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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink What's everyones favorite surf amp?

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da-ron wrote:

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.

I love my UL Dual Showman Reverb. It's great for both my pedal steel and baritone guitars. I'm in the camp that believes that Silverface amps have their place. None of mine will ever be "blackfaced".

Hi...i am a new user here. What I'd like to have would be an early 60s blackface bassman and 2x12. I could use it in both of my bands and have plenty of tone and headroom to spare. I actually had a 64 when I was a teenager in the mid 80s. I was using it for a bass amp and it didn't sound good to me with my shitty bass. so I sold it to this rockabilly guy for $100.

circuit board assembly

Last edited: Jun 08, 2017 15:23:14

As a bass player in the mid-60's, I had one of the CBS Bassman amps with 2x12". The speakers were crap Oxfords that blew out on a daily basis. Finally changed them to Jensens, which worked out well, then changed the Jensens to Altec Lansings when I switched to guitar. That was one fine sounding amp!

My new surf amp: a 1965 national (Valco-Made) Glenwood 90. Reverb and Tremolo deeper than the Marianas Trench.
image

LulaNord wrote:

Hi...i am a new user here. ...I was using it for a bass amp and it didn't sound good to me with my shitty bass. so I sold it to this rockabilly guy for $100.

I think of the gear I bought and sold for $100, and gear I see on CL listed for $100... that must be the magic price.

Oh - and welcome aboard!

The Reverbivores - we're local favorites!

Fender 63 Reissue Reverb into
three 1969 Kustom K100C-8 4x10's

image

Well I just did a quick survey and to my surprise this is everyone's favorite surf amp:

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/

My 61 Fender Showman Smile

jp wrote:

I definately know that what I own and what my dream amp are two different things all together. I have a 65 deluxe reissue that has issues and a vox ac15 reissue that I like, but isn't the surfiest thing around, even with my reissue reverb tank.

What I'd like to have would be an early 60s blackface bassman and 2x12. I could use it in both of my bands and have plenty of tone and headroom to spare. I actually had a 64 when I was a teenager in the mid 80s. I was using it for a bass amp and it didn't sound good to me with my shitty bass. so I sold it to this rockabilly guy for $100.

Of course if a pristine Showman w/1x15 landed in my lap I wouldn't cry.

LulaNord wrote:

Hi...i am a new user here. What I'd like to have would be an early 60s blackface bassman and 2x12. I could use it in both of my bands and have plenty of tone and headroom to spare. I actually had a 64 when I was a teenager in the mid 80s. I was using it for a bass amp and it didn't sound good to me with my shitty bass. so I sold it to this rockabilly guy for $100.

Hmmm... Almost 10 years between posts but they're identical? What's up with that?

Last edited: Jul 25, 2017 13:33:49

I didn't notice any old Ampegs.

As a bass player I have to listen to a lot twangers. (that's what we call guitar players at our secret meetings. We have less flattering names for drummers.) Laughing The surf guitarist I played with had a modded Twin. I know it had Zozo caps and Webber speakers and some sort of old outboard reverb tank that came out of a studio. I sounded pretty good.

Other amps in non surf bands I liked were vintage Fender Deluxe, Dual Showman, Fender 75, Sovetek, and Mesa Boogie. I jammed with a guy who have a Sho-Bud amp and I was very impressed. Less chimey than a Fender but very singy, clean, and warm. The guy was playing a Les Paul. This notes came through big but not loud.

Jason, the guitarist for The Turbosonics, uses a Twin Reverb for small gigs and a '67 Showman head for big ones. His cabinet is a Fender Bassman with two 12" speakers. Both sound killer.

Twin Reverb for small gigs?! Confused

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

Rip and (later) Spanky used an Ampeq. I believe it was a Gemini 2 with the 15" speaker. I was told that a lot (if not all) of the tracks on Locked and Loaded were recorded with Jeff Bako's Gemini amp at Jeff's studio where they recorded the album. Rip was so blown away with the Ampeq that he went out and bought one.

On the other side of the coin, I've had the "pleasure" of working on several and I won't be doing that again............. "electrical spaghetti." You have to be a real amp tech to deal with those originals, I'm just a poser with less patience as time goes on.

ed

Traditional........speak softly and play through a big blonde amp. Did I mention that I still like big blonde amps?

This is my all-time favorite surf bass amp. A 1967 Dual Showman head into what was originally a 1970's Peavey 2x15 slot port cabinet with a pair of E-V 15BX 400 watt bass speakers. The head and cabinet were recovered and re-grilled in blonde & oxblood by my friend and former bandmate Eddie Katcher over 15 years ago.

Neither it nor I play live gigs anymore but I enjoy rattling the windows and watching the pictures on the wall in my home studio rotate when I get in the mood to unleash the beast....AKA "Ampzilla"

image

Jack
aka WoodyJ

Last Mariners (2021-present)
HulaHounds (1996-2005)
The Mariners (1964-68, 1996-2005)
The X-Rays (1997-2004)
The Surge! (2004, 2011-2012)
Various non-surf bands that actually made money (1978-1990)

Woody, that Cab is quite appealing...

