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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / vitage fender tremolux amp circa 1961/62

McLean

USA/LosAngeles

Apr 12th, 2016 06:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

i have a vintage circa 1961/62 fender tremolux piggyback amp, cream tolex with oxblood grill cloth serial number 00216. this is the model with a pair of 6BQ%/EL84 tubes operated @ voltages higher than rated maximums and under fixed biases. this was the only fender amp of the time to feature them. the amp tech at norms rare guitars just did a tune up on the amp replacing a couple of capacitors and told me this was the most rare and sought after tremolux head, the speaker cab is a 1x12" closed back. this is one of the sweetest amps i've ever heard with a sound to die for. i've seen other vintage tremolux amps though not this particular head going for in excess of $3k on e-bay. beyond that i know little about the amp, except it sound like heaven. i'd appreciate any feedbac{no pun intended}i can get from anybody out there, thanks

Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Apr 12th, 2016 06:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

well you have an extremely rare bird indeed...

the last one I saw sell on ebay the guy was asking 15k

whether or not he got it I could not tell you.

other than that I can't tell you much about it...I'll bet is sounds sweet...I'd love to hear it..

McLean

USA/LosAngeles

Apr 13th, 2016 11:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

to guitar fool, hey fool thanks for your reply to my post re: the tremolux amp. if you're interested i thought i'd relay the backstory on this amp. i am the third owner of this amp, the first owner was a college kid in orange county ca. who bought it new in 1962 and paid $279 bucks for it at a local music store. he used the amp playing in a surf music cover band to earn extra money to put himself thru medical school. after he graduated he became a very successful doctor and never used the amp again but stuck it in his bedroom closet where it sat for 30 years until it was discovered by a guy named dana angle who was installing a custom audio system in the doctors home. the doctor wanted to control the audio system from his bed and in order to make that happen dana had to pull wire thru the bedroom closet and literally stumbled over the amp. dana took the amp in trade for knocking $300 dollars off the doctors several thousand dollar bill for the audio system install. dana brought the amp to his band rehearsal that evening where he showed it to me, i traded dana 2 jbl pa speakers for the amp, but never used it playing gigs. the band broke up and i moved from so cal to san francisco in 1994 where the amp sat in storage until 2009 when i moved to LA. then i had a stroke which left me somewhat paralyzed and unable to play guitar so the amp sat in storage until 2015. having recovered from the stroke i was teaching myself to play guitar again and thought i'd like to hear that old amp so i dusted it off plugged in my strat and the amp promptly blew itself out. i took it to norms rare guitars in the san fernando valley where the amp tech happens to be a tremolux lover. he promptly put the amp back in working order replacing 2 capacitors, the 6bq5/el84 tubes and the speaker which had disintegrated with age, replacing it with a new but vintage design speaker that was the same as the oem version. i want to thank you for replying as you saved me from a costly mistake. i was thinking of selling the amp hoping to get 2.500 for it to help finance moving expenses. now i would'nt let it go for so little instead i think i will keep it. it spent most of it's life silent and it's time it's voice was heard. sincerely britt mclean

Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Apr 13th, 2016 12:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"so i dusted it off plugged in my strat and the amp promptly blew itself out"

I'd have been suprised if it didn't..lol

thanks for sharing your story...its even better when you can pass the history onto the next guy.

We may own our gear, but its not forever....we are merely temporary caretakers for the next one in line.

There are many here that are extremely amp knowledgeable..certainly more so than me, that hopefully will chime in with more on your amp..

I have a Fender Amp book that mentions your amp... it's history was brief, and its hard to tell how many of these amps were made.
I'd be very curious as to the production number if thats even available.

cheers!

keithb7

Canada, Kamloops

Vintage Amp Hoarder
Apr 14th, 2016 11:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It sure is great to hear the life history of an old amp. I have a few stories on some of my vintage amps. Most though, I have no idea of their history.

On the Professional Fender Amps, (Blonde Tolex) Oxblood grill cloth changed to wheat colour in about Aug of 1962 as far as I can tell. If you have a 1x12 speaker cab, I suspect it is tone ring model. They do indeed sound wonderful. You may have the harmonic tremolo as well. The most sought after tremolo effect of all the different types Fender offered. In other series of amps Fender offered bias wiggle and LED Opticoulper (Roach style) tremolo. The harmonic tremolo sounds very 3D and warbly.

Congratulations on owning a great amp for so many years. I have a Blonde 62 Twin from the same era.

Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Apr 15th, 2016 06:30 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm a bit astonished that a thread about such a rare piece of Fender history hasn't garnered more posts....

I would certainly wish that I had a blond or brownface amp in my collection..but just can't afford it...
My 64 Deluxe and 66 Bandmaster will have to suffice...

you guys are making me jealous...;-0

amphead4
Contributing Member
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Cincinnati, USA

Apr 15th, 2016 07:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I'm a bit astonished that a thread about such a rare piece of Fender history hasn't garnered more posts...."

Some pictures would be great!



slider313

NC

Apr 15th, 2016 03:09 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Great amp to have in any condition. It was short lived for a reason. A pair of 6BQ5's in a fixed bias design with plate voltages exceeding 400v was the main reason. The Tremolux has bias variable tremolo as does the brown Vibrolux. The brown Super was the smallest of the brown amps to have the harmonic trem.

