Types of amplifiers – Part 1

Whenever you read something about amplifiers you will hit terms like “Blackface”, “British sound” and “Tweet sound”. But what is meant by them?

American Sound and British Sound

Mostly the differentiation between American and British sound refers to the difference between a Fender Blackface and a Marshall amp.
Certainly the sound also depends on the speaker but in general one could say that the American sound scoops the mids while the British sound pushes the mids.

Fender Amps

Although Fender did not invent the tube amplifier the Fender amps are one of the most important cornerstones in the history of amplifiers in general.

Tweed Amps

In the 50s Fender first produced Tweed amps named after the fabric cover of their boxes.
At that time Fender actually produced amplifiers to push the sales of the new developed Telecaster-guitar.
The first Fender Tweed amps have been constructed on the base of the wirings the tube-manufacturers used to present their tubes. But it turned out to be the most appropriate wiring for the sound of a guitar.

Due to the fact that the first Marshall amps have been exact copies of the Fender Tweed amps (by using British parts) they also were based on that wirings. At that time it was pretty difficult in England to get a Fender amp so Jim Marshall started to produce the first copies of the famous Fender Bassman.


In the 60s the Tweed amps which became legendary because of their overdrive-sound, have been displaced by the Blackface series named after their black front.
Leo Fender wanted to develop the Tweed amps to get a sound as clean as possible.
The sound of the Blackface series varies a lot from the Tweed amps because the Blackface amps only have very little mids and stay clean for a long time.

In between the Blackface and the Tweed series there was a short period of transition where the Brownface amps have been produced.
They are very much in demand because they combine the hot and rough sound of the Tweed amps with the sound of the Blackface models.


In the 70s the Silverface (with a silver faceplate) series were brought out. The smaller amps of this series (Champ, Princton Reverb, Deluxe Reverb) differed from the Blackface models only in their optical appearance. Later some of them got the ( at those days unpopular) pull boost circuit. The additional boost circuit could be activated by pulling the volume-pot.
The bigger models of the Silverface series got an ultralinear poweramp with more watts than their predecessors.

Although the Silverface amps were still unpopular they have got a pretty nice clean-sound and are able to create the perfect pedal-plattform. In other words: they are quite suitable in combination with large pedalboards.
Since some time they are no secret anymore.
And because of their similarity to the Blackface amps you can easily modify the Silverface-circuit into a Blackface-circuit.