Once again we’re breaking out of our “guitar-only” mold to present a truly 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 way back in 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 one lasted until 1960, after which the whole Fender line got brand-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 almost certainly say the 1965 model is it!
The Normal Channel had two inputs, a volume, bass, and treble control – all nice and straightahead. The Vibrato Channel was designed to be slightly brighter and had two inputs, along with volume, bass, and treble controls, plus 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 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. For all the musicians who are becoming aware of how important it is to keep high volume levels under control to prevent hearing damage over the long haul, the Deluxe is a perfect choice for small venues and studio work. For larger venues, just mic it up. Don’t spend thousands of hard-earned dollars on 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 sounds exactly like it’s been playing clubs and honky-tonks for 40+ years!