Other Amps

Anyone find the Fender Vibrolux 68 RI too Mid-range heavy?

1

I had a Deluxe Reverb RI and hated it. It was a mid-range honking monster when used with 58 RI Humbuckers or TVJ Supertrons. I sold it last week with malice and hate.

I'm looking into a Vibrolux 68 RI as an alternative because it is a higher end amp....or is it? Neither have a mid control. I'm looking for a clean Twin or Super Reverb sound in a small package to use with Gretsch with Supertrons and Gibson PAFs.

Anyone experienced this mid-range problem? Any comments on the Vibrolux?

2

Just a thought, but why not save yourself some worry and buy a nice clean vintage [pre master volume] SF. There's no question they're better built amps than any reissue and in some cases cheaper. Certainly cheaper than any vintage BF.

I have a mint '71 VR and it'll outperform a reissue any day. I happen to think most new Fender amps are overpriced, especially as they aren't built as well as the vintage versions. Change the caps if necessary, put on a three-prong plug and off you go. Maybe a few tubes but generally not much needed. Mine had sat for a while and was a one-owner that hadn't moved literally, since new and never played much. I've played my SC through the reissue Twin, VR & DR and wasn't particularly impressed.

The Pro Reverb was a smaller version of a twin (have a '66 BF) - wicked amp! - and the VR a smaller version of the PR & pretty awesome too. If you want a reissue, all I can suggest is go to a dealer and play your guitar through a selection and see if any have the sound you want. The VR is a nice light package so I'd start there......the Twin is a boat anchor!

3

Based on your description....I'd recommend THIS:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fe...

Cheaper than those reissues and way better quality (PTP wired, no PC board or ribbon connectors, beefier transformers, more features, better resale value/no depreciation etc....BTW they sound fantastic)

4

I wondered why they even bothered to reissue silver panel amps

Since we're talking recent Fender -- how are those BassBreaker ones regarded? That little 7 watt one got my interest

5

I can add a mid range control to any of those amps above and it makes them way more versatile. I’ve done it for quite a few here on the GDP.

6

I had a Deluxe Reverb RI and hated it. It was a mid-range honking monster when used with 58 RI Humbuckers or TVJ Supertrons. I sold it last week with malice and hate.

I'm looking into a Vibrolux 68 RI as an alternative because it is a higher end amp....or is it? Neither have a mid control. I'm looking for a clean Twin or Super Reverb sound in a small package to use with Gretsch with Supertrons and Gibson PAFs.

Anyone experienced this mid-range problem? Any comments on the Vibrolux?

– 10course

I wonder. A Deluxe Reverb is per se not a mid-range heavy amp at all. I'm quite sure a simple tube set-up (quality check, first stage V1/V2 upgrade, bias set) would solve many problems that some users have. A speaker upgrade - depending on what's in your DR - makes a big difference too.

The Vibrolux 68 (which is a modded version and no reissue, btw) is not a higher end amp. Just compare the prices. The 68s are even cheaper than their 65 RI counterparts. That doesn't mean they can't sound nice.

Guitarcapo's advice is good. Those Rivera era Fenders are still sleepers.

7

What Superdave said. He and I are always singing the praises of early SF Fenders. Cheaper than BF, sound great stock, and there are lots of resources out there to guide any mods you might make.

The little ones have gotten pricier, but not outrageous. Pick a few models you like (Deluxe, Bandmaster Reverb, Vibrolux, Super, Pro) and then watch the local classifieds religiously with cash ready to go. You’ll find one sooner than you think.

For your reference, the bigger models all have a mid control.

8

The 80s Concert is a great amp, with a clear and unmistakable Blackface voice - but it’s middier than a Deluxe (and that’s from recent direct comparison). It also weighs 20+ pounds more.

I had one for 30 years, kept it immaculate, and sold it recently. It took two months on Reverb, where it had to be the nicest and the cheapest to finally sell for 500.00. How others are getting 700.00 (if they are), I’d like to know. Maybe it’s my breath.

We’ve been waiting for 15 years for them to get the respect they deserve and start appreciating; I guess we’re still waiting.

