Other Amps

Haven’t had the ol’ CVR out in awhile.

1

Has the general opinion on these changed at all in the past couple years, I wonder?

4

People didn't like these amps because they had the "Vibrolux" name but weren't REISSUES of the old Vibrolux. Fender "purists" pfft..... they are great amps. They just aren't blackface amps, the circuit is closer to a brownface-era amp, with earlier breakup (which I like.) It is actually Greg Koch's all-time favorite amp, and what his new Koch Amps (no relation) "The Greg" was designed after.

I'd love to get one to pair with my 1x12 Supersonic.

5

BZ gave me another little mod idea a few weeks ago, ... once we get relocated into the new house I'll swap out a couple capacitors to move the midpoint and extend the low end on the Bass controls.

I have been using said "maligned, ultra-versatile" CVR with ALL my Electrics in some way for a decade...and have since been using it with my rather new JC Epi Bass through the Bright channel.

What's not to like?

Except for the want of a few more Amps!

6

BZ gave me another little mod idea a few weeks ago, ... once we get relocated into the new house I'll swap out a couple capacitors to move the midpoint and extend the low end on the Bass controls.

I have been using said "maligned, ultra-versatile" CVR with ALL my Electrics in some way for a decade...and have since been using it with my rather new JC Epi Bass through the Bright channel.

What's not to like?

Except for the want of a few more Amps!

– Twangmeisternyc

What speakers in yours? I think the early versions came with the blue frame alnicos (just like the Bruce Zinky-designed Pro Junior and Vibro-King did), but I see many for sale with Jensen alnicos...

7

Jensen Italy P10Rs.

My Closed-back Extension Cab has a Jensen Italy C15N.

Both with Beam Blockers.

I use either or together as a stack.

8

I'm don't know what the "general opinion" has been but I love the sound they make. I would have bought one but the two I tried were noisy. I understand there are mods to fix that but I didn't want to mess with it, especially not knowing if I'd be happy with the results.

Great stage amp for roots type music in small-mid sized clubs because of the relatively early breakup and I imagine that could be stretched, if desired, with more efficient speakers. Dave Gonzales used one for at least several years after moving away from the bassman RI + verb tank. He sounded stellar through it!

9

Well, the "general opinion" (meaning: what people on guitar forums say, not necessarily those people who actually own & gig the amp frequently) is:

It sucks. Fender blew it. No headroom. Allow me to translate: "it's not a 100% circuit copy reissue of the famed blackface Vibrolux Reverb, how dare they even put that name on it. Do the Fromel mods, that makes it much closer to the fabled blackface Vibrolux Reverb that Fender SHOULD have made with this amp."

Never mind that the guy who designed it- Bruce Zinky- was at Fender at that time also designing the famous Vibro-King, highly popular Pro Junior, and much-misaligned Pro-Sonic (a Fender amp with a DIRT channel?? Pfft.... HERESY!! )

I think that about covers it.

Yes, it can be a little noisy, because it has no negative feedback, BY DESIGN- it was INTENDED to breakup earlier and be a more "rocking" amp, not the Blues Machine the old Vibrolux was. It's circuit more closely resembles Fender brown-era amps. It was never intended to be a "Vibrolux Reverb REISSUE".... perhaps Fender was a little loose with naming the amp... it confused alot of people for awhile. Maybe they should have called it the "Little King", as it's often referred to as the Vibro-King's "little brother."

10

Well, the "general opinion" (meaning: what people on guitar forums say, not necessarily those people who actually own & gig the amp frequently) is: It sucks. Fender blew it. No headroom. Allow me to translate: "it's not a 100% circuit copy reissue of the famed blackface Vibrolux Reverb, how dare they even put that name on it.

Well, I don't like it much - no headroom indeed, with hollowbodies and big loud P90-family single coils, at stage levels, it's a distorted farty mess when I play through one. (I've played my fair share of them at fly-in gigs with provided backline)

What WillieDSW says is true though, Dave Gonzalez has been using them for quite a while and he sounds fantastic through them, but then 1)he really cranks the guitar up in his monitor, makes up for the "no headroom" 2)DG sounds great through whatever, he could make a car radio sound good.

11

I had one and couldn't gig with it, especially in a larger room. Distorted too much; too fast. Sold it a few years back. But... it was pretty.

Had to do some digging to find a pic, but here it is...

