63 Brownface Deluxe Hand Built - Belated NAD

JB74

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 22, 2018
4,180
ɹǝpunuʍop
This came to me by way of a visit a couple of months ago to a semi-regular pilgrimage store.

63_brownface-1.jpeg
63_brownface-2.jpeg

a 63 brownface deluxe (6g3) from scratch hand built - not a chassis shoved in a prefab cab.
7 months of covid waiting by original owner.
To be clear it wasn't 'for sale' I made an enquiry and the owner was gassing for a hamstead rt20, but had to selll his firstborn to make iit happen.
So I made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
This amp and the Ric 12 string are a match made in heaven, the trem is just.... melt....

We're relocating and all my gear is in containers, so this is officially a 'practice amp' - so I informed SWMBO.

Last purchase for a good long while. Got a mortgage to beat into submission now.
 

JB74

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 22, 2018
4,180
ɹǝpunuʍop
I’m in Adelaide, but next time I’m in Melbourne I’ll try.

Any experience with Achilles Amps?

I've played the tweed 1x12 - not really my thing. When I say that I didn't think that it broke up in a way that I find appealing. YMMV of course, and buying an amp is always a subjective thing, and even two of the same never really sound the same.

I also don't personally go in for "we bought a batch of caps from a manufacturer and had them labelled with our name on them" BS. It means SFA and the kicker is this: that batch of caps.... how do you know they're even checked for tolerance or within specs....

The OCD in me says the guy who obsesses over close tolerances in the right places on the right components and the guy who builds amps being that same person.... usually knows a thing or ten about the circuit, and not just putting a badge on and charging a 50% premium.

Buying amps is really hard- especially if what is accessible to you is limited, or worse - the only things accessible are really cheap no-name things.

That's why people always fall back on older fenders marshalls and voxes, because they are a well-known thing. PLus, relatively easy to fix, easy to get parts for and not a money pit to service like a used mesa.

I reserve a special hate for Mesa. They are awesome amps on the whole. but for servicing and pcb clutter, they are right up there with the Idiot PCB designer from hell who was paid slave wages to deliver a POS that is practically unserviceable.. if a mesa fails and it sends the magic smoke.... You're going to learn how expensive they are to repair in a very short space of time.

I'd put modern channel switching amps like H&K (trilogy comes to mind) right up there as well. Stuff that goes wrong - intentionally or otherwise, just costs stupid dollars to fix because of how the things are wired and assembled. As good as they sound.... nightmare to fix when something goes kaput.

That's why with amps, I like the KISS principle. there are a handful of "great" or rather legendary circuits that just deliver day in day out with no fuss and no complexity.

the 5e3 would have to be the simplest and possibly best sounding of all time, then the 5f6-a which everyone knows the evolution of (arguably the most copied circuit to date) and the AB763 which is (IMO) possibly Leo fenders finest hour.

But Amp builders are always tweaking and finessing - and if you find something that is unusual and sounds amazing, you don't stop to think twice... you take it home and play the bejeezus out of it and enjoy it.

The only problem I have with the industry as a whole is the "fakes" out there who are simply re-labelling a 3rd party semi-mass produced borrowed design and calling it boutique or twerking the marketing so that people get sucked in by words and not the sound.
 

Bladesg

Funk Meister
Silver Member
Oct 31, 2013
4,068
Australia
I've played the tweed 1x12 - not really my thing. When I say that I didn't think that it broke up in a way that I find appealing. YMMV of course, and buying an amp is always a subjective thing, and even two of the same never really sound the same.

I also don't personally go in for "we bought a batch of caps from a manufacturer and had them labelled with our name on them" BS. It means SFA and the kicker is this: that batch of caps.... how do you know they're even checked for tolerance or within specs....

The OCD in me says the guy who obsesses over close tolerances in the right places on the right components and the guy who builds amps being that same person.... usually knows a thing or ten about the circuit, and not just putting a badge on and charging a 50% premium.

Buying amps is really hard- especially if what is accessible to you is limited, or worse - the only things accessible are really cheap no-name things.

That's why people always fall back on older fenders marshalls and voxes, because they are a well-known thing. PLus, relatively easy to fix, easy to get parts for and not a money pit to service like a used mesa.

I reserve a special hate for Mesa. They are awesome amps on the whole. but for servicing and pcb clutter, they are right up there with the Idiot PCB designer from hell who was paid slave wages to deliver a POS that is practically unserviceable.. if a mesa fails and it sends the magic smoke.... You're going to learn how expensive they are to repair in a very short space of time.

I'd put modern channel switching amps like H&K (trilogy comes to mind) right up there as well. Stuff that goes wrong - intentionally or otherwise, just costs stupid dollars to fix because of how the things are wired and assembled. As good as they sound.... nightmare to fix when something goes kaput.

That's why with amps, I like the KISS principle. there are a handful of "great" or rather legendary circuits that just deliver day in day out with no fuss and no complexity.

the 5e3 would have to be the simplest and possibly best sounding of all time, then the 5f6-a which everyone knows the evolution of (arguably the most copied circuit to date) and the AB763 which is (IMO) possibly Leo fenders finest hour.

But Amp builders are always tweaking and finessing - and if you find something that is unusual and sounds amazing, you don't stop to think twice... you take it home and play the bejeezus out of it and enjoy it.

The only problem I have with the industry as a whole is the "fakes" out there who are simply re-labelling a 3rd party semi-mass produced borrowed design and calling it boutique or twerking the marketing so that people get sucked in by words and not the sound.

I was looking into potentially buying one of their (Achilles) Super Reverb clones but I won’t be able to try before I buy. They’re about $1200 more than a reissue Fender.
 

RavenPOL

Strat-Talker
Nov 24, 2022
159
Poland
@JB74 Do you think buying a DIY kit from a renowned manufacturer (StewMac comes to mind) is a good way to make yourself a semi-boutique amp? Or just stick with the classics and buy a Fender? Thinking especially 57 Custom Champ/ 68 custom VibroChamp.

There's a lot of videos in the interwebs of broken Mesas being fixed by an angry technician to go with your opinion about service nightmare.
 

JB74

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 22, 2018
4,180
ɹǝpunuʍop
I was looking into potentially buying one of their (Achilles) Super Reverb clones but I won’t be able to try before I buy. They’re about $1200 more than a reissue Fender.
Try before you buy is the only way to be entirely happy with an amp purchase.
I don't endorse sight-unseen purchases of amps.
 


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