For years I’d wanted a Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue, often abbreviated on gear forums and sites as a DRRI. Okay, so you might think to yourself, “Wait, I came to this page to read about an Egnater Tweaker 15 and this guy’s talking about a Deluxe Reverb?!?!?”. I’ll get to that, I promise.
After some trades and sales, I ended up with a DRRI. I even picked up an Eminence Cannabis Rex 12″ speaker after reading that it was an alternative to having a “bright mod” done, which involved removing a component on the circuit board (a capacitor, maybe?) and I didn’t want to mod my amp. That amp was the tone I’d wanted for years without paying the big bucks for an actual vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb. It had this wonderful clean tone and, at 22 watts, didn’t have to get TERRIBLY load to get some breakup going in the tubes.
In 2009, I ended up buying the PRS SC245 Ted McCarty Soapbar that I own and have used on Skylines and the Horizon. The Guitar Center I bought it from didn’t have a Deluxe Reverb Reissue in the isolated room I played the guitar in, but they had a combo version of the Egnater Tweaker. The guitar sounded so good through it. I could tweak away to my heart’s content and everything sounded great to my ears. The drive channel was impressive and although I couldn’t switch it via a pedal, the amp responded well to rolling off the volume of the PRS.
Up until that point in my life, I hadn’t owned a head and cab that I could make the most use of. At one point, I’d owned a solid state Fender Roc Pro 1000, which I believe was a 100w head and played it through a 4×12″. It was loud…too loud, and I wanted a tube head.
I bought the Tweaker 15 head first. Another cool feature is that you can select a 4, 8 or 16 ohm output. As the DRRI was an 8 ohm amp, I plugged the speaker cable into the 8 ohm jack and played it through the speaker of my DRRI while I searched for a speaker cab.
I have to admit, playing a tube amp at bedroom volume isn’t the same as playing it cranked in an isolated room in a music store, but it still sounded good. Eventually I saw a used Tweaker 1×12 cab pop up on another Guitar Center used site and bought it. The Tweaker cab is a 16 ohm speaker, so I plugged the speaker cable into the 16 ohm output and off I went.
I swapped the speaker in the DRRI and sold it shortly thereafter. I made a nice profit off of the whole thing. While I’d go on to the miss the DRRI, the Tweaker more than made it up for in its versatility and has served me well for the almost decade that I’ve owned it. I’ve traded for amps and sold them while the Tweaker remained king of the mountain, at least until I bought my Princeton Reverb.
I used the Tweaker for the entirety of the 2011 Watauga sessions and JD and Matt recorded all of their tracks for Lo-Fi Nice Try’s Waiting Drove Us Mad using it as well. While I haven’t used the Tweaker for any stuff on Skylines and the Horizon, it will make an appearance on any future projects I record music for.
True to the name, the Egnater Tweaker has numerous switches that allow you to tweak the sound of the amp. I’m going to go over them, but not in too much detail. Why? Good question. There are a good number of YouTube videos out there by people who play and make demos far better than I can if you want to hear how it sounds and I imagine they go through the differences. In fact, Anderton’s did a video a few years ago that covers it all. If I ever end up doing a demo, I’ll definitely cover them in more detail.
From right to left on the control panel, you have switches that move between the following: Tight/Deep, Bright/Normal, Hot/Clean, USA/AC/Brit, and Vintage/Modern.
My use of the Tight/Deep switch is dependent on the tone of the guitar I’m playing. Generally, with my Les Paul and PRS, I use tight. With my telecasters and strat, I favor the deep setting. I’m rarely a fan of the bright setting on amps, or pedals for that matter, and the Bright/Normal switch generally stays in the Normal position.
The Hot/Clean switch determines how much gain you get. I generally stick with Clean and use pedals for my overdrive sounds, but I do really like the way that the distortion of the Hot setting gets.
The USA/AC/Brit switch represents a Fender/Vox/Marshall voicing of the tone stack. The differences are kind of subtle and sound practically the same when the Treble/Mid/Bass knobs are at noon, but as you deviate from that, the differences do become a little more noticeable. For as long as I’ve owned the amp, I have almost always used the USA setting, and to my ears, it’s a solid 90% of what a Fender amp sounds like. I do intend to play with the AC and Brit settings more as I begin to plan future recordings.
The Vintage/Modern switch changes how the amp responds. The Vintage setting sounds and “responds” (gotta love those vague descriptions musicians use that convey such little detail) more like an older style amp. It has a smoother sound and is, to my ears, more neutral EQ wise. The Modern sound gets more of an edge to it…tighter, brighter, and more like amps that aren’t trying to emulate the older amps that so many of us love.
Pictures incoming soon!