Howdy gang!So this week we continue looking at the possibilities for improving the tone of the already awesome sounding "drip-edge" 1968 Fender re-issues. If ya have not already, you might want to head over to my blogs on the 1968 Custom Princeton Reverb and Deluxe Reverb. This week we will look at the interesting 1968 Custom Pro Reverb. Why do I call it "interesting"? Well, because, while it is using the Pro Reverb moniker, the Pro has NEVER been in this configuration ever before! So, same old name ... but a VERY different amp than any other Pro Reverb for sure! Let's talk about it!
So, Let's go through the history of every Fender amp to carry the "Pro" name:
The first Fender amps to sport the "Pro" name were the 50's tweed-era single channel amps with a single 15" speaker and no verb or tremolo. This amp had a pairt of 6L6 tubes, but given no negative feedback and a long-tail phase inverter, she only produced about 22-25 watts RMS. Very cool amps, but nothing like THIS amp.
Then came the early 60's brown tolex Pro, still sporting a single 15" speaker and a pair of 6L6 output tubes, but with tremolo, variable "presence" control and the "new" circuitry that enabled about 40-watts RMS from those 6L6's! Again, so much cool factor, so much brown tone!
1964 saw the introduction of probably the most coveted (and best sounding) of the Pros, the blackface Pro Reverb, still sporting a 40-watt 2-6L6 output stage, but now with tremolo AND long-spring reverb, and with a pair of 12" speakers. In essence, this amp was a Blackface Twin Reverb, but with half the output power. To this day, I still feel this was one of the most PERFECT amps Fender ever built. Tone for days, HUGE 3-dimensional room filling tone, and just the right amount of power for good clean headroom with just the right amount of breakup in a club-gig setting.
1968 was the first of the silver-face Pro Reverb amps, which were, in essence the same amp as the blackface amps I just praised! Cool!
As the 70's moved on, the Pro, like all Fender amps lost the aluminum drip-edge cosmetics and the CBS idiots began "improving" the amps with more negative feedback, ultra-linear output trannys, and cabinets made of particle board. Ugg.
As you can see, the ORIGINAL '68 Pro Reverb was nothing like this re-issue!
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Hummmm? The new amp, with it's smaller cab and light Neo speaker are certainly more back-friendly for an ageing guitar slinger, but tone wise, this amp falls short.
While the 1x12 '68 Custom Deluxe has two very differently voiced channels and a traditional 12" speaker, the Pro has only one channel, and a rather stiff and sterile sounding single Neo 12. So, it's really quite the interesting beast. Yes it has nearly twice the RMS output of the Custom Deluxe, but due to the Neo speaker, it does not sound as "big" or ... well, as good.
The 40-watt 2 6L6 platform ROCKS, it's still the sweet spot IMHO, so if you like the simplicity of this straight-forward peddle-board friendly single channel amp, but want her to sing with a much bigger, more authoritative voice with more room-filling 3-dimensional tone, the speaker Rx for this amp is the WGS Reaper HP; you'll immediately notice a MUCH more solid bottom end and a much more enormous sound-stage. Be warned, she'll also be a few pounds heavier, but it's a small price to pay for good toine. Next week, the biggun of the bunch, the 1968 Custom Twin Reverb!