Re-Those Fender Amps

Regarding those Fender amps, the bass and guitar amps they’re using are tube amps (or valve, as they would have called them), but, as Fender amps go, they are abominable. Those silver face Twin Reverbs sound like breaking glass, which gives even more credit to those guys for making them sound good. It’s in the fingers, in the mind, and in the heart, as anyone with experience will tell you. 

The Fender PA system is, however, solid state, which makes sense for a PA. Interesting, though, that the Fenders eventually disappear and the trusty old Vox cabinets take their place. 

One great gear geek moment is when they wheel in a brand new Leslie cabinet in the box. We always think of Leslies as antiquities, but they were still making those beasts in 1970 on a regular basis. 

Eric Bazilian

P.S. Fender did make solid stare guitar amps for a little while, they were horrific but Jan Akkerman managed to eke out a decent sound from them during his Focus days. 


Fyi, those CBS Fender Twins were tube amps. 
There are also a couple of Fairchild compressors in the background, coveted to this day and worth a fortune if you can find one. In fact, there are many software companies that make emulations of those units. 

Wade Mosher


You’re going to get a lot of mail about the fender gear. The guitar amps were twin reverbs and the bass amp a bassman (50 watt). These 68/69 models had silver control panels (silver face) and a thin “drip edge” frame around the grill cloth. They were transitional models, these first silver faces had pretty much identical circuitry to the previous 3 years’ blackface models and are all tube. 

They’re still much in demand

The pa was solid state. 


Jack Morer


Those are drip edge Fender 1968 amplifiers they are definitely not transistor they are extremely desirable. I own four of them.

Matt Peyton


Bob sez: “They were all transistor based, the cognoscenti pooh-poohed them, tubes rule, but now there is some affection for this CBS era gear. Imagine, a record company owning a musical instrument company!”

I didn’t have to imagine, I was The Electric Flag’s roadie and I went to the Fender warehouse in Fullerton, backed the truck up and filled it. 2 Twin Reverbs, 2 Supers, 3 Dual Showmen, couple of Champs, Rhodes piano, and, because CBS owned Rodgers Drums, a full beautiful blonde wood set for Buddy. This was 1967 and it was all tube except for the piano. I would have gotten a couple of Leslies-yes, CBS owned it too- for the Hammond B-3 but we already had 2. Those amps were tough and they had to be because we played them hard and put them up wet. 

Phil Brown


Those “silver face” Fender guitar amps were absolutely tube circuits

The PA units were indeed transistor 

-Bob Carey


Bob, the Fender amps were not transistor or solid state, they were all point to point tube amps. What was solid state was the PA they were using for vocals. Those late 60’s amps are classics and still produced, though not point to point like these were.

Joel Goldman


If I may, I’d like to point out that the Fender Twin Reverbs and Fender Bassman amps used in the film are very much TUBE amps, and quite heavy. I wouldn’t have wanted to carry them up to the roof. George also plays through a Leslie rotary speaker, which is also a tube power amplifier. The Fender PA was solid state however. 

Bob Rice
Culver CIty, CA

keys/guitar tech for Neil Young


I am sure you have heard by now
those Fender instrument amps (twin and bassman) all are prue tube baby!
and Georges fender tele is one of a kind!
I dig a a pony too! 🙂
Peter Stema


Just a brief clarification. The Fender bass and guitar amps, Twin Reverbs for John and George and a Bassman for Paul, were tube amps.  At that time Fender did offer solid-state versions of those models, but they were universally disliked. (And looked completely different.)

The Fender P.A. used by The Beatles was only available in the solid-state version. Fender was very late in the P.A. field and they didn’t make a tube P.A. head until years later.  You can see the solid-state head in some of the rooftop shots.  And they had the accompanying Fender P.A. cabinets leaning on a railing, aimed down at the street.

Long-time reader,
Carl Grefenstette
Pittsburgh Guitars


Those are tube amps

Bill Whitbeck


The Fender amps used in the Get Back sessions were absolutely NOT “transistor based” – they were standard Twin Reverb amps which happened to be the best combo amps money could buy and arguably still are. The puny Fender “P.A.” they were using was an awful solid state (transistor) model that were low powered and sounded mediocre at best. 

Carry on..

Rob Wolfson


Really great read. Although, I can’t help but point out that the silver panel Fender guitar amps (introduced in 68) were in fact tube amps and nearly identical (at that time) to the earlier black panel amps.  Solid state amps really didn’t take hold until the late 70s with Roland, etc. Interesting bit about the PA though. 

Anyway thanks for writing!
Nick Hamilton


Fender had been trying for years to get the Beatles and this is where the fruits of their labors are seen – the BAss VI, George’s custom rosewood telecaster (too heavy). 

The guitar and bass amps are all tubes – no transistors – and are called silverface amps vs the black panel pre CBS amps. By this time they weren’t that different sonically especially for twin reverbs which is what we see. It was the 70s where quality control started dropping and they changed parts values…

The PA however is solid state and that line was a disaster. 
Ned Ward


Bob – The silver faced twin reverbs and the bassman were all tube amps. The fender PA was the only transistor item (sounded terrible). CBS made both black face (at first) and then silver face amps. What changed when CBS took over was merely the size of the speaker cabinet in the Showman and Bassman. I think nothing but the face changed on the Twins. 

Bob Pfeifer


The Fender amps at that time were tube amps, not transistor. The CBS era at Fender was considered bad because of some modifications CBS made at that time that were poor, but  generally their products were still usable.

Keith Fretz


Someone else will probably say this too, but the Fender ProReverb amps they were using were tube amps…I had one (1968) and it was awesome!
Proudly sold it to as it was ultimately too loud for my needs

Jesse Lundy


re; cbs era amps:

at this time fender had two lines of amplification; tube AND solid state. the ss were soon discontinued due to excessive failure rates.

the pa is from the ss line, thus the complaints with the sound.

the guitar amps, ‘twin reverb” and “bassman”, are from the tube amp line; no transistors involved.

as far as collect ability, only the pre cbs by leo fender himself (pre 1965) hold any cache. cbs made cost cutting measures (printed circut boards vs hand wiring) which lowered desirability.

Frank Distefano


You’ll probably get 1,000 emails from dorks like me, but the amplifiers that John, George and Paul are playing through are classic models of Fender’s most notable and long-lasting tube amp designs, not transistor amps. 

John and George play through Twin Reverbs and Paul is playing through a Bassman.  All are from 1968, a year notable for the aluminum “drip edge” trim that surrounds the edge of the grill cloth, for that year only.  These amps were good then and are still sought-after today.  

You’re right about the PA — solid state and not popular. 

What IS really notable is that unlike today, when even the most hack indie band guitar and bass player is obsessed with her or his vintage or boutique or otherwise-special-in-some-way instrument, amp and effects pedals, these guys are just using the “newest and best” equipment and obviously could care less about the gear or obsessing over getting a particular “tasty” tone.  


FWIW John Fogerty played through a transistor Kustom amp on many of CCR’s hits.

Dave Dederer

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