Edit: You'll have to close your eyes and imagine because I can't get the picture to upload. It was a blonde amp...

12

I think it was a poor choice back for Fender to name this amp what they did. It wasn't a reissue so why give it a [somewhat] fabled name. Not a very bright idea!

13

Tub and I have made a few changes...his are somewhat different.

My couple mods load the Power Tubes faster (compared to the Pre-Amp) as you dial up, then a lot more Reverb, and better stability when it gets really cranked up by filtering out the oscillating at the higher Hz, without NFB.

Blah, blah, blah...that's how I might describe it.

NEW SUBJECT - "I still need and want more Amps!"

14

Well, the "general opinion" (meaning: what people on guitar forums say, not necessarily those people who actually own & gig the amp frequently) is: It sucks. Fender blew it. No headroom. Allow me to translate: "it's not a 100% circuit copy reissue of the famed blackface Vibrolux Reverb, how dare they even put that name on it.

Well, I don't like it much - no headroom indeed, with hollowbodies and big loud P90-family single coils, at stage levels, it's a distorted farty mess when I play through one. (I've played my fair share of them at fly-in gigs with provided backline)

What WillieDSW says is true though, Dave Gonzalez has been using them for quite a while and he sounds fantastic through them, but then 1)he really cranks the guitar up in his monitor, makes up for the "no headroom" 2)DG sounds great through whatever, he could make a car radio sound good.

– WB

Well, the right amp for the right job, and all that...

Headroom is obviously a personal preference; alot of guys like loud clean amps and get all their dirt from pedals, other guys like to get their dirt (or most of it) right from the amp. Just all depends on what the size of the job at hand is, and how hot your pickups are.

15

Interesting.

With mine and its mods, my experience has been that humbuckers can sound a bit bland through it (except for my Schoolhouse Special 5120 w/ Supertrons. That one shines through this amp.) The Peerless with 3 P-90’s and Les Paul Special, on the other hand, have this nice bandwidth that sits in a mix just so. The Ricks with toasters are decidedly sharper and more “Beatle-y” through it than the Ricks with Hi-Gains which are warmer but still sharpish.

The Rick 12, again, has this rather well-defined frequency spectrum that so far, has made it able to be injected into a mix where it’s audible but not overoccupying the overall frequency spectrum. (I should also note that my sensibilities lean more toward exploiting clean tones. Dirt for emphasis only.)

Man, amps really are as much an instrument as a guitar or bass.

16

My love hate relationship with the CVR has lasted about 20 years but I never gave up despite allot of people telling me to get rid of it.

I bought it essentialy for the size, 40 watts, and the Fender tone, which I've been a fan of for many years. I tried it out and it was fine except for the noise, which we attributed to the lighting and other eletronic interference in the store. Brought it home, no change. Brought it back and the retailer changed all the tubes and it made it better, but didn't eliminate the problem.

Make a long story short, I could'nt handle the early break up and the amp was still noisy. So I bought a couple a Rajin Cajuns, brought the CVR to a qualified amp tech, told him what I wanted and it has been a great amp for me ever since. Tons of headroom and I can dial in the dirt in a heartbeat. It's a keeper for me.

So ends my story.

17

One of the first "reissue" amps that Fender reissued was the '63 Vibroverb, which remains one of the best reissues to date. I used one for several years and sold it when I got my Executive. After a few years, Bruce Zinky made some changes to the circuit and brought out the Custom Vibrolux. As it turns out, they even used the same circuit board. The late Mark Moyer determined that with a few changes, the Vibrolux could be converted back to the original Vibroverb circuitry.

Converting Custom Vibrolux to ’63 Vibroverb

Converting a “Custom” Vibrolux Reverb into a ’63 Vibroverb By Mark Moyer

The Differences: 1. Reverb is present in the ‘Verb only on the bright channel. It is on both channels in the ‘Lux. This is accomplished by connecting pin 6 of V1b to pin 6 of V2B and eliminating R35, and R11, V1B’s plate load resistor (220k in the ‘Verb), and using the R22/R23 combination as a common plate load resistor for both V1B and V2B. On the ‘verb, R22 and R23 are 22k and 82k, respectively. On the ‘Lux, R23 is dropped to 47k. The Lux has a significant amount of hiss and more pre-amp gain with lower headroom due to this circuit change.

