Other Amps

Oldtime users Fender Amp Question

1

I ask here as I found the Gretsch users tend to be the most intelligent. Must be all the coffee we drink and the peculiar habit of getting besotted about a clueless penguin staring at the tailend of your guitar hoping for something fishy to pass by. It is 1:30 in the morning and I just poured myself a cup of Espresso......

Question: In the late 70s I played in a highschool band and some guest player at a gig we did had an ELK amp. They are Japanese fender rip-offs. This Elk was like a Twin Reverb, and it had presence dome speakers which was like brass nails in my ears and I hated it. To make the nails even worse, he played a telecaster and to add insult to injury lifted the amp waste height, blowing all that treble, cracking glasses and tooth enamel past the 5th fret.

There are some sounds I could not figure out of some famous players, and I hear these metal domed presence speakers in those recordings which I am sure it is what has been eluding me. So, the question is, did Fender ever issue presence domed fitted amps in the late 60s and early 70s , which the Elk copied.? Or was this an exclusive Elk thing ? I know Gilmour uses fanes with presence domes with his Hiwatts, but I am asking about Fender amps specifically.

2

You might be talking about Altec D-130 and D-140 speakers with the aluminum domes.

3

I've never noticed the correlation between Gretsch users and intelligence, but I'm assuming you are referring to aluminium dust covers

Yes JBL speakers (Altecs are also great but I don't think they were Fender factor upgrades)

Excellent high quality speakers, they were a Fender factory upgrade. Many twins had D120s Some of the amps with 15's had D130s Many people love them (like me) some don't.

Personally I feel it's better to have your amp at a level (or angle) where you as the player can hear the top end and adjust accordingly, than having it pointing at your knees and blasting the audience with the top end you can't hear.

4

I have a 135w twin reverb with two orange JBLs in it and I use the tilt metal brackets to point it at my ears. No bright switch on and treble at 2 or 3 depending if I use filtertrons or dynas. I don't lug it around any more. Very nice clean tone. It resides in our rehearsal room permanently but it's for sale. For gigging I use my DIY Tweed Pro. Lighter and more compression when pushing the amp.

5

I love the tilt back arms on Fenders. Brilliant idea. I put hardwood versions on all my amp builds now.

6

JBL speakers often had aluminum domes -- notably the D-120 and D-130. The aluminum contributed to a very bright sound.

Some players -- Chet Atkins for one -- replaced the aluminum with paper domes for a more mellow tone.

7

I bought my 70's Twin in the early 90's. It had those presence dome speakers in it at that time, and they had a nasty ice pick thing that eq could never mask or remove. I've since replaced them with 70's Eden speakers and it sounds fantastic.

Sorry, back to your question, I was told by the previous owner that they replaced the original speakers after he sent a headstock through them at a "wild gig."......gross.

8

I love the tilt back arms on Fenders. Brilliant idea. I put hardwood versions on all my amp builds now.

– Toxophilite

"Brilliant idea" is a good way to put it. I wonder whos idea that was, Leo's ?

9

Leo used JBLs because they were capable of handling more power than the Jensens, Oxfords etc. They would also not distort as easily.

10

I have a 135w twin reverb with two orange JBLs in it and I use the tilt metal brackets to point it at my ears. No bright switch on and treble at 2 or 3 depending if I use filtertrons or dynas. I don't lug it around any more. Very nice clean tone. It resides in our rehearsal room permanently but it's for sale. For gigging I use my DIY Tweed Pro. Lighter and more compression when pushing the amp.

– MaBerY

Hey get that super clean '79 135w twin I posted about... $799. It's calling you.

11

You all, see probably the most informed answers anyone can hope for. I couldnt get a peep out of the fender heads posting similar.

I got way more and better answers and suggestions I hoped for.

Thanks a lot, I think I am shown the right direction now. Never used JBL which is probably why I never came accross them.

Toxophilite ... I promise you, there is a huge difference, I belong to a horde of groups. Gretsch brand draws specific type of personalities I found. The people I dont get along with generally do not get the Gretsch designs or feel. I was told by a particular individual, that Gretches reminds him of 50s cars piled up in a junkyard.

12

hilosean, that ice pick is the exact thing I was talking about. A normal Fender amp icepick with a telecaster is nothing compared to an icepick from presence domes. Can you remember what brand they were.

13

This thread needs pics. From my stash...

19

I've never noticed the correlation between Gretsch users and intelligence, but I'm assuming you are referring to aluminium dust covers

Yes JBL speakers (Altecs are also great but I don't think they were Fender factor upgrades)

Excellent high quality speakers, they were a Fender factory upgrade. Many twins had D120s Some of the amps with 15's had D130s Many people love them (like me) some don't.

