THE SQUIRE FILES
This amp is arguably the best in the world for a clean guitar sound. It is a Fender twin Reverb. These types are known as Silverface amps due to the Silver cloth and pre-amp plate. They were made in the early seventies by Fender who were then owned by CBS after a take over in 1965. These amps were probably the best thing Fender made under the CBS banner. They are basically 100 watt valve amps. Squires affinity with guitars etc of the 60's and 70's would naturally lead him to this amp at some stage. Valve amps are at times amazing, and other times a complete hindrance! They will give you a sound that no other type of amp can touch. It is smooth, warm, clean etc. The way a guitar sound should be. But usually the amps are heavy due to large speaker magnets, and every so often valves need to be replaced along with other components. So they can still cost you money even after you've paid for them.
All Squire's Twins had master volumes on them which was started by Fender in 1972. And in 1975 they started to make a 135w model!! Squire's amps were made sometime after 1974. This is identifiable by the fender logos on the amp. The twins before this time are graced with the fender logo underlined. (Picture shown below left.)
Where as the later models just had the word fender with the trademark 'R' at the end. (picture shown right). So Squire's amps could either be the 100w or the 135w version as both types have the fender with the 'R' logo during the later years. His liking of over engineered amps and more volume than you ever need, pushes the debate towards the 135 models. In the early years Squire would use 2 of these amps together for a bigger sound.
"What type of speakers did he use?" Well, the thing with these amps is that when they were on sale in the 70's you had a choice of a few different types of speakers you could have in them. The ones that get the best ratings are the D120F JBL's or 'Orange Basket' speakers as they're sometimes known. (Left) is a pic of ones I have waiting to go into my other twin. For a pair of these in good condition you'd expect to pay £200 per speaker!! There were a couple of other types that were common to see. These were Oxford's and Utah's. The amp shown (above) is my 135w version with a pair of Oxford speakers in it. The problem with valve amps is that they never had large power handling capacity in the speakers. They didn't have channels for distortion so you had to push them quite hard to get the nice overdriven sound. However, the speakers weren't designed to be pushed in this way, therefor their shelf-life would be shortened quite considerably.
Round about 88/89 Squire starts to use mesa boogie amps as his source sound. This is when his sound started to get beefed up for live stuff. Although his twins were still on stage as well, he would use them as slave amps to further shape the sound from the mesa amp.
I am pretty sure the first boogie he is seen with is a either a Mark IIC or a Mark IIC+ (pic right). This was a simul-class version allowing switching of 60 to 100watts. This amp has 2 channels:- Rhythm 1 (clean sound, can get slight overdriven sound when volume turned up high. Sounds like a fender amp turned up loud), and Lead (at low gain settings will sound like an overdriven fender amp, but higher gain settings will cover the spectrum of distortion sounds). These amps are pretty rare now, especially the Mk IIC+ amps. Only 1400 of them made!!
This amp can be spotted in the footage of The Stone Roses at the Hacienda 89 from 'SNUB TV'. They footage is from the songs 'Adored' and 'Sugar Spun Sister'. The amp can be seen tucked away on Squire's right (Screen left).
This is the 2nd Boogie Squire is seen with. This is a Mark III (simul-class). The simul-class means that you can switch from (class A) to (class AB). Again the switching is from 60w to 100w. These amps are, like the twin reverb, classed as vintage. Again we have another valve amp. They stopped making them round about the early to mid 90's I think. My one (pictured left) was made in 1986. Mesa Boogie had now become Squire's main source of sound. He would slave out to his other twin/s to get an awesome, massive sound. Unlike the twin, the boogie can give an overdriven clean sound at slightly lower volumes. Although mesa amps can't really be played low. I have played venues where the capacity is a couple of thousand and I've never had the master volume past 2.5!! Unlike the amp above, this boogie also has a rhythm 2 channel for overdrive. As before the seperate lead channel gain and master controls are the same as the mk II. This would enable Squire to get the clean sound he wanted and then set his lead channel accordingly. I don't think he really used the rhythm 2 channel.
Mesa amps are at the top end of the market. So don't expect much change out of £1000. It is usually the Mark I's or II's that are sought after by collectors as the Mark III's were said to be not as usable. The way this amp works is really complicated. Basically, some of the channels settings are dependant on other channel settings so you have to compromise a bit if you want to use all 3 channels. However, most people use just any 2 out of the 3 channels and replace any discrepencies with a stomp box. The 5 band graphic sliders are an excellent feature on this amp. You can have this active or not. If it isn't active then the eq will be taken from the dials instead. You either like the mesa sound or you don't. It's possible to get loads of different tones from the amp, but it's the distortion that is noticeably different. It's hard to describe, but it sounds different from Marshall and any other make. You have to really try it to hear the difference.
MESA BOOGIE (RACK SET UP)
In 1989/90 Squire had firmly grounded his liking of mesa boogie amplification. This was a company who were arguably leading the field in valve amp technology. Squire had ditched the 60's sound of the twin reverbs and wanted to immerse himself in mesa boogie tone. Having used Mesa combo's for the past few years. Squire decided to rack mount his set up with even more versatility. Mesa Boogie had released a rack pre-amp called the 'Quad'(left). This encompassed almost all the tones available from mesa amps. It had rhythm and lead channels of the Mark II and Mark III amps built into one.
This lay many options wide open for creating lots of new fundamental guitar sounds. Something Squire always seemed to do well was be creative with the tools he had at his disposal. And this pre-amp certainly gave him plenty of scope to be creative. This pre-amp was powered by a 295 simul-class power amp (below).
The speaker cabinets were also mesa, but they changed a lot depending on the performance. The first showing was of 2 2x12's on the infamous 'Late show' performance of 'Made of Stone'.
Then on mimed performances of One Love on satellite tv he is shown to have 2 4x12's. And then the ultimate in quadrophonic sound, at Spike Island he had no less than 4 4x12 mesa cabinets (left). The other 2 cabs are out of view behind Ian and Mani, but they are there I can assure you!! This is totally rocking out in a massive way, as 1 4x12 cab is enough to knock down a house!!
Just check out the mean looking mesa (MK80) 4x12 cab up close in the pic (right). If Squire's preference for speakers was EV's (Electro-Voice), then he would have had these babies in all of the cabs. I can't imagine how much guts these could really push out. One 12" EV speaker is enough to totally obliterate your hearing for life if played through a mesa up loud. Although the objective isn't to make yourself deaf, it's hard not to play loud through mesa amps. The EV speakers certainly do have great tone. 16 of them on all at the same time would just be astounding!!
I guess price wise you'd be looking at least around £300 for one of these cabs second hand. Mesa still do these 4x12's but the grill and name plate aren't the same any more. These are specific to 90's models. You really only need 1 of these cabinets if that!! Only if you are playing outdoor events or massive arenas would it be worth contemplating exceeding the ridiculously extravagant sonic delight of 1 cabinet.