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4.3 out of 5 stars
Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb 22-Watt 1x12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
Price:$1,099.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2010
This amp doesn't really need a review. It's a fantastic amp. Everyone loves it. Real amp fanatics will tell you this one doesn't compare to the original made in the 60s models, but it's still a great amp.

I've had it for about ten years. Never had a problem. Everyone who plays it loves it. Fender is such a standard that just about any sound you are looking for can be had with just a couple of pedals out in front. Of course you can't get a Marshall sound out of it, but hey, it's a fender. If you want Marshall, get one. I have had both, but sold my Marshall because my buddy wanted it. I still like the Marshall, but I can live without it. Can't live without the Fender.

This amp has NO effects. Well nothing but reverb and "vibrato". I seldom use either, but sometimes the reverb is nice. You will need to buy effects pedals if you want overdrive, distortion, etc.

For the money, I might buy the Hot Rod instead (I have owned one and sold it to the same buddy). It's an absolutely awesome amp. It has overdrive and distortion channels built in. However it's bigger, heavier to lug around. Has a bit more color to it tone wise. You can't get the totally clean that you can get from the Deluxe Reverb.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 21, 2011
I've had this amp as it came stock (meaning the exact one that is shown here) and i also have a representation of the original '65 Deluxe Reverb (meaning a point to point hand wired circuit instead of the one that comes with the reissue -in other words, as it was made back in the 60s) and both sound very good. Of course, i sold the stock reissue and kept the hand wired version (done by non other than Alessandro, who is sort of a guru in the tube amp world). I remember clearly the day when i sold the stock '65 reissue. The buyer came with a Mexico made Fender Tele with fender Texas Pick ups. When he plugged in the sound that came out was so heavenly i almost did not sell the amp.
The one i kept is also clear, clean and powerful (you would not believe how powerful 22 watts can be). In all cases i would recommend 3 upgrades. Change the speaker and the speaker cord, and change the tubes to NOS if you can (and do a bias adjustment when you change those tubes) . Change the speaker to a 25 or 30 watt (Warehouse, Jensen or Weber speakers are recommended)instead of the 100 watts speaker that is in there when you buy it. That will give a more compressed sound and a earlier break up (at around 7 or 8 at volume) which will result in a natural distortion which is warm instead of harsh. If you prefer to stay clean then leave the stock speaker.

Anyways, if you buy the reissue you will buy a great amp (probably the best Fender has to offer at this power levels) and will not have to go through the hassle of bringing to date a real 60s vintage one (you know, recap job, replacing resistors,etc.) which is another way to go.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2013
I have played guitar professionally for over forty years. I've played and owned a lot of amps. I don't quibble with anyone that likes this amp. The question I want to answer is how close does it sound to a real vintage Deluxe Reverb (because I know people are wondering that)? I played and gigged my DRRI for 5+ years. I did the bright cap removal on mine, swapped and biased tubes and I changed speakers multiple times. I finally installed a Weber speaker that is supposed to be the truest vintage reproduction for this amp. In essence, I tried very hard to like it and tried many tweaks to make it work for me. My problem was there was always something a bit harsh and unpleasant in the sound (clean or distorted). I was always tweaking a knob searching for a smooth, musical sound. In my experience, a really great amp will sound great no matter where the controls are set; meaning more or less treble or bass shading (not a fix to a tone problem). Very recently, a student of mine purchased a vintage, pre-CBS '65 Fender Deluxe Reverb and invited me to play on it. I was astounded by it. THAT amp was amazing. It had a tremendous sense of dimension and had all the frequencies in the right place. Beautiful, uncomplicated clarity with no ice pick frequencies. Musical, simple and pure. I'm sorry, the difference is truly significant. Finally, I REALLY got why this amp (an actual '65 Deluxe Reverb) is such a legend (before I was always somewhat baffled by the hype). The reissue creates the same basic signature but the beautiful simplicity is shrouded by a certain amount of harmonic overtones that negatively colored it. I do know that every point-to-point amp I have owned has sounded round and dimensional. Every PCB amp I've owned has always had something flatter and harsh sounding. For me, the vintage piece really moved me and inspired me. The reissue, for me, never really hit the mark.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
Excellent amp. It out performs any I have owned. I have owned several other Fender amps including the new Twinolux, and this amp is the best for tone. I have been playing for 50 years and this is the best for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2014
******* SUMMARY ********
I have a lot of experience with various fender amps, and other amps (Orange, Mesa, Marshall, Vox, Roland, Crate, Line 6, others.) This is now Rev 5 of my review, and I've had the amp for 6 months, used it for band practices, and a few gigs.