Personally I feel it's better to have your amp at a level (or angle) where you as the player can hear the top end and adjust accordingly, than having it pointing at your knees and blasting the audience with the top end you can't hear.

– Toxophilite

I have a 1965 Twin Reverb with (what I believe are) factory Altec speakers. The amp can be used as a PA system. Feels like it, too, when you carry it around. Ha!

20

Bluecap, thanks for the pictures. Are these newly issued. Sure looks extremely modern. Lansing must be Altec as another user mentioned and as I can remember the company was called ltec Lansing in the old days. I am a bit confused, this seems to be a Fender Signature speaker, so it must be a redo of a vintage speaker Fender used ? It is beautiful! I cant find much online about it except this which clearly describe the particular Fender amps I am looking for. The ELK definately copied the JBL period design

I quote " It wasn’t long before the D130 caught the attention of electric guitar players looking for more volume and higher fidelity. Guitarists began to swap out their stock Fender speakers for JBL D130s to achieve louder, cleaner tones. Amps with JBL speakers could be easily spotted with the hallmark silver D130 cone shining through the grill. The famous “JBL sound” was soon adopted by players like Dick Dale, the King of Surf Guitar, who purportedly told Leo Fender he needed to add the D130 to his amplifiers.

To meet the increasing demand for JBL speakers, Leo Fender began offering the D130 and D131—a 12-inch version of the D130—as a factory upgrade in 1959. While working with Fender, JBL engineers discovered ways to further refine the D130 and D131 to develop a new line of speakers specifically designed to complement the sound of guitars and basses. The resulting JBL F Series musical instrument loudspeakers included the D130F 15-inch, D120F 12-inch, D110F 10-inch and D140F 15-inch bass speaker, and featured fine-tuned voice coils and specialized designs for accommodating different playing styles, tones and instruments.

JBL F Series speakers set a new standard for guitar tone and found their way into a range of Fender amps throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The Showman and Dual Showman amps came with D130F speakers for lead, but could also be ordered with D140F speakers for bass applications. Twin and Twin Reverb amps used two D120F speakers. And the Super Reverb used four D110F speakers.

Because of their exceptionally loud, clear and biting sound, Fender amps loaded with JBL speakers became the standard for renowned guitarists, including Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Duane Allman, Dick Dale and more. JBL continued to produce new iterations of the musical instrument line with the K Series and E Series loudspeakers, which provided guitarists with the same iconic tone of their predecessors.

JBL stopped producing musical instrument speakers in 2000, choosing instead to focus on integrated audio solutions for studio, tour sound and enterprise applications. But if you’re ever browsing eBay and come across a vintage Fender amp with those iconic silver speaker domes shining through the grille, you just might want to snatch up a piece of rock history! " From: https://pro.harman.com/insi...

21

I thank everybody for the extremely useful information. It basically solved my problem. If I didnt comment on your post doesnt mean it wasnt of value. It was all good and helped me enormously.

I would like to take this thread in a different direction. For all you who are following this thread: Can you give examples of famous artists and example of songs they used the silver presence dome speakers on ?

I believe it is a big part of the sound of Albert Collins. the big mystery for me was the strat sound in Hero Heroine Strawbs in 1970s. No Fender amp could get that sound that I tried. It is ice picky and gnarly and I came to believe based on my HS Band experience that it must have been presence domed fenders. I got the opportunity to talk to Dave Lambert recently, but can you believe it, forgot to ask him what he used on that recording. How silly can you get.

22

I’ve played with some fellas who used to do USO tours in Southeast Asia and there were ELK amps in the backlines. To a man, they were shocked at how good those amps were. They’re reputed to be very Fender-like but one guy said it was better than any Fender he’s ever heard. He’d gone through a bunch of Fenders after he’d gotten back to try to find something that he liked as much as that ELK, to no avail.

23

Don't forget the JBL's also have a 4" voice coil, makes them very efficient. A lot of people call them bright, along with the Altecs but I think they confuse the wide response with bright. I have several of both the JBL and Altec speakers. thanks john

24

Yes just to re-clarify

The 'presence dome speakers' you keep referring to (and I have to admit I've never heard that term before and I've bought and sold a lot of vintage speakers) are likely vintage 50s and 60s JBLs. Though the Altec guitar speakers I've seen had smaller aluminum dust covers as well. Neither JBL or Fender makes these speakers anymore though some people claim to make sonic copies (Webber California?)

They really are, build quality-wise a huge step up from the pressed basket speakers more common in fender amps, though those speakers sound good too.

25

"Brilliant idea" is a good way to put it. I wonder whos idea that was, Leo's ?

– 949Norm

It is a really great idea, especially if you've been deafened in the audience when some wanker has his amp pointed at his knees and the treble cranked so he can hear it... I don't know if it was Leo's idea though, From what I understand he wasn't a guitar player.


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