Review of Fender Amp

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  • #4567
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Melodica-Me,

    I am getting ready to make an amplifier purchase soon. A Fender is at the top of my list, but my friend has yet to stop by with his collection of Fender amps. I know you researched and purchased a Fender guitar amp recently. If you get a chance, how about giving us an update on how it is working out. Thanks.

    Lowboy

    #4569
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Hello Lowboy, amp is working out good but what would be of major concern for you is the proper tone for the melodica you will primarily be using and then the second then third melodica. This was my biggest problem I had in choosing the right amp. lets speak Fender tube amp “Delux Reverb” tone wise the Hammond 44, Hammond Hyper and the Hammond soprano all work great with pedals I do not use the reverb as I use my Electro Harmonic “Cathedral” pedal as my choice for that. When I use my Vibrandoneon I actuall use the Fender tank reverb which I feel is much warmer and works best for the Vibrandoneon. For my Hohner Melodicas I really like my Magnatone amp but it needs to get mic’ed because there is nowhere near the power to fill a small room and get enough volume to use as a monitor. I have considered getting a new Magnatone but they are really expensive, one with the right amount of power starts at 3k but the tone is probably the best out there. My vibrandoneon likes the Fender Acoustic Junior too, but again not even close to the power needed. It is light and no tubes to go down. Not a good amp for the Hohner’s. I think for you a either the Fender Princeton or Delux would sound great with your blues sound Melodica’s. One thing that I do not like is that the tubes for the vibrato on my fender has already gone bad so I have a new set ready for when I need to use the amp. I took the tubes off the first Chanel to save them. Reverb tube is staring to go as well. This is the never ending tube dilemma with any tube amp. My Delux has enough power for a small room so I am happy with that. I really could have gone with the Princeton because with a mic it would not have made enough difference, plus it’s smaller, consider a speaker upgrade (Celestion) much nicer in my opinion for melodica. I would try to find a small guitar shop that would let you try the amp. Tone tone tone, only you will know what will work for you. The Fender FSR “Fender Special Run” come with a speaker upgrade. Good luck buddy
    Melodica-Me

    #4581
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Thanks for the insights Melodica-Me. That is really helpful.

    I know I should drag my gear to Guitar Center and spend a couple of hours trying out amps. At the same time, the Deluxe Reverb, Bassman, and Princeton reverb are pretty much the standard amps for many of the great harp players. So it would be hard to go wrong with one of these.

    I have been thinking Princeton Reverb because it is often cited as “the” amp for harp. Plus it is relatively portable (32 pounds I think).

    After nearly a year and a half of experimentation, I am back to a simple hybrid rig. I run a SM57 into a high-end, rack-mount preamp (Presonus RC-500). The preamp has an effects loop where I insert my trusty Lone Wolf Blues Company Harp Delay. That is it. The preamp includes a compressor and a three-band semi-parametric EQ so I have lots of tone-shaping capability. The high quality preamp really captures the nuances of the instrument. Soon, I will post a more detailed write up of this rig with photos. I think I have finally landed.

    The only thing I need now is an amp that will give me both a clean tone and dirty tone, with a tonality that I like. For about $500 dollars I could also purchase several tube amps made specifically for harp. But I can’t really try these out a head of time.

    Like you, I think I am willing to put up with tube maintenance to get the authentic warm tube sound.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #4593
    AvatarSteven Morris
    Participant

    Lowboy,

    I have a Fender Princeton Reverb ’65 Reissue purchased about 5 years ago. I love the sound I get with it (although I use it for guitar only). There is one problem, which may or may not occur with a melodica: It rattles at certain frequencies! I think one of the mounts for one of the tubes does it. Actually, I had to tighten a few things on the amp as multiple things were rattling after a while. The aforementioned tube mount thing still rattles at moderate volumes though (like 4 and above) around Bb-C on the E and A strings on my guitars.

    If you test this amp, I recommend listening for this rattle as it might affect your decision. TBH, it hasn’t really shown up in my recordings though!

