Other Amps

Vibroverb clone update: got the amp now to pair with a JBL D130F

1

I'm looking to pick up a Bandmaster Reverb - pre Master Volume control, which of course only came in the Silverface style - and pair it with the best cabinet and 15" speaker I can put together. As some of you may remember, I posted a thread a little while ago about picking up a mint '66 Pro Reverb and the Bandmaster Reverb is essentially the same amp in a head version. They both have a tube rectifier which produces a very sweet sound so I want to use this with the best 15" speaker I can buy. It will be a 'brother' to the Pro's 2x12's; which are Utahs BTW and are excellent.

So I'm asking two questions please folks. First is about the cabinet. Would the sound be improved by it being any larger than it needs to be to fit the speaker, and what's the difference between, and advantages if any of, it being a closed or open back design.

The other question concerns what brand and model of 15" to use in this cabinet. Bear in mind that I want the finest clean sound I can get - fat, rich tone throughout the low/mid/high range - in combination with my Gretsches and Gibson CG. If I could run across an old JBL D130L or Jensen (both were used) as were in the '64 Vibroverb that would probably be my first choice as I believe it was also used in the Standels of the same era. Are the modern versions as good as the originals?? Does anyone know how the Eminence Legend - have that in my Gretsch Executive - compares to the JBL and Jensen??

I know of several amps, combos that come with a 15" but for a variety of reasons none of them will be the equal of the combination of the Bandmaster head and a custom cab with a 15". Fender's Custom 15 is more powerful than I need or want and the new amps just simply don't compare with a fine vintage version.....or come with (correct me if I'm wrong) a tube rectifier....Standel's nothwithstanding but needing a mortgage to buy....especially for a Canadian! The Peavey has poor quality control so their Delta Blues isn't suitable either.

I really appreciate the help and advice I get every time I post a question so I'm sure those of you with the experience I don't have will chime in here with their comments. Thanks alot

2

Get the Weber California 15, alnico or ceramic depending on your preference or budget. There isn't a better 15 out there. I don't know much about cabinet design so I'll let others chime in about that.

3

Get the Weber California 15, alnico or ceramic depending on your preference or budget. There isn't a better 15 out there. I don't know much about cabinet design so I'll let others chime in about that.

– Otter

Thanks Otter! Your recommendation begs the question as to what's the difference between the sound you get from alnico vs ceramic in speakers. I'm somewhat up on the differences between these two magnets in pickups so would the choice be similarly related in that the alnico are superior?

As for budget, I'll spend what I need to get the best speaker there is, be it new as you're suggesting or a spectacular vintage one.

Whatever I end up spending to make this cabinet and fit it with the best speaker will be light years less than say an unmodded '64 Vibroverb

4

pine box tone ring cab..like classic early 60's fender…ie dick dale

jbl d-130

the steel guitar guys who are huge on the jbl, like eminence eps 15c and telonics TSNEO-15-4

both neo mags..so reduced weight

cheers

5

I gotta echo others... a mint D-130 or ever the bass version, D-140, I guess Modern World speakers are ok... also.

and Showman type cab.. I think that's big enough. Or go crazy w/ a Dual Showman cab.

I think you are on the right track. Hard to beat the Pro Reverb/Bandmaster Reverb chassis for a do-all setup.

7

D130, but I think if you're shooting for clean, a Bandmaster isn't a great starting point. Everyone I've owned, including the silver face ones, has snarled.

– Jonathan A. Sipes......maker of aluminum dust.

That's odd. It's the identical chassis to my Pro which has a super clean sound and great tone, even with the 12" Utahs. Only the reverb version has the tube rectifier which I feel accounts for the sweet sound in my Pro, and besides, I want that Fender reverb and not have to use a pedal for it.

D130F seems to be carrying the day here. What is the difference between a vintage one and a new one?

8

My two cents is worth 1 cent...

I have an open back Mojotone Extension cabinet with a Jensen C15N. It is Baltic birch, really well made.

Clean, full highs and tight lows, with a Weber beam blocker. I use it with an ultra-clean solid state head and LR Baggs DI Paracoustic pre-amp...or/and...straight up with my CVR as a substitute for the 2 alnico 10's...and/or... in parallel as a stack with the 2 alnico 10's to give me the nice bass coming of the floor.

