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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink What's everyones favorite surf amp?

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In an "Ultralinear" power-amp the screen-grids of the pentodes are connected to a special tap of the output-transformer instead of being connected to a constant DC. This is done in order to achieve better linearity of the amps power-stage. You may want to read this for further details.
"Ultralinear" is often mistaken to be the reason for the higher power and the "harder" sound of the late 70ties silverfaces. The (simplified) reason is increased plate-voltage and diode rectification.
These are still great amps, if a loud and clean amp is what you want. They do well with an organ or a rhodes too. Many people dislike them, since they are a little unforgiving: they don't compress or have any "sag" nor do they sweeten up your sound. At least not at moderate levels.
And most of them have a push/pull master volume pot that you may not want to use in surf-music since it "steals" signal from the reverb-driver to achieve some questionable sounding overdrive. What an idea...

see you at monokinibeach

Uh, is there any other amp made for surf than a Showman?

Pretty much anything by Dario? ;)

They who die with the fewest control knobs, win.

I have a Carvin X-100B and the thing is freaking awesome. 100W that can be cut down to 50 or 25 and it has an EQ band, sweet 70's distortion for my Thin Lizzy fix, and two flavors of clean. The onboard spring reverb is the best of any amp I've heard--splashy but not a super long tail. And I got it for $300. And they typically go for not much more than that. It may look like a Marshall but it plays mean surf.

I also have the X-30 and it's a little beastie, too. The little brother of the one mentioned above. Run through my 2x15 Bassman cabinet it shakes.. well, everything.

Last edited: Jan 19, 2017 01:10:49

I think ultralinear fenders would rock as surf amps. You may not get that tube break up that you'd like. But a pedal could fix that. I'm kind of biased, though. I play almost exclusively through silverface 70s fenders of various models. Albeit non-ultralimear years. I think the sf amps are a huge bargain considering vintage. Usually need just a speaker change and a cap job, and youre ready to roll. And the non-ultralinears have the ability to go back to blackface specs with just a couple cheap mods, although I have left all of mine stock.
Speaking of amazing bargains, what about the old ampegs? There are two 60s ampeg reverb rockets available near me for $450 in perfect shape. Astonishing. I've owned several old ampegs. Not since I have started playing surf, though. They may be a tad dark. But a speaker change might help that. The reverb on them is on par, or possibly better than a lot of fender models.

I love my Tech21 Trademark 60. Just the right amount of twang, clarity & crunch. The onboard reverb is pretty great too, but I prefer my tc electronics hall of fame reverb. The custom grill cloth is by vintage logos. They did our bass amp & drumhead too.

www.instagram.com/The.Outer_Limits
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX7iIpcAvL8In2HY9I7QoPw
www.theouterlimits.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/vertigogo.surf

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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX7iIpcAvL8In2HY9I7QoPw
www.theouterlimits.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/vertigogo.surf

I think the sf amps are a huge bargain considering vintage. Usually need just a speaker change and a cap job, and youre ready to roll.

I agree. The onboard reverb may lack some drip, but it is possible to mod them to full 6G15 - Fender Reverb Tank - specs, if you sacrifice the tremolo. There is also another, minimal-version of this mod, that even preserves the tremolo.

see you at monokinibeach

Last edited: Feb 20, 2017 01:04:28

This is my new favorite. One of the things that makes it for me besides the tone is it's portability. I tested that this weekend when I threw the strat in a gig bag carried like a backpack grabbed the head in one hand the cab in another and carried it up the stairs and out to the car in one load. This has two surfy bears with pans in it. I had talked to Lorenzo this weekend after noting that he was using his Pro Block 200 on his European tour. He told me he has his gain and limiter set to 3 o'clock which was a notch or so above where I was set so I bumped those up and ran some hi cut like he recommended. It really does a great job! I can leave my pedal board at home easily but there will be times I will drag that along for the EP Boost and El Cap.
image

The Kahuna Kings

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

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

stratdancer wrote:

This is my new favorite. One of the things that makes it for me besides the tone is it's portability.

I've seen Lorenzo last week and it really was an impressive tone his rig produced. So, I was thinking about building a speaker cab with an Eminence 15" and saving up for a tone block. So now I'm after the dimensions of the cab you both play. Is it just half a showman cab or did you build it yourself, Stratdancer?

