Tips for Troubleshooting a Fender Super Reverb
The Fender Super Reverb is one of the classic Fender tube amplifiers The Super Reverb, produced from 1963 to 1982. It was Muddy Water's amp of choice and it is also amp of choice for the young slide guitar maestro Derek Trucks. Tube amps can be unpredictable and it is important to know how to quickly troubleshoot minor and major problems at a gig.
A Troubleshooting Checklist
(1) Determine what the issue or problem with the Super Reverb
Tube amplifiers, like the Super Reverb, can experience a number of problems ranging from minor problems to more serious ones. Some of the symptoms of an amp that is not functioning properly include a loss of power, a loss of tone and clarity, strange noises such as humming, buzzing, or cracking noises.
(2) Begin with the obvious if there is no power
Double check everything to ensure that the amp is firmly plugged into a power source and that the power source is turned on. If there is still no power check the fuse in the amp The fuse is a Super Reverb in in the back of the amp. It is covered with a black cap that is marked "fuse." Remove the old fuse and replace it with the appropriate fuse.
(3) If there is power but no sound or a weak sound check the following:
First, check the guitar cables. Make sure all the guitar cables are firmly plugged in. This included all of the cables that connect guitar pedals together as well as the cable between the guitar and the amp. Obviously, the chance of a loose of bad cable increases with the number of cables you are using. The most efficient way to deal with the problem is to bypass all the guitar pedals and plug the guitar directly into the Super Reverb. If this doesn't correct the problem, replace the guitar with a new cable and try it again. Secondly, if this corrects the problem, then you know you have a problem with one of the pedals or with one of the patch cables that connect the pedals together. Make sure each of the pedal is powered - the LED light should be on - and that the patch cable is securely plugged in in the input and output jacks. Third, make sure the volume, treble and bass knob on the Super Reverb are all turned up at least to one. The knobs can easily be bumped and turned to the off position.
(4)Inspect the tubes if the amp seems underpowered, the sound is muddy, or if the amp is producing humming or crackling sounds.
Tubes are fragile and unpredictable. Tubes should last at least a year but general wear and tear and the occasional accident may cut short the lifespan of a amplifier tube. The Super Reverb has 12AX7 preamp tubes and 6L6 power tubes. Power tubes generally go bad before preamp tubes. A power tube emits a orange glow when it is functioning properly. A bluish glow indicates that it is weak or operating with low power. An intense reddish glow indicates it is overpowered and there may be a problem in the amplifier circuitry.
(5) Check the speakers if the amp is overly distorted.
The Super Reverb is a 40 watt amplifier with four 10 inch Jensen speakers. It produces a warm and thick overdriven sound when the amp is cranked up 8 or 10. The sound should be somewhat cleaner when is is played at a lower volume. A nasty distorted sound indicates a tube or a speaker problem. If you have inspected the tubes, and replaced the bad ones, then the the problem is one of the speakers. A distorted sound indicates that a rip or tear in the speaker cone which is easily repairable with tape or glue in most cases. However, this does require removing the speaker from the back of cabinet. The speakers are bolted to the cabinet with four screws. A blown speaker emits needs to be replaced.