I certainly vote ceramic for what you describe...

9

wd-D130F seems to be carrying the day here. What is the difference between a vintage one and a new one?

there is no new one!!..jbl long gone as raw guitar speaker manufacturer...you have to find one that's been reconed...correctly…chances are even if you find an original cone, it's going to need work soon anyway..50 years old now!

thats why the steel guys go with the "jbl reminiscent " two i mentioned

but of course ain't nothing like the real thing..vintage alnico splendor

cheers

10

Closed back or ported---tone ring with a D-130 would be my choice. No open back---that would defeat the purpose of using a 15". Jensen 15" wood be OK as well or an EV if you're wanting vintage. Weber would the choice for a new speaker. As it's a Bandmaster, it may want a 4 ohm load, so a 2X15 Dual Showman type cab would be a possibility. You could also go to a mixed size cab like older Gibsons with a 8" and a 15".

11

I have owned a Gretsch Executive and I have a Standel 25L15. Since you already have a Gretsch Executive, you know what the Eminence Legend 15" sounds like. The JBL D130 is similar, but a bit brighter & clearer.

The D130's are hard to find since they have not been made for a few decades. If your Eminence Legend sounds good, don't spend a lot of time or money looking for a JBL D130.

Open vs. closed back cabinet -- for the clean sound you are chasing, open back is the way to go. Closed back cabinets are (IMO) for heavy/hard rock.

12

In the pic posted by Neatone, you can see how much engineering went into that cabinet to keep it from getting boomy. Big pine cabinets can get pretty wangy, and this coming from a guy that loves pine cabs. I'm sure this might be heresy since part of the "sound" of an old Bandmaster is the pine box, but if I were gonna make a big 15" Bandmaster cab, I'd use 3/4" Baltic birch, closed back and find (or make) the tone ring. Put insulation just on the back panel and put in a Weber Cali as suggested, and let the amp do the talking. Rectifier tube compression is a beautiful thing.

13

Thanks guys, I really appreciate this input and suggestions. After following your input, I researched amp repair guys here and spoke with a well respected amp guru here in Vancouver, Dave Vidal, regarding my project. He's been working with amps for decades and knows every Fender model inside out. I described my wanting a super clean sound with a rich, fat tone for Chet/Merle style fingerpicking. I told him about the Pro I have - his favorite amp, period - and the Exec. I said that I wanted to get the Bandmaster (Reverb version) - he likes these too - which has the tube rectifier - as it's the same chassis as my Pro plus it has a pot for the Mid control whereas the Pro is fixed. His suggestion was to find a JBL D130F, which he considers the gold standard for crisp, clean mids and highs along with fat, rich lows. This speaker vs say a Jensen, he says is more efficient and delivers a warmer overall tone. The Bandmaster requires a 4 ohm speaker but he said as long as I don't really drive the volume, an 8 ohm wouldn't over stress the tubes.

I asked about the cab having a tone ring and he said the same thing mention here, that that requires a closed cabinet and for the sound I want, an open back is better suited and no tone ring required. BTW, the Exec is an open back design with the Eminence Legend 15"

I like the suggestion of using 3/4" material for the cab as I'm certainly not going to cheap out on the wood I use. If I go with the open back I'm wondering if there's a preference between pine and a hardwood as far as tone is concerned?

14

I guess Peavey QC was having a good day when my Delta Blues was made in the late 90s.... Where are you playing this clean machine on steroids? As in, what kind of venue are you designing it fit for purpose?

15

-If you're getting an 8 ohm speaker for that amp, you'll limit the amp's power and clean headroom. Also, this model has an output tranformer that's definitely on the small side for the amp's power, so if you'll be playing the amp loud with the mismatched load, you'll be looking for trouble.

-As others have said, great amp, but not the cleanest dual 6L6 Fender around. Wouldn't be my choice for crystal-clear clean. If I wanted maximum clean from one of these, I'd stick a bassman-size output transformer in it.

-You seem to be enamoured of the idea of a tube rectifier. If you're using the amp for clean and not turning it up to where it breaks up, the difference the rectifier makes will be small. If the amp has a GZ34, the difference with a solid-state rectifier will be minimal. If it has a 5U4 like Silverface amp do sometimes, you'll notice some compression at higher volume levels, more of a tactile thing than anything else. Again, if clean clean is what you're after, you might very well be happier with a solid-state rectifier : the amp will be louder, tighter, and possibly a little brighter.

