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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / The difference between blackface and silverface amps?

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kart24
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Vacaville CA

Runs with scissors !!
Jun 11th, 2017 08:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm sure this has been discussed before but it's been awhile. My Fender collection only consists of blackface amps just because they seem be be more collectable. Are they really that much different?

Peegoo
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between the raindrops
Jun 11th, 2017 09:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

One or two components, really (depending on the circuit).

Generally, "blackfacing" a silverface involves removing a few small parts.

And blackface amps don't necessarily sound better than silverface amps.

Don't get too hung up on the tired ol' "blackface is better than silverface" discussion.

Practice your guitar playing and that will get you better tone anyway :o)

Guitar Fool
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Sunshine State

Just a pawn in someone else's game
Jun 12th, 2017 09:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Don't get too hung up on the tired ol' "blackface is better than silverface" discussion. "

almost as bad as maple vs rosewood!


I can remember when people sneered at the silverface amps.....



Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Jun 12th, 2017 09:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I can remember when people sneered at the silverface amps....."

Some still do!

There are a few clunkers in the early silver face lot like the "skinny wire" Twin of late '68 & '69. Fender for the most part reversed the detrimental changes and the amps got better 1970 and onward. Changes from fixed adjustable bias to bias balance to help quiet the amps appeared about this time.

Many models, mostly smaller amps changed very little in the silverface era.

Personally I like the looks of the drip edge SF amps better than any. Many(most) of these early "black line" SF amps had black face circuitry. (AB763 or equivalent)

Major changes started in '76 with the ultra linear designs in the larger amps. Some like them some don't.

I do like the construction of the BF cabinets over later SF units. Fender IMO made a mistake when finger jointed pine went away in favor of particle board.



jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Jun 12th, 2017 11:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I prefer the blackface amps, and agree that the drip edge models that still retain the BF circuit are cool looking.

btw, still have the Pro Reverb?



Hammond101
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So. Cal. USA

Jun 12th, 2017 12:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Unfortunately no. I sold the Pro when the economy tanked along with the Super Reverb of the same year :-(

BbendFender
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American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Jun 12th, 2017 12:27 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a '65 Pro Reverb but when I play, I use silver face Princeton Reverb or Deluxe Reverb.
Not one person in any audience will know the difference.

jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Jun 12th, 2017 12:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

was referring to the OP Hammond, he bought a mint one from me a long time ago....


Hammond101
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So. Cal. USA

Jun 12th, 2017 01:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No worries, Now ya know my history!

keithb7

Canada

Jun 12th, 2017 07:10 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There are still folks around who believe BF is better. So the myth carries on. For many of us who own both models, we know better. The SF amps are great amps and better built than any Fender amp since about 1983-on. It holds its own just fine against a BF amp.

Someday it will matter little. As generations change the myths will too fade. I'm sure Thomas Edison and Nikolai Tesla participated arguements over which was better. Edison's filament light bulb or Tessa's flourscent tube. It matters little today as generations change.

(This message was last edited by keithb7 at 09:11 PM, Jun 12th, 2017)

kart24
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Vacaville CA

Runs with scissors !!
Jun 12th, 2017 08:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I sold the Pro Reverb that I got from you about 2 years ago. The guy I sold it to had an old '66 Pro Reverb just like it. His was well used and repaired many times. He was going throw a bunch of $$$ into it and still have what looked like a piece of crap. I told him about mine and he had to have it right then. I do miss it now.

kart24
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Vacaville CA

Runs with scissors !!
Jun 12th, 2017 08:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I didn't play the Pro reverb very much. It was just part of my collection. I still have a B/F Vibroverb, a Deluxe Reverb, and a couple of complete Showmans.

Someday they will be on the market. I have multiple bass rigs for playing out that I rotate back and forth. I'm really a bass player. Dave

slider313

NC

Jun 12th, 2017 09:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No myth here. I'll take the blackface every time. I've owned both and "blackfaced" more than a few silverface amps. There's a difference AFAIC. CBS cutting corners: cabinet construction, fixed baffle, velcro grill, cheap plastic wire that melts if your iron gets too close, sloppy lead dress, suppression caps, balance bias, power transformer spec changes going to a 5U4GB,etc., etc.

swampyankee
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olde New England

If you can't play good, play loud
Jun 13th, 2017 06:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Problem is, blackface era amps are uber collectible, and expensive. Out if reach and impractiCal for this gigging musician.
I've used various 90's and newer Fender amps with good result, and I consider using a nice silverface amp a real vintage treat

pcalu

usa metro detroit

Jun 14th, 2017 05:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"No myth here. I'll take the blackface every time. I've owned both and "blackfaced" more than a few silverface amps."

bla bla bla....

