I recently have spent some time with the Fender reissue amps and I wanted to provide my opinion on them after trying them out with single coil and humbucking guitars. Opinions may vary:
Fender Twin 65 RI: This is a wonderful clean sound amp with lots of headroom, it looks great, has the tilt option, a wonderful tremolo, reverb, and can be loud while still being clean. 4 6L6 tubes in this unit which help provide that classic tone. Though the amp is heavy, it’s not any heavier than most two 12” speaker amps, or even the heavier Mesa Boogie Mark V combo with one 12” speaker. Granted you may want to add wheels to it or use a cart to move it if you are doing gigs. It has that wonderful chime, a sparkled sound that sounds amazing with any guitar I tried it on. Outputs 2 are quieter than output 1. The sound of the amp can sound a little more forward sounding with the tremolo off. Turn it on with the intensity on 0 and it will smooth out the sound a little more. This amp takes pedals very well from a Valvetronix pedal board, Mesa Boogie Flux Drive, Seymour Duncan 805 tube screamer, Strymon Timeline and Big Sky. No other amp on the market has the character of this amp. So if you want the Fender tube sound, this is the amp to get. I replaced my Fender Twin (red knobs) with this amp, and the clarity and sparkle on the RI was a big step up. I added wheels to the amp which allowed portability to be much easier.
65 Deluxe Reverb RI: This is the smaller brother of the 65 Twin RI. With only 22 watts and one 12” speaker, it is lighter and easier to carry around. It still has the clean chime tone with some decent headroom up to volume 4. This is a good amp for small gigs, playing at church or at home. Around volume 4, it starts breaking up and at this setting and higher it can sounds great for rth guitar punch on multiple types of guitars. Push it up to volume 8 and now it can sound great for an aggressive lead guitar as well. This amp also takes pedals very well. If the 65 Fender Twin RI is too much or heavy for you, this would be a great option. The distortion of this amp keeps the bright chime character on every volume setting. Really like this amp.
68 Deluxe Reverb: This amp is silver faced has a celestion speaker and breaks up faster than the black faced version. The clean sound does not have the same bright chime tone but it gets you faster to the break up distortion. The input 1 on the left has a slightly darker sound. This may be a better choice if you want more of a rockin sound. This seems to be Fender’s version of hot rodding their own amp. I would choose this amp if you want this crunchier tone and your not as concerned about that sparkled Fender sound. This amp also takes pedals well and will provide a more aggressive sound compared to the standard RI with the same settings along with your pedals.
Princeton RI is the smallest brother and is similar to the Deluxe RI however with it its 10 inch speaker and 12 watts, you will get a different sound that is lighter in tone over the Deluxe Reverb DI. This amp has been used on countless recordings over the years as well. Believe it or not this amp can get loud. With having less headroom than its bigger brother, it also breaks up faster. This is a great amp for home or studio use when you want distortion at a lower volume. It still is able to produce some nice sounding clean tones up to about volume 4. With the smaller speaker and lower wattage than the Deluxe Reverb RI it provides a pleasant brighter sound with less low end.
Princeton 68: This unit rocks more than the standard reissue version. You generally need to bring down the treble a bit to get some better sounds out of it. It is another great studio amp or small club setup with a PA. This like the DR 68 lacks some of the cleaner bouncy tone, so depending on what you are looking for, one will be better suited for you over the other. I would choose this amp as a second amp for someone who already has a bigger amp with more headroom and clean tones.
There are some who feel the original amps from the 1960’s or early 1970’s sound the best. Though many older amps do have a certain tone you may prefer, they all sound different due to the aged parts, how worn the speakers are, and if newer parts were installed over the years due to wear/tear, or updates to the amps. My opinion is that the Fender company has gone in the right direction with these reissue amps. Granted not one amp will provide the sound that every guitar player is looking for, these Fender amps have been used on thousands of recordings in rock, jazz, country, and blues which says a lot.
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Fender Twin 65 RI, 65 & 68 Delx Rev RI, & 65 & 68 Princeton
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Nice reviews, Glen. Very informative.
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