  1. The Lux has a 500pf-coupling cap from the 12AX7 of the Reverb return to the pot. The Verb uses a .0033uf.

  2. The ‘Lux has no negative feedback. The ‘Verb has a NFB loop. Negative feedback loops tend to negate hiss and other unwanted noise.

  3. R37, the lower cathode resistor in the PI, is 6.8k in the ‘verb and 39k in the ‘Lux.

  4. The ‘verb has a 100pF shunting cap, C20, across the PI plates. This is absent on the ‘Lux.

  5. The ‘Lux has 3kV spike protection diodes on the OT.

  6. The ‘Verb has very cheap sounding Oxford 10K5 reissue speakers. The ‘Lux has the decent-sounding Eminence alnico’s.

  7. The Original Vibroverb runs a 12AX7 with a 1k 1w-cathode resistor as its Reverb driver. The Lux and Verb run a 12AT7 with 2.2k 1w.

  8. The Verb’s ground reference resistors; R62 and R63 are 47ohms. The Lux uses 100ohm.

The Changes:

  1. Reverb on both channels. This is a neat idea but IMO the negatives outweigh the positives. Adding Reverb to both channels of the Lux causes a significant amount of hiss. Going to a common plate load resistor and lowering R23 from 82k to 47k makes the pre-amp run hotter, which to my ear makes for less headroom. I also suspect some cross talk is going on. Further, the Reverb on the Bright channel improves by converting the Lux pre-amp back to the Verb. If you like Big Clean Reverb laden tone with no hiss you must convert the Lux pre-amp back to the Verb. To convert the Lux pre-amp back to the Verb unsolder the blue wire from pin 6 of V2 and solder it to the unused hole marked 6 on the circuit board where the rest of V1’s connections are made. The blue wire connects pin 6 of V1 to pin 6 of V2. Leave one end connected to pin 6 of V1. Replace R23 with an 82k. Place a 220k resistor in both of the empty spots pre-marked R35 and R11.

  2. Fuller Reverb: The Reverb on the Lux is much more filtered out then the Verb due to the coupling cap in the recovery stage. C16 on the Verb is a .0033. On the Lux it is 500pf. This is a significant difference. I highly recommend replacing C16 on the Lux with a .0033 Silver Mica cap. This makes the Reverb come alive on the otherwise Reverb challenged Lux.

  3. NFB: To further reduce the hiss found on the Lux and increase your headroom you must add a NFB loop to the ‘Lux. Solder a 10k resistor in the empty space marked R41. Then run a wire from the speaker jack (positive, or tip, terminal) to the unused connection point ‘2’ above the right-hand corner of C37 and next to a green wire. ONE MORE THING! There needs to be a 470-ohm resistor between this point and ground! It’s R42 on the Vibroverb PCB. My 1995 Blonde had a jumper wire acting as R42. One Other Phase Inverter Change: Replace R37 with a 6.8k resister. This goes hand in hand with the NFB loop change.

  4. Shunting cap: The Verb has a 100pf-shunting cap across the plates of the 12AX7 Phase Inverter. It is C20. I recommend placing this 100pf cap in the Lux as it is inaudible and greatly reduces the parasitics that are inherent with a printed circuit board.

  5. Surge protection diodes: While theoretically these diodes are a good idea. In practice I have found them to be more trouble then they are worth. They tend to cause the amp to blow fuses when switching from stand-by to on. Further, they seem to drain off some of the high frequencies. I am talking about the diodes from pin 3 to ground on the 6L6GCs. None of the older Fenders had them and most of these amps are still going strong 30 or more years later. I recommend removing these Diodes.

  6. Ground Reference Resistors: Replace R62 and R63 with a pair of 47ohm resistors. I used 1-watt metal oxide. This may seem an insignificant change but it removes the last little bit of hum and hiss form the amp.

