Top 10 Fender Guitar Amplifiers
There are so many great Fender amplifiers on the market today as well as numerous vintage amps that go back to the dawn of when Fender started making these amplifiers. This top 10 list compiles my favorites from what you can expect to find in shops as of August, 2013. These selection of amps not only offer excellent tone, they have a quality of sound that are unmatched. These are not in any particular order other than I have selected my personal favorites from everything I have been lucky enough to own or try over the years.
The Fender Eric Clapton Tremolux
This “little” amplifier sounds huge. Not only does The EC amplifier have a power attenuation switch on-board to go between 6 and 12 watts it’s one of the fattest amps I have ever heard. It will poke through a mix like there’s no tomorrow. It breaks up in all the right ways. If you like your vintage tweed amp hairy tones, it doesn’t get much better than this. These are hand wired point to point so they do cost a lot more than a regular amplifier but the tone speaks for itself. It’s a very portable amp as it doesn’t take much space in the car or on stage. There is no reverb, regular EQ controls – just a volume, tone and Tremolo control. It’s nice and Simple.
The Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue
This 22 Watt amplifier features 12AX7 and 6V6 Tubes giving you a nice clean tone until you start to push it. The Fender Deluxe Reverb is famous for it’s wonderful natural power amplifier overdrive at high volumes. It records well and takes pedals better than most amplifiers of it’s kind. One of the best things about this amp you can turn the Reverb and Vibrato effects on and off with a footswitch. Both of these onboard analog effects are very musical and the amp is light enough walk with from your car to the gig or rehearsal room.
Fender Blues Junior III
You see these amplifiers EVERYWHERE and there’s a reason for it! Not only are they well priced they are very easy to get a good sound from. While these are the only amps to my knowledge that Fender make that sport EL84 Tubes (like a Vox AC-15), it still retains that “Fender Sound” with a bit more of an edge. There’s also a million mods you can find for these amps but the biggest mod is usually a speaker change which will drastically change the vibe of the amplifier. The stock speaker in the Blues Junior III amps still sound good but there are better choices if you’re interested in doing some research. These amps also record pretty well and the added “Fat Boost” button can really thicken them out nicely. The Fender Blues Junior amp is loud enough for smaller gigs but they love being mic’d up at bigger shows. The amp tone suits anything from Blues to Classic Rock.
The ’65 Fender Twin Reverb / Fender Twin Amp
(Video is the modern “Twin Amp” Version with the drive channel)
The Fender Twin amps are sought after for the “Fender clean tone” that a lot of fender amps can’t do at LOUD volumes. This 100 watt combo is loud and clean. If you want an amp that does clean up loud, this is it. It’s the choice of many players out there who either love a pristine clean tone or layer up their sounds with pedals. The thing about the Twin amplifier that put me off it was it’s very, very heavy! This is more of your classic clean tone amplifier, while a Fender De-Ville to my ear has more of a modern sound. This 2×12 combination can be found on stages all over the World. Fender released a newer version of the twin that featured a drive channel and a 1/4 output power attenuation switch which allows you to go from 100 watts to 25 watts for playing smaller rooms. When most people think of a Twin they are talking about the vintage reissues or the real deal older amps.
Fender Super-Sonic 60
What can I say, I am a huge fan of the Fender Super-Sonic 60. Not only does it have two really musical clean channels, it features the best drive channel tone ever created by Fender in my humble opinion. I like the Super-Sonic 22 but the thing is, it just sounded like a small amp and didn’t have enough volume in certain situations – this is where the Super-Sonic 60 comes in. The 6L6 output tubes gives this 60 watt amp a nice fat and round sound which seems to work great with the stock Vintage 30 speaker. Wind up the mids on the Drive channel and you have a thick, punch you in the chest sort of tone. This is an amp you could use without any pedals.
Fender Blues Deluxe
One of the biggest mistakes I made was getting rid of this amplifier. The Blues Deluxe has a fantastic clean channel which breaks up about 4-5 on the volume and a really musical EQ section that can add lots of low warm bass as well as chimey top end. The Fender Blues Deluxe looks the business as well featuring a tweed covered cabinet. What I like about this amp over the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is the fact this has a clean and a drive channel and no “more drive” setting. The more drive setting was never very useful for me personally so I didn’t feel it added anything good to the sound. The only downside is the stock Eminence that comes with this speaker is pretty horrible, changing it over to anything else should be a change for the better. It’s a shame Fender still sell this amp with those horrible stock speakers. The stock speaker might ease up over time but why wait, put something like a WGS or Lorantz speaker in there and you’re laughing.
Fender Super Reverb
While I have never owned a Fender Super Reverb by Fender, I did come close a few time to buying one. The things to remember when buying a Super Reverb is, they sound best LOUD, they are huge so they’ll sometimes leave very little space in certain types of cars, they are quite heavy too so get some wheels, a trolley/dolly or start working out more. These side issues are sometimes not enough for epic tone. If you want a killer Fender amp that sounds great cranked and you’re able to turn it up at your shows, go for it! The new versions sound awesome and when the time comes for me to get one, I’ll be buying it new. They come loaded with 4 x 10″ Jensen speakers which are the business.
The Fender Excelsior. Raw, Rockin’ and inexpensive.
I never thought a Chinese Fender amp would land in my top 10. But for the price, this is old school vintage tone loaded with a raspy sounding 15″ custom speaker. With simple controls this is an excellent amp for recording, small gigs or just jamming at home. There’s no reverb but it has a really nice onboard Tremolo dial, volume control and a bright/dark switch. These are worth checking out and can easily be modded to suit your needs. The first thing to do is change the tubes to JJ tubes or something other than the stock ones and listen to the amp come alive. The stock tubes rattle a lot and it’s really annoying to hear, once the tubes are changed this amp cooks.
This is another awesome amplifier that has to be turned up too really be appreciated. They are warm, big, fat and super-loud! I wish I did more gigs where I could take a 4 x 10″ speaker amp in and let loose. The amps natural distortion is really nice and it’s used by a lot of blues and classic rock style players. It’s also not as heavy as other amps like the Fender Super Reverb and Twin so it could be a good choice if you’re after a larger style amp. There’s no Reverb either, so it might no suit everyone but if you’re into raw and rich tone and you’re able to really turn up at your shows, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
Fender ’57 Bandmaster
This ’57 Fender Bandmaster amplifier features a 3 x 10″ speaker configuration. If you dig the old school tweed tones check it out. Some people might find the high end too spiky but it’s all personal taste. That said, the EQ section is really musical and it sounds very rich and warm in a live situation. This is a 26 watt amplifier but it really packs a punch. Once you wind it up past 4 or 5 it starts breaking up. It takes pedals really well too so like many other Fender amps you can work your pedals to push it in any direction you like. If you like the pristine cleans of a Twin, you won’t like this amplifier. Think of it is a bigger Fender Tremolux (at the top of this post).
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Fender Super Champ X2, Fender Princton, Vibro-King, De-Ville 2×12, ’65 Twin Custom and many, many more.
There are so many great amps from Fender – these are my personal pick of 10 I remember or enjoy most. It’s all personal choice if your amp is not on here, I either haven’t used it or it’s not my thing. I did intentionally stay away from any of the practice amps as well because I was focusing on stuff I have used in live shows.