The best amp for an archtop guitar is the Fender Deluxe Reverb if you want a smooth club level jazz tone. It has that classic warmth from the 50s but retains the strong articulation of a 60s modern amp. The 65 original, in particular, has uncomplicated clarity with all the frequencies hitting the right notes.
Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 Reissue Review
One thing to note about this amp is that it is an reissue of the classic 65.
The reissue makes the amp more affordable but there are certain drawbacks.
One is of course the sound. Although it is an reissue, it is not a 100% replicate of the original Fender 65, as some parts are not entirely identical.
The difference lies in the subtlety of the original, which is cleaner. The reissue has a slightly harsher sound but only the really particular listener can spot this difference. I reckon most folks will be happy with what the reissue 65 can do.
- Two channel inputs: I like the convenience of plugging in a mic into the same amp. However there is no A/B switch provided so you need to get yours separately
- Reverb on this amp sounds great and there are plenty of options for you to choose from
- Fender cleans is as good as it gets if you like clean tones in general
- Portable for those who are using it for gigs. It is compact and easy to take it around (44.02 lbs). It also has a pretty loud sound so it is good for playing on small to medium stages.
- Not ideal for bedroom playing due to the loud volume. You will need a good quality attenuator to properly control the loudness
- Tend to give loud pops sound when on standby, which can be kinda of annoying
- Cheap speaker plugs that might cause problems in connecting the audio to the amp, resulting in weak or no tone
- Like all Fender amps, this one has no back legs for you to be able to tilt backwards for upward sound projection
Despite the overall positive review of Fender for jazz playing, Archtop Guy, a member from the acoustic guitar forum had this to say:
Later in their careers Johnny Smith, Joe Pass, and Jim Hall all chose amps other than Fenders when they could
If you agree with Archtop Guy, there is another amp that is worth considering
Bugera V22 infinium review
The Bugera v22 infinium is a tube amp that has a warmer tone than what the Fender 65 can produce. Some Jazz players believe a warm tone, rather than a very clean one, can better convey the spirit of Jazz music.
If you believe in this, the Bugera v22 is a natural choice
- Warm tone at even low volume
- Able to cater to both bedroom playing as well as for small clubs due to the pentode/triode switch. This allows you to cut the power to half, which is 11 watts, and drops the power considerably for softer volume.
- Footswitch is sturdy
- Affordable pricing relative to other branded tube amps like Fender
- Quality of the tubes is not the highest. From experience, their 12AX7 and EL84 tubes gets heated easily and can activated the flashing red light after prolong periods of playing. For bugera v22 infinium replacement tubes, I suggest changing them out for JJ tubes. These can give you better sound and a much longer play time.
- Reverb is okish. It has 16 sounds but only one can be connected to the amp each time it is played
Bugera v22 infinium replacement tube
A note on getting the best Bugera v22 infinium replacement tubes.
If you are getting a tube amp for first time, you probably wouldn’t notice anything wrong with the v22 tube quality. In this case, not replacing them is fine.
If you are experienced with tube amps, you will find the rattling sound of the tubes unsettling. Some might not last even their quality.
To replace them, the JJ tubes are a top choice because:
- They gives a richer and fuller tone. It is pretty breath taking at the lower range when you heard it through a capable headphone
- Shorter break in period of around
- Comes in a set for convenience
- Fantastic price so it is value for money
Bugera v22 infinium vs fender
The main difference between Bugera v22 Infinium vs Fender lies in the color of the tones. Fender has a thicker and cleaner tone while the Bugera emits a warmer sound. Other differences include the Bugera having a sturdier footswitch while Fender has a wider reverb selection.
More detailed information on their differences
- Price: The Bugera v22 has a much affordable price of around USD400. The Fender Deluxe will cost you in the low 4 digits or high 3 digits, depending on where you are buying it from.
- Footswitch: The Bugera v22 has a much better designed footswitch, relative to the Fender Deluxe 65, whose 2 buttons are filmsy and are too close to one another.
- Reverb: Another difference lies in the Reverb. Bugera v22 is not as solid as Fender and also does not provide the same number of options.
A archtop guitar is usually played by jazz players. As such, the right amp with warm tone and uncomplicated sounds can help to alleviate the music.
The Fender Deluxe 65 is a top choice, followed by the Bugera v22 Infinium.