    Steven

    #4596
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Thanks for the information Steve. I have read about the rattle in several places on the web. It seems some amps rattle and some don’t. I think I am going to test a few types of amps out before buying. That is a lot of money to spend to make a wrong choice. Yet, I would not be surprised if I end up with a Fender.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #4600
    AvatarJerry Ballard
    Participant

    I personally don’t think that using an amp designed for electric guitars (which are meant to add tone to a minimally complex signal) are the best choice for acoustically complex instruments (e.g. melodica, violin, accordion, etc).

    I personally use the Fender Acoustasonic, and find it the most simple, appropriate, and portable solution. I love the sound of my Vibrandoneon through it. Limited combinations of built in reverb and delay, but there’s one that I’m perfectly happy with and eliminates my need for stomp boxes and twiddling.

    I use the Acoustasonic head with a workingman 10 cabinet, but this head is hard to find. Scoop one up if you see one on EBay.
    Fender also makes an all-in-one acoustasonic line which I’d think is nice.

    My .02.

    http://www.americansongwriter.com/2012/02/review-fender-acoustasonic-150-combo-amp/
    http://www.elderly.com/fmic/items/images/130N/ASUH_front.jpg (discontinued)

    #4603
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Hello Jerry, I have a Fender Acoustasonic Jr. amplifier I use with my Vibrandoneon which sounds good, I mainly use it for practice now and then. It is not the same as the bigger unit so I cannot compare. The issue I have with the Fender Acoustasonic Jr. was that though it sounded good with the Vibrandoneon, it did not lend itself to the Hammond 44 and my Hohner melodicas (tone wise) even after making several adjustments. It did work well with Hammond 44 Hyper which has a similar sound as my Vibandoneon. I was looking for an amplifier that I could use with several melodicas so not to carry my Traynor K4 amp (keyboard Amp) that works well with everything just to damn heavy for this old guy (lol) for most small gigs. I don’t mind taking several amplifiers when they send a cartage company (recording). I record with and without amplifiers depending on the sound needed. As you mentioned, normally a guitar amplifier does not work well with an acoustic instrument. But depending on the processor and pickup they can work well. By the way I use a SansAmp Para driver EQ DI box that I take when a house system is provided that works well with my Pedal board and my Myers Pick up for my Vibrandoneon and Hohner Pro.
    I also have a old Magnatone 421 that works great with the Hohner Melodicas and the Hammond 44 but thats about it, not enough tone adjustments for any of the brighter melodicas.

    Melodica-Me

    #4629
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Good point Jerry. In my case, since I was trying to imitate a harmonica and attempting to get the tone and breakup for a Chicago Blues type sound, a small Fender tube amp seemed to make sense. I have used a high fidelity (When was the last time your heard that term?) clean JBL, two-way, powered PA speaker for about year. It sounds as smooth as stereo speakers and it works well for my clean sound.

    My main problem is every week I change my mind on whether I want a clean sound or a dirty sound. (“Acoustic” harp or “amplified” harp as they say in the harmonica world.) As soon as I am happy with a clean sound, I will listen Howlin’ Wolf or Little Walter play a $5 harp into $5 1950s public address microphone running through a $10, 5-watt tube amp with the volume on 10 and lust after that sound as well. Then, I dial in a dirty sound and when I get it, I miss the clean sound.

    I must say that the clean sound usually wins and that is where, with further exploration this week, I have ended up. So am going to delay an amp purchase again as I already have a good clean amp. Maybe as some point I will purchase one of the little harp-specific amps by Mission Amps, Harp Gear, Memphis Mini, Lone Wolf Blues Company, etc. because I just can’t resist that Chicago sound sometimes.

    Right now, I am enjoying all the timbre variations and sound effects I can get from my range of melodicas combined with playing techniques and a very simple setup. I have even purged my preamp from my rig, and I now simply use an SM57 mic and a LWBC Harp Delay straight into my JBL powered speaker. It is loud and gives me a full, rich, and slightly rounded sound which I can mute and twist using microphone and playing techniques. I can even get a big bottom end and slightly gritty sound by playing really loud and smothering the mic, coaxing slight distortion from all the elements in signal chain: the melodica, microphone, delay pedal, and the amp. Together that may be enough dirt for me. I need to perfect the technique.

    Anyhow, I appreciate everyone’s input and perspective. It all helps.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

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