Not to be a douche... But Yes it's a Myth... In many models, there were NO changes besides the faceplate or a resistor value here or there. The real change came much later. (and that means construction materials too.) Open a 1970 Deluxe, Vibrolux, Super etc not much difference in the layout from a BF era amp. 1968-69 are the only years that Fender really changed the schematics and then changed them back or close to the originals. You want to point to a component value change of say a slope resistor going from say 85k to a 100k and purpose a BF is $2k more in value and also sounds better... I'll think your nuts. Or when Fender went to the plastic insulated wire (Cheap wire... your words not mine) Why did they do that? Because they insulated better than cloth. They were trying to cut corners and not dress lead lines etc. So which wire insulates better, the BF cloth or the SF plastic? ) Or you want to point to leads not being neatly dressed... WHEN THERE IS NO AUDIO HUM (as in most SF era amps) and think a BF sounds better? Again I'll think your nuts ( If ya can't hear any interference ... then IMO "performance wise..." having the lines dressed or not is a moot point) Unless ya want to stare at the inside of the amp all day... then ya sure ya got a valid point...

Oh and a 5u4GB Ummm... That's a rectifier that sags and causes the amp to break up earlier than a BF' GZ34... it's kinda much more preferred in today's music don't ya think...?

Ge...e use a rectifier that as far as voltage output is as close to SS rectification as you can get, or use a rectifier that sags and causes early break up. Today,,, Most people not into SS rectification would go for the 5u4gb.


Myth indeed...

(This message was last edited by pcalu at 07:52 PM, Jun 14th, 2017)

jazzguy

Philly, B-3 Capital

don't dream it be it
Jun 15th, 2017 08:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Oh and a 5u4GB Ummm... That's a rectifier that sags and causes the amp to break up earlier than a BF' GZ34... it's kinda much more preferred in today's music don't ya think...?"

not for me


slider313

NC

Jun 15th, 2017 11:37 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Or you want to point to leads not being neatly dressed... WHEN THERE IS NO AUDIO HUM (as in most SF era amps) and think a BF sounds better?"

Not to be a douche, but you have your opinion and I have mine. There wasn't a problem with hum from the lead dress, there was a problem with parasitic oscillation. This is why they used the parasitic suppression caps.

(This message was last edited by slider313 at 03:38 PM, Jun 15th, 2017)

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Jun 15th, 2017 05:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"There wasn't a problem with hum from the lead dress, there was a problem with parasitic oscillation. This is why they used the parasitic suppression caps."

^^This^^

Yeah, a black face conversion is not complete until the wire has been swapped for solid push back cloth and the leads properly dressed. It stays where you put it.

Steve Dallman
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Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Jun 16th, 2017 08:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Fender was trying to reduce distortion in their amps. The SF changes were in the works while Leo was still there.

The Phase Inverter was changed. Lowered resistance to reduce PI distortion...the biggest part of "power amp distortion" as the PI breaks up before the power tubes, and the power tubes amplify that distortion.

Due to increased difficulty in the supply of 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier tubes, Fender switched to the more available 5U4. Since the 5U4 has more voltage drop, Fender increased the power of the power transformer, although this increase is not noted on schematics. 5AR4 availibilty has gotten better due to current tube manufacturers. The change to 5U4's does not really affect tone, as the same voltages are maintained.

The switch from solid wire to stranded did introduce the chance of parasitic oscillation so suppression caps were added, and they cut highs around 6k and up, but affect lower trebles. I've removed them from many amps without problems.

Remove the caps and then monitor the output transformer temp when you play the amp. The oscillations are not really audible, but will cause the transformer to heat up if present.

The bias circuit was changed from bias adjust, to bias balance. Most who blackface SF amps change it back. Better to leave the balance (which is set by ear to the least hum) and simply add a bias adjust.

In most SF Fenders there is a 15k resistor soldered to the body of the bias control. Replace that with a 20k pot in series with a 5k resistor. I use a multiturn trimpot.

(Remove the ground wires from the power tube sockets and solder in 1 ohm metal film or oxide resistors to make an easy way to measure the bias. Measure the voltage from pin 8 to ground, across the new resistor, and it will equal the milliamps the tube is drawing.

One problem with the wiring is how much wire they used. One tech I know shortened the stranded wire, just taking out excess, and removed almost 2 feet. The owner wanted a quieter amp and was rather anal about it. I do like that some of the new wire is shielded.

(This tech ended up even moving the tone control components to the controls, as per the customer's orders.)

The SF changes tightened the amps up and removed some of the "sparkle" and complexity of the blackface amps. Blackfacing is not extreme, but is generally accepted as a positive thing. I have done a LOT of SF amps.

One positive thing is the SF reverb changes. I have not met anyone who changed the circuitry to BF specs. (SF is slightly stronger and fuller...slightly....)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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I walk

between the raindrops
Jun 16th, 2017 03:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The fact that Fender has "re-issued" a few silverface models says there must be a demand for 'em. Yeah--I know they're not built the same.

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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / The difference between blackface and silverface amps?




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