FWIW, I kept both my Music Mans. I agree in general that SIlverfaces are a great value - and after JB modded my Deluxe, it’s better than ever, with more balanced and “versatile” tonal options. But you should also try any Music Mans you can get your ear on. In many ways they embody Blackface tone idealized - and represent the last step in Leo’s design evolution.

And they’re still cheaper than a modern reissue.

9

I'm someone else who is suprised by the "midrange" and "deluxe reverb reissue" comments. If anything, those blackface style amps have a bit of a dip in the typical guitar midrange frequencies. (in audio terms, an electric guitar is all midrange of course, no real lows or highs there)

None of the Fender reissue amps are "high end" amps at all, in fact they're made as cheap as they can make them without them breaking down in the first couple of years of use.

nice (real/original) blackface or even silverface vibroluxes have gotten expensive, but Pro Reverbs (the same amps as a vibrolux but with two twelves) can still be had for very interesting money, and you can think of them as a twin without all the unneccesary volume capability. unless you play pedal steel, or your band plays 1000+ rooms, most mortals don't really need all the headroom and volume a typical twin provides.

If you want high end Fender blackface tones, look at Victoria's Victorilux range, Dr Z's EZG 50, Carr Amps "Rambler", or a Bruno Cowtipper. All of those are expensive, but built to outlast you, and to be easy to service as well.

10

Those Rivera era Fenders were the last PTP wired amps Fender ever made. So they are really bullet-proof and road worthy compared to the PCB and ribbon connector stuff with tubes soldered straight to the board these days. They also are loaded with features like an effects loop, presence control, gain control, brightness and mid boost switch, and a pretty transparent master volume. There's a cult following of amp hobbyists who mod these amps because of their point to point wiring and features.

On the negative side....They did have snubber caps which in my opinion need to be removed to get that classic blackface tone, and they do usually benefit to a speaker upgrade like a Jensen. And the higher wattage ones are definitely heavy. Other than that, they are definitely a sleeper collector's amp.

11

It's still sleeping.

Here was mine: https://reverb.com/item/100...

Apparently the cult missed looking at Reverb for over two months: the amp was bought by a young guy getting his first tube amp.

12

Get a vintage Fender amp...pre-1980.

13

I went and picked up a Vibrolux 68 RI today at GC. I played it with an A/B box against the Super Reverb with stock speakers. I did alright....I didn't hate it.....No real mid problems

Note: on the Deluxe RI that I hated and sold, I always had the bass control on '"0" and treble on "3" with TVJ Supertrons and PAFs---anything else would be low mid mud!

The Vibrolux: I had it set at 4.5 on Bass and 6 on treble on the vintage side. It was fine. With the bright switch on 5 bass and 4.5 treble.---better still.

Then, I played it through some Jensen C10Qs........Now we are talking! In a A/B test with Super Reverb, my wife and daughter both though it was different but close enough. Their words: " the super Reverb fills the room better or sounds bigger, but the Vibrolux with the Jensens is focused." ----no surprises there.

14

I agree with guitarcapo's assessment of the Rivera era amps. These and the early SF's are both the best quality and cheapest Fender amps worthy of consideration IMO. I wouldn't buy anything new as I've heard many stories of them needing repairs and I've experienced new ones in stores that arrived not functioning and needing to be sent to the local Fender reapir shop! If weight is a huge factor, then the VR & DR are great choices, but not so much the Concert mentioned.

If you need more wattage than the DR, then the VR is a good choice at 35 watts - 1x10" vs 2x10". They have the same controls and reverb so it's really a choice of the speakers. The concert jumps to 60 watts but the weight is 60 lbs . The The Concert has a presence control so there's that difference as well. Pick your poison.

15

I went and picked up a Vibrolux 68 RI today at GC. I played it with an A/B box against the Super Reverb with stock speakers. I did alright....I didn't hate it.....No real mid problems

Note: on the Deluxe RI that I hated and sold, I always had the bass control on '"0" and treble on "3" with TVJ Supertrons and PAFs---anything else would be low mid mud!

The Vibrolux: I had it set at 4.5 on Bass and 6 on treble on the vintage side. It was fine. With the bright switch on 5 bass and 4.5 treble.---better still.

