If you’re a proponent of amplified electric guitar tone, odds are that you have enjoyed the legendary sounds of a Fender amp over the years. Since the end of World War II, Leo Fender and company have been setting the gold standard for tube and solid-state amplification, stopping at nothing short of transforming the modern musical landscape by bringing the electric guitar to the forefront of our culture. For the self-starting musician in all of us, there is a fantastic Fender model just waiting to be played. Here are 5 of their greatest inventions yet (as reviewed by yours truly).

5Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV 40-Watt 1×12″ Tube Guitar Combo Amplifier

 At number 5, the Hot Rod Deluxe IV, is a great-sounding 40-watt combo amplifier that has been taking guitarists to new tonal heights in an impressively loud and clean package since 1996. It offers three different channels and two independent inputs to choose from. Built-in reverb and massive tonal-shaping control capabilities make for an all-in-one, flexible and affordable amp package perfect for capturing the no-frills guitar tones of bands like the Strokes, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and many other seminal indie rock acts. Sure to inspire even the most discerning player (jazz legend George Benson recently debuted his own signature model), the Hot Rod features 3 12AX7 preamp tubes along with 2 6L6 power tubes for a classic rock sound that takes pedals extremely well and provides a generous amount of clean headroom. The only potential pitfalls about the Hot Rod Deluxe are its lack of a master volume control (many guitarists note that it is difficult to achieve natural tube breakup while playing at a reasonable volume) and the fact that it doesn’t feature the same clarity as some of the more high-end models on this list. Still, for the price, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is a tough choice to beat for a first (or last) amplifier.

Specs:

  • 40 watts; Normal, Drive, and More Drive channels
  • Celestion 12″ A-Type speaker
  • Modified preamp circuitry for increased overdriven note definition
  • Spring reverb modified for improved smoothness
  • Lightweight pine cabinet
  • Includes 2-button footswitch and cover

4Fender ’68 Custom Princeton Reverb Tube Guitar Combo Amplifier

Next up, at number 4, is a renowned combo amp that has become known as a studio workhorse, reissued to reach a whole new generation of players. The ’68 Custom Princeton Reverb amp provides larger-than-life silverface tone in a deceivingly small package, the Fender ’68 Custom Princeton is as precise and clear as tube amps get, featuring a 10” Celestion TEN 30 speaker that all but defines the term “upper-mid sparkle”. From surf music to pop, rock, jazz and back again, the Princeton Reverb produces a tone that is at once colorful, flexible, and true to your guitar’s pickups. Just ask Pete Townshend, Robert Fripp, The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr., or Interpol’s Daniel Kessler, the Fender Princeton puts forth a magical, unmistakable sound that is truthful and clear by providing the kind of bell-like highs that make other brands pale in comparison. Perfect for studio and stage, the extremely portable Princeton has become one of the most sought-after vintage-styled amps in the business.

Specs:

  • Series: Vintage Modified
  • Amplifier Type: Tube
  • Speaker: One – 10” Celestion TEN 30
  • Inputs: Two – (1/4″, Input 2 is at -6dB)
  • Speaker Jack: Two 1/4″ Parallel
  • Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass, Reverb, Speed, Intensity
  • Effects: Reverb, Vibrato
  • Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Preamp Tubes: 3 x 12AX7, 1 X 12AT7
  • Power Tubes: 2 x 6V6
  • Recifier Tube: 1 x 5AR4
  • Cover/Grille Cloth: Black Textured Vinyl Covering with Silver-Turquoise Grille Cloth

3Fender Bassman 1959 Bassman LTD 4×10″ Tube Guitar Combo Amplifier (Lacquer Tweed Covering)

Number 3 is an all-in-one tonal majesty. Originally designed for bassists in the late ’50s but quickly co-opted by the guitar-playing community in the ’60s and ’70s, the Fender 1959 Bassman LTD 4×10 amp is an absolute joy to play; a kind of holy grail of tube warmth and punch that encompasses all of the sonic elements needed to make any player stand out without compromising the basic functionality that makes Fender so immediately lovable. In its lifetime, it has garnered a reputation for iconic tones by capturing the inimitable sounds of guitarists as diverse as Johnny Marr, James Williamson, and Rory Gallagher, even propelling rock and roll to the masses by way of the one and only Buddy Holly. Featuring the original Tweed covering and internal circuitry designed to provide enough dynamic sensitivity to rival even the most expensive boutique amps on the market, the Bassman is an enduring classic meant to be enjoyed by players of all types who love touch-sensitive response and low-end punch.

