Hi Steve – I hope all is well with you and that you are staying safe and sane. I have a number of questions I would love to ask you, but will start with 1.
I am new to using 2 amps on stage and running effects in stereo. I am wondering how you set yours up. Is the Delay and Reverb going to 1 amp and the other amp is totally “dry”?
Thanks so much Steve! I am also wondering if you teach lessons or do phone calls to discuss playing/gear/music? (I sent you a message on TGP, so don’t mean to bombard you, but saw this and thought it would be a better way to reach out.
Thanks so much Steve!
Hey Steve & ADAM,
It’s GREAT to have found this area of your website, Steve. This is a great topic/question. For a long time, I’ve also emulated and taken influence from your rig[s] and playing style. I’ve found that a wet/dry rig-even using a small BF Vibro Champ paired with a Tweed Deluxe style amps [both of which I built for myself and are not stock-heavily modded for restricted bandwidth and high headroom within that bandwidth-lots of power supply mods and grounding mods on each] work extremely well. I tend to split the signal right after my overdrives/clena boost. Either I go into some type of stereo pedal [a Strymon typically] OR a passive transformer coupled splitter box-and out to each amp. To one, I go dry-which is only overdrive/boost signal. To the other I may add a delay, flange, chorus, etc.
It sound is IMMENSE. I am currently playing in a fairly loud classic rock trio and can easily keep up with a heavy handed drummer and bassist.
I also use swap out the Tweed for a Silverface Princeton Reverb Reissue [inexpensive PCB but sounds pretty darn good for a kick around amp] in combination with that Vibro Champ I mentioned earlier. That Champ is actually a lot more than the typical fare. It’s heavily modded with a stiffer power supply, grounding scheme, a 6L6 and an Allen Xfmr. It is probably as loud or louder than the Princeton. But the point is that even a pair of small amps when combined well can disrupt space-time.
Steve-your rig is beautiful and humble. As is your playing-more than the sum of it’s parts. Kudos!
I’m not hip to the Suhr Bella, but I’d consider both Super Reverb and Deluxe Reverb as outliers (to some degree) to the mainstream BF thing.
The Super because it’s a “package” with the 4×10 and 2 ohm OT, and the Deluxe because of the 6V6’s.
Those can both be fantastic amps in any application, but the straight down the middle Blackface stuff is 6L6’s and 4 ohm OT imo.
Tremolux, Bandmaster, Bassman, Dual Showman, those are all straight down the middle non-reverb amp heads with varying degrees of power, easily mixed and matched to various speakers and cabs of varying impedance and efficiency.
Just as matter of economy and flexibility, if you’re already running a Super Reverb or Deluxe Reverb you don’t necessarily need the spring reverb; might as well go for a non-reverb 6L6 head.
Cheaper, and they’ll do all the tricks you need to put them in a support role in a two amp rig.
Of course there’s a big pile of super attractive BF reverb amps, Vibrolux, Pro, Twin, Vibroverb, misc. others, but if you’re shopping now you’re hip to the diff in price between a Bandmaster head and BF Vibroverb.
You get the idea. .
It really depends most on what results you hope to achieve at what loudness.
Louder, cleaner, headroom, vs. more sag and gain at lower volume.
Its not rocket science, just don’t buy more power than you need.
There’s nothing monolithic about the BF Fender population, just like price, performance is a function of originality and condition.
There’s always going to be great ones and dogs for every amp model, year, and circuit you’re going for, and you don’t know until you plug em in.
The ideal “original mint pre-CBS” routine isn”t always the one you need.
My main east coast Bandmaster is a dog, non-original OT, all beat up, works great, reliable, and in the two amp rig the way I use it, 3×10 along side a stock 1×15 brown Pro, its perfect. $400.
Same deal with my little BF Tremolux, wrong OT, should have just passed on it but for 500 bucks I took the chance and that amp sounds better than most of my stuff and draws even with the best I’ve got.
Anyway, point is you don’t have to spend a lot of money, and the low power BF non-reverb stuff can be awesome even if it’s all fk’d up on a collectibility level.
And finally. .
if you’re just looking for another Fender amp and you don’t care if it’s blackface, the best sounding amp Fender ever made might be the tweed 4×10 Bassman.
Even the reissues sound good, I use them all the time as backline.
yeah, easier to catch me here, i haven’t been to TGP in years. .
Lots of ways to do the two amp thing, depends on the amps and effects and the sound you’re after.
These days I’m mostly using old Fender amps, so no effects loops, and the signal splits to the inputs of both amps via stereo L/R outputs of my last effect.
Normally a Stereo WET reverb pedal.
The WET pedal also has two inputs so i run my old RV-2 ping-pong echo before the reverb, because stereo. .
A bunch of gigs lately have just been Bandmaster Reverb and Filmosound projector amp, so the reverb’s in the amp.
There’s no stereo split, I plug into input #1 on the Fender and daisy chain the Filmosound from input #2.
in that scenario, the Bandmaster’s wet and the projector amp is dry, but I’ve only been doing that for a couple of months.
Odd’s are you’re referring to an earlier set-up, but i wanted to be up to date in my reply.
I really, really, like the current analog spring implementation a lot, if you have an amp with onboard spring reverb, try that first.
The old routine with the Dumble/Boogie stuff used digital stereo effects from the effects loops, which is ideal if you want higher gain sounds, but it sacrifices some playing dynamics.
Whatever you’re doing with two amps, the one constant is the bass response really gangs up in a hurry.
You’ll need to dial in less bass with two amps.
With the bigger amps and cabs, 50 watts or more, 2×12 etc, between the low frequency response of the output transformer and the box resonance and coupling footprint of the big cabs, you might set the bass to zero.
Anyway, two amps is fun! Doesn’t have to be two big amps, the Bandmaster/Filmosound thing is awesome, and it doesn’t have to be stereo, much as i like my RV-2 ping pong delay in stereo.
Just two amps in parallel (bimonaural?) seems to do the trick.
re: lessons, contact email@example.com and we’ll get you set up.
Thanks so much for the input! What would you recommend as a good compliment to a Blackface style amp (Super Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, Suhr Bella) to run together – and any recs on some options for that style of amp?