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Post new topic Fender Tone Master Deluxe or Twin?
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Author Topic:  Fender Tone Master Deluxe or Twin?
Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 3:14 am    
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Hi, looking for some experience / guidance on these Fender amps. Given the much-commented closeness to their tube originals, your comments may come from using either variant.

I play a Stringmaster T8,  some E9 PSG and a National tricone. I currently use a DV Mark Little Jazz (1x 8" speaker) but lately it seems to running out of steam. I've tried adding a borrowed 1x⁷12" extension box and I like it but it's more to haul, so I am considering replacing it with a Tone Master amp.

I briefly owned a silver-face Deluxe when I started steel but found it too loud (volume set on 2!)  With hindsight, I was probably
a) too self-conscious about my playing then and;
b) had no experience of tube amps. I played bass before and solid state was my choice.

I've seen many videos praising both TM models and my instinct is for the Deluxe but a buddy is pushing me to the Twin. His reasoning is that the price difference (about 200€) and weight increase (4 Kg) is a small comprise for a big increase in performance. I've seen / heard tube Twins in action in rock bands and know they are incredibly loud! Hence my hesitation.

I play western swing (with low volume guitar, bass, drummer with brushes) and some country (guitar, bass and ... accordion!)  Most of my gigs are small bars and cafes, maximum 100 people, largest perhaps 50 sq.meters in size.  Occasionally I do outdoor gigs in beer gardens but nothing bigger than where the farthest seating is 20 metres from the stage.

Regarding tunings, the lowest note on any of these instruments is equivalent to a standard guitar's low E. I rarely use overdrive or distortion.

Can you see any argument to go for a Twin?
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Brad Bechtel


From:
San Francisco, CA
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 4:12 am    
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I think the Deluxe Reverb would be a better choice, given your style and current amp usage. It's also smaller than the Twin.
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 5:45 am    
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I have owned a TM Twin for a year or two now, and use it exclusively at home for pedal steel and electric guitar. It sounds great (but you do need to download the updated firmware with the improved reverb) with both, and the the different power settings means you can get it to break up like a smaller amp even at bedroom levels,

For the extra Euros you get a lot more power/headroom, another speaker and a midrange pot, with only a small sacrifice in weight and size. That is money well spent, in my opinion.

(I had an all-tube 65 Deluxe reissue before, and that was NOT powerful enough for pedal steel.)
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 6:06 am    
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Per Berner wrote:
...I had an all-tube 65 Deluxe reissue before, and that was NOT powerful enough for pedal steel.)

Per, what do you mean exactly? Why does a pedal steel need more power? These are the kind of questions I probably wouldn't know to ask!
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 6:11 am    
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I felt that it distorted easily even at home levels. Some would find that desirable for electric guitar or lap steel, but maybe not for PSG. Personally, I loathe distortion in all forms. I want things squeaky clean at all times, so it wasn't for me. You can always add a bit of dirt to a clean amp with a stomp box, but if your amp is a bit dirty you're stuck.
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 6:38 am    
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Guys commenting on pedal steel power needs apparently did not read the post. The OP plays a Stringmaster and found a standard Deluxe Reverb too loud on 2. He plays in a low volume combo. So why would he want an even louder amp? I played a Twin for many years when I played pedal steel. Now I mostly play straight steel, including a Stringmaster, and a Twin would be overkill. Like choosing a Ferrari to go get groceries.

Although the Twin is not much more weight or cost, it is more bulky compared to the DR. The DR is going to be much more manageable to carry and takes a smaller footprint on stage. Both the Twin and the DR Tone Masters have an attenuator built in to reduce the power output, so the concerns about them being too loud are resolved either way. The main differences are max volume and size, and the extra volume from the Twin is not needed in this scenario. I play tweed amps with my Stringmaster, but if I had to pick a Tone Master, the Deluxe Reverb would be my choice.
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 6:42 am    
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Tim: The original post states "some E9 PSG". Who hasn't read the post?
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 6:52 am    
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Paul Seager wrote:
Per Berner wrote:
...I had an all-tube 65 Deluxe reissue before, and that was NOT powerful enough for pedal steel.)

Per, what do you mean exactly? Why does a pedal steel need more power? These are the kind of questions I probably wouldn't know to ask!


An essential element of pedal steel guitar is playing through a volume pedal. You generally play with the pedal at about 60% volume and use the remaining 40% to help sustain your notes as they decay. Therefore, you need extra volume from your amp to compensate for the low output coming from the pedal.

