Again we are breaking out of our “guitar-only” mold to present a superlative amplifier. In this case it’s the venerable Fender Deluxe Reverb 1965 Reissue. There has been a Deluxe amp in the Fender catalog since 1945, when it was first introduced as the 1×10 K&F Model 26, though even then everyone just called it the “Deluxe.” By 1948, the amp got Fender’s now-cherished tweed covering and with a 12-inch speaker, to boot. The “Wide Panel” Deluxe was introduced in 1954, followed by the “Narrow Panel” version in 1955 and that lasted until 1960, after which the whole Fender line got new cosmetics in the form of brown Tolex covering and a brown control panel, which now featured tremolo. You might say that perfection arrived with the addition of reverb, along with the move (on all Fender amps) to black Tolex with black control panels. If you had to pick the “perfect” Deluxe Reverb, most “in-the-know” would say the 1965 model is it!
The Normal Channel had two inputs, a volume, bass, and treble control – nice and straightahead. The Vibrato Channel was slightly brighter and had the same two inputs, and volume, bass, and treble controls along with speed and intensity (depth) controls for the vibrato effect and finally a separate reverb control, which adjusted how much reverb was applied to the Vibrato Channel. Rated at 20 watts, the Deluxe delivered almost exactly the same sound as the larger Fenders (like the Twin Reverb), but with less overall volume. It wasn’t long before guitar players realized that pushing a 20-watt amp hard produced a great overdrive. The all-tube ’65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue adds an extra two watts, but otherwise it’s almost exactly the same amp and it sounds fantastic with either single-coil or humbucking pickups. As more musicians are becoming aware of how important it is to keep high volume levels from significantly damaging hearing, the Deluxe is a perfect choice for small venues and studio work. For larger venues, just mic it up. Don’t pay thousands for a real ’65 with a questionable history – get this reissue and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with owning a brand new amp that just sounds like it’s been playing clubs and honky-tonks for 40+ years!