Fender '64 Custom Deluxe: Looks like I'm changing my gigging amp...

SIngles Forever

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 14, 2019
1,437
Montreal
I've got a matching custom made cab with a single old Greenback in it, plus the 2 x 12 1936 cab for the Mini Jubilee which has UK made V30s in it, plus a smaller 1 x 12 MJ cab that has a V type in it. I also have a 2 x 12 with Greenbacks in it at home, but it's 'built in' behind my projector screen (acoustically transparent) so it's kind of sealed in place.

However, they are all more hassle and effort to get into the car and into the small areas usually set aside for us at most venues. The other issue is that I've found it so much better to tilt the combo amp back so I can hear myself better. We don't mike cabs, only the singer goes through the PA (drummer isn't too heavy handed), so tilting a cab backwards isn't great as the head tends to fall off. :eek:

Like a lot of things in this hobby I've gone a bit silly buying stuff I don't really need, but just wanted to have: Since I retired I'm very careful about buying anything new and plan to sell of a few bits and pieces so it's helpful to really work out what works best for me and what is just 'nice to have'.

retired at 56. you musta done well😉

As for ease of carry..thank God you don't have a Twin, AC30 or Super Reverb.
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-O-Master
Sep 26, 2020
760
Berkshire
retired at 56. you musta done well😉

As for ease of carry..thank God you don't have a Twin, AC30 or Super Reverb.
I know I'm lucky to be able to have done this, but it's mostly down to just living carefully well within our income and other than excess guitar purchases we're happy to manage on less than many people would. The 13 year old gig car being one example. :)

I injured my back years ago too, so I'd be hopeless with a Twin now as much as I loved playing through one back in the 1980s when a friend let me use his...My Strat sounded great through it, so that was why I treated myself to the '64 CDR as I always wanted a Blackface Fender amp. I bought the hand wired version because my wife and I both used to repair valve amps for the UK MOD, so I figured I'd be able to keep it working rather than a PCB model that might not be so easy to fix.

I guess that makes it even more silly that I haven't been using it to gig...
 
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Chipss36

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 1, 2018
1,435
Texas
I have a few black faces to choose from, a Deluxe is Great for most all gigs, I do however use helix and power cabs, and never had a compliant about tone. I can go either way….
rare to drag supers or vibroverbs, that would take a tracking session, and a younger back.
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-O-Master
Sep 26, 2020
760
Berkshire
A friend of mine has a Helix and the FR cab to go with it, seems to get a decent sound out of it too. I guess I'm more about using what I've already got though: I do have a Mooer Preamp Live pedal, but I got so bogged down in settings with it that I gave up, so that's another item for my sale pile.
 

touch of gray

Strat-O-Master
Jul 10, 2022
592
Bismarck, ND
I have to take my smallest amp because I can’t lift very much. I need a Roadie.
Two reasons I have kicked my 2 x 12 - 50 watt Marshall to the curb in favor of smaller amps:
1. It weighs a ton.
2. For the music that I like to play, the gain channel is too aggressive, and the clean channel doesn’t have any character.
 

The Ballzz

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 26, 2014
2,603
LAS VEGAS , NV
@Mr Jagsquire ,
A big thumbs :thumb: up for rehearsing at gig volume. It really helps with consistency, on many levels!

I think you'd be well pleased with the SV20 for gigs (over the SC20) if it was in combo form. Although you'd not have that fabulous, lush, Fender reverb, or tremolo, if you use it! Of course, as you well know, that Deluxe Reverb is certainly no slouch!
Just Enjoyin'
Gene
 

dspellman

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 24, 2013
1,321
Los Angeles
Roadie, groupie, pick manager, music page turner: the list of people you need for this hobby goes on and on.
I’ve had each of these (sometimes in multiples) at one point or another.
The pick manager did other things, like sanitize whatever mike I was using, make sure to wipe the sweat off the guitar with a new, fresh towel, change my water bottle, make sure the non-skid was under the modeler and, of course, make sure there were exactly eight picks on the tape on the microphone stand.

