or worse, the blondes and the blackface are miles apart. This may be a statement of the obvious to most but it's amazing how different two clean tones from two different amp models from the same OEM can be. The DRRI reverb gets fairly deep and surf-y but again is far removed from a tank. In fact, a Topanga pedal (another item I bought as a backup) gets much closer.

The DRRI is certainly useful for demos, recording (demos, that is), and home practice. To be fair there are some big names that use the DRRI as their primary backline live - Los Straitjackets for one. Certainly size/weight and reliability (or the ability to pick up a replacement on short notice) are crucial for a touring act especially one that may travel by air.

But I've been cursed/blessed by using the real thing and finding alternatives and substitutes usually lacking in one or more areas.

Edit: I just saw the mention of the Vibro-King upthread. I used one (an oxblood-blonde version) on a (non-surf) session in Chicago many years ago and it did the business. My bandmate (who owns our vintage amps) who is a gearhound noted that the Vibro-King's cabinet design and choice of materials were underwhelming (no finger joints) and that any amp might suffer from this but especially one that is considered a 'mass-boutique' ie high end from a mass-market OEM. Pete Townshend could use any amp he likes and chooses the Vibro-King. A wag might point out that his damaged hearing might prevent him from noticing its flaws but obviously he has an army of techs and sound men helping him.

Last edited: Mar 09, 2020 08:39:57

dickey wrote:

Here is my surf tone monster combo...'64 Gemini II & '65 Mosrite Ventures.
For those famiuliar, the Gemini II has the best reverb & tremolo on the planet. The reverb is very drippy; in fact the control doesn't even SAY "reverb" on it; it says "Echo". The amp has a feature called "repeat percussion". You turn up the tremolo intensity, then there is a "click" stop...then the tremolo goes into a "tremolo on steroids" mode, that sounds like an on/off switch being worked rapidly. Think "Crimson & Clover". It is very clean until you boil it, then the gain compression is unbelieveable. This amp will be buried with me.

agreed 1000%. i've been looking for another one for years. i've always been an ampeg for surf guy. the v-series amp reverb destroys fender amp verb, and the midrange shaping circuit on the v4/vt-22 is incredible.

fun fact on the gemini, my favorite man or astroman record was recorded on one. such a good sound.

Last edited: Apr 28, 2020 20:49:49

It’s growing!

image

Quilter guys: do you use a setting that approximates a brown or blackface kind of tone? I know at least one Quilter model had a "surf" setting and I wondered where it really fell on the spectrum.

Neptune Trojans

I have been more than satisfied with my Quilter amp. I have 2, the first version of the Micro Pro 200 (8 inch speaker) and the 101 mini head. The 101 has the "surf" setting. I use them live and for practice. I have not used them for recording, though. I have a 62 Bassman, 62 Bandmaster, and my last Showman, which is blackface. I think the Quilter does a great job packing in a very clean sound in such a small package. I don't think it has the warmth and sounds like a brownface but I think it does capture the clean blackface sound nicely.

Matt "tha Kat" Lentz
Skippy and the Skipjacks: 2018-
Skippyandtheskipjacks.net
https://www.facebook.com/skippyandtheskipjacks
Otto and the Ottomans: 2014-2015
The Coconauts surf band: 2009-2014
www.theamazingcoconauts.com
Group Captain and the Mandrakes 2013
http://www.gcmband.com/
The Surfside IV: 2002-2005, 2008-2009
the Del-Vamps: 1992-1999, 2006-2007
http://www.dblcrown.com/delvamps.html

Matt22 wrote:

I have been more than satisfied with my Quilter amp. I have 2, the first version of the Micro Pro 200 (8 inch speaker) and the 101 mini head. The 101 has the "surf" setting. I use them live and for practice. I have not used them for recording, though. I have a 62 Bassman, 62 Bandmaster, and my last Showman, which is blackface. I think the Quilter does a great job packing in a very clean sound in such a small package. I don't think it has the warmth and sounds like a brownface but I think it does capture the clean blackface sound nicely.

And that ain't bad.

I wonder how it would do with the Surfy Industries Brownface emulator pedal.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.

My go to amp in the Reluctant Aquanauts was a '65 Bandmaster that I traded a mutt Gretsch Anniversary for the head. I can't remember what sorta speakers we put in the cab but they weren't original. Combined with an original 1965 reverb tank it was perfect.

I sold it for a Telecaster. It sorta kills me a little each time I see this clip. Totally regret offloading that amp and tank.

About 5 years ago when I made a failed attempt at getting back into surf music I picked up another Bandmaster, again a '65. I paired it with a Gomez G-Spring and it's pretty close to my first Bandmaster, at least what I can hear in my head.

I had a Showman for a little but it didn't have that magic I hear in a Bandmaster.

Why the Bandmaster? I think I'd probably fall even more in love with a brownface Bandmaster but the blackface models are plenty, and cheap. The cab is the trick I think. Some reason a closed back cab and a reverb tank just add the extra something I hear in traditional surf guitar.

I'm getting old and losing it so don't take anything I say seriously.

image

"as he stepped into the stealthy night air... little did he know the fire escape was not there"

https://www.facebook.com/reluctantaquanauts/
https://www.facebook.com/TheDragstripVipers/

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