All in all, I love the amp, and just wish fender had included a dust cover, rubber feet, tilt back legs, a better footswitch -- and eliminated the "pop" when going into standby. You can probably negotiate 20% off the sticker price if you try locally. I love amazon but that savings from negotiating makes some of the suggested upgrades easier to swallow like the cover, rubber feet, tilt-back legs, etc. Overall, I don't think you will be disappointed buying this amp, unless you are looking for a Rectifier or Marshall sound. It's not that, but with the right pedals in front, might be able to get close. (For instance a wampler triple wreck can get you there.) It is after all, a combo amp. And it's a pretty great combo amp in a lot of ways. It is also available as a head only, in black or blonde now. Another similar option is the '68 Deluxe Reverb which is claimed to take pedals better. But I don't find the '65 has any trouble with any of the 30 or so pedals I've tried with it.

******* PROS ********
- It's a good size for gigging...doesn't break your back, plenty loud for the stage, sounds good.
- As usual nothing beats fender cleans, and fenders cut great in the mix.
- Nice reverb, as usual from Fender. In fact...TONS of reverb...I don't run that beyond 2 except in very specialized situations!
- You can add an extension speaker for a little more coverage and air movement. Or you can plug in your favorite 8 Ohm extension speaker and disconnect (or not) the internal speaker if you just want a different sound. It's too bad Fender doesn't make a "matched" extension cabinet.
- Learn to play "Gimme Shelter" and use that tremolo/speed/intensity - sounds amazingly great.
- Did I mention it gets loud? That can be a "pro" if gigging...and a bit of a pain at home for practice if you want overdrive, unless you use a pedal or an attenuator. I highly recommend a high quality attenuator like the "ultimate attenuator" you can find on e-bay, or just adding a tubescreamer or other overdrive.
- It's a two channel amp. (But you need to provide your own A/B switch to really take advantage of that, and be aware no channel is a "drive" channel.)

******* CONS ********
There are a few nits that really bug me at the $1100 sticker price. I deducted one star for value and for these items.

1) No dust cover included, not even the cheapo vinyl Fender cover. C'mon Fender, they only cost you about 2 bucks to make in China. Just about every other cheaper fender I've had comes with one, so why not the $1100 DRRI? They aren't very expensive even retail ($18 on amazon), but really ought to be included. That said, there are better ones available (see D2F on e-bay for a nice padded cover, although more expensive - about $75, or a couple other options in the 25 and 45 range.) Fender really should include the basic dust cover at this price point. But I picked up the D2F, and I like that a lot. Glad I negotiated savings on the amp to help pay for that!

2) The ever present, crappy metal feet that fender puts on their amps. They are cheap and they scratch the hell out of anything you sit the amp on. Take a flat screwdriver and simply pry them out, replace them with 1 1/4" round rubber feet...about $5 retail on the Carvin site or from a variety of speaker building websites or from Mojotone. I normally use an amp stand for combos, but still...who wants to scratch stuff up with metal feet. (Yeah, Yeah...it's a reissue, matching the original, blah blah....the feet are cheesy and destructive. Ditch 'em.)

3) The footswitch for the reverb and vibrato...is the odd duck two button oval footswitch Fender has used for years. I get it that this is a re-issue, but the switch is just el-cheapo. The buttons are too close together, and the plastic base is like a margarine lid. Fender, with their volume purchase power, could easily put a nice 2 button switch in a metal stomp box for this amp for probably $10 cost or less. Not a big deal but...Fender could do better. These switches are odd on a pedal board, require their own run of cable, etc. etc. I replaced mine with an "always on" plug...see below.

4) No "Fender Tilt back legs" included. This is obvious, so I'm not saying I thought they were included...I'm saying at the price point, they should have been included. Tilt back legs work great to get the sound pointed up at you, without having to carry an amp stand to your gig. Good news, if you negotiated a discount, then you can afford to add them as an "upgrade". Available on Amazon, shipped prime for $30. There are no instructions, but search "Fender 14" Tilt back leg kit" and see my review for where I placed them on my DRRI to achieve about 30 degrees of tiltback. My placement works great when gigging in small bars or larger stages. Others have replicated my measurements and said it worked well for them too.

5) When going on standby, this amp POPS kind of loud. None of my other amps do that when I flip the standby switch. It's annoying...

