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Concerns when buying a vintage tube amplifier.

1969 Deluxe Reverb insides

Inside of a 1969 Fender Deluxe Reverb

Click pic for close up view.

 

Before there were computers Fender built amps by hand. One at a time. Point to point hand wired works of art. Easy to work on. All parts still available today.

Average life expectancy of tubes and capacitors is 25 years. So if you buy an all original amp that is made before 1974 there is a very good chance it will need at least some new tubes and capacitors.

 

 

1969 Deluxe Reverb caps

Old capacitors.

Fender used a low end speaker for most of the amps. For a short time Fender did offer a JBL option to their amps. When Leo Fender first heard a JBL in one of his amps he wanted to put JBLs in all his amps but his accountants told him the speaker cost more than the amp.

A JBL D120F weighs 4 times as much as the stock Fender speaker. The JBL is in a cast iron frame with a giant magnet.

The cost to recone the stock Fender speaker is $45.

The cost to recone the JBL D120F is $275.

Don't believe the seller that says mint condition original cone. Most speakers spend their life inside of a cabinet untouched since the day they were made. Unfortunately the paper dries out and gets brittle. The voice coil sags or/and rubs.

Much better to buy a blown speaker cheap and have it reconed. I use Freeman Tuell here in Dallas. You have to pay for the recone in advance.

What ends up happening is you find an all original amp on eBay for $1,400. Then you have to have new tubes and caps installed for an additional $400. Then recone the speaker and you are in business with an amp good for another 30 years. Now $2,200 invested in that $1,400 amp. Might be smarter to find an amp that has already had these things done.

Tone heaven ain't cheap but is affordable.

Fender JBL speakers

Fender speakers.

1968 Fender Vibro Champ 1972 Fender Princeton Reverb with JBL D120F speaker
Vibro Champ Princeton Reverb
   
1969 Deluxe Reverb with JBL D120F speaker 1970 Fender Vibrolux Reverb
Deluxe Reverb Vibrolux Reverb
   
1968 Super Reverb with JBL D110F speakers Marshall JTM 45 and 100w 4X12 Celestion bottom
Super Reverb Marshall JTM-45 w/100w Celestion cabinet
   
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