If you want a classic Fender sound without trying your luck at a pawn shop, the Fender Reissue ’65 Deluxe Reverb is well worth the cost of admission.
The Fender Deluxe Reverb is one of the most recorded amps in musical history. From country and blues to rock and jazz, the amp has long been favored for its rich tones and relative portability. It’s getting harder and harder to find an original Deluxe Reverb that doesn’t require serious restoration, so the folks at Fender have been kind enough to reissue the ’65 Deluxe Reverb so mere mortals can have a shot at these classic tones. Since it’s a reissue, we have to ask the tough question – is it worthy of the name? Let’s find out.
The 65′ Deluxe Reverb Reissue is a 22W 1×12″ combo features 2 channels, tube spring reverb, tube vibrato, and a tube rectifier. The speaker is a single 12″ Jensen C-12K. The normal channel features controls for volume, treble, and bass. The vibrato channel sports controls for volume, treble, bass, reverb, speed, and intensity. The amp features traditional Fender black textured vinyl and a silver grille cloth. Weighing 42 lbs, the amp also features a footswitch to disengage the reverb and the vibrato if needed. The all tube combo is powered by a pair of 6V6 power amp tubes, one 5AR4 rectifier tube, four 12AX7 preamp tubes, and two 12AT7 tubes for reverb and vibrato.
I tested the Deluxe Reverb Reissue with a 57′ Reisue Fender Stratocaster and a newer Gibson Les Paul Standard, just to see if it could handle a wide array of pickups. I decided to test the normal channel first. Since it doesn’t use the vibrato or reverb, I thought this would be a good channel to test a multi-effects unit. I opted for the Boss ME-70.
The first thing that you’ll likely notice is that this amp is very loud. The 22W power rating doesn’t really do it justice. Unless you’re opening for Ted Nugent at an outdoor festival, you could use the amp in a small to medium club and be just fine. It’s an easy amp to mic, so it’s a versatile amp for a wide variety of situations. The normal channel only has controls for volume, treble, and bass, but I didn’t find it lacking. I was able to turn this channel up pretty loud before there was any hint of breaking up. Even when cranked, I didn’t discern any serious rattle or hum from the cabinet, a testimony to Fender’s continued quality. More important to me, all of the sounds from my Boss ME-70 sounded very good through this channel. It’s kind of funny hearing a “death metal” distortion being cranked through a vintage-looking amp, but it sounded great.
I was most interested in the second channel. Having played my share of “real” vintage Deluxe Reverb amps, I was curious how the vibrato and reverb sounded in the reissue models in addition to my own array of pedals. Playing around with the controls, I was able to get a touch of overdrive when cranking the second channel, but it’s got to get pretty darn loud for that to take place. It’s a happening sound, especially for blues or roots rock, but not very usable for my needs. Fortunately, the vibrato channel is as “pedal friendly” as the normal channel. Pedals from Boss, Fulltone, and Visual Sound all sounded first rate here. There is no effects loop, so if you want any modulation or time based effects, you’ll need to place them carefully in your chain. Perhaps the most welcome surprise about the vibrato channel is the quality of the reverb and tremolo itself (note: even though Fender calls it a vibrato, it’s technically tremolo). I might get reamed by some vintage snobs for this claim, but here goes. I found the reverb and tremolo much better – fuller and more range of adjustment – with the reissue than the original.
If you want a classic Fender sound without trying your luck at a pawn shop, the Fender Reissue ’65 Deluxe Reverb is well worth the cost of admission. While it lacks such contemporary appointments as effects loops and channel switching, it does offer two pedal-friendly clean sounds in a classic package. Neither the price and the weight of this little beauty is enough to break you. If you need a club or studio amp workhorse, the Deluxe Reverb reissue is worth a look.
Name of Gear: Fender Deluxe Reverb Vintage Reissue
List Price: $1,399.99
Manufacturer Info: Fender Musical Instruments; fender.com
Pros: Excellent clean sounds; lightweight and powerful; beautiful reverb and tremolo
Cons: None significant