Other Amps

Amp advice…Deluxe Reverb, or other?


Ok so I have a Gretsch Executive, and a Fender CVR with the Moyer Mods but my sleeper is my Swart AST MK2 with the Celestion Gold 12" speaker. Built in verb and trem. Plug it in. Let 'er rip. It doesn't disappoint. (Mmmm...reminds me of the old days)


One of those is mine. Bob is keeping it for me till I have room.

– Proteus

Oh, is that so?


There are many, many great amps out there, including my '84 KMD GV 60, which is incredibly clean, or the Epiphone Blues Custom, the "glassiest" glass I've ever heard, but there simply is no sound like the sound of a Fender Deluxe Reverb!

Know it, own it, use it!



Mid-Wattage Non-DR Amps I Like (which is what these threads generally become anyway...)

Peavey Classic 30, pre-redesign. Always and forever. I just can't find an amp I like better overall. Great cleans, as much bottom as a DR, doesn't get spiky. Good dirt channel too. No really. 30 watts is a lot; you won't get breakup at any lower volume than on a DR. But a great...you know...pedal platform. It doesn't scream Vox OR Fender, and I don't suppose it will nail the tone of either. But it works for anything I've thrown at them; kind of a balanced, neutral platform - with a touch of character. At least try one.

Music Man RD110-50. 10" speaker, maybe a little light in the bottom, but very balanced and less boxy/small-amp sounding than Blues Juniors and the like. Great clean headroom. They're old by now, but mine's been dead reliable for 30 years. Just a sweet amp. Light and portable.

Peavey Delta Blues. If you like a 15 (or 2-10s). Otherwise similar to the Classic 30. I like a 15 in a combo, just for the sense of more sound at the same (or slightly lower) volume pressure.

Vox AC-10, the new one introduced a few years ago. After being nothing but disappointed by a heavy, too-loud, clanky AC-15, I dismissed this amp for too long. Then, based on lots of great user reviews, I tried it. Love it. All the Vox a guy could want, great size and weight. Excellent clean tone, nice reverb, very effective master volume setup, and it's a screamin' loud 10 watts. Again, one to try before dismissing it.

In the same power range as the DR, I had a Matchless Lightning Reverb for several years. I thought I loved it - but I never found myself using it. Finally did a back-to-back play comparison with my other amps, and just wasn't impressed. (The reverb was gorgeous, though.) Also, it wants to be real loud. While it's a great gig amp - for its particular tone, and in loud enough venues - I wouldn't recommend it for gigging if you care about keeping it nice, because the "tolex" is actually just vinyl upholstery material, and it tears if you look at it sharply.

I also had a Victoria-built 3x10, 45-watt Gretsch Variety - a great amp, but just too much of everything for any sane purpose. (As Birdman says, a DR is a big amp these days.)

But ultimately my adventures into boutique amps (at least off the shelf) didn't satisfy me more than mass-produced amps. Maybe I have shallow ears.

But. If you know exactly what you want - or close enough to have a cogent conversation with a builder about it - and the market doesn't provide it, I encourage you to talk to Jer DeLisle at DeLisle in Indiana (one of our sponsors). He has a range of really superb boutique amps at more-than-fair prices, and is adept at listening to your tone-talk; if he doesn't have an amp that meets you where you are, he can tailor his circuit into a custom that suits you.

Ethan Meyer, of Cave Valley Amps in California, also does custom builds in ridiculously beautiful cabinets - and at very fair prices. Same thing: he can combine elements from various amps to get to the tone you want.

Before I bought anything boutique off the shelf - or any amp costing more than 600.00 - I'd talk to one of those guys about building just want I want. (As it is, I'm happy enough with my amp stable for my current mostly non-gigging purposes.) Both are tonal sculptors, and both are great to work with.

– Proteus

Proteus - Thanks for bringing up the Music Man amp...

