1963 Vintage Fender Reverb Unit 6G15 – NOT A REISSUE!
The very first spring reverbs were introduced by Hammond for their organs in the 1950s. Reverberation made its debut at Fender using a spring unit bought from Hammond in 1961. Built-in spring reverb first came to the Fender amplifier with the Vibroverb in 1963 and eventually to the rest of the amp line.
The Fender Reverb Unit (6G15) outboard tube, spring reverb-equipped effects unit was originally introduced in 1961. Fender discontinued these in 1966 and replaced them with a solid-state model, the FR1000 (which are less desireable). The Fender tube reverb was reintroduced in 1976 with a silver control panel (“Silverface”). It was discontinued in 1978, making these a bit rare and hard to find. All the vintage Fender Reverb Units are quite collectable.
Vintage Info and Specs
Control Panel: Brown (61-63) or black (63-66) top facing w/ white labels
Conrol Layout: Power Sw, Fuse (¾A), Pilot Lamp – Dwell, In, Mix, Tone, Out
Knobs: Brown round (61-63) or white round (61-66), numbered
Cabinet Size: 10″ x 19″ x 7½” (25.4 x 48.3 x 19.1 cm)
Cab Covering: Brown (61-63), white (61-63) or black (63-66) Tolex
Cab Hardware: Brown Leather (61-63) or black Strap (63-66) handle, glides
Grille: Wheat (61-63), maroon (61-62), gold sparkle (63), or silver sparkle (63-66) grille cloth
Logo: Grille mounted, flat (61-63) or raised (63-66), chrome & black script “Fender” w/ tail
Weight: 16 lbs. (7.3 Kg)
Tubes: Input: 12AT7; ½ 7025 Reverb Driver: 6K6GT; Reverb Recovery: ½ 7025
Additional Info: Reverb In, Reverb Out, and Footswitch jacks are located under the chassis.
The prototype reverb unit’s “grille” was covered in brown Tolex.
The cosmetics of the production models matched the amps. White Tolex w/ maroon grille, brown tolex w/ wheat grille, black tolex w/ silver sparkle grille, etc.
Control Panel: Silver top facing w/ blue labels
Conrol Layout: Power Sw, Pilot Lamp – Dwell, Mix, Tone, Input Jack, Output Jack
Knobs: Black skirted w/ chrome center, numbered 1 – 10
Cab Covering: Black Tolex
Cab Hardware: Black strap handle, glides
Grille: Silver sparkle grille cloth
Logo: Grille mounted, raised, chrome & black script “Fender” w/o tail
Tubes: Input: 12AT7; Reverb Driver: 6V6; Reverb Recovery: 7025 Output: 7025
A newer reissues of the Fender tube reverb were introduced in 1994 available with white, black or brown tolex. Fender also later offered a tweed covered Reverb Unit to match the tweed amplifiers of the 1950s. These newer reissues are a bit different than the originals. They are not hardwired and use a different 6V6 power tube, instead of the RCA 6K6 like in the vintage reverb units. A common mod to improve sound for these reissues is to change the tube to a 6K6. The stock pre-amp tubes are 1 x 12AX7, 1 x 12AT7
Newer Reissue Info and Specs
Model:`63 Reissue Reverb Unit and “Custom” Reverb Unit
Control Panel: 63 RI: Brown or black top facing w/ white labels; Custom: Chrome top facing w/ white labels
Conrol Layout: Power Sw, Fuse, Pilot Lamp – Dwell, Input Jack, Mix, Tone, Output Jack
Knobs: 63 RI: Brown round, white round, unnumbered; Custom: Black pointer
Cabinet Size: 10″ x 18″ x 7½” (25.4 x 48.3 x 19.1 cm)
Cab Covering: 63 RI: Brown, white, or black Tolex; Custom: Diagonal tweed
Cab Hardware: Brown Leather or black Strap handle, glides
Grille: 63 RI: Wheat, maroon, or silver sparkle grille cloth; Custom: Brown grille cloth
Logo: 63 RI: Grille mounted, flat or raised, chrome & black script “Fender” w/ tail; Custom: Cab mounted script “Fender” rectangular tag
Weight: 13 lbs. (5.9 Kg)
Tubes: Input: 12AT7; Reverb Driver: 6V6; Reverb Recovery: 12AX7
The original Fender Reverb Unit featured three controls: Dwell, Mix and Tone and is run by two pre-amp tubes and a power tube. These units have become synonymous with surf music early ’60s. Players like Dick Dale, The Ventures and the Chantays have made these units iconic. These units were used on many recordings for years and many pedal makers have strived to recreate this sound. A few have come pretty close. Only the original tube units can really provide the warm and dripping wet reverb like these units. The original 60s units used RCA 6K6GT power tube, pre-amp tubes 12AT7 and 7025 tubes.
This 1963 all original Fender Reverb unit is in excellent condition, but is no closet classic. Its has been used weekly for decades in a church for vocals. I like the fact that this unit has been enjoyed for so long. They updated their sound system and I was able to buy this vintage beauty.
Works excellent, no scratchy knobs, no weird noises, tolex is in great shape, cabinet is solid and even the original handle is great. The flat style Fender logo is great. Works as you would expect. I have had a good friend John Lebrio from The Amp Place go over this unit. He swapped out the original 2-prong plug swapped out with a grounded plug for safety. Replaced capacitors and tubes with NOS as they no longer make 6K6 tubes. Unit sounds awesome now.
When you purchase all vintage gear it many times needs to have some work done like leaky caps or worn out tubes. This unit was built in 1963 making it over FIVE decades old! You need factor this into the cost of the unit. Even if the seller claims the unit is working and needs nothing, it is often not really the case.
Since the new Fender Reverb Unit reissues are not point-to-point wiring and use different tubes they sound a bit different. Finding a vintage one in good condition at an affordable price is not easy. So I am happy I found this one.