-with any tube amp this age, you might want to have a tech go through it. If the power supply filter caps have never been redone, the amp is an accident waiting to happen.

-Look into the Telonics speakers, their speaker cabinets too while you're at it. They're a 300 Watt Neo magnet (light!) speaker developed for pedal steel (clean!), and they come in 4 ohms to match your amp.

16

I have an Invicta Cascade, which is an inaccurate copy of a 25L15, and I prefer the sound of the Weber California to the JBL. The JBL's highs are a little harsh for my taste, and the Weber brings out a lot more bass. That may only be the case with this particular amp, though.

You're basically making a Vibroverb clone in head/cabinet form, and you should read up on how that's done for optimal results.

17

The Fender Twin Custom 15 is a good versatile amp. I am really glad to have mine, although I would love to have the resources and the opportunity to have Billy Zoom rework the circuitry, because it does have its shortfalls, but overall, I like it. With my age, and my worn out back, I don't carry it out very much.

For my fingerstyle, both the G6122-1959 and the electric nylon string, my Parkel is as good as I have ever heard. I have mentioned numerous times before, but it is an exact hand built clone to the original 25L15's with a few improvements here and there. But, the tone is nothing short of heavenly. Barring a catastrophe, it will be with me when you read about me on page 2 of the local paper.

I hope you are able to put together what you want, Dave. There is nothing to put a smile on a picker's face like a good guitar and a good sounding amp.

18

I'm using an Eminence Big Ben, rated at 225W, so plenty of clean twang. I'm using a closed back cab but might try an open back.

Usual amp head is a vintage 45W Traynor YBA-1.

19

D130, but I think if you're shooting for clean, a Bandmaster isn't a great starting point. Everyone I've owned, including the silver face ones, has snarled.

– Jonathan A. Sipes......maker of aluminum dust.

Would depend on what you are putting thru it... and no pedals allowed, to really know.

Mimght minor snarf w/ 4K lipsticks or Hi Los.

20

Best 15" cab I've tried (by far) was an oversize pine cab by Jenkins. Open back. Guessing all three factors make a difference, no idea which has more impact (pine, oversize, open back.)

A weber California ceramic paper dome sounded so good in that cab. Same goes with a WGS G15C. The Emi Big Ben is another 15" speaker that can sound remarkably good in the right cab. As far as which one is better, depends on your taste, and the cab.

MD

21

Closed back or ported will give you better low end response and a wider area of dispersion. Closed back also means you would have fiberglass lining/damping material. An open back would be better for highs, but they're beamier. Tone wood is pointless in a speaker cabinet---the idea is to keep vibrations and rattles to a minimum. Pine, or any other solid wood, would be an advantage in weight and construction techniques. Most speaker cabs for stereo or PA use are built of plywood or MDF as they're dense materials (and cheaper than regular wood). The only advantage of expensive hardwoods would be if you plan to leave the cabs plain without Tolex so that the wood shows it's natural beauty. Ported cabs would have an efficiency of around 10%, Sealed around 5%, and open backs would be far lower.

22

-If you're getting an 8 ohm speaker for that amp, you'll limit the amp's power and clean headroom. Also, this model has an output tranformer that's definitely on the small side for the amp's power, so if you'll be playing the amp loud with the mismatched load, you'll be looking for trouble.

-As others have said, great amp, but not the cleanest dual 6L6 Fender around. Wouldn't be my choice for crystal-clear clean. If I wanted maximum clean from one of these, I'd stick a bassman-size output transformer in it.

-You seem to be enamoured of the idea of a tube rectifier. If you're using the amp for clean and not turning it up to where it breaks up, the difference the rectifier makes will be small. If the amp has a GZ34, the difference with a solid-state rectifier will be minimal. If it has a 5U4 like Silverface amp do sometimes, you'll notice some compression at higher volume levels, more of a tactile thing than anything else. Again, if clean clean is what you're after, you might very well be happier with a solid-state rectifier : the amp will be louder, tighter, and possibly a little brighter.

