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Author: Subject: Frenzel Amps
lomara
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posted on 27-3-2008 at 09:41 AM
Frenzel Amps


I have read quite a few good reviews about Frenzel amps and was wondering if anyone on AGF has had any experience with them? They are hand wired and "mimic" many classic amps and the prices are hard to beat. Hopefully someone has had some experience with them.



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snarph
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posted on 27-3-2008 at 09:50 AM


same here just read about them



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posted on 27-3-2008 at 11:22 AM


never even heard of these amps :uh:



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jimytheassassin
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posted on 27-3-2008 at 11:47 AM


Someone on this forum does.. I can't remember who at the moment



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lomara
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posted on 27-3-2008 at 09:37 PM


Thanks Jimy. I will do a search and see what I come up with. The Frenzel website has definitely sparked my attention. Just nervous dishing out those bucks without hearing it. THeres a few sample clips but they dont seem to be enough. Guess Ill wait and see some more haha:mad:



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damian
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posted on 27-3-2008 at 09:46 PM


Why would you buy on of those in preference to a ceriatone ? Much dearer, even tean the dumble thing or whatever it is.

If you want knobs to twiddle get an x100b, $500 second hand on ebay. And carvin have apparently reissued them.

I hate to bitch about this, but there really isn't any magic in guitar amps. If it's well made and well designed it'll sound sweet. Boutique amps are overrated.
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lomara
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posted on 27-3-2008 at 10:01 PM


I have a hand wired amp that mimics a blackface showman ( of what year Im not sure) 2 -6l6's and 3 12ax7s . Alpha Music in Norfolk, VA did a little work on it and cleaned things up, plus put some new EHS in it all for $100.00. Great amp, but the pots arent the best and Im looking for a "58 fender deluxe tone". warm gritty breakup without thinness. Guess Im asking for a lot. I have heard of ceriatone as well as Viktoria amps.



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damian
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posted on 27-3-2008 at 10:51 PM


I don't know anything about the viktoria.


http://www.ceriatone.com/

tweed deluxe $529 plus shipping. They may do mods for an extra charge. They only started offering cabinets this year. previously they only offered a completed chassis, you had to get your own box. $529 in a box is a lot better than $1600.

I love 6v6's.

I'm sorry to be so negative but I hate to see people blow hard earned cash on magic snake oil.
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lomara
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posted on 28-3-2008 at 08:56 AM


Thanks Damian. 529 for the deluxe sounds sweet. Frenzel has a super deluxe plus which is priced about 595.00 but you have to pay extra for a cage, etc. I will have a good look at the ceriatone website and fill you in on my findings soon. Cheers and thanks again for the info.

6v6 tone is quite nice




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damian
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posted on 29-3-2008 at 06:18 AM


Email Nick- ceriatone. Great guy. Possible they do mods.

I don't know fenders well, always been a Marshall person. What is a super deluxe plus ?
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lomara
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posted on 29-3-2008 at 09:25 AM


http://www.frenzeltubeamps.com

have a look at these amps and you will see it in the lineup. You can see their various models based on popular tube amps throughout the years. Very reasonably priced. Many of them are dual amps in the respect that they have a marshall and fender sound. With two separate inputs labeled m and f. I think it is pretty cool to have an amp that has the sound of both fender and marshall. I love marshalls overdrive, fenders clean chimes and 6v6 breakup.. I guess Im becoming picky in my elder years :D

I am not affiliated with Frenzel...just curious and gassing for a new amp




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damian
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posted on 30-3-2008 at 02:20 AM


I thought that looked good until I realized the 795 was chassis only and they want another 395 for the box.

Can I just suggest the question I put to everyone looking for an amp:

What do you want to end up with ? That's really the hardest part, deciding what you want.

If you want versatile and gain on demand seriously get an X100.

If you want simple fender get a ceriatone.

I'm sure frenzel build THE amp for someone, but I am just not impressed. They are just too dear for what they are...

ceriatone have a couple of 6l6 amps like that. Ok they don't have the fancy preamps with magic tone stack (I don't know what a tone stack is) or cathode/fixed bias switching, frankly I don't get why you'd want a hammond hi fi output tranny. Most people complain the std hammonds are too sterile...

Dunno. I'm afraid this is a soapbox of mine. I just get sick of these seemingly endless boutique amp sites promising magic and charging big $. I realize if you can't build that amp yourself you have to try and navigate all this and cough up the $, but I just can't see value in those things...

The JTM45 was a rippoff of a bassman. Make a couple of changes and you switch from one to the other. Not just the flick of a switch but not that much work either. And that darn X100 of mine does a passable boogie, marshall and has wonderful cleans. As I said I don't know much about fender but apparently it's as good. If you decided you didn't like it you could always move it on for little loss...

Dunno. Anyway, you'll buy whatever you want, it's your money :)
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posted on 30-3-2008 at 01:08 PM


Getting up on my soapbox for a minute - the one where I get bugged by people talking about things, regardless of in an overpraising or negative light, with which they have little to absolutely no experience.

