1984 Fender Concert

Head/Combo: 
Combo
Price Paid: 
$400 U.S.
Condition: 
Used
Country of origin: 
USA
Tube Type: 
6L6/5881
Features: 

One of the last stock, point-to-point, hand-wired Fender amps made in the USA. Belonging to the "II" series of amps produced during Fender's "Rivera" era. A two channel amp featuring a pair of 6L6 that produce 60 watts, a solid-state rectifier, a preamp utilizing the 7025, (12AX7), tube, a tube reverb section that works on both channels using a 12AT7 for the reverb driver and a 7025 for the reverb recovery and a tube driven effects loop that also uses a 7025. The Concert's two channels each have a separate tone stack. Channel one is pure Fender clean with controls for Volume, (pull for bright), treble and bass. Unlike the '60s Concert, the II series Concert's channel two is a high gain channel with conrols for Volume, (pull for channel switch), Gain, Master Volume, Treble, Mid, (pull for boost), Bass, Reverb and Presense. The channels share high and low inputs and standby / power switches. My combo is the 1 X 12 version with a Jensen speaker on board. The Concert was also made as a 2 X 10 and a 4 X 10 and could be upgraded with an Electrovoice speaker. With it's black face and silver grill cloth it gives the appearence of a '60s model Fender while hiding it's gain potential.

Pros: 

A stock, point-to-point, hand-wired amp with separate tone controls for each channel and a tube reverb that can be used on either channel along with a tube driven effects loop.

Cleans that are just like what you'd expect from Fender's earlier blackface designs.

A gain channel that sounds somewhat like a Mesa Mark II with a little less low end and a slight dip in the mids, (which the boost feature restores). Channel two can go from almost clean bluesy gain right up to the Mesa voiced gain from around the late '70s / early '80s. It creates a beautiful "Santana" tone with the boost on and sounds very '70s Aerosmith, Stix, Journey when the boost isn't engaged. As a player I prefer a smooth over crunchy gain. The concert's gain starts out a liitle crunchy on lower settings but smooths out nicely with the gain knob between 6 and 7 1/2. Going higher seems to add some of the crunch back in. Think Mesa rather than Marshall.

Lastly, it's "presense" control is actually quite striking in the range of it's sweep. More so than on any Mesa or Marshall I've ever played. It can go from a "vocal backround" to an "in your face" punch. On most amps with a presense control I tend to set it and forget about it. On the Concert I use it right along with the tone controls when making voice adjustments.

 

 

Cons: 

Channel one really doesn't need a bright switch. It's bright to begin with. The bright switch might be usable by someone trying to make a Les Paul sound like a Tele, but, other than that, I wouldn't bother with it.

My Concert's not all original. The tubes and power chord have been replaced by a previous owner.

It's pretty freakin' heavy to carry around. It has a larger cab housing the 12" speaker than my Marshall 401 1 X 12 combo. I guess modern circuit boards lighten the load.

Sound Quality: 
4
Reliability: 

It's a 27 year old amp that I've owned for a little over 6 months. I've had no issues with it at all. I guess I'd be hesitant on taking it out on the road unless I had a backup. I think it would sound great on stage, but, only until one of those old parts does the sputter pop.

Customer Support: 

Fender couldn't even provide me with a manual for this amp. I had to go through a bunch of vintage Fender sites just to get all the specs. Fender lists a bizillion manuals for their equipment on the Fender website, but, not for this amp.

Summary: 

I bought this amp based on a few You Tube clips of this old guy playing a mix of '50s Jazz and Blues. I had no idea what the gain channel would sound like and certainly didn't know it was one of Fenders last hand wired amps, (I found that out from numerous vintage amp discussion boards after my purchase and while I was awaiting delivery). Considering the build quality and beautiful amp voices the Concert is capable of I feel my buying price of $400 was less than the value of the amp. Even though it's 27 years old, for one in perfect condition with all the original parts I could see myself paying $800 to $1000. For the one I've got I'd have probably gone $600.

Overall Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)