Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Tube and solidstate amplifiers made by Rickenbacker

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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (ByrdBro) » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:51 pm

Fender Deluxe Reverb ReIssue gets pretty close to my ears.

In fact and I may get slated for saying this but I didn't get the sound I expected from my 660-12 until I got this amp.

Think a Janglebox would finally nail it though.

However, although the Beatles did use Vox amps, in later time and beyond they used Fender. Think that speak volumes ( no pun intended )

Remember reading somewhere that RM at some point used a Roland amp ??....
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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (Folkie) » Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:09 pm

Nick,

When I saw McGuinn in 1998, he was playing his 370/12RM through a solid state Roland JC-120. I can get some similar tones playing my 360/12 through my Fender Princeton Chorus (preferably with JangleBox JB2). Never tried my Rics through a '65 Reissue Deluxe Reverb, but the folks here love them. 8)

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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (Kiddwad57) » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:47 pm

The Beatles Gear is such a good book for all of this kind of stuff!

The Beatles were fond of Fender amps, for sure. Lennon's first good amp was a tweed Deluxe. Harrison had a Gibson, but apparently didn't rate it too highly, in terms of volume output. I think his first good amp would have been a fawn AC30, when they started getting into those around 1962.

But the band used various Vox amps right up through the White Album. They seemed to find useful sounds there. Heck, they even used an LS40 column for their vocal monitor cabinet in the Let It Be movie. McCartney has maintained a liking for AC30s for guitar all along. He says they're "pokey." I think that's a compliment? Anyway for guitar he seems to have a couple of head/cabinet units in his live setup to this day.

Some of my favorite Beatle Vox sounds include: Lennon's rhythm tone on I Wanna Be Your Man; all of Harrison's lead tones on their first couple of albums; Paul's tone on the first Ed Sullivan show is fabulous...a lot more trebly than you'd expect when you listen in carefully; The rhythm track of It's Only Love on Rubber Soul, with the AC30's vibravox effect. I've read that Lennon and Harrison were playing through the same UL120 on Revolution! But then again I would have to think that from Rubber Soul on, most of Harrison's sound was through the Fender Bassman, and those would include some great sounds!
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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (soundmasterg) » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:22 pm

Kiddwad57 wrote:The Beatles Gear is such a good book for all of this kind of stuff!

The Beatles were fond of Fender amps, for sure. Lennon's first good amp was a tweed Deluxe. Harrison had a Gibson, but apparently didn't rate it too highly, in terms of volume output. I think his first good amp would have been a fawn AC30, when they started getting into those around 1962.

But the band used various Vox amps right up through the White Album. They seemed to find useful sounds there. Heck, they even used an LS40 column for their vocal monitor cabinet in the Let It Be movie. McCartney has maintained a liking for AC30s for guitar all along. He says they're "pokey." I think that's a compliment? Anyway for guitar he seems to have a couple of head/cabinet units in his live setup to this day.

Some of my favorite Beatle Vox sounds include: Lennon's rhythm tone on I Wanna Be Your Man; all of Harrison's lead tones on their first couple of albums; Paul's tone on the first Ed Sullivan show is fabulous...a lot more trebly than you'd expect when you listen in carefully; The rhythm track of It's Only Love on Rubber Soul, with the AC30's vibravox effect. I've read that Lennon and Harrison were playing through the same UL120 on Revolution! But then again I would have to think that from Rubber Soul on, most of Harrison's sound was through the Fender Bassman, and those would include some great sounds!


A lot of people think of the Beatles and Vox and they automatically think AC30, but aside from a couple effect tracks like "It's Only Love," the AC30 was mostly only used on the first album and parts of the second album. The second album and parts of the third were AC50's (AC100 for bass on Hard Day's Night) and was AC100's for mostly everything after Hard Day's NIght right up through Rubber Soul. Revolver was the UL hybrid amps (730 and 7120 and maybe the 4120) and Peppers was those and the SS Voxes like the Defiants. You also had Fenders such as the piggyback 1963 Bassman you mentioned, likely used for bass a lot and Harrison's guitar a lot, and then later on the Twin Reverbs for the White Album and later stuff. You had a Selmer on Pepper's in places. I've heard that Revolution was direct into the board myself. For more on the Beatles and their amps usage, the Beatles Gear is good, but I would add to that "Recording the Beatles" and the " Vox Amplifiers: The JMI Years by Jim Elyea" books.

