How to hot-rod mod a super reverb

Written by jackson michael
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How to hot-rod mod a super reverb
Only experienced technicians should perform electronic mods to vintage amps. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

The Fender Super Reverb, highly regarded by many guitarists, offers several modification avenues. Electronic and speaker mods can be performed on the amps with specific goals in mind. Older Super Reverbs (those made in the mid-1960s) possess a black control panel and often are referred to as "blackface" models. Silverface models were built from the late '60s through the late '70s and feature a silver control panel. Recently, Fender reissued the Super Reverb intending to reproduce the tone and vintage look of the blackface amp.

Skill level:
Challenging

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Things you need

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Four replacement 10-inch speakers
  • .2-mfd 400-volt capacitor
  • Four 1N4007 diodes
  • Four 12AY7 or 12AT7 tubes

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Enhance clarity by disconnecting the amp's vibrato channel. Unsoldering the three wires connected to the intensity knob's potentiometer (pot) will increase the amp's fidelity. Losing your vibrato option stands as an obvious drawback to this mod.

  2. 2

    Trade out speakers. Four 10-inch speakers differentiate the Super Reverb from other Fender models. Replacing the stock speakers will reshape the tone your amp produces. Kendrick Blackframe speakers, designed specifically for this purpose, have been a popular substitute. If you own a silverface or reissue Super Reverb, you might consider inserting vintage Jensen "blue-back" speakers in your amp. The original stock speakers during the blackface years, blue-backs are named after the blue sticker on the rear of the speaker.

  3. 3

    For a louder, punchier amp, convert to a solid state rectifier. Bypassing the rectifier tube increases power by 10 watts. Perform this by removing the rectifier tube and soldering in four 1N4007 diodes to serve as a surrogate rectifier.

  4. 4

    Increase low-end and mid-range response by installing a larger capacitor to feed the phase inverter. Replace the stock .01- or .001-mfd capacitor with a .2-mfd 400-volt capacitor.

  5. 5

    Pull out the V1 tube (the normal channel's preamp tube) or the V2 tube (the vibrato channel's preamp tube), depending on your chosen channel. The volume knob for the channel without the preamp tube will now work as a secondary volume knob for the channel you play through. Noted technician Cesar Diaz performed this mod on Stevie Ray Vaughan's amps.

  6. 6

    Exchange the tubes. Switching from stock 12AX7 preamp tubes to 12AT7 or 12AY7 tubes produces more clarity when the preamp section of the amp is overdriven. This mod only affects the preamp circuit's overdrive. Tonal characteristics of an overdriven power amp section will remain unchanged, as well as the personality of a clean preamp section.

Tips and warnings

  • Tubes greatly affect the tone an amp produces. Many companies design preamp and power tubes for the Fender Super Reverbs with specific purposes in mind.
  • All amplifiers require general maintenance from time to time. This includes tube and electrolytic capacitor replacement.
  • Do not perform these mods by yourself if you do not have electronics experience.
  • ALWAYS unplug your amp before working on it.
  • If you modify a vintage amp, save the original parts. This way you can reinstall them later if you wish to.
  • Modifying a vintage amp may diminish its value.

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