How to Rebuild a Fender Deluxe Reverb Tube Amplifier

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How to Rebuild a Fender Deluxe Reverb Tube Amplifier
Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the front grill. (amplifier image by Darko Draskovic from Fotolia.com)

The Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier was first introduced in 1965; Fender currently reissues this amplifier with modern components. It's a dual channel, 22-watt tube amplifier with.tube-powered reverb and vibrato. This amp comes with premium quality stock components, but if you want to achieve a specific tone or sound quality you can upgrade or modify certain parts. When upgrading or modifying your Fender Deluxe Reverb you need to partially or completely strip it down and rebuild it. The degree to which you rebuild the amp depends on the nature of the modification or upgrade.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
  • Replacement tubes
  • Replacement speaker
  • Upgraded plate resistor chip
  • Replacement output transformer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Source your parts. You can order upgraded parts from specialist amp kit suppliers or you can salvage the necessary parts from old amplifiers. The Fender Deluxe Reverb comes with nine tubes: A pair of 'Groove Tubes' 6v6 output tubes, one 5AR4 rectifier, four 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 12AT7 preamp tubes. You only need to partially remove the preamp and power amp to perform tube upgrades.

  2. 2

    Set up a workspace. It must have sufficient space for you to lay out all of your parts. You also need a power source for your soldering iron. Inspect all of your parts for damage before stripping down your amp, especially if you are using pre-owned components.

  3. 3

    Remove the preamp. Unscrew the back panel and slide the preamp towards you. Disconnect the solder joints from the wire to completely remove the preamp. You don't need to completely remove it if you are only switching out the tubes; the same is true for the power amp.

  4. 4

    Take out the speaker. Remove the front grill and unscrew the speaker from the internal struts. Disconnect the wires from the rear, turn the speaker on its side and slide it out.

    How to Rebuild a Fender Deluxe Reverb Tube Amplifier
    Screw your new speaker into the existing holes on the two struts. (speaker image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com)
  5. 5

    Remove the amp chassis. You need unrestricted access to the chassis if you are modifying the plate resistor value of the amp or are replacing the output transformer. Unscrew the four screws in the top of the amp, melt the solder joints and slide the chassis out of the rear. Set it to one side.

  6. 6

    Perform your mods. Tubes simply slot into their housings. If you are modifying the plate resistor value, swap the stock resistor in the circuit board for a new one. Unscrew the circuit board. Melt the solder joint on the underside of the circuit board. Use a pair of pliers to lift it out the resistor chip and fit the new one. The output transformer is located on the chassis on the furthest side from the preamp connection. Unscrew and de-solder the transformer and install the new one.

  7. 7

    Rebuild your amplifier. Reinstall each component in reverse order. Create a new solder joint for each component going back in. Clean each component with a dry cloth before reinstalling it. Fit the front grill back on and test the amplifier before enclosing the rear panels.

Tips and warnings

  • Upgraded speakers are available directly from the manufacturer. This amp comes stock with a 12-inch Jensen speaker. You will only be able to replace your speaker with another 12-inch one, but you can achieve different tones by opting for a differently voiced speaker.
  • You can achieve higher gain at lower volumes by downgrading the gain factor of the stock tubes. Similarly, you can achieve cleaner tones at higher volume by upgrading the gain factor. The "Tube Store" website has a gain factor comparison chart that lists suitable tube upgrades to this end.
  • Never open up an amplifier without disconnecting it from the power supply.
  • Leave your Fender Deluxe to cool if you've been playing. Moving the amp while the tubes are hot can cause them to shatter.

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