What a cunning solution to the 'Fender 2x15s are terrible for Bass' problem! Shocked

They who die with the fewest control knobs, win.

Dang I knew it, if I got back surfing this forum I would be re-surfing my roots. My fault.

It would be a Dual Showman Reverb SF head in a pine combo (twin) open back cab with a new 1990's issue Fender 15'.

'Twas built for pedal steel.

I'll post a pic but it's in the vocal booth right now with lots of other things piled on it and me not horny enough to dig it out.

But that's not for live use.

I would like a dual 15" JBL Showman cab for live, but don't have one and put the DSR back in its tall head enclosure.

I have an Ampeg B25b 2x15 cab. Could be wired to 4 ohms as it's wired for 16.

This cab is well built with heavy ply and weighs a ton.

Should take all those 6th string whammy bar bends and Pipeline intros with ease.

Again, I'm not moving it.

Cab pic is not mine, just for sample purposes.
Mine's in much better condition.

Ampeg were no slouches when it came to building speaker cabs.
Fender could learn a few things.
image
image
image

Last edited: Mar 30, 2018 20:51:51

My new favourite. Surfmaster conversion of an early 70s Silverface Bandmaster Reverb: Builtin 63-style-reverb, custom headshell, custom cabinet. The amp will be setup for a demo at this years Surfer Joe Festival during the seminars on saturday afternoon.

image

see you at monokinibeach

Tqi wrote:

Woody, that Cab is quite appealing...

What a cunning solution to the 'Fender 2x15s are terrible for Bass' problem! Shocked

Thanks, Tqi!

15's are fine for surf bass, the problem is the smallish cabinet volume and/or the design of both Dual Showman cab generations. The smaller earlier version actually sounds significantly better, IMO. Tighter, not as "woofy",

The ex-Peavy cab in the pic I posted earlier is 15" deep and has a horizontal, slotted center port. The earlier 36 x 24" Dual Showman cab is only 11.5" deep and is unported. That cab works well for guitar but is not so great for bass (I still have one with E-V bass speakers that is sitting in the basement). A single Showman 15" tone ring cab actually works better for bass but is limited by its single speaker in larger venues. Chris Isaak's bassist uses two blackface single Showmans on stage and he gets a great bass sound out of them.

Back in the X-Rays days, Eddie Katcher wanted to downsize our gear for when we weren't playing in a big room and built some guitar cabinets that were the really small, very early 30 x 21 x 11.5" ones. I asked him to build my bass version 15" deep.....the result was freaking magical! It is the best-sounding 1x15 bass cabinet I have ever played through and it is my go-to studio bass cabinet to this day.

There is a lot of "sonic science" in modern bass cabinet design which is exemplified in the higher-end cabinets available from Bergantino, Aguilar, EA, Mesa, Genzler and several others. The one Eddie built for me evidently was a happy accident.

image

image

Jack
aka WoodyJ

Last Mariners (2021-present)
HulaHounds (1996-2005)
The Mariners (1964-68, 1996-2005)
The X-Rays (1997-2004)
The Surge! (2004, 2011-2012)
Various non-surf bands that actually made money (1978-1990)

Last edited: Mar 31, 2018 08:08:49

SixStringSurfer wrote:

Twin Reverb for small gigs?! Confused

So the Twin is used for small gigs because it is an "Evil red-knob Twin." The amp has two output settings: 100W and 25W. I use the 25W setting for smaller gigs. The second channel also has gain, so I can break it up at lower volumes, when playing Link Wray style material. It's quite a versatile amp. It get's a C- for style, but A+ for tone and adaptability.

Jason
the Turbosonics
"Playin' Surf at Maximum Impact"
Website
Twitter
Bandcamp

WoodyJ wrote:

15's are fine for surf bass, the problem is the smallish cabinet volume and/or the design of both Dual Showman cab generations.

I'm familiar with this concept. Smile As someone put it the other day, 'The world has a lot more understanding of the physics of bass amplification than we did in 1961'.

The ex-Peavy cab in the pic I posted earlier is 15" deep and has a horizontal, slotted center port.

That'd do it!

A single Showman 15" tone ring cab actually works better for bass

This I didn't know! As you're aware, I have somewhat of a fetish for 10" speakers on any instrument, but I did enjoy trying out some (modern) 1x15's the other day.

There is a lot of "sonic science" in modern bass cabinet design which is exemplified in the higher-end cabinets available from Bergantino, Aguilar, EA, Mesa, Genzler and several others. The one Eddie built for me evidently was a happy accident.

The best kind of accident! From my experimental session the other day, I definitely had the best experience with an Aguilar cab out of what I had available to try. I did also rather like the 'blackface' aesthetics.

They who die with the fewest control knobs, win.

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