Hello again fellow gear-heads! So, LAST WEEK we started a four-part series on the best replacement speakers for Fender's latest re-issue series the "drip-edge" 1968 amps. We are going from smallest to largest, and so this week we will be discussing the best replacement speaker for the '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb amp, which produces about 22-watts via a pair of 6V6 tubes and feeds it to a single 12" speaker, ie: a formula that is proven like none other. Like every other Fender "Deluxe" model, this one is a workhorse.
But she ain't exactly like any other Deluxe Reverb tone-wise!
Here is how Music Radar put it, and it captures my feelings fairly well:
Compared to the '65 reissue's Vibrato channel, the '68 model here has a little less brightness and headroom on the Vintage side, but there's still a magic sweet spot between 4.5 and 6 on the volume control (depending on your choice of guitar), where the amp delivers a wonderful, dynamic dirty-clean rhythm sound at stage level that works as a brilliant core guitar sound for all manner of rock 'n' roll, Americana, blues and classic pop applications. Just add picking-hand dynamics and your guitar's volume control; there's so much range here.
The Custom channel has considerably more grit than a vintage Deluxe Reverb's Normal channel, and some Tweed-like character, too. Fully maxed - if your ears/spouse/neighbor/sound engineer permit - there's a real, grin- inducing Neil Young vibe: it's flabby, compressed and ugly in a thoroughly pleasing way.
So ... I agree with ALL of that ... except ...
I don't find "flabby, compressed and ugly" to be pleasing in ANY way! I like my bottom-end nice and firm :-)
So, with this amp, where original Deluxe Reverbs of the period would have had a Normal channel, sans tremolo or reverb, the new '68s have a 'Custom' channel with a new voicing, courtesy of a "modified Bassman tone stack" that's billed as being more pedal-friendly. Where you would have found a Vibrato channel, there's now a 'Vintage' channel with a more traditional voicing, but not quite as bright as a true vintage drip-edge Deluxe Reverb. The amp is designed to break up a little earlier than its vintage counterparts, and features reduced negative feedback, which Fender's marketing blurb claims will offer a greater degree of touch-sensitivity.
What does all that mean to you? It'll fart-out and get flubby a LOT quicker than previous Deluxe Reverbs! If that's your cup of tea, enjoy! If not, you can either get inside the amp and modify it (whilst trying to not kill yourself), or you can simply upgrade the speaker to a model that makes-up for this flubby tonal tendency. The ONLY speaker for this amp is the G12C, it will make this amp a monster. She will have so much more clean headroom and tight bottom-end, and the amp will become truly gigable.
So there ya have it, Next week, on to the totally FAB '68 Custom Pro Reverb, which ups the anty to a a pair of 6L6s producing 40-watts RMS... sweeeeet! Y'all come back now!