...I've been using them forever. The first 3 years of production Leo built some of the best amps ever (tube pre-amp versions). I like the 130 reverb models. Loud or quiet, clean or dirty, they have always been awesome. -Lane


Thanks for the kind words, fellas!

FWIW, I'll be getting this back in trade in the next week or two. It's a less than year old Rutgers Reverb, which combines the best features of the Deluxe and Princeton Reverb amps, with linearly variable output power from less than 1W to 23W. It scales DC operating voltages and AC signal voltages simultaneously. It also has DC heaters, adjustable lineout, variable boost with remote foot switch. The gentleman trading it in decided to go for the Baxter co-designed Quadralux Reverb

I don't need it as I'm beginning to keep new inventory of standard amps. Shoot me a PM if you're interested or an email through the de Lisle website may be better. Not sure if PMs are still working for me. Thanks!


A friend of mine bought a DRRI a couple of years ago. He liked it but found it rather brittle sounding, so I opened it up, removed the bright cap and put some better caps in it as per an online article he had found online. It definitely sounded better and he was very happy. But I must be one of the few who just don't get on with silverface/blackface Fenders. Other than a SRRI I gigged with for a while I have never liked them. That doesn't mean much to anyone but me though! So many players love 'em.

The two amps which do it for me are both my own builds, but you can buy similar things from small builders. Louis Electric makes some wonderful sounding amps. One of my favourites is the 5E3 Deluxe, but biased properly. The traditional 5E3 breaks up very easily and by half-way on the dial is saturating more than most of us need. Usually it's because the bias is way too hot. Bias is set by a large power resistor and if you get it right you end up with a much cleaner, twangier sound which works so much better (for me anyway) with a Gretsch. After much experimentation I found that I get to keep my twang with an SSLVO if I use a cleaner amps with a pedal for dirt.

But everyone has their own recipes for tone happiness. Strong opinions too - but if it sounds good it IS good.




– indianation65

I also have a Blues Custom 30. Not only does it have a wonderful glassy clean, but the dirty settings are very adjustable --- can be interactive with tone controls or not, so you can get just a touch of breakup all the way to saturated crunch (or anywhere in the spectrum), and as shrill or as warm as you like.

It is also switchable between 15 Class A watts or 30 Class AB watts. I've mostly found the 15 watt setting to be plenty loud for my purposes.


Never heard of the Blues Custom Dlx. Glassy cleans and dial-a-gainstructure dirt sound like a great spec. Your report sounds enticing, Parabar. Nicely priced, too.

I don't need an amp. But that doesn't mean I couldn't allow myself to want one.

Is there a 1-12 version?


Tim it is a 1-12".

– Don Birchett

The Blues Custom 30 is a 2 x 12" beast, and heavy. They are no longer made, but seem to turn up used at decent prices fairly regularly. Further Specs:
Designed and engineered in the USA by Gibson
30W Class AB or 15W Class A switchable All-tube circuitry
2 channels (pentode/triode)
Tube rectifier
Mid control for channel 2
Dual 12" special-design Eminence Lady Luck speakers
Tube-powered reverb
Independent/interactive EQ switch
Standby switch
Shared 3-band EQ
Master volume
Dual 4 ohm, dual 8 ohm, and 16 ohm speaker outs
12AX7 preamp tubes with DC powered filaments
5881 power tubes
High-tension fuse
16-gauge bent and spot-welded chassis
11-ply plywood cab construction
2-button footswitch not included


Interesting period for amp design and Epiphone seemed to be busy with a cool range of (sorry for the awful use of this phrase)...retro vintage amps. I was always tempted by the Triggerman range, dunno if they were ok? Or the Firefly?


I have never heard a better amp (and I have heard a lot of amps) than my 1964 Fender Deluxe (non reverb). Perfect blend of balls and sweetness. Every single guitar I’ve plugged into it sounds uniquely superb.


Just poking my head in long enough to say that all the mention of Executives on this thread got me to dig mine out.

LAWD!, what a marvelous amp!!!

That is all

Thank you

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