How to Rebuild a Blues Deluxe

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How to Rebuild a Blues Deluxe
If salvaging the parts, check the speaker for rips before installing. (speaker image by CraterValley Photo from

Fender's Blues Deluxe is a 40-watt single speaker tube amplifier. Fender's current reissues are based on the original model which was introduced in the Fifties, but they feature channel switching and reverb. The Blues Deluxe is a premium quality amp with high quality stock parts, but customisations can refine the tone. If you plan on upgrading or modifying your Blues Deluxe, you will need to dismantle and rebuild the amplifier.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Replacement parts
  • Wiring schematic
  • Screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
  • Latex gloves

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  1. 1

    Plan out your upgrades. Before you begin to dismantle your Blues Deluxe, make a list of the modifications you want to carry out. Speaker and tube upgrades are relatively straightforward, while output transformer upgrades are more complex. Once you've decided which parts of your amp you want to tweak, make a list of parts you need.

  2. 2

    Acquire your parts. If you have the time to hunt around, salvaging parts from broken amps is a good way to save money. If you want to get started right away, begin by shopping around online. Amp kit retailer websites such as carry a range of parts for all types of upgrades.

  3. 3

    Inspect your parts. It's smart to double-check that everything is in top condition before installing it in to your amp. One faulty part can cause widespread damage to the whole amp.

  4. 4

    Dismantle your amplifier. Unscrew the back panel to gain access to the power amp and preamp sections. Unscrew and remove the chassis to access the output transformers and circuit board.

  5. 5

    Upgrade your tubes. The Blues Deluxe is issued with five tubes: Three 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 6L6 power tubes. You can refine and customise the amp's tone to suit your playing style by replacing these with lower or higher gain tubes. Lower gain tubes result in a quieter overall sound. Since the tube's gain is lower, the power section of the amp works harder, which creates more overdrive at a lower volume. Upping the gain makes the amp louder and enables it to remain overdrive-free at higher volumes. The 'Tube Store' website has a handy gain factor guide which lists suitable tube upgrades for each type of stock tube. Remove your stock tubes by pulling them upwards and replace them with the new ones. Gently push the new ones in until you hear a click.

  6. 6

    Replace the speaker. The Blues Deluxe reissue is fitted with a 12-inch Special Design Eminence speaker. You can alter the amp's sound significantly by replacing this speaker. Consider swapping it for a ceramic speaker like the Jensen C12N. Disconnect the stock speaker and unscrew it. Screw in the new speaker and solder the existing wires back in place. The chassis must be removed to access the speaker.

  7. 7

    Replace the output transformer. Remove the stock part by melting the connection with a soldering iron and unscrewing it. Then load the new one in place on the chassis, screw it in and reconnect it by soldering the existing wire in place. Consult a wiring schematic to make sure you get this part right.

Tips and warnings

  • Replace tubes in entire sets or at least pairs. Replacing single tubes means you will need to bias the amp. Avoid this hassle by getting matched sets and installing them all at once.
  • Wear latex gloves when handling tubes. It helps keep oil off of the glass surface.
  • Making any modification to your Blues Deluxe will void the warranty.
  • If unsure of anything in the customisation process, consult a qualified electrician. Your Blues Deluxe carries a potentially lethal electrical current.

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