Other Amps

Bandmaster Reverb to Vibroverb Conversion

1

I’ve finally finished building a Vibroverb. I started with a 1968 drip edge Bandmaster Reverb I got dirt cheap. Owner begged me to take the cab for free, which added a bit of cost to the shipping, but oh well.

I have since found a silver face Super Reverb cabinet and a Weber California aluminum cap 15” speaker.

Last step was fixing up the amp itself. I found a new amp technician in the area. Turned out to be a really nice guy at reasonable rates who was just as excited as me. He used Weber’s book as well as lots of further research to get it just right.

The amp now has a three prong cord, new caps, a few new tubes, and has been black faced. Bias is set to breakup around five which is great for me. I like just a bit of edge so I think I will play it at five with the master rolled down to about seven.

What a difference to my sparkly clean 1972 Super Reverb. Two really complimentary amps!

The vibroclone is everything I had hoped for. Big and warm sound with a bit of edge. Also plays clean really nicely.

That big Gretsch sound I’ve been looking for with my 6122-1959 shows up on the neck pickup with treble: 6 mid:1 bass: 7. Add Reverb at 2.5 and just a hint of vibrato, and it sounds magical.

Of course, turn on my Mystery Brain, and you can’t go back to just the amp. I don’t know how Tavo does it. That’s some secret sauce.

You can read about the conversion here: https://www.facebook.com/Sc...

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Early '69 BMR with the AB768 circuit, probably the "least best" sounding of the BMRs. Nice conversion! I wrote an article about that 20 years ago (I feel so old now): Link

Enjoy that Vibroclone!

3

Great work jalexander! I love a 15... looks excellent !

and ggjaguar I read your article many times as I did the Kay jazzii vs fender coronando article. Thanks for your excellent site

I’ve got a 64 bandmaster and 65 super reverb and they sound very different. .. the SR has more grunt but less mids until turned up loud. Of course could be speakers or the lack of reverb in the BM circuit. Hard to compare as the SR is 2ohm

4

Early '69 BMR with the AB768 circuit, probably the "least best" sounding of the BMRs. Nice conversion! I wrote an article about that 20 years ago (I feel so old now): Link

Enjoy that Vibroclone!

– GGJaguar

Didn’t know a Gretschpager wrote that article. I have read it many times - it’s an amazing resource!

5

Great work jalexander! I love a 15... looks excellent !

and ggjaguar I read your article many times as I did the Kay jazzii vs fender coronando article. Thanks for your excellent site

I’ve got a 64 bandmaster and 65 super reverb and they sound very different. .. the SR has more grunt but less mids until turned up loud. Of course could be speakers or the lack of reverb in the BM circuit. Hard to compare as the SR is 2ohm

– eCastro

I think your experience with the BM and SR shows how much these amps changed over time. My Super Reverb is a pre-master volume Silverface, so I could convert it to a blackface. Given its pristine condition, including lightly used original tubes, I’ve been inclined to leave it. I can’t get it to break up at volumes is ever use, but it has a beautiful sparkle to it.

The Bandmaster Reverb is a different beast. I was able to solve a mystery with this project too. I’ve always read that drip edge silver face amps still have blackface circuitry. The BMR, however, was the first silverface amp released and was a new model, distinct from the Bandmaster. Essentially it was a Pro Reverb in head format.

So what would I find underneath the hood in this earliest of silverface amps? A blackface Pro Reverb or a silverface BMR? Bad news, unfortunately. It was a silverface through and through, and lacked the beautiful sparkle of my Super Reverb. As the link above shows, that anemic sound may have been due to tubes and caps. As this amp had unknown history and was found dirt cheap, it seemed like a great platform for modding, and indeed it has been.

While I can drop the BMR into the cab with the 15” speaker for a true Vibroverb experience, I’m keeping it as a head for now. With the different cans I have, I can play it as a BMR (closed back 12’s), Pro Reverb (open back 12’s), or Vibroverb.

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Good to keep your options. And they are a great looking head. Didn’t realise they were the same as a pro reverb. But makes sense.

I had an early 70s SR as well they are great amps. Does yours have the cts speakers?

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almost the same as a Pro Reverb - a BMR has a mid control, a Pro doesn't.

I have one too, that I got dirt cheap as well. Lucked into a Schumacher Super Reverb OT, and put it in a Mojo Super Reverb cab with four WGS "retro 20" speakers, and now it's one of the better Super Reverbs that I've had.

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Yes, four blue label CTS speakers in the Super Reverb. Great sound.

My Bandmaster cab has brown label Utah 12’s and my open back cab has two 1967 Jensen’s pulled from a dead solid state Standell amp I picked up for a hundred bucks. The Jensen’s are far punchier than the Utah’s, but the cabinet does make a difference.


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