Other Amps

Fender Tweed Amps - Lacquered?

1

I see some people love the Tweed Fenders lacquered and my question is this were these 50s amps lacquered after market or did some amps come lacquered and some not? What's the reason lacquered over not? As for reissues I have only seen non-lacquered. Thanks

2

I don't think any original tweeds were lacquered ...just like tweed cases weren't either.

3

I don't think any original tweeds were lacquered ...just like tweed cases weren't either.

– DCBirdMan

I would respectfully disagree. Fender laquered the tweed to seal the fibers and protect it from staining and fraying. Over time, it flaked off, yellowed, and gave old Fender amps an awesome look. Old tweed suitcases are also lacquered in the same manner. It was referred to as "varnished cotton twill".

In modern times, a lot of people use Minwax Polyshades Honey Pine to accomplish the same thing. Yes, it's poly - BUT a lot of modern tweed is synthetic, too. Don't try to lacquer a 1990s-2000s Stratocater tweed case - it'll turn an ugly dark greenish hue!

4

A friend of mine likes to mix up his own shellac with shellac flakes to finish his tweed amp cabs. It looks really good.

5

I would respectfully disagree. Fender laquered the tweed to seal the fibers and protect it from staining and fraying. Over time, it flaked off, yellowed, and gave old Fender amps an awesome look. Old tweed suitcases are also lacquered in the same manner. It was referred to as "varnished cotton twill".

In modern times, a lot of people use Minwax Polyshades Honey Pine to accomplish the same thing. Yes, it's poly - BUT a lot of modern tweed is synthetic, too. Don't try to lacquer a 1990s-2000s Stratocater tweed case - it'll turn an ugly dark greenish hue!

– JBGretschGuy

Yep, I actually bought a barn find '58 Princeton. It was lacquered

After I cleaned off about a 1/4" of "barn dirt", there was a very used but in nice shape little tweed.

It still had the original lacquer, nicely aged, a few cig burns and a few spots.

Great find for $125 about 15 years ago.

6

A friend of mine likes to mix up his own shellac with shellac flakes to finish his tweed amp cabs. It looks really good.

– JimmyR

Phillip McNight shows how to make your own with flakes like your friend does

7

Definitely lacquered. I once found an interview with one of the guys who made the tweed cabinets for Fender in which he explained the whole process.

It's easy enough to recreate the look. Simply brush on clear shellac sanding sealer - but make sure it's the stuff without wax. Do a couple of thick coats, scuff sand, remove all the detritus and spray your clear lacquer over the top.

For a vintage look, you can use tinted clear, or even amber, and if you spray the tinted coats heavier along the edges and corners, you can get that slight 'burst' effect that can be seen on some vintage tweeds.

If you want to get really crazy about it, attach the back panels when you're spraying the tinted coats. That way you can get the 'tan lines' that you tend to see on vintage tweeds.

I wrote this article describing the whole process a few years back...

https://guitar.com/guides/d...

8

Hue, I’ve used that article a lot over the years. Thanks!

9

Yay, somebody actually reads them

10

50's amps were never lacquered. They were covered in peroxolin, which was nitrocelulose impregnated cotton linen. In other words, the finish was on the cloth before it was put on the amp. It was a common covering for luggage & phonographs, etc. Spraying lacquer after the fact looks nothing like the original 50's finish.

11

Great article, I had not seen that. Perfect for a project I'm doing, and for future reference. Thank You

12

New production tweed fabric comes coated with something, though I doubt it’s anything like nitro anymore.

The last few years I’ve started finishing tweed with a 3 step process. Shoot a sealing coat of clear shellac followed by sanding down the rough spots. Next I cut amber and clear shellac about 50/50 and brush or pad it on to make uneven light and dark areas. Then a top coat of satin lacquer. Gloss is too shiny and spraying the tint is too uniform. I finish by dragging the cabinet around the driveway for a while, set a drippy glass of wine on top along with a few burning Newports.

Well, not the last part.

13

I have some original Peroxolin Tweed, if you want to see what it looked like new.

14

I have some original Peroxolin Tweed, if you want to see what it looked like new.

– Billy Zoom

Billy, could you post a photo of it please. Thanks

15

You can just brush on dewaxed shellac. I've done it on raw tweed and it looks very vintage and great. You don't have to suffer through all that flake business. Just buy a can of Zinnser's Seal Coat at Home Depot or Lowe's or online. It is dewaxed clear shellac all ready to go. Cheaper than flakes and alcohol. It does yellow a tad if you build up a lot and will yellow with age like all shellac

16

50's amps were never lacquered. They were covered in peroxolin, which was nitrocelulose impregnated cotton linen. In other words, the finish was on the cloth before it was put on the amp. It was a common covering for luggage & phonographs, etc. Spraying lacquer after the fact looks nothing like the original 50's finish.

– Billy Zoom

I'll take your word on that Billy, and I know your experience of these things greatly exceeds mine. Pre-lacquered tweed also makes a lot of sense.

However, I'm unable to find any reference to peroxolin online, so I'd have to assume it's no longer available to buy. In which case, we're obliged to investigate other restoration methods.

I wasn't around in the 50s, so I really have no idea what tweed amps must have looked like when new. You clearly were and again, I bow to your judgement.

However I've worked on plenty of vintage ones and on that basis, I have found it is absolutely possible to closely replicate the colour, texture and patina of a well used 60 year old tweed amp.

Granted that's not the same thing as a brand new 50s tweed look, but shellacing and spraying a freshly tweeded cabinet is highly effective if you're restoring a vintage amp and you want it to look its age.

I simply followed the procedure described by Sam Hutton, who apparently worked in Fender’s cabinet shop during the 1950s, and I've found that it works for me.

17

Don't try to lacquer a 1990s-2000s Stratocater tweed case - it'll turn an ugly dark greenish hue!

This happened to me in the 90's as well.

Oh wait, that's when I got plastered!

18

Peroxolin was in all the search engines until about a year ago. Now that the internet has been censored, a lot of things have disappeared.

19

Peroxolin was in all the search engines until about a year ago. Now that the internet has been censored, a lot of things have disappeared.

– Billy Zoom

Is it related or similar to this? Another word for Peroxolin?

20

Here's a pic from December 1960.The tweed Deluxe next to the drummer was bought new about 5-6 months before,and I remember the color was as pictured.

21

Dave, great picture. You guys look like you are having fun.

The amp looks sort of brown. Like this.

22

That didn’t work. Like this but not as dark.

23

I love that pic Dave, and the guitar ain't bad either

24

I love that pic Dave, and the guitar ain't bad either

– Shuggie

It's my long-gone '58 Esquire.Started off stock blonde,a friend refinned it copper and I took it back to blonde sometime after that pic.Here it is with my then-new(but also long-gone) '61 Ampeg Reverberocket.....and a much younger Yours Truly

25

We use shellac but dont over do it. Although my tweeds are pre-fender, prewar gibson eh-185 builds


Register Sign in to join the conversation