Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb: Which should you get?

Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb 1

There’s not a single guitarist on this planet who hasn’t heard of Fender amps before, and probably very few who hasn’t dreamed of owning one.

More specifically, many of us dream of owning one of the great classic Fenders from the 60s.

So, what great fortune that Fender offers two recreations of said legendary amps: The Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 (Blackface) and the Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb (Silverface).

What’s the difference between these two amps, besides the year and color of their faceplate?

That’s what we’re going to explore in this review.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb comparison:

  1. Origin and design
  2. Clean tones
  3. Overdrive tones
  4. Effects
  5. Speaker
  6. Inputs and controls
  7. Accessories
  8. Price & Value For Money
  9. Pros & Cons

Ready? Let’s get started…

Table of Contents

Main Differences: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 and Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

The main differences between Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 and Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb are:

  • The 65 is a reissue of mid-60s Blackface amps. The 68 is a redesigned version of the late-60s Silverface amps.
  • The 65 offers better Fender clean tones, but the 68 has a gorgeous Bassman tone stack for gritty drive.
  • Both amps have reverb and tremolo, but the 65 only allows you to use the tremolo on the Vibrato channel.
  • The 65 uses a Jensen speaker which has a smooth and glassy top-end. The 68 uses a Celestion instead for a more mid-focused rock n roll sound.
  • The 68 takes pedals better thanks to the exclusion of the bright cap in its circuit.

So when it comes down to Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb, which one should you choose? Here’s a quick overview:

  • Go for Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 if you’re dead set on those classic Fender Blackface clean tones, and you don’t need a big, fat, girthy drive tone. It also doesn’t take pedals so well unless you cut off the bright cap. It’s best suited to blues and jazz players.
  • Go for Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb if you need a versatile Fender amp that does both cleans and drive tones really well, and takes pedals like a champ. Don’t get it if you’re dying to hear those classic Fender cleans, that’s what the 65 is for. It’s best suited to blues and rock players.

1. Origin and design: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Origin and design: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

The Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 is essentially a reissue of the classic Deluxe Reverb from the mid-60s (hence the name).

It’s a clean amp through and through, delivering those chimney Fender clean tones with a little breakup as you get toward the top of the amps volume range.

Origin and design: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

The Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb is a different beast altogether, despite looking fairly similar.

Rather than being a direct reissue of the late-60s silver face Fenders (as it appears), the Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb has a few modifications.

The main mod being the Bassman tone stack which is added on the custom channel, which gives you that big, fat, juicy Fender early-breakup vibe.

Another mod on the 68 is the bright cap has been removed from the preamp circuit, which makes it more pedal-friendly (the 65 still has it, being a reissue).

The vintage channel is designed to give you those classic Silverface Deluxe Reverb tones with a bit of vibrato and reverb as well.

Origin and design: Bottom Line

These are two very different amp designs. One is a reissue of a nearly 60-year-old amp model, the other is a modernized version of a Fender amp from the late 60s.

As such, the tonal palette of each differs quite a bit, though they still draw on distinctly Fender sounds.

Let’s take a look in more detail in the next sections.

Origin and design Winner: Tie

2. Clean tones: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Clean tones: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

When you think of Fender clean tones, you’re thinking of that glassy, chimney sound with tonnes of headroom. You’re thinking of the classic 60s Deluxe Reverb.

That’s exactly what the Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 delivers.

It has plenty of clean headroom, which means on either the Classic or the Vibrato channel you’ll be able to push the amp nice and loud with minimal breakup.

Clean tones: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

You’ll need to use the Vintage channel on the Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb to get some nice Fender cleans, with the Custom channel been more gritty.

The cleans are still nice, and very Fendery, though the amp does break up more quickly than the 65, and the Celestion speaker (discuss soon) does deliver a slightly more ‘rock and roll’ tone than a crystal clear blues/jazz sound.

Clean tones: Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the ultimate Fender clean sound, then you’ve gotta go with the 65. Hands down.