Non-pedal players may also use a volume pedal, but probably run it higher 80% - 100%, unless they are trying to emulate a pedal steel. So you have more signal going to the amp. A lot of non-pedal players don't use a volume pedal at all. A lot depends on the style of music you are playing. I find that 15 - 30 watts is more than enough for western swing, Hawaiian or old country steel guitar styles.
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Dave Hopping


From:
Aurora, Colorado
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 7:37 am    
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Tim's right. A volume pedal is (arguably) optional for non-pedal steel and not often used at all by six-stringers; under those conditions a little grit is desirable, and controllable grit even more so. Pedal steel has a lot more note clusters and chords going on simultaneously and it all has to be as clear and non-gritty as you can get it. As I understand Tone-Masters the attenuator on the back will give you as much distortion as you can stand. It appears to me that a Deluxe-Reverb at 22 watts RMS is going to run out of headroom fairly quickly in any kind of higher-energy stage situation and that a Twin will cover everything one might need from an amp, albeit with more expense and a bit less convenience. To me the trade-off would be worth the bother.YMMV Winking
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 7:50 am    
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Ok, now I get it. Tim, Dave, I'm definitely in the category of not using a Volume pedal for normal steel and find that element of PSG playing very challenging! I've only played 2 gigs with PSG and guess that way of thinking, of needing more power via the volume pedal, isn't in my mindset yet. But I can see Per's point and share his dislike of overdrive on steel.

To return to my comment, of the volume being too loud at 2, it may have been a feature of that particular DR but the volume difference between 1 and 2 was huge (and freaked me out somewhat). Hence I've kept clear of Fenders ever since! Stupid, I know!

But size / weight is a consideration; I live in a European city, compact and good public transport. I very often pack my gear on a bicycle and ride to a gig (not with PSG though!). So yeah, the bulk factor is important.

Obviously I am going to try both amps for tone and Per's comment on upgrading the SW, yeah, I've read several times on other sites.

Thanks all, I've learnt a lot already.
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Bayern Hawaiians: https://www.youtube.com/@diebayernhawaiians3062
Other stuff: https://www.youtube.com/@paulseager3796/videos
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2024 10:32 am    
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Per Berner wrote:
Tim: The original post states "some E9 PSG". Who hasn't read the post?


You got me there! Apologies for my gaff!
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Norbert Dengler


From:
germany
Post  Posted 13 Jul 2024 4:43 am    
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I use a TM Deluxe all the time with a well booked swiss country band.
we play pretty strictly country, small to large venues.
I never had any issues with lacking headroom, most of the time i use the 12 W setting. I still have my Silverface Twin and a Silverface Deluxe, both great, but the easy to carry TM Deluxe goes out for work exclusively.
Great Amp!
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 14 Jul 2024 8:24 am    
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Norbert Dengler wrote:
I use a TM Deluxe all the time with a well booked swiss country band.
Norbert, I am assuming you are playing pedal-steel?

My local music store has both models in stock. Now that I've seen them both, literally standing side by side, I was surprised that the Twin isn't much bigger in its footprint!

I am hoping to make PSG my future main instrument and Per's comments on headroom have pushed my thinking towards the Twin. I'll probably take both PSG and the Stringmaster with me for testing this week.
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Dave Hopping


From:
Aurora, Colorado
Post  Posted 14 Jul 2024 3:34 pm    
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Let us know your thoughts and what you decide! Winking
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Norbert Dengler


From:
germany
Post  Posted 19 Jul 2024 8:09 am    
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Paul, I play mainly steel these days but also telecaster on some songs, even banjo
To me there’s enough headroom on the amp, others might disagree
Great thing is the XLR out so I don’t even need a microphone anymore
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Dave Stagner


From:
Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 22 Jul 2024 10:36 am    
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I have both a Little Jazz and a TM Deluxe (and a Milkman 100, my primary amp). The Little Jazz is more convenient than the TM Deluxe. It's not just about weight, it's about size. When I really want grab-and-go and don't need volume and power, the Little Jazz is what I prefer. The Deluxe is capable of being considerably louder, can do slightly-dirty tones that are great for guitar (or lap steel), and sounds explicitly Fender-y.

The Milkman into a 1x12 JBL is heavier than the Deluxe, but smaller (at least with my cab). It comfortably beats both the Deluxe and the Little Jazz for sheer tone. That said, the Deluxe and Little Jazz are both very satisfying tonally. All three are keepers.
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