We all know there's something really special about Fender's tweed amps of the 1950s, but what does that mean for real world players? Unlike many of Fender's electric guitars of the same period, these circuits aren't beyond the reach of everyday guitarists. It's often possible to track down a player-grade tweed amp for less than the cost of a boutique replica or handwired reissue that, with a little love, can be a perfectly viable and hugely toneful gigging and recording amp for a modern-day musician.
If you don't know your 5A3 from your 5F6, let this video be your guide as we present a clean and dirty shootout between five vintage circuits that span the whole of the 1950s from the TV front to the narrow panel era. None of our quintet are museum pieces – these are real-world amps that have all been made safe, had speaker upgrades and sympathetic restorations with appropriate components.
Blackguard replica with Oil City Wapping Wharf & HonkyTonk Angel pickups
Gibson Custom Collector's Choice Les Paul #26 'Whitford Burst' with Monty's PAFs
1957 Fender Stratocaster
1962 Gibson ES-330
Gretsch G6137TCB Center-Block Panther
THE PERSONNEL (in order of appearance)
From 04:48 you'll hear each amplifier set clean and dirty and in some cases with more than one speaker type. All the sounds were recorded from the same distance using a Beyerdynamic M160 ribbon mic and a vintage V72 preamp.