Clean tones Winner: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

3. Overdrive tones: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Overdrive tones: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

The Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 is by no means a high-gain amp. Sure, you can get some dirty pushed tones out of it, but you’ll be closer to the top end of the volume range which is pretty damn loud.

An overdrive pedal like an Ibanez Tube Screamer can be a good way to add a little more guts to your tone, but you’ll probably notice things start to get a little bright and screechy.

That’s due to the bright cap in circuit, which many blues and rock players using the classic Fender amps used to simply cut off to make them more pedal-friendly (which is why the 68 doesn’t have one).

Overdrive tones: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

The Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb is a much more drive-friendly amp, if you’re using the Custom channel.

This channel, with it’s Bassman tone stack, breaks up quite quickly, and you can get some big, fat, fuzzy lead tones toward the top of the gain range.

It also takes pedals better, so you can build up several gain stages using a couple of boosts and drives in front of the amp.

Overdrive tones: Bottom Line

If Fender overdrive tones are what you’re going for, then it’s the Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb for you.

Overdrive tones Winner: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

4. Effects: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Effects: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

The Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 offers reverb (duh) and tremolo (which is called vibrato on these amps as a hangover from when people apparently didn’t understand the difference).

Both are tube-driven effects, but unfortunately, the tremolo is available only on the vibrato channel.

Effects: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

The Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb offers the same effects but allows you to engage the tremolo on either channel.

The tremolo is rich and pulsating, exactly what you’d expect from a Fender vibrato amp, and the reverb has that luscious long-spring vibe that can give your guitar a little slap or a huge presence.

Effects: Bottom Line

The quality of effects on these amps is second to none, despite there only being two options. They appear to use the same units so the only difference really is that the Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb lets you use them on either channel. So, it wins by an inch.

Effects Winner: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

5. Speaker: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Speaker: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

The 65 is a 1×12 combo amp, featuring a singular 12” Jensen C-12K speaker. Fender has been using Jensen speakers for years now, and it’s the same speaker that was originally used in the Deluxe Reverb amps in the 60s.

In fact, it’s this speaker that’s part of what gives you that glassy top end that Fender nuts know and love.

Speaker: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

The 68 switches things up, employing a 12″ Celestion G12V-70 to handle the 22 watts of pure tube goodness.

It’s less glassy and smooth than the Jensen, and delivers a punchy, mid-focused rock kind of sound, ideal for the sorts of tones you can pull out of this amp.

Speaker: Bottom Line

Both amps use top-notch speakers from high-quality manufacturers, and each uses a speaker that is tailored toward the sound of the amp itself.

So, this one is really a tie.

Speaker Winner: Tie

6. Inputs and controls: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Inputs and controls: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

The Deluxe Reverb 65 gives you four guitar inputs (2 on the normal channel and 2 on the vibrato channel).

It’s pretty straightforward on the controls front too. Here’s what you get:

  • Normal Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass
  • Vibrato Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass, Reverb
  • Vibrato: Speed, Intensity

Inputs and controls: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

The 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb doesn’t offer anything different here, just a different colored faceplate.

Inputs and controls: Bottom Line

Either amp gives you the same level of flexibility with regard to guitar inputs, EQ, and effects modulation.

Inputs and controls Winner: Tie

7. Accessories: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Footswitch

Both amps come with a 2-button vintage-style Fender footswitch, allowing you to switch the reverb and vibrato on and off independently.

Amp cover

Because the cabinets on these amps are virtually identical, the same amp cover fits.

Either amp ships with a Deluxe Reverb®/Super-Sonic™ 22 Combo Black amp cover.

Accessories: Bottom Line

While there are no winners here, it’s nice to know that Fender is passionate about product care with their inclusion of a fitted amp cover.

Accessories Winner: Tie

8. Price & Value For Money: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Price & Value For Money: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

A new Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 costs around $1400.

It’s not the cheapest amp on the market, by any means, but it’s about right. You’ll pay the same money for a Vox AC30, for example.

Price & Value For Money: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

The Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb isn’t all that different, though it’s slightly cheaper at $1250.