I make the distinction with the Voxes because AC30's sound quite a bit different from AC50's and AC100's. They have the potential to overdrive more than the bigger amps, and their tone is skewed more towards the brighter side of things. AC50's and AC100's are cleaner and more well rounded in the frequency production. They take very well to pedals and are pretty neutral amps in that most guitars sound great in them whereas AC30's tend to like single coil guitars better than those with humbuckers.

If someone is after the sound of the Byrds/RIC sounds, then Fender Blackface all the way with vintage amps being more versatile, less bright, and better made than new Fender amps.

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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (Kiddwad57) » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:02 pm

Don't want to forget about those two blackface Dual Showmans either! The Beatles seem to have had those set up along side (or in front of) their UL120s during some of those '66 sessions. I'd be curious as to what Chris Hillman was recording through with the Byrds. I'd guess that Carol Kaye was playing through an Ampeg B15 or maybe a Versatone for Mr. Tambourine Man.
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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (jps) » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:48 pm

Kiddwad57 wrote:I'd guess that Carol Kaye was playing through an Ampeg B15 or maybe a Versatone for Mr. Tambourine Man.

She's been known for using a Concert Amp, too.
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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (SteveD) » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:27 pm

Aclempoppi wrote:Excellent discussion!!! Every time I saw McQuinn, it was Twin Reverbs, from the mid 60's to the 90's. But that was stage work. Just want to know where you guys are, as far as, Class A amps goes. Got a 2012 360-12 string last may. Play it through mid '60 Fenders. But thinkin' about a 15watt Class A amp. As an amp tech-player, Matchless or Badcat seem to be the logical choice. Seems you folks prefer the Vox amps, but I just can't live with the heat and reliability issues. My question would be whether or not the class A amp really compliments the 12-strng? Have a 1955 class A 5-watt 2X10 amp, but that makes any guitar a stone-soul player! Thanks, Art


Roger McGuinn, at least as of the 1990s, preferred the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus. I interviewed him in 1996 (in a feature article for the Chapel Hill News in Chapel Hill, NC) and asked him why he preferred the Jazz Chorus (a solid state amp) and he said there's no other amp that works as well for him and his Ric.
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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (Kiddwad57) » Tue May 14, 2013 8:17 pm

The Roland is a classic for sure! Solid state has come a long way. Even though I still prefer tubes (just 'cause!), solid state bass amps are much easier to deal with in so many respects. As for the twelve string, I was reading about speakers and the overall jist of the situation was that 12" speakers have a better onstage presence than 10s. Not playing guitar professionally I wouldn't know, but the writer's argument was pretty convincing.
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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (raider) » Sat May 18, 2013 11:22 am

At this time I don't have a Rickenbacker or a job so it's going to take time to get a Rick.
As for the amp and I know this amp is a lot of money have you thought about a Top Hat
(King Royal) which is based off an AC30. I've been told it's a Boutique Amp and I don't know
what that means. I have one with a Head and a 2X12 Cab 8) I know it's not Fender just
something different and have you ever played thru a Top Hat or a Tone King?
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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (Aclempoppi) » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:13 am

Just want to revisit this thread. I have found a nice match for my use. It's a Genz Benz Shenandoah Acoustic 85, 12" speaker and tweeter. Actually the combo is 60watts @8ohms. With an extension 8ohm cab it's 85watts. So far so good. But I'm thinkin' about putting a '67 Band Master in a 1X15 combo cab. Wondering if anyone has any experience with a Ric(360-12) through a 15' speaker??? Thanks for any opinions, Art
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Re: Which Fender amp for the Beatles/Byrds sound?

Postby (Aclempoppi) » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:34 am

I have been remiss to respond to the above posts!! My Bad!! Steve,the Roland is an amp that I do respect. Just never played through one. Kidwad, I tried the Ric through my "64 Bassman(it's in a 2X10 combo cab) with a full band. It really cut through the mix!! And that was cool, but in a mellower situation the '67 Band Master with the 2X12 cab seems to get the goods. The scoop is that, I'd like to get away from having to haul two amp pieces. Been thinkin' about putting the B'Master in a 1X15 combo, for the Blues band anyway. The Genz Benz set-up is good, but a tube amp is more to my liking. Any opinions, on this subject are cool !!! Art
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