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Digital Subscriptions > The Guitar Magazine > Jun-18 > FENDER TWEED PRO RESTORATION

FENDER TWEED PRO RESTORATION

It was listed as a mystery 50s Fender amp, but what turned out to be a 1951 Pro needed a lot of TLC. Huw Price has it covered…

DIY WORKSHOP

WORKSHOP FENDER TWEED PRO RESTORATION

1 With its drab grey tolex, the Pro looks pretty rough on arrival but it’s mostly original and in great shape

A friend of mine had been looking to buy a Fender TV Deluxe for a while, but one day when browsing on Reverb he came across a curious advert for a ‘1950s Fender Amp’. Not knowing what he had found, he sent me the link to see if I thought it was legit. At first glance it looked like badly recovered Deluxe, but then I noticed that it had six baffle bolts rather than four. The speaker looked bigger than usual, too, and the penny dropped. This wasn’t a TV Deluxe at all, but rather the bigger, louder and rarer TV Pro.

Although it looked to be in pretty dire condition, and the seller was noncommittal about whether it worked, I felt it was worth a punt. The price was very low for a tweed Pro and the seller was okay about shipping it internationally.

Sometimes buying vintage guitars and amps is like buying houses – you have to be able to see the potential behind the dodgy décor and unkempt garden. And despite the drab grey tolex and a changed handle, this Pro was remarkably original, the control panel was in excellent condition and both of the original transformers were still with the amp.

So, with no turning back now, the brief is a simple one – after restoring the electronics and re-tweeding, I want it to end up looking as close as possible to an unrestored amp. Let’s get to it…

POWER SUPPLY

The Pro arrived with a full set of Cornel Dubilier 20uF 450-volt filter capacitors. All four are blistered and it makes no sense to leave them installed. Originality isn’t a factor because these are clearly replacements. The giveaways are poor lead dress and the way they are soldered onto the chopped leadout wires of the original caps. Since this project is a complete restoration rather than a running repair, I decide to de-solder the original cap wires once the replacement filter caps are removed. I also remove both of the power supply’s 10K resistors, because they appear heat damaged and now is the best time to do it. One measures 12K and the other 20K, and both appear to be disintegrating after a long and hard life.

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About The Guitar Magazine

The June 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now! Inside we celebrate 135 years of Gretsch, check out a pair of the company’s sparkling new Anniversary models and trace the history of some of the most famous and affordable guitars ever to deliver ‘That Great Gretsch Tone’. We also find out how Jonathan Wilson became a go-to guitarist and producer for artists as diverse as Roger Waters and Father John Misty and get a close look at his killer live rig. Elsewhere, we get to grips with a breathtaking original Olympic White 1963 Stratocaster, rundown the world’s most popular fuzz pedals in our buyer’s guide and review a host of new gear from the likes of Universal Audio, Maybach, Eastman, Fender, Rift Amps, Way Huge and more. In this jam-packed special edition of the mag we also go behind the scenes with Crimson Guitars, interview the legendary Bill Wyman about the home-made bass that powered early Rolling Stones hits, give a mystery vintage Fender amp a makeover, go into the studio with up-and-coming UK roots duo Ida Mae, salute the genius of former Gibson president Ted McCarty… and give you the chance to win a road-ready Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV combo worth £849. Phew! Get your copy of the June 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine now.