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1967 Fender Deluxe Reverb: Mods, Speakers, and More!

by vaughn skow April 18, 2013 4 min read

1967 Fender drip-edge blackface blackline Deluxe Reverb ampBy every imaginable yard-stick, the Fender "Deluxe" is one of the most popular musical instrument amplifiers of all time.  The Fender Deluxe Amp has been around since 1948, that’s longer than most of you reading this.  Even more amazing is the fact that the Deluxe Amp actually pre-dates Rock and Roll itself.  Wow.  Six generations of guitar players have now been exposed to the Fender Deluxe Amp.  Probably no other amps influences are as widespread.  From your great-grandpa freshly back from WWII and learning those swingin’ big band chords all the way up to that 12-year old noodler that calls you Dad, never before has a single amp influenced so many.  Maybe I’m biased; after all at the tender age of about 13 I received my first amp, a brown Fender Deluxe Amp!  Since that time Deluxes of all ages have passed through my hands, and I’ve loved them all.  The focus of this blog, however, is the one that sits patiently at my feet as I type away; born in 1967, she’s a still-sexy 46 year old.  She is most definitely still in the prime of her life.

In case you missed my last blog, where I introduced her to you, I’ll give you the quickie version of how she entered my life.  She was listed on Craigslist as a "1970’s silver-face", the aluminum drip-edge clearly visable in the photos told me she was most likely a 1968 in actuality.  When I brought her home and started looking a little closer, I realized that she was in fact one of the rare drip-edge "black-line" models produced in 1967, the date code and serial number make this clear.  The new gal is actually a true black-face 1967 AB763 Deluxe Reverb Amp with that new-fangled “silver” faceplate.  Sweeeet.

 Deluxe Reverb amp Jeff Bober Precision Audio Tailoring

This gal sports three classy modifications.  A barely perceivable sticker attributes the mods to Jeff Bober at Precision Audio Tailoring in Baltimore Maryland.  No wonder the mods were beautifully executed; Jeff is the man!  Jeff is a seasoned veteran tube amp repair guy; currently the owner, designer & tone guru at East Amplification, a columnist atPremier Guitar , co-founder / senior design engineer at Budda Amplification and a contributing author for Kendrick Amplification.  How’s that for some creds?

1967 Fender drip-edge blackface blackline Deluxe Reverb amp mid mod

The first is the simple adition of a mid control on the first channel, enabling a more Marshall-esque urgent snarl, very similar to the “bass instrument” channel on my blackface 1965 Fender Bassman, featured in earlier blogs.  The added control was inserted in the #2 input jacks hole, and is thus easily reversible.

1967 Fender drip-edge blackface blackline Deluxe Reverb pentode triode mod 

The second mod is the addition of a pentode/triode switch, labeled as full and half power.  This control was added using the external speaker chassis hole, and is thus also easily reversible.  I would have never expected this addition to be as pleasing as it is; the truth is that it really makes the Deluxe sound positively delicious at bedroom-soft volume levels.  I’m now a firm believer that all Deluxe Reverb Amps should have this feature!

The last mod is one that I personally do to ALL of my vintage blackface Fender amps, it’s a simple one-wire move that enables reverb and tremolo on both channels.  The mod takes only a few minutes and is just as easy to totally reverse should you want it back to bone stock.  You can probably do this one yourself.  Here is the mod, just add the one jumper and lift a leg on the cap rather than removing it altogether to make it more easily reversible.

add tremolo and Reverb to both channels on a Fender Deluxe Super Reverb

But all pedigree aside, this is the best sounding Deluxe Reverb I’ve ever laid ears on.  Often black and silver-face Deluxe Reverb Amps sound too brittle and harsh for my Super-Reverb Amp inspired tastes; not this one!  This is truly the Holy Grail (to me); light-weight, lower power, and just plain oozing with fat, warm, juicy, syrupy, tone with a delicious smooth and wonderful top!  One problem: the speaker that’s producing all this wonderful tone may well be on it’s last legs.   When pushed hard, it’s sounding just a tad tired to me.  Now, this speaker is a bit interesting; it looks like an Oxford 12K5-6, but has no markings anywhere, save for the bit of paper label peaking out from behind the blue Fender Special Design Speaker label affixed to the magnet.  If any of you readers know for sure what this speaker is, please be kind enough to post it here as a comment to this blog, it would be greatly appreciated!  At any rate, it is in fact a speaker with what I would term a downright itty-bitty magnet and an equally small voice-coil, which looks to be one inch to me.

1967 Fender drip-edge blackface blackline Deluxe Reverb amp original speaker

From tweed to late silver-face, this is the most diminutive speaker I’ve ever seen in a Deluxe, and it’s the best sounding (stock) speaker I’ve ever heard, too.  Hummm, maybe bigger isn’t always better! 

So now, my challenge: to find a nice healthy new replacement speaker that sounds just as sweet as the totally magical stock speaker (which will be lovingly boxed and properly stored to maintain its magic and the amps vintage value).

That sounds like a lot of fun work!  Next week we will take this journey together right here on this blog.  From current production Alnico and Ceramic models by WGS and other manufacturers; no stone will be left unturned in our quest to find a nice new speaker that retains all the beauty of the original.  Sound like fun?  Then be sure to stop back, videos will abound.

My "outside" site recomendation for this week is an easy one ... Jeff Bober's curent company East Amplification.  Chack it out!

See ya all next week!

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