Vintage Sound Vintage 22sc Review

Vintage Sound 22sc

Vintage Sound Amplifiers make some of our favorite Blackface voiced amps around. They incorporate circuits and voicings that we're all so familiar with yet reaching past the overly simple features that may have held some guitarists back from Blackface amps over the years. We all enjoy vintage tone, but why can't we have our tone and enjoy new ideas too? Leo Fender was big on listening to what players had to say about what they needed or used, and what they didn't. This is precisely what Vintage Sound Amps has done! By listening to decades of guitarists, they have figured out exactly what us vintage tone hounds were after: the Vintage Sound 22sc. Stylistic and aesthetic qualities stay true to the vintage vibe of an old Fender amp, but don't let that fool you into thinking that it's the same 'ol thing! Immediately noticeable differences with the 22sc are the addition of a 'Mid' knob, as well as a Reverb Dwell Control that together offer many new textures to the Deluxe Reverb circuit.  Other internal modifications exist within the 22sc which we'll go over in more detail below.

The AB763 circuit from the 22 watt 60's Fender Deluxe Reverb is the cream of the tonal crop for some of us out there with its rich tone, ease of transport and reliable history. For decades, guitarists have often commented on their lack of use of the Normal channel on a Deluxe. As many of us know, you can remove the first preamp tube associated with the Normal channel leaving you with a hotter signal and a little more gain. By turning the Tremolo Intensity knob to zero, you actively remove it from the circuit as well, again resulting in an even hotter signal. So with the circuit being a hand wired point to point board with the capabilities of a shorter signal path, and in a Princeton sized cab, this amp, may be one of the best grab and go amps around!

Is it loud enough?

The Vintage 22sc has enough volume to carry you from practice to the club. On top of that, the bass response of the VS amps are unparalleled for an amp of this small of a stature. Think of this amp as a Deluxe style amp in a Princeton sized cab. With the pine cab and the 12" speaker, you'll want to turn the amp upside down to see if someone snuck a pair of 6L6 power tubes into it!


As mentioned above, this amp features a "Mid" knob not found in the typical Deluxe Reverb circuit. This was achieved by removing the the 6.8k fixed bias resistor from the AB763 and replacing it with a 10k pot, allowing players to refine their tone further than before.  If you want it to be perfectly period correct, no problem!  Just move the mid knob to about 6 or 7 and it will give you 6.8k of resistance.  Voila!

The reverb on this amp, like all good blackface amps, has a wonderful spacial feel.   With the 22sc, Vintage Sound has added a versatile Dwell control on the back allowing you to control the reverb decay.  This is a feature many of us verb lovers have always wished was on our old Fender amps.  You typically found this only on the Fender dedicated reverb units, so we're quite pleased to have it on Vintage Sound amps.

As if these two modifications weren't enough, the 22SC features a Bright Cap Defeat Switch to tame some of the top end associated with this style of amp or give it that high end sparkle to guide your guitar to the front of a mix. As well, the Tremolo circuit on the VS 22sc is the much loved Diaz based Modded Tremolo circuit with a newly designed oscillator specific to Vintage Sound which allows a slower speed and less noise than the original Fender design. When you turn the Tremolo Intensity dial all of the way to zero, the Mod also completely eliminates the Tremolo circuit from the signal path. So even if you don't find yourself using it often, you don't have to worry about it dragging down your precious tone!
After trying many speaker combinations, Humbucker Music and Vintage Sound has opted to use the WGS C/S12 for it's ability to tame some of the top end most notably associated with the Deluxes and Princetons while helping accentuate the 22sc's solid lows.  We feel this speaker is absolutely a solid choice for this amp.  


All Vintage Sound Amps utilize pine cabinets and are constructed with dove tailed joints to ensure years of solid use as well as the stronger joints that allow the cab to resonate more freely than many other construction methods. A Baltic Birch floating baffle allows the front baffle to 'breathe a bit more', when in conjunction with the light resonant softer pine, you end up with a cab that imparts its own frequency to your sound. This cab resonance may be more important to help you find that sound in your head than you may initially think!     


Overall, I find the Vintage Sound 22sc to be an extremely satisfying amp that is surely to find great success through its ability to be carried around with ease, while pumping out Blackface tones reminiscent of amps past (not the reissues)! So, if you're in the market for vintage Blackface tone, look no further than the Vintage Sound 22Ssc.  Do you loose anything over a two channel Deluxe style amp? In my opinion, no. I have perhaps in my 25+ years of playing, encountered only a handful of players who utilized both the Normal and the Vibrato channels on their amp during a particular gig.
Effects pedals have made such an influence on the tones that we're now so familiar with, that even using the Normal Channel as a different EQ setting is irrelivant these days. Think about it... A half-pound pedal versus all of the additional weight of a second amp channel, not to mention the additional signal path and internal resistance that you now avoid. I don't think that you loose anything at all. If anything, you gain. You gain a shorter signal path, a bypassable Tremolo circuit, a stronger, resonant, more vibrant cab and the ability to tote around a hand wired point to point amp that weighs in at under 40lbs! This is definitely one of the best grab and go amps on the market today and a sure fit for stages and studios alike.

- Jeremy Walley, Humbucker Music