If you want to help keep the amp in good operating condition, I would suggest a Weber Browner or similar device to lower the incoming voltages. I would be concerned operating the amp with today's wall voltages.

(This message was last edited by slider313 at 05:11 PM, Apr 15th, 2016)

Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Apr 15th, 2016 07:27 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm not as amp savvy as I wish..

could you please explain in more detail why the EL84's weren't a good fit for that circuit?

is it because the high plate voltage would reduce tube life or something else?

slider313

NC

Apr 15th, 2016 09:38 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You have a swing in voltage and current with the bias variable trem. As the current drops in one power tube, its voltage goes up; in turn, the other power tubes' current rises its voltage drops. The amps B+ voltage was already high for the 6BQ5's. So yes, tube life was an issue.

McLean

USA/LosAngeles

Apr 15th, 2016 10:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

glad to see so many comments re; tremolux amp. the grill cloth is oxblood, with cream tolex. the tremolo is the harmonic variant. thanks for the weber-browner insight, i read a small entry on wikipedia and another article {that i failed to bookmark} the article i failed to bookmark mentioned that the particular tremolux model started with serial number 179 and ended with serial number 259{i think} that would mean only 80 of those amps were produced. the serial number on my amp is 216. the amp is in excellent condition, no tears, no discoloration, all metal hardware in great condition. i'll try to get some pictures upin the next couple weeks{i'd do it sooner but i'm in the middle of moving and my deadline for relocation is coming faster than i can manage,sorry} my biggest concern is keeping the amp from blowing up so anything i can do to keep tubes and caps intact will preserve this amp for the next owner. i'll enjoy it for a while but it really belongs to a much better guitar player than i am. thanks again for the input, i've learned a lot from all of you.

Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Apr 16th, 2016 08:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

thanks for the education slider....cool though that there is a solution to it..albeit late.

another really cool rare amp is the mid 50's Gibson Country Western..

I'd love to get my hands on one of these....

Gibson GA-70

6G6

Texas

Fender power to the people!
Apr 17th, 2016 05:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Very cool amp.
Super rare.
I believe there are tubes now
that can sub for EL84s and stand the higher voltage.
Wish my faulty memory could remember what they are.

Doc Sarvis
Contributing Member
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USA/Salt Lake City

Tuned Strings and Tight Lines
Apr 18th, 2016 07:48 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a 1962 6L6 version and love it.

McLean

USA/LosAngeles

Apr 19th, 2016 10:14 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Taking the Tremolux to Norms Rare Guitars in Tarzana,California,one of the best places to find vintage gear in Los Angeles county. Norms has great techs and an amp tech whose especially knowledgeable about Tremolux amps, among others. Per Sliders recommendation I'm having him install a Weber Browner device, and thanks to 6G6 I'm gonna ask for his suggestions about alternatives to the EL84's. While I'm at it I'll have their appraiser take a look at it and see what he has to say about it. I'll give you all a full report. Afterwards I'll work up a photo essay and post it. Does anybody know if soundbites can be posted? for that matter just how does one go about posting photos in the first place, what are the steps? I've got a professional photographer to shoot the pix and he's digitally savvy but he's not familiar with the forum.

SoK66
Contributing Member
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USA

We had the hit but Van got the money
Apr 20th, 2016 05:06 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

In all my years of being around Fender amps I've seen exactly one of these, owned by Alto Music in Monsey, NY. It was basically unobtainuim, no price offered was ever enough.


Ramblin Rhodes

Sportsman's Paradise

Doin' Bruin
Apr 20th, 2016 05:27 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

What SoK66 says...he knows these vintage amps...and..that said...all these vintage pieces are only worth what someone will pay...

slider313

NC

Apr 21st, 2016 07:43 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

McLean, a Weber Browner is a unit that can be purchased directly from Weber and not something that can be "installed" in an amp. There are also other mfgs. who offer similar units. The Amp Preserver is another.

http://www.vintagesoundworkbench.com

BbendFender
Contributing Member
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American Patriot

I'm on guard these days.
Apr 21st, 2016 02:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm ready for some pics.

McLean

USA/LosAngeles

Apr 21st, 2016 03:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Just brought the Tremolux back from Norms rare guitars, John, their amp tech, remembered the amp and said that he replaced the filter caps,some faulty resisters,the speaker,the EL84's,checked the bias,cleaned and serviced the amp. He said input current is already limited via the amps transformer and the bias and that the fuse protects against overloads. The amp, said John,is rock solid and I need have no fear of playing it and pushing it to it's limits. He has the 6L6 version of the amp. He corrected me about the number of EL84's made, I thought the number was 80' John said the number was closer to 150. The Weber Browner ,said John' was not necessary, still knowing that it is an outboard accessory and not a component that need be installed it's not a bad idea to look into it as an extra insurance policy. I have the amp sitting here as soon as I post this I'm gonna stop worrying about it and just play it. Hav'nt forgotten about those pix, I'll get them up pretty soon. Thanks for the input slider

(This message was last edited by McLean at 06:02 PM, Apr 21st, 2016)

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / vitage fender tremolux amp circa 1961/62




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