******* DETAILS, UPGRADEs, TONE CHASING, ETC. *******

It is similar to many other Fenders I have had, and most notably similar to a Super Reverb I used to own - at least in terms of the controls. Those are the same with the exception of the DRRI lacking a midrange control on the reverb channel. It sounds Fendery, albeit a bit harsh until the Jensen breaks in. That should mellow out nicely once the Jensen C12K breaks in. I've had other Jensen C12's and they are like an ice pick in the eardrum at first until broken in, then they mellow out, sound great, and cut great in the band mix. Meanwhile, that's what that treble control is for. Or plug into #2 instead of #1 that helps a little too. The first brand new Jensen I had, I HATED, until it got some use...then it became one of my favorite speakers after it mellowed out. I also have hooked this up to a single Jensen 1x10 P10R (of the super reverb variety) and it sounded even more super reverby. I think with a pair of them, you could almost call it a mini-super-reverb. My point -- the 12" C12K has a little different voice than a super with P10R's. Enough said.

It's a great clean amp, and you can still get it for under a grand if you negotiate...at $1099 list, I think it is slightly overpriced for what it is, but nice amps cost money. I bought mine new for $882 plus tax (so $950 out the door) new in a sealed box. (20% off) So before you get excited about prime shipping...talk to your local dealer. I love amazon and I buy tons of stuff prime shipped (in fact almost every day it seems...) but for amps....kinda like to go get 'em in person. Plus you can't really negotiate online. The savings help pay for some of the deficiencies Fender decided not to include. But still, even at $1099, it's a lot of amplifier and certainly not the most expensive one I've bought. So it's a decent value but better on sale or with a negotiated discount, or if you forego paying tax if you buy at the right places online. Anyway on the topic of clean - it's sparkling clean up to about 6 which is pretty darn loud..

Past 6 or 7 she starts to growl, and it is pretty loud when you get there. I've seen FSR versions that use a different alnico Jensen speaker (a P12Q) and I recently picked one up used. I haven't installed it yet to give it a try but once I do I will comment here - or maybe add a video comparison. I'm told it gets a little bit earlier breakup. I may just have a matched extension cabinet built to sit under this and put the P12Q in that...then run this in 2x12 mode. We'll see...

I connected an ULTIMATE Attenuator and cranked her up to 10, and it was good dirty blues tone between 7 and 10. With a T-Rex clean boost pedal in front, the amp on 10, and the attenuator turned way down - nice tubey overdrive, pretty thick, and relatively low volume. Still responsive and so much treble it was no problem to bring back what the attenuator trimmed away. In fact, I don't think I would ever be able to experience this amps overdrive beauty properly without an attenuator...it's so dang loud on 10 otherwise. Not as bad as a super, but pretty darn loud. The attenuator is the bomb with this amp. But now I get my overdrive from pedals in front, set the amp between 4-5 for gigs, and use a T-Rex booster on solos.

Because I am also potentially interested in the "head" model of this amp that is available now as a FSR, I also ran this over to a Mojotone (Markshall-like) 2x12 (looks like a 4x12) that contained two eminence legend GB128's. (these are eminence's take on a greenback celestion). This, with the attenuator, and the amp on 10...is "bluesbreaker" sounding. Pretty awesome. Wow...what a difference in the low end for chunking on your low E-string. This did highlight that the low end of the DRRI isn't "great", although I haven't really ever heard a combo that was...It's still ok and a heck of a lot better than a blues jr, or in my opinion, any of the hot rod fenders. So if you are after a small combo for gigging...this is a pretty good choice, especially if you want great Fender cleans.

One more thing I will try soon is putting an A/B switch between the guitar and amp, sticking an overdrive on the "plain" channel, and setting the reverb channel for clean -- effectively converting this to a two channel amp with a clean and a dirty. (Or possibly a small pedal board of various distortions and overdrives on one channel...and the other direct and clean. That's coming soon...I have all the gear to do it except the A/B.

I already added a set of Fender Tilt back legs...and when this isn't sitting atop my mojotone marshall knockoff cab, its ready to go club in "tilt back" mode. A nice addition...and eliminates the need for an amp stand to get your combo up where you can hear it. They were $35 when I bought them, then Amazon dropped them to $29 right after that (of course). Pretty easy to install...just remember measure twice, cut once. You have to drill a couple holes to mount...be careful and pay attention to where you are drilling and it's very easy. I posted a review on the 14" Fender tilt back legs and included the locations I placed the holes to achieve approx 30-35 degrees of tiltback. See my separate review for that.

Because I don't like the footswitch, and don't really want to switch the reverb and vibrato off anyway, I constructed an "always on" plug. When this plug is inserted in place of the footswitch, reverb and vibrato/speed/intensity are all turned on. Normally, you would need to have the footswitch for the vibrato/speed/intensity to work. The reverb is "normally on" without the switch, and then is turned off by stomping the switch. To make an "always on" plug for your DRRI, buy a TRS (that's TIP-RING-SLEEVE) metal 1/4" plug that looks like the one on the fender pedal. Unscrew the screws, and solder a small piece of wire from the center terminal to the inside of the metal plug, grounding that terminal (like closing the switch.) That's it...screw the cap back in, plug it into the pedal jack, and wala...all the features of the vibrato channel are turned on.

