REVIEW: Fender's '65 Twin Reverb Reissue

Fender 65 Twin ReverbThis One Just Kicks!

OK, I thought I’d switch things up a bit today and talk about one of my all time favorite guitar amplifiers, Fender’s legendary and truly iconic ’65 Twin Reverb. For the old-school, all-tube purist (like me, and apparently like many of you) the fact that Fender continues to produce these beauties is a godsend – the Twin is a dreamy powerhouse of clean Fender guitar tone.

I was lucky enough to play the ’65 Twin Reverb exclusively for a number of years, mostly playing ’60s R&B and Soul in sweaty, grimy bars & house parties, and as far as I’m concerned nothing can really beat it for clean tone, shimmering reverb, and just straight-up volume with tons of headroom… I probably never cranked it past “7” in the entire time I was using it.

Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to find an amplifier that produces as much depth and sparkle as the venerable “Twin,” making it a workhorse of guitar players spanning the entire spectrum of musical styles. Anywhere that clean guitar tone is required you will find artists turning to this behemoth to bring their music to life.

The Fender Twin Reverb packs two separate channels on-board, each with dual inputs (High & Low,) a full compliment of tone controls (Treble, Middle, and Bass,) and a Bright switch. The second of these channels –– the one marked Vibrato –– is really where the Twin comes to life… it sports the amp’s trademark spring reverb and tremolo effects, all controlled via the Reverb, Speed, and Intensity knobs.

The tremolo effect (or what Fender calls Vibrato) on this amplifier is as lush as it comes. Deep, liquid, rolling waves of sounds. There is no other way to describe it. And paired with the Twin’s luscious reverb it produces other-worldy tones that many an amp-builder has attempted to imitate, but few have mastered, let alone improve upon.

Any Downsides?

OK, there are only two downsides to this amp that I can really think of, and I’ll give them to you straight:

1.) Due to its sheer power (85 watts, into 4 Ohms,) Fender’s ’65 Twin Reverb is not at all easy to push into overdrive –– if you prefer a serious crunch in your guitar’s tone you will probably need to resort to a stomp-box. Not a big deal, true, and if you’re like most guitarists that grew up in the age of effects pedals, you probably already use an overdrive pedal anyways, but it’s something you should at least be aware of –– this baby’s clean… just like it was built to be!

2.) These things are heavy. I’m not kidding here –– if you’re going to use a Twin Reverb on stage on a normal basis I highly recommend you invest in some heavy-duty casters. Hauling one of these amplifiers into a club while you’re fresh and pumped with adrenalin is one thing, but hauling it back out at the end of the night can be a real drag… the Fender Twin is built like a freakin’ Mack Truck. No joke.

A Truly Solid Performer

Besides the two minor annoyances mentioned above (hell, the first one isn’t even an annoyance really; just a feature of the amp’s clean power that you should be aware of,) the ’65 Twin is a true gigging-guitarist’s workhorse – in spite of many hard nights out, I never managed to blow a single tube or fuse, and to my ears both the vintage spring reverb and lush on-board vibrato are to die for. The built-in tilt-back legs are perfect for small (or large) stage use, and the included 2-button foot-switch makes switching the reverb & vibrato on/off a breeze.

If you’re a guitarist looking for pure, clean tone that won’t fall apart at high volume, the ’65 Twin Reverb is as close to a sure thing as you’re likely to find. You won’t be disappointed.