Frank Commentary

As most on this site know, I'm a musician….crappy guitar player….bad songwriter….off-pitch singer. I love to play music, and one of my favorite amps of all time is my 1966 Super Reverb.

The Super Reverb is known in guitarist circles as one of the "Holy Grail Amps." Many great musicians have played them over the years, many much better than I.

My Super Reverb is older than I am. When I first bought her, she would sing like a bird. She's been through countless shows and rarely let me down…who knows how many shows she's seen before I had her. Sure, I'd have to tweak her here and there, but I always knew I'd fire her up, set the volume just a shade above four and it was tone heaven.

About four years ago my Super Reverb started to sound old and tired. It was the same sound I'd heard many times before, but it was old, it was lifeless, and it just wasn't effective or inspiring anymore. I lost all interest in playing her, so I didn't anymore.

I had other amps so I gave them a try. New, beautiful tones, sparkling highs, deep bass, beautiful overdrive. I forgot about my Super Reverb.

A few weeks ago I pulled out the Super, plugged her in and I was hopeful I'd be inspired to play her once again. I flipped the standby switch, struck my first chord, and sure enough it was the same old, tired sound that made me put her away in the first place.

I thought to myself: "I should really try to fix this amp up. She's a beautiful amp, and it's a shame to have her sitting here wasting away without anyone to play her."

But to fix my Super, it's not an easy fix. This isn't just replacing some tubes or replacing a few scratchy pots. Nope, this would require major surgery, and it may be very expensive.

Nope, I'd have to replace all four speakers at $150 a pop. New tubes would set me back probably $100, and even that wouldn't do the job.

No, I'd have to dig inside this amp. I'd have to dig down to the guts of this amp, probably need to replace some caps, maybe even some resistors, get the amp biased again. All of this would be very expensive to do.

So I'm left with a dilemma. Do I spend the money and try to breathe some life in this tired, old amp, or do I just move on to something new and exciting?

It would be a shame to retire my Super, and it probably can be fixed with some elbow grease and a few bucks to make her sound wonderful again. She really is a nice amp, and I remember the many nights she gave me all kinds of musical thrills and smiles.

But sometimes it's just better to move on.

It's a tough decision for me to make, but I sure am glad I have a backup amp so I can continue to keep playing. I think I'm going to probably try to fix the amp, but I'm going to tell my amp tech that we're not going to do this half way. If I'm going to make that commitment, I need to do a complete repair job and not just nickel and dime this repair. What good would it do to have an amp that sounds pretty good when I have others that sound much better?

One thing I'm certain of is that I'll make darn sure I have another amp ready to roll in case my Super lets me down again.

Or maybe the hassle isn't worth it. I already have three or four great amps just waiting for me to play.

It's a tough decision, but it's one I'm going to have to make. All I do know is that if I keep my Super, I'm going to have to make a whole lot of costly changes to fix this thing up like it needs to be. I do believe she can sing again. I'm just not sure if the hassle is worth it. I'll let you know what I decide to do.


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