-with any tube amp this age, you might want to have a tech go through it. If the power supply filter caps have never been redone, the amp is an accident waiting to happen.

-Look into the Telonics speakers, their speaker cabinets too while you're at it. They're a 300 Watt Neo magnet (light!) speaker developed for pedal steel (clean!), and they come in 4 ohms to match your amp.

– WB

If you're getting an 8 ohm speaker for that amp, you'll limit the amp's power and clean headroom. Also, this model has an output tranformer that's definitely on the small side for the amp's power, so if you'll be playing the amp loud with the mismatched load, you'll be looking for trouble.

This is what Dave Vidal indicated to me so I'm definitely on the lookout for a 4 ohm speaker. Of course if a Showman cab with twin 15" JBL's drops in my lap I'll take it but I'm not looking for a large cabinet. It's been suggested by DC to look for a beat up Vibrosonic cabinet that I could transplant the Bandmaster head into as some came with a 15" JBL - or put in one I find.

As others have said, great amp, but not the cleanest dual 6L6 Fender around. Wouldn't be my choice for crystal-clear clean. If I wanted maximum clean from one of these, I'd stick a bassman-size output transformer in it.

I hear you on the OT's size restricting the clean headroom but the BM is the same as my Pro and it works for me. I will keep in mind transplanting in a Bassman OT down the road as probably the final step in this project. That would punch up everything nicely.

....if clean clean is what you're after, you might very well be happier with a solid-state rectifier : the amp will be louder, tighter, and possibly a little brighter.

Yes I want clean, clean but I also want the warmth of both a tube amp as well as it having a tube rectifier.

with any tube amp this age, you might want to have a tech go through it. If the power supply filter caps have never been redone, the amp is an accident waiting to happen.

Oh no worries here! Dave will take apart the BM, analyze it thoroughly and bring it right up to snuff.

Look into the Telonics speakers, their speaker cabinets too while you're at it. They're a 300 Watt Neo magnet (light!) speaker developed for pedal steel (clean!), and they come in 4 ohms to match your amp.

Haven't heard of this brand but I like the sound of it being developed for pedal steel cleanliness.

Opposite opinions here guys regarding open vs closed back with a tone ring. I think both schools of thought are correct but one is better than the other for what I want to accomplish for the sound I'm seeking. From what I'm learning here and from Dave, the closed cab will certainly enhance the low end response but that's not the part of the sound spectrum that needs the most attention for the sound I want. I don't need or want a big bass sound, I just want it to be rich & full. Right now I have the bass turned back to just over 2 on the PR and at 3 on the VR. I'm reading that the open cab gives a better warmth and clarity to the mids and highs without being harsh.

"Where are you playing this clean machine on steroids? As in, what kind of venue are you designing it fit for purpose?"

Well Sligo, I play at a couple different types of venues. Some are smaller intimate settings with around 4-5 dozen quiet folk and the odd symposium playing several times throughout the day who come over and listen and don't talk. Also a few weddings to fill in for the band on breaks so there's background noise there. I have used my Fender Super Champ X2 for these and it works quite well....and it's very clean with the Celestion 12" in the separate cab. I also play for the cocktail hour before banquets which is a similar venue. I'll use the PR or VR for the listening gigs and the X2 for the others. The PR or VR depends on how far from my car I have to schlep it!

23

I have a D130 I could give you a good deal on. The reason I have it in a box is because I'm running an Eminence 1518 that I prefer...but that's just me...

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Update folks. Not too long after starting this thread last year I got a beautiful D130F from Van Audio and they changed out the voice coil from the 8 ohm in it to 4 ohm to match the BMR's output. I've finally found a BMR my sister picked up for me back in Ontario and will be shipping it to me. I'm going to go with Baltic Birch for this combo's cab and baffle and it's going to be open backed.

I'll pick up some new SF grill cloth and tolex and use the handle and logo off the BMR. I'll pick up some corner caps and tilt back legs to finish things off. This will end up a clone of the original '64 Vibroverb, NOT one with the early break-up Diaz mods. I'll live with it awhile and compare it with my Exec and BF Pro Reverb. Something will need to eventually go! Right now the PR sounds best with my Gibson CG and the Exec with the Super Chet. If the new amp sounds good with both guitars as I expect it might, perhaps both might have to go.

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look forward to the pics and a full review


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