I occasionally rolled the groupie and roadie into one when the groupie was capable of one-handing a cabinet into the venue. Strong hands were useful. I’ve had a page turner in an orchestra pit on occasion. Had to poke one with a headstock once when she got distracted.
 

The Ballzz

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 26, 2014
2,603
LAS VEGAS , NV
@Mr Jagsquire
And oh yeah, the SV20 certainly does cleans much better than the SC20. On the other hand, have you tried using your guitar/pedals into the LOW SENSITIVITY input of the SC20? That is where its best cleans and pedal friendliness of this amp live! As well as the lower inputs of the SV20. It clears up a lot, if not all of that grainy Marshall "grittiness!"
Just More Thoughts,
Gene
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,122
Altered States
I’ve had each of these (sometimes in multiples) at one point or another.
The pick manager did other things, like sanitize whatever mike I was using, make sure to wipe the sweat off the guitar with a new, fresh towel, change my water bottle, make sure the non-skid was under the modeler and, of course, make sure there were exactly eight picks on the tape on the microphone stand.

I occasionally rolled the groupie and roadie into one when the groupie was capable of one-handing a cabinet into the venue. Strong hands were useful. I’ve had a page turner in an orchestra pit on occasion. Had to poke one with a headstock once when she got distracted.

LOL. I was thinking more the "Penny Lane" type of groupie, but if the girl can lift, I guess it could work :)
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-O-Master
Sep 26, 2020
760
Berkshire
Thanks for all the kind replies and comments. I've never had anyone to turn pages, lift gear or whatever. My wife sometimes comes along to our gigs, so I guess she's my groupie. :D Like many on here I build (or rather assemble) my own guitars and do my own set up, mods, etc too. It's a nice little side line too for other friends since I retired.

About to start a fairly busy run after our eldest got married this weekend just gone and we looked after grandkids as well. I've been asked to play with a couple of 'one off' bands for various friend's birthday parties. I hadn't stopped to think about how close they all are and the varied set lists though: One next Saturday, another the following Saturday, then my usual band has a paid gig the Saturday after that. Add in that I have rehearsals during the weeknights for the various bands, plus I decided I'd go back to evening class and do a vocal course this term as it's my first winter of being retired. o_O

I think I'll be using the Deluxe for all bar the one gig I'm singing at. I just hope my sore throat from all the singing/shouting at the wedding party on Saturday settles down soon. :oops:
 

Miotch

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 28, 2011
5,480
ok
I always used my best amps for gigs. I also never left them there overnight, even if we were doing a Friday/Saturday night gig. The only damage ever done to one was my own fault. But I did carry slo-blo fuses because we ran into a lot of poor stage wiring brownouts that tended to not be fuse friendly. Truthfully, I think I probably blew a total of 2 fuses in 20 years of playing dive bars. Still have a bunch in a guitar case for a Super Reverb I no longer own.
 

Flybydaybry

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 5, 2022
20
England
I'd heard some recordings recently and I'd been disappointed with my sound...a bit harsh/shrill
I’d take the Deluxe out every day of the week over the Marshall. Also, have you thought about the mic you’re using? I got tired of sound guys putting an SM58 in front of my tweed Bassman. Never liked the sound of an SM57 on it either. Both sound thin and shrill to me. Now I carry a Sennheiser e906 with me. Just another thing to think about (and gas over) :)
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-O-Master
Sep 26, 2020
760
Berkshire
@Flybydaybry we don't mike the amps, so I can't blame a mic for the sound; only the singers go through the PA. I know it's maybe not so typical in USA, but the smaller venues we play at it is plenty. Luckily the drummer has some self control though. :)
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-O-Master
Sep 26, 2020
760
Berkshire
I recommend tilting the amp back so you can hear how much treble you got going. Its eye opening when what sounds good to you, aimed at your knees, is aimed at your ears.

Yes, that's what I do so I can hear myself properly too. Also the reason why heads and cabs doesn't work for me since I can't tilt them back.

