FDP Home Page / FDP Forum / FAQ's

The FDP is made possible by the following companies and individual members like you.
Please use the links below to show them we value their sponsorship.

Jensen Loudspeakers


Apex Tube Matching

Amplified Parts

Antique Electronics Supply

Yellowjackets Tube Converters


WD Music

* God bless America and our men and women in uniform *

* Illegitimi non carborundum! *

If you benefit and learn from the FDP and enjoy our site, please help support us and become a Contributing Member or make a Donation today! The FDP counts on YOU to help keep the site going with an annual contribution. It's quick and easy with PayPal. Please do it TODAY!

Chris Greene, Host & Founder



Find musicians
in your area!
  Search the Forums  

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Dispelling myths about late 70s Fenders


usa metro detroit

Mar 25th, 2018 07:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

There is much on the internet about the mid to late 70s Silverface amps with linear transformers, however, most of the information malign these Fenders

Imo.. most of it just comes down to not understanding what Fender was doing with their amps at that time

The mid to late 70s where Marshall reigned supreme and Rock and Pop artist looked to push amp saturation levels to new heights, Fender's direction missed its mark and literally fell upon deft ears. Fender aimed for more powerful amps with higher headroom and a more dynamic clean response. Thus the linear transformer was employed. Understand that Linear transformer makes a power tube operate between a tetrode and a pentode, thus greatly reducing negative feedback, creating incredible dynamic clean tones. To Country, Jazz and Blues players Fender's direction was seen as a success. Yet today we read a lot of "bad" press about these amps.

What they do are so often taken out of context on the internet.

Example: The Master Volume: Not designed to create a saturated overdrive, but to push the intensity of the amps clean punch, thickness, and dynamics. The MV is often mistaken as a tone sucker for not pushing the amp into overdrive. Setting the MV on 1 and pushing the volume to 10 got a clean tone with compression and sustain, but little to no overdrive. The compression is seen as a tone sucker (mainly by people who were expecting a Black face or Marshall type overdrive) The MV was never designed for true saturation. A linear amp by its very nature struggles with saturation. Secondly, To get sparkling single coil type cleans. The Pull/Push MV treble boost was designed with humbuckers in mind. Todays it's seen as a nasty boost practically useless. But if you got a humbucker guitar, experiment with rolling back the amps mids and treble then engaging the boost.. you will see what Fender meant the boost to do.

Here is where the rubber meets the road!

Fender's linear amps accentuate natural harmonics of intervals (major 3rds, minor 3rds, perfect 5ths etc) like few amps can. Due to linear transformers being used in Hi fidelity applications, Chordal articulation and definition are outstanding in a Fender amp of the era.

If you play clean with dynamism (fast flat picking or hybrid country chicken picking etc..) few amps are going to keep up with one of these linear amps. They truly are in a class all by themselves for playing clean... just ask any lap steel guitar player.

If you can deal with the weight (a modern luggage carrier might be the ticket as far as transportation) they are to be found fairly cheap.

If you're playing style is grounded in Country or Jazz.. totally worth checking them out

(This message was last edited by pcalu at 09:51 AM, Mar 25th, 2018)

Doc Sarvis
Contributing Member

USA/Salt Lake City

Tuned Strings and Tight Lines
Mar 25th, 2018 11:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

This is consistent with my understanding of 70's Fender amps but I loved the detail.


usa metro detroit

Mar 27th, 2018 07:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

This is "inconsistent" with my understanding of 70's Fender amps but I loved the detail.

or is it

This is consistent with my understanding of 70s fender amps "and" I loved the detail.

which is it?

If you meant inconsistent, I'd agree. A) usually people who say negative things about 70's Fenders 90% of the time actually have never played one. Thier talking BS. Its 2018 and Blackface or Silverface Fenders don't grow on trees. B) because of the rarity and nostalgia factor of a Blackface, if one does own one or get to play on it, 99% of the time it's in tip-top shape. But with the Silverface amps, 50% of the time it seems that's not the case. . Now the ones that are reconditioned in great shape sound amazing (as good as Blackfaces minus the nostalgia factor, which I don't know how that adds to the sound quality, but with BF guys it does) Any Silver face owner who has one in good shape will tell you they are great sounding amps (in league with their BF forefathers) But we are talking linear Fenders (the late 70's) which as stated above, for 30 plus years been totally misunderstood. Take the Twin Reverb 77-82: 135 Watts (AA270 is the schematic) it was designed to be played clean. Most don't get that.. nor appreciate just how well those amps sound (if working right) playing in a clean format. Speakers are another factor.. old tired Oxfords and it probably won't impress, however with something modern.. oh yea!

With everything, I typed above... Without a doubt, late 70s linear Fender's are a unique taste. You have to be into playing clean, say Country, Blues or Jazz.

(This message was last edited by pcalu at 09:58 PM, Mar 27th, 2018)

Contributing Member


I say stuff
Mar 28th, 2018 04:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

It looks like he typed “consistent.”

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Mar 28th, 2018 07:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think they are great amps if you need a clean pedal platform or a clean tone. As stated they do this very well. I've restored a few UL Twin Reverbs and they sound very deep and pleasing. The UL 40 (60) watt amps are a bit different to my ears. A bit less sensitive and responsive. There are some that just kill it as well.

I'm not knocking UL Fenders. They will however by design not do what a BF (circuit)amp will. Two different animals. And so it goes. All of the different vintage era amps have their own characteristics, tweed, brown, some blonde, BF and SF. Just pick the one that suits you and make it reliable with a good servicing.

Steve Dallman

Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
May 30th, 2018 07:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

The silverface changes in Fender amps were already planned when Leo sold Fender. The purpose was to improve reliability and reduce distortion, which Leo knew, guitar players didn't want distortion.

The UL changes were economic. Two UL taps were considerably cheaper than a choke so the change was made. Fender could also up the power which was what they did think customers were looking for.

I've changed many of the pre-PI, ineffective masters with post PI masters that work great.

In the 70's, with the master volume silverfaces we used an EHX LPB-1 preamp to produce enough signal to break up the amp's preamp.

Contributing Member

American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
May 30th, 2018 08:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

All of my Fender amps are either 60's or 70's and I like the way all of them perform.
When I bought my only master volume Fender I thought it was going to be great but I sold it and went back to using my '65 Super Reverb.

FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Dispelling myths about late 70s Fenders

Reply to this Topic
Display my email address             Lost your password?
Your Message:
Link Address (URL):
Link Title:

Moderators: Chris Greene  Iron Man  reverendrob  

FDP, LLC Privacy Policy: Your real name, username, and email
are held in confidence and not disclosed to any third parties, sold, or
used for anything other than FDP Forum registration unless you specifically authorize disclosure.

Internet Application Development

Copyright © 1999-2019 Fender Discussion Page, LLC   All Rights Reserved