Posted by Mike Pascale on
THE “RE-ISSUE” BLACKFACE AMPLIFIERS
When people hear the term “re-issue” used in conjunction with vintage musical equipment, the assumption is often made that the “re-issue” is an exact copy of the original, down to the very last detail. If only this were the case!
While the modern “re-issue” blackface amps might share the same schematic & cosmetics as their blackface ancestors, almost every other detail is quite different from the original. Where original blackface amplifiers were hand made in the USA using relatively high quality components, most re-issues are constructed outside of the US utilizing printed circuit board (PCB) technology, and often integrating underrated components into the circuitry. These amps are very difficult to work on (often requiring a good amount of time just to remove the chassis from the cabinet) and are prone to breakdowns and recurring problems. Many controls & jacks are physically soldered directly to the circuit board. These fragile connections tend to break over time just from the physical stress associated with turning a knob or plugging your guitar into the amp. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but they all eventually tend to crap out.
This website offers no compatibility with the re-issue blackface amps. None of our kits are designed to work on the re-issue blackface Fenders. If you have a re-issue, you’re on your own. Sure, they sound better than lots of the crap out there, but believe me, they eventually break down. And they can be VERY expensive to fix.
Given the current ebay prices, silverface Fenders are the best bargain out there for the tone-seeking musician. Just a little know how and TLC turns these little gems into absolute monsters. When taken care of, they will easily outlive their human owners.
If your re-issue still functions without any issues at all, our advise (from both an investors & players viewpoint) is to SELL IT and buy a silverface with the money BEFORE it breaks down. The silverface amps are rapidly appreciating in value as vintage collector pieces. In 10 years, your blackface re-issue won’t be worth squat (if it still works), but your vintage silverface Fender should be worth a good deal more than what you paid for it. Blackface re-issues depreciate the second you walk out of the music store with them.
I apologize if I sound blunt or harsh, but there you go. I do have a biased opinion on the subject… (my ears & wallet)!!!
On the other hand, the TWEED RE-ISSUES are reportedly all hand-wired and made right here on US soil. So far the examples I’ve heard sound great, and are close replicas of the originals. A MUCH better deal for the investor & tone hound alike…