Happy New Year to all of you readers. Today an article about the Fender Twin Reverb. I will mainly concentrate on how you can use this amp to the best of your benefit, will not go into detail about its history and the different versions which have appeared throughout the years of its production.
If you are interested in the Silver Face versions, here is a good link:
The Fender Twin reverb was originally designed to give you a cleansound at any volumelevel. As any experienced guitarplayer will know: Turn up the volume of any amp (especially those from the 1960s and early 1970s) and at some point the amp will start to break up, because the amp does not have enough headroom to give you a clean sound. The Twin Reverb was designed to overcome this problem.
The amp does have two channels: A Normal channel and a Vibrato channel which contains Reverb and Vibrato.
The controls and Lay-out of both channels are as follows:
Input 1 Input2 BrightSwitch Volume Treble Middle Bass
Input1 Input2 BrightSwitch Volume Treble Middle Bass Reverb Speed Intensity MasterVolume
(The Master Volume may be a Push/Pull Switch depending on which model you have)
As you notice, both channels have similar tone controls and a bright switch. The bright switch can boost the brightness on both channels. This switch can be engaged when the volume-and treble of the amp are at any setting, which is quite useful to give you an extra brightness boost at low volume.
Two Channels, What's Up Then??:
Two channel amps are nothing new, they have been quite common since the late 1970s. Most two-channel amps will have one channel which is dedicated to clean sounds while the other channel acts mainly as a Distortion/Overdrive channel. Looking at the Twin Reverb, this is not the case: Both channels can give you identical sounds if the controls are set in similar ways. There is no distortion or overdrive on the amp, even the Push/Pull switch does not act as an overdrive as some of you may think. No, it is merely an extra, clean volumeboost.
How useful are two identical channels then? Well they are not completely identical, as the Vibrato channel will give you the Vibrato-and Reverb effect, while the normal channel is without any effects whatsoever.
A practical use for both channels is to set them up with a different tonal contrast: Set one channel up for a more bassy sound, while you use the other one for a, contrasting, more trebly sound. Use an A/B box to toggle from one to the other channel and you can now play with having two different sounds coming from one amp.
The push/pull is very useful at giving that extra volumeboost for your solos. The Push/Pull will only work on the Vibrato-channel, again, this is very useful as it can create that extra volumeboost for when you need it.
Originally designed to add more signal to the Vibrato, as this effect takes away a bit of your original signal. The Push/Pull boost compensates for this loss of signal.
Another useful purpose for the Push/Pull function is: Use the amp with two guitarplayers, guitarplayer one is plugged into the normal channel, guitarplayer two (who is also playing leadlines from time to time) is plugged into the vibrato channel while the Push/Pull is engaged. When it comes to playing solos, the signal of guitarplayer two will be a tad louder because of the Push/Pull boost. Clever thinking, and that for a company which was not doing that well in the mid 1970s!!
When you do your research on the Fender Twin Reberb you will notice that various speakerbrands will be mentioned. Yes, the Twin Reverb was fitted with different kind of speakers, which all have their own impact on the overal sound of the amp. A speaker will have an inpact on any ampsound, try any amp you have with a different speakerset, and chances are the amp will sound different. If you are interested in getting a Twin Reverb it may be an idea to try the amp with different speakers until you find the ones you do like. My feeling is you will like the sound of the amp anyway regardless of with which speakers it is fitted.
Using the Twin Reverb in Your House at Low Volume and with Pedals:
Most Twin Reverbs you will find will be of 80-or 100 watts, which you may feel may be too loud for using in a living-or bedroom situation. Well hang on there: The amp does have two inputs on both channels, these inputs are for low-and high inpedance output guitars. Lowoutput guitars are single coil type of guitars such as Stratocasters and Telecasters and the like. High output guitars are humbuck guitars such as Les Pauls. Want less volume? Plug your guitar into input 2 and it will bring down the volume, use an EQ and compressor to restore for your loss in bass and treble and you are back in toneheaven. Want a bit of dirt? Use any of your favourite Overdrive/Distortion or Fuzz pedal and the amp will respond very well to them.
The Twin Reverb is an excellent amp to give you that American sound, if you want a more agressive distortiontone, just use any distortion pedal and the amp will take it well. Use the distortion on one channel, while using the other channel for clean sounds and you have a perfectly two-channel amp.
Does a Silverface sound any worse that a Blackface or any of the older versions? Shall we leave that discussion the the experts for today? All I would say at this point: Let your EARS be the judge of what you hear, not what you read. Experiment with different pedals and speakersets and see what you like best of all.
Happy Playing and hope to catch you soon again,