Then, I played it through some Jensen C10Qs........Now we are talking! In a A/B test with Super Reverb, my wife and daughter both though it was different but close enough. Their words: " the super Reverb fills the room better or sounds bigger, but the Vibrolux with the Jensens is focused." ----no surprises there.

– 10course

With a hollowbody and a blackface/silverface Fender, I never have the bass above 3 - more than that and it's too much, and the low end gets woofy or farty.

If you like the C10Q Jensens, try the cheapo-eminence made ceramics that Fender used to put in the 4X10 hot rod deville and pro junior amps, you can get them from a Fender dealer, they're Fender "10V30" speakers or something like that.

Perfect ceramic 10 for vibrolux or other blackface Fender with 10's, and a little sweeter on top than the Jensens without being too mellow. Eminence's Allesandro signature 10" speaker is very similar and a killer 10" for Fenders too. classic blackface Fender tone, and not too bass-heavy. this one!

16

I went and picked up a Vibrolux 68 RI today at GC. I played it with an A/B box against the Super Reverb with stock speakers. I did alright....I didn't hate it.....No real mid problems

Note: on the Deluxe RI that I hated and sold, I always had the bass control on '"0" and treble on "3" with TVJ Supertrons and PAFs---anything else would be low mid mud!

The Vibrolux: I had it set at 4.5 on Bass and 6 on treble on the vintage side. It was fine. With the bright switch on 5 bass and 4.5 treble.---better still.

Then, I played it through some Jensen C10Qs........Now we are talking! In a A/B test with Super Reverb, my wife and daughter both though it was different but close enough. Their words: " the super Reverb fills the room better or sounds bigger, but the Vibrolux with the Jensens is focused." ----no surprises there.

– 10course

You asked for recent 68 Vibrolux recommendations and as far as I can see you've got none in this thread. Still you've bought one and it sounds okay, you say. Interesting. I would prefer a little more than "I didn't hate it" but that's just me.

17

As has been stated, any fender tube before 1980 is great. If you are lucky enough to have a good amp tech you can look for deals on 70's silverface amps that need some TLC. they can be tweaked to suit individual taste and of course, there are great speakers being made now. I still see silverface DR, PR and occasionally VR for under $1500. I just got a 1971 PR that was all serviced with new caps and high quality resistors and other components for $1200, shipped.

Another option is buying a less popular head, like a Bandmaster, silverface Bassman or a stray Tremolux without a cabinet and have a combo cabinet made for it. With a few simple tweaks in tone cap values the results can be fantastic. I did this with my BF Tremolux. I wasn't crazy about carrying the head and separate cabinet, so I had a 2X10 open back combo cabinet built for it. It's like a VR without the reverb and all we did was change one tone cap value to one matching a VR. Closed back cabinets have more bass response so the original tone cap value was chosen to deal with that. In the open back cabinet, we had to allow the bass to come through more.

The Rivera era Fenders are also pretty good deals; owned a few when they first came out. I liked the Super Champ the best. The Concert was just too heavy for a single 12" amp. I remember not liking the Princeton Reverb II, but I can't remember why. Expectations change and I might really like them now.

18

Most Fenders to me have a "scooped midrange". If you need to simply adjust the EQ, just get a pedal.

19

You asked for recent 68 Vibrolux recommendations and as far as I can see you've got none in this thread. Still you've bought one and it sounds okay, you say. Interesting. I would prefer a little more than "I didn't hate it" but that's just me.

– sascha

"I didn't hate it" was probably too negative. It sounded way better than the Deluxe BF RI. However, after reading this and other threads, I wonder if my Deluxe RI had been tampered with.......If nobody else experienced this the way I did, maybe my amp, which I bought used, had been messed with?
Anyway, I installed the Jensens c10qs and am happy with it. I have been A/B testing it all night and am satisfied.

Note: on the "Vintage channel" the Gretsches sound better in the Number 2 input with less gain. On the number 1 input the Gibson es-137 with 58 RI PAFs sounds better. On the "custom channel", it's supposed to sound like a Bassman. I have never owned a Bassman, so I can't evaluate that. The Gretsch sounds nice in the Bassman channel.


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