All in all, I love the amp, with the upgrades I've made. It has become my favorite amp for going out to small gigs and local jams, because it sounds good, get's plenty loud, and is "amp & speaker under one handle" for transport. Not too heavy, not too big.

I"d like to try a '68 as well...maybe that's next.

Plug in, turn up....enjoy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2013
I'd never really known what "my sound" was or what I really wanted but I finally realized what I needed was simple. No programming, no effects loop, not too big or heavy, just something that a) sounds better the louder you play it (ie all tube; Fletcher Munson baby) and b) is stomp pedal friendly. And this is it (at least at a price I can afford). Once you get to about 4 on the volume, it just comes alive and it's difficult to sound bad through this; it won't make you play any better but your mistakes will sound fantastic.
Takes pedals very well, especially mid-heavy, tube screamer type overdrives. Can almost get a cranked Marshall sound with the right pedal (Barber Direct Drive in my case). Loud enough for small gigs, can be mic'd for anything bigger and light enough to avoid back strain. The "vibrato" (really tremolo but whatever) is neat but of limited use for me anyway; if you need that sound it's a good one. Fantastic reverb of course and great clean. Just a great, great base sound to start from.
It's not perfect of course; it would be nice to be able to get an all tube amp at this price point with channel switching (Hot Rods don't count since they aren't really an all tube amp and their drive channel is terrible anyway). The components are supposedly low quality; I haven't experienced this yet but I have no reason to doubt that the tubes are cheap; it sounds good enough for now and I'll deal with that when the tubes need replacement. Supposedly a crap speaker; again, good enough for now. It's easy to overdo the treble on the vibrato channel and have a sound that is like a dental drill to the temple. This is due to a bright cap on the volume control for this channel; there is a relatively easy mod for this (google it) or you can, you know, use the eq controls that come with the amp.
But overall, a pretty great and versatile amp. Probably too "loose" for metal, but I am able to cover a wide variety of sounds with it and even get a passable Smashing Pumpkins sound with a Big Muff in front.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2013
This amp was included in the backline at a venue over the weeked so I was able to try it in a gigging situation. Amazing. The sound was perfect for clean and with a Radial tonebone for distortion. Both clean and distortion cut through the mix at a volume level that did not blow everyone on stage away.

I have a twin reissue that is usually to loud and a pain to transport. I should have bought this one instead. I was suprised it did not have a mid control, only bass, treble and presence.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
I've been looking for THE SOUND for many years. I've tried other amps in the past, and none really hit the spot for me. Finally, after untold years on the quest for tone, I bit the bullet and bought a Fender '65 Reissue Deluxe Reverb Amp. While I don't own or play a Fender Strat or Tele, the Gretsch ProJet I have (modded with TV Jones Classic pick ups) sounds like everything I could hope for. My taste in music runs through reggae, rock, blues, jazz, and alt-country. This amp and guitar gives me access to tones found in all these genres. I feel like I've arrived.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2014
I purchased this 'used, in new condition' amp with some hesitation, since a few reviewers have expressed concerns regarding this model's performance.
Having owned a large variety of great amps of all types in 50 years of playing, including numerous vintage Fenders, I had fairly specific performance expectations in mind.
After dialing the amp in, I found it to be as expected-capable of clear clean tones, as well as being easily overdriven when desired. I'm certain I'll end up replacing the stock speaker with a Weber, re-tubing, etc., but that is just part of the disease I share with most guitarists, not a reflection on the amp.
Speaking only for this example and based on my personal tastes, I am quite pleased with this purchase. If my amp is representative of most other DRR's, and it's features, power rating and tonal qualities meet your performance criteria, you may well be too.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2014
I've had one of the reissues for years, and it's fantastic.
Out of the box, it sounds great, but I updated my power and preamp tubes to NOS black plate Sylvania's and RCA's.
They should all last pretty much for the rest of my life..
As for the sound, the best thing about this amp is that it sounds awesome clean, dirty, distorted, with pedals, etc.. Whatever you want to do, it can be done with this amp. And you can easily carry it wherever. It will always be a Fender, but you can tweak it to sound more English if needed. Plug a Les Paul or SG into this thing - tone nirvana.
If you want to buy "just one" (yea, right) tube amp, it's my opinion that this should be on your short list.
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