Hey guys, Brian from World Music Supply here again, bringing you all another dose of guitar and gear reviews, and today I get to talk about one of my favorite amps of all time, and that is the Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb. I got my first real experience with this amplifier when I had just started playing guitar, and a friend of mine had a vintage one of these that his father had given him to play with, as it was just collecting dust in his garage. Luckily, even after all of those years it worked just fine, after we replaced the tubes of course. After all of these years, it’s good to know that an amp like this still has all of the power to move me just like that vintage one had, just without all of its wear and tear from years of playing in bars.
I tested this amp and remembered at once how powerful the sounds from it really are, with that perfect fender tone, with its big meaty low end, and a bell like chiming high end, with the sweetest mids I’ve heard from almost any other amp. Everything I gave the amp, it gave right back to me, with an airy SRV style snappiness that certainly has its place in any guitarists rig. The weird part about this amp that always confused me as a young guitarist, was that the two channels aren’t connected, you actually have to use a splitter box to go from one channel to another. You do still have a footswitch, but that’s to turn on and off the tube driven reverb and vibrato settings, which have a very distinct sound, that just screams late 60s style rock. The reverb is very twangy, with a very nice country edge to it that really helps establish that vintage Fender Vibe. The Vibrato setting is actually a tremolo effect, which was named inaccurately, which seems to be a hallmark of Fender, because lets not forget that the famous tremolo bridge piece on their Stratocaster guitar, actually creates a vibrato effect, confusing isn’t it.
After playing the amp for a few minutes, you will quickly realize why it’s loved by everyone from classic rock and blues guys to country players. The “normal” clean channel is very, very clean, with all of the crisp and airy power that people have come to expect from Fender, all of the notes perfectly defined, with the true tone of the guitar always shining through. The Normal channel is a little restrictive, as the reverb and vibrato controls aren’t in the circuit, but it does a great job of giving you a nice warm, thick sounding clean slate to add to with a palette of pedals.
The Vibrato channel is a lot more dynamic, with a lot more tone shaping options, but you still can get that classic Fender clean sound, as long as you keep the volume backed off. However, this channel has a very distinctive distorted tone, which has been heard on countless hit records throughout the years. This channel was great for playing everything from bluesy riffs, to a few different classic rock songs I had laying around waiting to test an amp like this, and the 65 did a great job of giving them that familiar body and spank that only a Fender could. Adding in the vibrato is great for emulating a few great C.C.R songs, and the tube driven reverb of this amp was so famous that BOSS even made a pedal just to replicate its warm spacious clamor.
For the years and years of countless songs the tone of this amp has inspired, the 65 Deluxe Reverb reissue definitely gets a solid 10 out of 10. However it should be noted that this amp doesn’t have a master volume, so getting a good distorted tone out of it does require you to crank the amp quite a bit, which can get a little loud, but hey, that’s just how we like it right!