4 of the Best Fender Tweed Amp Clones

Fender's tweed amplifiers, made by the company from roughly the late '40s through 1960 or so, are frequently the first amps that come to mind any time the words "vintage tube amp" are uttered. Besides the fact that old Fender tweeds frequently top any list of most valuable vintage guitar amps, the tonal characteristics of these amps have in many ways become the de facto standard of "vintage tone."

Tweed models vary somewhat in features, sound, and construction. But in general, the thing that these twill-covered beauties of yore are known for is their raw, loose sort of sound that exhibits plenty of touch-sensitivity and a musical, spongy compression commonly referred to as "sag." They are at their best when turned up, and this sound of a roaring, wide-open tweed combo is considered by many to be the holy grail of dirty guitar tones.

The standard thing to do at this point might be to mention how expensive vintage Fender tweed amps have become, lamenting the bygone days when one could snag them at pawn shops for a couple hundred bucks, but that's not how I roll. I intend to illustrate that the "good ol' days" are now, and that they do, in fact, make them like they used to—and maybe even better.

Players that want the look, feel, and wild, untamed rock tones of a vintage Fender tweed have more options now than ever, as beautiful, precisely recreated clones of these amps abound and sell at far lower prices than the originals. So, unless you're a collector interested in owning a rare museum piece, a modern clone is the way to go. Read below for some of our favorites.

Victoria Amplifiers 20112

Victoria's Mark Baier has been meticulously recreating 1950s-era Fender tweed circuits by hand about as long as anybody, and his company's amps are probably the most well-known and highly respected of the clones. Billy Gibbons and Keith Richards are but two of the famous tweed fanatics who use them, and it's safe to say that those guys know a thing or two about vintage tweed tones.

Victoria makes a wide range of models based on classic Fender circuits, but its "narrow panel" 5E3 Fender Deluxe-based 20112 model is especially sweet.

Victoria Amplifiers 20112

This 6V6-based, 14-watt, 1x12 combo is like a tone time machine, transporting you back to a time when amplifiers were simple, tube rectifiers were the only option, and a resonant, finger-jointed pine cabinet could sing like a choir of angels (or devils, if you prefer).

Perhaps I've romanticized a bit, but the 20112 is truly a wonderful amplifier that will deliver tweed tone as good as anything you've ever heard. It begs to be cranked, and its formidable bark is plenty loud enough to keep up with a band when dialed in to the sweet spot. It also takes pedals well. Click here to check out the Victoria 20112 Combos available right now on Reverb.

Kendrick Amplifiers 2410

Kendrick Amplifiers of Kempner, Texas was one of the most important pioneers of the boutique tweed amp revival and among the first to accurately recreate the original construction and point-to-point hand-wiring of the original Fender tweed amps.

The company has been doing business since 1989 and currently makes a wide range of products, but one of the things that put Kendrick on the map was the '50s tweed Bassman stylings of the model 2410 4x10 combo.

Kendrick Amplifiers 2410

The 2410 put out a positively deafening 45 watts from a pair of 6L6s, with a GZ34 handling the rectification, and its palette of tones ranged from lively cleans to juicy vintage grunt to balls-to-the-wall grind that would likely remind some players of an early Marshall—an amp which, as most readers probably know, was based on the Bassman.

The guts of a Kendrick amp are a beautiful thing to behold, elevating hand-wired tube circuitry to the level of art, and the varnished tweed cabinets are equally pleasing to the eye and ears. The 2410 is no longer made, as Kendrick has branched out beyond building simple tweed clones, but excellent second-hand examples crop up on Reverb from time to time.

Clark Amplification Tyger

South Carolina's Clark Amplification specializes in no-compromise vintage Fender and Marshall clones, and the company's tweed models are very highly regarded. Its venerable 35-watt 3x10 Bandmaster clone, the Tyger, is especially beloved and is built with premium components, including robust custom-wound transformers, Allen Bradley carbon comp resistors, Astron replica capacitors, cloth-covered solid-core wire, CTS pots, Weber speakers, and beautiful, resonant pine cabinets wrapped in warm, amber-tinted tweed.

Clark Amplification Tyger

True to the simple layout of vintage Fenders, the Tyger is outfitted with Normal and Bright channels, and a basic control set consisting of treble, bass, and presence controls. This setup yields a bountiful diversity of tones, and is equally at home with single-coils or humbuckers, delivering sparkling cleans and creamy leads, as well as old time rock 'n' roll snarl.

It's got plenty of headroom, so put a good drive or boost in front of it to maximize its potential for buttery saturation. The Clark Tyger ain't cheap at $2,280 USD, but it's an impeccably built amplifier, and when compared to an actual vintage Bandmaster—which may run you four times that much—it seems like a proper bargain.

Tungsten Amplifiers Crema Wheat

Florida's Tungsten Amplifiers is a relative newcomer on the tweed scene, at least compared to old hands like Victoria and Kendrick, but its amps are getting a lot of attention. This is for good reason, as they are lovingly handcrafted, relatively affordable, and totally nail the vintage Fender tweed thang. The company's Crema Wheat is reportedly not an exact Fender clone, blending together some of the best bits of a few different classic '50s circuits, but its overall character practically screams "Tweed Deluxe!"

Tungsten Amplifiers Crema Wheat

It features 20 watts of 6V6 juice with a GZ34 in the rectifier position, pushing its old-timey tones through a Scumback M75 speaker. It has Bright and Normal channels, two volume controls, and a master tone. This amp's main claim to fame is its remarkable touch sensitivity. Small changes in picking can yield huge differences in tone and attack, so it's an ideal amp for cranking wide open, and getting the sounds from your guitar and your hands. It's a minimalist guitar nerd's wet dream. The Crema Wheat runs around $1,745 USD (less for a used specimen), and also comes in head format for a couple hundred bucks less.

Obviously, this list is not meant to be comprehensive, so I have necessarily left plenty of fine, lovely sounding modern tweed clones out. Please feel free to give a shout out to some of your favorites in the comments below.

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