I bought the head cab off of craigslist. It was an old Fender FM 100 solid state amp. I payed 75 USD. I could have made it cheaper I'm sure but time and craftsmanship to make a cab had to be factored. The one thing about the FM 100 was that it had exactly all the holes I needed on the faceplate to allow for the two surfy bears plus room to fit the pans which are stacked on rods and are spring loaded.

The Kahuna Kings

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

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

I forgot to mention that the black tolex was painted to match the speaker cab. I had to use almond spray paint then coat that with poly to get it to yellow. At some point I will re-tolex when I have more time.

Here is how the back came together.
image

The Kahuna Kings

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

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

Last edited: Feb 20, 2017 10:20:11

Cool. Sure looks like a showman at first glance. And the speaker cab? A genuine fender model or is that custom too?

It is a JBL but I think the cab is custom built.

The Kahuna Kings

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

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

image

Da Vinci Flinglestein,
The quest for the Tone, the tone of the Quest

The Syndicate of Surf on YouTube

http://www.syndicateofsurf.com/

http://sharawaji.com/

http://surfrockradio.com/

I don't have pictures of all of them available, but I'm a Silverface fanatic. I have three different amps that I gig with. For small gigs, a 1979 Fender Princeton (non-reverb), a 1973 Fender Vibrosonic Reverb (Twin Reverb with a single 15"), and a 1977 Fender Dual Showman Reverb (135 watts).

Patrick_Strain wrote:

I don't have pictures of all of them available, but I'm a Silverface fanatic. I have three different amps that I gig with. For small gigs, a 1979 Fender Princeton (non-reverb), a 1973 Fender Vibrosonic Reverb (Twin Reverb with a single 15"), and a 1977 Fender Dual Showman Reverb (135 watts).

Sf fanatic here, too! I scroll between a 76 twin, 76 super, 70 pro for gigs and a 70s musicmaster for practice.

I have a '70 (or so) Bandmaster Reverb chassis that the previous owner had installed in a Mojotone cab. (aka as a 'Vibroclone') Although the baffle is cut for a 15" speaker, the owner installed a 12" Jensen. Over the years, I've received a lot of compliments on how good it sounds.

About 5 years ago, I got a call from our bass player, asking me me if the other guitar player could borrow it for an upcoming gig. His rig took up more space onstage, and he needed something smaller. My friend said he'd be bringing the amp to the gig, so I didn't have any concerns about its safety. Turns out, he was opening for the Duo Tones, who were amazed at how good it sounded. (Re-affirming my decision to buy it in the first place.)

I also have a late '70 Pro Reverb that needs some work, and when I decide to have it done, will likely be on the receiving end of some mods. I'm thinking the master volume will land up going bye-bye. Those amps are a good platform to work with. Usually a good value for the money.

-Cheers, Clark-

-Less Paul, more Reverb-

64 Showman or the 64 BFDR. It’s a tossup.

THe NEpTuNeS

SamDBL wrote:

I think ultralinear fenders would rock as surf amps. You may not get that tube break up that you'd like. But a pedal could fix that. I'm kind of biased, though. I play almost exclusively through silverface 70s fenders of various models. Albeit non-ultralimear years. I think the sf amps are a huge bargain considering vintage. Usually need just a speaker change and a cap job, and youre ready to roll. And the non-ultralinears have the ability to go back to blackface specs with just a couple cheap mods, although I have left all of mine stock.
Speaking of amazing bargains, what about the old ampegs? There are two 60s ampeg reverb rockets available near me for $450 in perfect shape. Astonishing. I've owned several old ampegs. Not since I have started playing surf, though. They may be a tad dark. But a speaker change might help that. The reverb on them is on par, or possibly better than a lot of fender models.

I use a UL showman for outdoor gigs or big venues, and does sound truly awesome. However, turning these things up does not make them sound 'better' (ie distorted), which is why they are not so popular. Slide guitarists love them though.

The later models are not easy to blackface at all - they require a power transformer replacement, which is not really worth the trouble.

Here in the UK, there are far fewer vintage Fenders around so it's hard to have formed an informed opinion. I think Keith Richards has all the old ones.

I'd love try an old Vibrolux or blonde showman to see what all the fuss is about, but they are very rare outside the US. My little Musicman RD110 is still my choice, it's a wicked little amp.

http://thewaterboarders.bandcamp.com/

Last edited: Feb 21, 2017 10:58:51

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