Blackface Overhaul

We can get your blackface amp sounding and performing better than it ever has. As part of the standard maintenance/tune-up service, we clean all pots, jacks & switches, clean & re-tension all tube sockets, test all tubes, bias power tubes, tighten all pots, jacks, switches & transformers, and give the entire circuit an exam.

We pride ourselves in restoring your vintage Fender to tip top condition, sounding better than it ever has, while maintaining the integrity of the original circuit.

A full electrolytic recap is often required in original amps.

As part of the service we dial in the blackface circuit (called blueprinting) – certain key components are replaced if out of spec. This is typically more ‘involved’ in the 1967 blackface amps due to a specific resistor type used by CBS in that year.

The original blue ‘molded’ signal caps are some of the best caps ever made, regarding tone, performance, and longevity! Those stay in!! If your amp had those caps removed for some unfortunate reason, we can restore the circuit using Jupiter Condenser ‘vintage tone’ series signal capacitors. These sound remarkably close to the original blues.

Shop rates are $90/hour plus parts. A typical complete blackface overhaul takes about 2 hours, and tends to average around $250 – $400 for the full treatment, depending on selection of certain components – NOS or new production carbon comp resistors, tube condition, etc. This estimate allows a new preamp tube or two, but does not include the price of a full re-tube if needed or desired.

We prefer to replace certain resistors that do get noisy over time such as the plate resistors in the preamp, bias board resistor, screen grid resistors on the power tubes, and power drop resistors in the power supply. This ensures a quiet and reliable circuit for years to come. If these resistors are not changed, you’re rolling the dice. They might be quiet for years, or they might get noisy tomorrow! We ‘d rather not see the amp on the bench again any time soon.

If you choose to keep you blackface amp circuit dead stock, we are more than happy to oblige! However, there are some folks who like to get a little more variety from their blackface amp. Again we are happy to oblige! The following are all minor modifications, easily reversible if you ever want to return the amp to stock, original condition. We WILL NOT drill your blackface amp for a mod, so don’t ask 😉

The popular mods in blackface amps include:

Sexy Vibrato: This mod allows a much slower range on the vibrtato speed knob! Fast stays fast, but the slow end gets considerably slower. VERY useful and players love this mod. If you’re a vibrato fan this is highly recommended.

Tweed Preamp: We convert the first (normal) ch to a tweed preamp! The tweed preamp mod in the normal channel is an excellent option and a great voicing. Thicker tone with more midrange emphasis and lends itself towards earlier breakup. It gives you another whole tone option at your fingertips, and still full-on classic Fender!

Reverb & Vibrato in both channels: This is exactly what it says, and is a great idea if you convert the normal ch to a tweed preamp! This mod also allows you to use both channels at the same time! I like to gig with an A/B/Y footswitch. I dial in one ch for rhythm, one for lead, and can use both for a big boost!

Easy Gain Boost: This is also an excellent mod – it’s a new potentiometer that gets installed in place of the existing intensity pot. There’s a switch on the pot that lets you “click” the vibrato out of the circuit for a noticeable gain boost. No cosmetic change on the front panel! If you use your vibrato regularly then we do not recommend this mod.

We like to send the player back a blackface amp that blows away the tone & performance of the amp that was sent in!

After an overhaul, your amp will be good to go for a very long time circuit wise.
Current turnaround time is approx 10 – 20 business days.

Please take a look at our Facebook page (Vintage Fender Amp Repair) to see some photos of recent repairs and restorations on tweed and blackface amps!

Please let us know if you have any questions at all!