Price & Value For Money: Bottom Line

If pure value for money is your main motivator, then go with the Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb. It’s $150 cheaper, and gives you two amp styles (Bassman and Silverface) in one, compared to the 65 which really just does the clean thing.

Price & Value For Money Winner: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

9. Pros & Cons: Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Better Fender cleans
  • A plain reissue of an absolute classic
  • Reverb and tremolo are beautiful

Cons:

  • Doesn’t take pedals as well as the 68
  • Not really built for drive

Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Great overdrive from the Bassman tone stack
  • Removed bright cap makes the 68 super pedal-friendly
  • Reverb and tremolo are beautiful

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have the same kind of Fender cleans as the 65

Conclusion & Takeaway

To summarize our findings in this Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 vs Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb comparison, here are the winners for each category:

  • Origin and design – Tie
  • Clean tones – Fender Deluxe Reverb 65
  • Overdrive tones – Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb
  • Effects –  Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb
  • Speaker – Tie
  • Inputs and controls – Tie
  • Accessories – Tie
  • Price & Value For Money – Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Overall: Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

This one’s a tough one to give a verdict on.

The 68 seems to offer better value for money, handles pedals better, has some seriously grunty drive, and allows you to use both effects on either channel.

The 65, on the other hand, does the classic Fender Blackface clean sound the justice it deserves.

Unless the main thing you’re aiming for is that Blackface sound, then I’d go with the Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZbDew_2YrY 

Product Links:

Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

https://www.amazon.com/Fender-Deluxe-Reverb-22-Watt-1×12-Inch/dp/B0030LH4OG 

Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

https://www.amazon.com/Fender-Custom-Deluxe-Reverb-Amplifier/dp/B00EM5UMU2 

Products Comparison Table:

Spec / Feature

Fender Deluxe Reverb 65

Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Power

22 watts

22 watts

Speaker

12” Jensen® C-12K

12″ Celestion G12V-70

Channels

2 (normal, vibrato)

2 (custom, vintage)

Inputs

4 (two normal, two vibrato)

4 (two custom, two vintage)

Effects

Reverb, tremolo

Reverb, vibrato

Footswitch

2-Button Vintage Style (Reverb On/Off, Vibrato On/Off), P/N: 0994058000 (Included)

2-Button Vintage Style (Reverb On/Off, Vibrato On/Off), P/N: 0994058000 (Included)

Voltage

120V

Controls

Normal Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass; Vibrato Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass, Reverb; Vibrato: Speed, Intensity

Custom Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass; Vintage Channel: Volume, Treble, Bass, Reverb; Vibrato: Speed, Intensity

Speaker Jack

Two 1/4″ Parallel (Internal and External)

Two 1/4″ Parallel (Internal and External)

Cabinet Material

Birch Plywood

Birch Plywood

Amplifier Covering

Black Textured Vinyl

Black Textured Vinyl

Grille Cloth

Silver

Silver

Amplifier Jewel

Red

Blue

Front Panel

Black

Silver

Handle

Molded Plastic Strap with Nickel-Plated Caps

Molded Plastic Strap with Nickel-Plated Caps

Preamp Tubes

4 x 12AX7, 2 X 12AT7

4 x 12AX7, 2 x 12AT7

Power Tubes

2 x 6V6

2 x 6V6

Rectifier

Tube (1 x 5AR4)

Tube (1 x 5AR4)

Cover

P/N: 0047483000, ’65 Deluxe Reverb®/Super-Sonic™ 22 Combo, Black (Included)

P/N: 0047483000, ’65 Deluxe Reverb®/Super-Sonic™ 22 Combo, Black (Included)

Dimensions

H 17.5″ (44.5 cm)

W 24.5″ (62.2 cm)

D 9.5″ (24.13 cm)

H 17.5″ (44.5 cm)

W 24.5″ (62.2 cm)

D 9.5″ (24.13 cm)

Weight

42 lbs. (19.05 kg)

42 lbs. (19.05 kg)