So like many of the musical instruments and gear I own, theres is yet another story behind how I ended with this amplifier. After receiving the Supreme as my graduation gift, I at the time only had a Marshall MG15FX amplifier. Oddly the amp just made the Supreme sound terrible. I remember plugging in the Supreme and then turning to my father and saying “well guess a new amp would be a good idea?” So we wen to our favourite L&M at the time in Oshawa and wound up with a used Fender Champ I believe? Well once we got it back to the house, after a bit of playing it was clear the tubes were shot. Turned out the amp hadn’t been serviced… Three’s the charm I guess because we returned the Champ and wound up with the DeVille. Really the odd reason here is research your amp a little otherwise you might end up going through a few before you land on a good one.
In any case I believe I lucked out. After a bit of post-purchase research I found out this was the same brand of amp Buckland used with Coldplay, which at the time was a positive… Like any Fender amp, they do clean extremely well. The dirt section isn’t really all that great which probably explains why I use pedals for dirt and not the amp. For many years I didn’t use a stereo setup so this was my main amp. I did make some minor changes to the amp. First I disconnected the reverb tank internally so that I wouldn’t have any accidental reverb creep up when moving the amp. Next I decided to do a tube upgrade, changing the power tubes to Groove Tubes (make sure to give the tubes a rattle to make sure they don’t have any sound, if they do, your combos will shake the shit out of them and you’ll drive yourself nuts!) and changing the pre-amp to Mesa Boogies. If you’re not familiar with changing tubes and the different sound alternate brands can create, simply change the pre-amp tubes in your amp and you’ll hear the difference.
After adding the pre-amps I found the amp warmed up and lost a lot of the sharp shrill bright edges it had prior. This will also play heavily into how I had to setup my second amp which I’ll describe in a future post.
I have changed the EQ levels a number of times, opting at times for a flat EQ to allow the pedals to work harder, while at other times dialling in certain highs and lows. I have changed recently to a very mid driven tone taken from the amp setting of David Gilmour’s HIWATT amps. With a little tweaking I found a lovely full tone. This is the first time I’ve experimented with a more mid-range heavy sound and having researched a little bit lately I see why it’s a favourite for many musicians out there. To summarize what I’ve read, the guitar usually sits in the mids of a mix and using a high or low heavily EQ can result in the guitar getting lost in the mix. For those of you who use fuzzes you’ll know this all to well but if you stack the fuzz like I have described in my revised board arrangement you might just find a tone that will cut through the bands mix. Any who, don’t be afraid of the mids like I have been, embrace them and you’ll forever enjoy your tone.
As I mentioned this was and still is my primary amp. Since switching to a stereo setup I do record each amp and mix accordingly. The great thing about doing that is you get an amazingly true stereo recording that can’t be emulated by double tracking.
I would highly recommend these amps, especially since the newer versions have adopted a proper volume control. One thing to note, these guys are heavy as all hell. Make sure to either install side handles or rollers because the single strap at the top is useless.