Specs:

  • Genuine lacquered Tweed covering.
  • Finger-joined pine cabinet for woody, resonant tone.
  • Original spec 5AR4 rectifier tube for natural compression when playing hard.
  • Internal bias pot makes it easier to experiment with various output tubes.
  • Two GT-6L6 Groove Tube™ output tubes.
  • Three improved 12AX7 preamp tubes.
  • Fitted cover.

2Fender ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb Tube Guitar Combo Amplifier


My number 2 choice is a perfect choice for the mid-level guitarist looking to go professional; the ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb is an incredibly versatile amp that is a perfect vehicle for pedals as well as a standalone giant. In addition to its 1×12 Celestion G12V-70 speaker, the ’68 Custom features lovely onboard effects such as reverb and vibrato and features two distinct channels designed for maximum flexibility and tone. A huge 22-watt sound housed in a lightweight chassis with a striking vintage design, the Deluxe Reverb will satisfy anyone who is looking to make their tone sound   seismically huge and immaculately lush in detail. Its sparkling highs and balanced low-mids make it a wonderful clean studio amp, and recent reissues have made it so even more guitarists can afford to experience what has become one of the most highly sought-after vintage amps in the business. From the instantly recognizable sounds of John Mayer to the genre-pushing innovations of Thurston Moore and Trey Anastasio; class, sophistication and reliability are the name of the game with the Deluxe Reverb

Specs:

  • Series: Vintage Modified
  • Amplifier Type: Tube
  • Speaker: One – 12″ Celestion G12V-70
  • Inputs: Four – (1/4″, Two Custom and Two Vintage)
  • Speaker Jack: Two 1/4″ Parallel
  • Controls: Custom Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass.
  • Vintage Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass, Reverb, Speed, Intensity
  • Effects: Reverb, Vibrato
  • Impedance: 8 Ohms
  • Preamp Tubes: 4 x 12AX7, 2 X 12AT7
  • Power Tubes: 2 x 6V6
  • Rectifier Tube: 1 x 5AR4
  • Cover/Grille Cloth: Black Textured Vinyl Covering with Silver-Turquoise Grille Cloth
  • Pilot Light Jewel: Blue Jewel
  • Included Accessories: 2-Button Footswitch, Fitted Amplifier Cover

 

1Fender ’65 Twin Reverb 2×12″ Tube Guitar Combo Amp

And my number 1 choice; take it on the road or use it to capture pristine tones in the studio, the ’65 Twin Reverb is a bona fide Fender staple, born and bred to produce clean tones that have become the stuff of legend. Simply plug in, turn up, and explore the myriad places the Twin Reverb can take you with its lush and immersive tone. Surf, blues, classic rock, psychedelic rock and more are instantly achievable using the Twin Reverb’s impressive tonal palette, complete with onboard effects, a bright switch, and enough volume to handle the biggest theater and stadium gigs (or even get you evicted). Everyone from George Harrison to Jack White, Alex Turner to Gary Clark, Jr. to Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead has trusted the Fender Twin throughout the years at the heart of their instantly recognizable sounds. Odds are that in the next life, the gods play Fender Twins.

Specs:

  • 120V
  • Two 1/4″ Parallel (Internal and External) Speaker Jacks
  • Rectifier: Solid State
  • Red Jewel Pilot Light
  • Blackface Style Front Panel
  • Skirted Amp Knobs
  • 2-Button Footswitch Included (For Reverb and Vibrato On/Off)

With so many wonderful options to choose from, the only question remaining is: Which Fender amp will help your playing shine through best? Check out these iconic amp models and more at SamAsh.com! Thanks for reading!

Check out this playlist we made of songs featuring these Fender amps!