My living room is acoustically treated as I have a home theatre set up in there. I put a 2 x12 cab behind the acoustically transparent projector screen (usually powered by my Mini Jubilee head). It's surprising how the sound changes if I'm out of line with the cab, probably more so because the room is very heavily damped due to all the treatment. The cab is about a yard off the floor though:

2x12 installed.jpg


It's where the red circle is behind the screen:

Cab hidden.jpg


I keep the head in the middle cupboard (always run with the door open of course):

Gretsch 008.jpg
 

libertarian

Strat-O-Master
Dec 26, 2013
905
Boston, MA
I've been in a band for about 2 years now. We're a four piece, plus an amazing singer (a small Pilipino woman who does a knock out Tina Turner) and I've been using my Marshall SC20 combo set clean for all our rehearsals and gigs, plus a small pedalboard to set the appropriate level of dirt/boost for solos. We're just starting to get paid return bookings for venues that we've done free 'taster' gigs at before.

I'd heard some recordings recently and I'd been disappointed with my sound...a bit harsh/shrill, so tonight I decided to take a different amp to rehearsals. We practice in an old church and can play at gig levels, so it's great from a point of view of testing things out for feedback, output, etc. I took my 'nice' amp from home a Fender '64 Custom Deluxe (the hand-wired version) that I bought as a special treat about 4 years ago and it rarely leaves the house.

I figured that although I do play it at home from time to time (we live in a detached house, so it does get cranked up a bit), it seems a shame to have a great amp and not use it at gigs. I've been with the band long enough to know what the venues are like and how comfortable I am taking expensive gear to these places...put it this way; I'd take a CS Strat if I owned one as we generally play private clubs and are usually well looked after. I thought to myself; what's the point in owning such a beautiful amp and then being afraid to take it out anywhere to play?

It was a complete sea change in terms of sound; even our bass player who usually doesn't comment said that it sounded like a Rolls Royce compared to a Ford Cortina (translation; Cadillac to a Ford Pinto ;) ). All the clean tones I need for certain songs just felt so much better too. It took a few tweaks and a change from the bright input to the normal one as this works better with pedals, but I'm ready for the next gig with it. I can't wait. :)

It's maybe going to take a bit of getting used to, but since we rehearse at gig levels I hope there aren't any surprises a head, but it feels a bit strange having stuck to the Marshall all this time, then going for a change to the Fender.

The amp in question:

View attachment 594377

An odd thing did happen tonight: We usually don't tend to jam and our rehearsals are usually very structured and minimal noodling between songs so we can all talk (I know it's hard as a guitarist, but I try ;) ). Anyway, tonight we slipped into to playing an Elvis number and our (Tina Turner style) singer knocked it out of the park, so we've added it to our set list.

Tonight is exactly a year since my Dad left us and my last conversation with him was telling him about a trip to USA I'd had and our visit to Graceland: My Dad and I always had a connection with Elvis, even from me being a kid, so it was really strange how this just popped up out of nowhere tonight of all nights. It could equally be due to our singer having just bought a puppy as the song is 'Hound Dog'. :)

Not quite sure why I wrote this all now, except to say that if you have some nice gear and can take it to gigs/rehearsals and feel safe then use it...maybe it'll inspire something you wouldn't have played before. :)

That amp is one of the best on the market. I almost bought one a few years back but then decided to go the Kemper route with my most recent band - a mix of modern country and rock so made good use of the effects and variety. The profile of a good Deluxe next to a Boogie Lonestar have been my go-to sounds. For my real amps I’ve been mostly a Boogie guy always, with the old Mark IV being the favorite. But I still want the 64 HW Deluxe at some point soon and use my nice pedals with it. It’s reasonably light and loud enough (you want to mic your amps anyway).
Don’t be afraid to take good gear out. That’s what’s there for. I buy good instrument insurance for my gear and watch things like a hawk. I even bring my pre CBS strat to gigs because why not?
 

SoK66

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 3, 2010
27
Soutwest USA
The ‘64 DR is probably the best amp Fender makes now. I can’t say the same about the ‘68 Custom DR. I have a vintage ‘66 that is heavenly but valuable so I was convinced by third parties I would love the ‘68. It’s the noisiest piece of trash I’ve ever brought home. After much tweaking it’s become quieter but as exciting as a day old hm sandwich. It will be sent to the auction soon. The ‘64 or a clone kit may be my next amp.
 


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