I've got a Frenzel 5E3, had it for a little more than a year now. Since getting the Frenzel, I've gotten rid of all of my other push-pull amps: an Ampeg V2, a JCM800, a blackfaced Princeton, a Ceriatone 'wreck clone (Nik builds great stuff!) , an 18W that I built with a friend, and a SF Bandmaster. I still keep a couple of SE amps around, just because I love real SE class A, and my next amp will probably be a SE Frenzel (right now I'm thinking about a custom 5E1SS, with parallel output tubes, and replacing the M&F tone stacks with one with a 3-band BF and a one or no tone control tweed).

Are there amps that are cheaper than the Frenzel - yes, of course. Are there ones that are better - maybe, probably, although my Frenzel is in my list of my 5 favorite amps I've ever owned or played. Are there better amps for less - that's a matter of opinion, but IMO, no.

Jim Frenzel is making some of the best amps currently available on the market, at a price that's basically unbeatable. Handwired, made in the US (for those that care about that, I don't), overspec'd Hammond trannys, dual channel (on most if not all of his amps), with switchable NFB (again most, if not all), and able to accept all of the standard octal tubes - unique, versatile, and (relatively) affordable.

For me, the biggest feature on the Frenzel's is the tube switching capabilities, a feature that's not offered by many builders. The combination of two different preamps and switchable tube options makes the Frenzel's a modeling amp for those of us that don't like digital or solid state. The classic Marshall and Fender sounds are easy - plug into the pre of your choice, pop in the appropriate 6v6, 6L6, or EL34s, and wail. Want more of a Vox brit chime thing? - get some used YellowJackets on eBay. Need MASSIVE clean , use a lower gain preamp tube and some KT88s or 6550s. Liquid blues/jazz solos - 12ax7s, NOS rectifier, KT66s. Doom, stoner, no wave - high gain pre's, solid state rectifier, and KT90s or 6550s. More traditional metal/hard rock - 12ax7s, E34Ls (I prefer them to EL34s), rectifier of your choice. Crazy Horse meltdowns - high gain pre's, Weber rectifier, JJ 6v6s, turn everything to 11.


While there are a few other amps that offer this swiss-army knife feature, none of them can be had for less than $700:
Carr Mercury @ $2000+,
EmerySound starting @ $700
Cornford Harlequin @ $1200 if you can even find them in the US
THD Univalve @ around $1000
THD BiValve@ around $1400 - this only other production amp that I know that switchable power tubes in parallel SE, which Frenzel offers as an option on all of his Class A amps.
Fuchs Lucky7 @ $900+, and only does EL34s and 6V6s, no real 'big bottles'
Fargen Bastage $700 discontinued,
Fargen MKII starting @ $1700
The only thing that comparable in price to the Frenzel is the new Peavey Windsor Studio, but on those, switching power tubes requires taking the amp fully part or modding the cage (and there for voiding your warranty). The Peavey is fixed bias - changing the bias to match with your power tube choice means getting access to the PCB (again, according to Peavey voids the warranty) or taking it to a tech. Alot of hassle to take advantage of what is supposed to be a feature - on a amp that (IMO) sounds like ass to begin with...

My other favorite thing about the Frenzel - the master volume. Best I've ever used, no treble roll off or 'tone suck' at lower volumes. Like any amp, it sounds better cranked; but I have no problem running big bottle tubes in PP, dialing the volume back to neighbor-friendly levels, and it still sound great. For low volume playing, I prefer my Frenzel to any of my other amps - between the 3band eq, oversized transformers, and whatever is in the MV circuit - the Frenzel doesn't lose anywhere near as much high or low frequencies as any of my SE and 'practice' amps on 1.

If you're gigging or just moving the amp from place to place on a frequent basis, you should invest in a head shell or get 'the cage'. That's the one place where Frenzel isn't necessarily the best deal, you can do better elsewhere. Any Hammond dealer (Mouser, Angela, etc) should have the cage for $30 - $50. If you've got one of the smaller Frenzel's want a cheap headshell, pick up a used Epi VJH. Take out the Epi chassis, turn the shell upside down, move the feet from the old bottom to the new (mounting them in the previous locations on the chassis screw mounts), use a small screwdriver or some chopsticks to pop off the Epi logo, take the rubber feet off the Frenzel and pop the chassis in the Epi shell. The Frenzel chassis will stick out of the back by 1/4" or so, but you can easily mod the head shell to hold it in place. If neither of those options work, there's always Mojo, AmpCabCo, or any of the usual head cab makers.

I will agree with damian that there's too much boutique hype out there - from players, dealers, and the builders themselves. Building a good amp isn't necessarily rocket science, but it is an art. There's not enough artists out there - and certainly not many that most players can afford.

As with everything, YMMV. Frenzel makes an all-around great amp, especially for those of us that like to have lots of sound possibilities available or just like to tweek.
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lomara
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posted on 30-3-2008 at 02:32 PM


DiamnodC, Thanks for the info. Im glad to finally hear a review of a Frenzel from someone on this site. I understand everyone is going to have their favorites, but from what I have read, you cant beat all they offer for the price. Ill be looking for one soon. Just not sure if I want the Super Deluxe Plus or the Princeton.

Cheers!
Lawrence




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posted on 30-3-2008 at 02:57 PM


I haven't heard Frenzel, but with amps I've found that you tend get what you pay for. You don't necessarily need a Bogner but you might want to spend the extra $$ to get something you won't want to put on ebay a year later. I had a Soldano Hot Rod 50+ and I had no regrets buying it. The only thing I ever regretted was selling it. Good luck to whatever you decide.



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