The Options:

  1. Installing a Bias Pot: Use a 10k linear pot. Mount the pot through the bottom of the chassis below and to the pilot-light side of the tremolo pots. Remove R59. Solder two lengths of wire to the PCB where the resistor was. Connect one of the wires to the middle and one end tab of the pot. Solder a resistor to the remaining tab and connect the other end of it to the other wire. For values, I recommend starting with a 10k. What you’ve just done is replaced the 18k bias set resistor with a 10k resistor in series with a 10k pot. Where before you had a fixed 18k, you now have 10k-20k range. Button things back up and check your idle current. You will want to see anywhere from 30-40mA per tube. If you can’t get the idle current high enough (which is likely if you use NOS American tubes or the Telsa 6L6GC), replace the 10k resistor you just added with a 5k. If you use Svetlana tubes the 10k works fine. Phillips 6L6WGBs may require the 5k. The Telsa 6L6GCs will definitely require the 5k. I have tried the Svets, Phillips and Telsas in my amp. The Svets have nice mid range. A good sounding all around tube. The Phillips are clean and bold at low volume and break up nice. A good blues tube. The Telsas remind me of 7581As. They are big, full and clean. They seem to add wattage to this amp with lots of big clean headroom. They are also tough as nails and can be run hard. The Svetlana are my choice for this amp. I run them @ 36ma per tube.

  2. The Original Vibroverb, not the re-issue, ran a 12AX7 as its Reverb driver. Replace R26 with a 1k -1w resistor and install a 12AX7. The 12AX7 will increase the dwell of the Reverb and is a much more common tube if you want to experiment. Be sure to use a 1-watt resistor here! You may find that this gives you too much Reverb.

  3. Reverb Switching: These amps always have some Reverb, even when it’s turned down to ‘1’ and foot switched out. All Fender Reverb amps do this to some degree, but on these it can really be annoying, especially when cranked.

The solution is to rearrange the foot switch setup to the original Fender style. On the ‘verb/Lux, the foot switch grounds the signal from the Reverb recovery circuit at R65. This should kill the signal, but for some reason it does not. On the original Reverb amps, the foot switch grounded the Reverb signal at the grid of the recovery tube. It’s simple to put this back in order.

First, trace the gray wire attached to the foot switch jack back to the PCB. Either unsolder it at the PCB or just snip it off flush. Then solder it to pin two of V4. Viola!

  1. The stock Reverb cables are crap. Replace them with some nice heavy-duty video quality cables. I disconnected the originals from the board and soldered the new cables right to the board. This improves the signal quality and reduces interference making for better quieter Reverb.

  2. As in all Fender Reverb amps the 12AT7 Reverb driver takes a beating. A good fresh RCA or Mullard will last the longest and sound the best. I tried the Phillips 12AT7 and I was disappointed with its short life and shallow tone.

  3. As you may have noticed, I am a Reverb junkie. I like the smoothness of the three spring Reverb pan in this amp. The number is 9AB3C1B.

  4. There is a 47pf cap across the volume pot of the Bright channel. This is what makes the Bright channel Bright. This is the same set up as the Deluxe Reverb. I feel that the amp is too bright with this cap. If you share my opinion simply remove C11. It is on the Bright channel daughter board. For what it is worth, I remove the 47pf cap from the Deluxe Reverb as well.

  5. The stock blue Alnico speakers are decent but there are better. After much research I decided to buy and install a pair of the Weber C10Qs. This final change was the icing on the cake! They transformed my already fine sounding amp into a truly professional sounding workhorse.

The Conclusions:

The Fender Vibroverb, in my opinion, is the best sounding amp that has come out of the Fender factory in years. I am very big on REVERB and the Vibroverb, when properly set up, has the finest Reverb of all!

Converting a Lux into a Verb is fairly simple and will take you about an hour if you know what you are doing. My goal in converting my 1995 Blonde Lux into a ’63 Vibroverb was to get rid of the hiss. I also had a parasitic on certain notes. Further, the Vibrato would make an audible pop when I switched it on and off. I liked the basic tone of the Lux but I could not live with the noises and shallow Reverb. Converting my amp made it virtually silent. The basic tone is about the same but the Reverb is much bigger and fuller. I do not miss the Reverb on both channels. I do not miss the pops, crackles and mostly I do not miss the Hisssssssssssssssssssss. Mark

18

The CVR replaced the '63 Vibroverb reissue in the Fender line up. A lot of the bad reputation it got, at least among my circle of surfy guitar types, was that they strangled the reverb and there was no longer enough reverb to drip drip drip. I've only played through CVRs a few times and I couldn't get past the lack of reverb. The VV was such a good amp and the CVR was meh.

Over the years it seems there's now quite a collection of possible mods documented to make the amp more like the VV or whatever else you'd want.

19

As part of maintenance, I had the amp checked over by a third party. They did tell me that the amp was altered with Moyer Mods?"

Don, thanks for for the Moyer details.

20

I second adding at least one Jensen C10Q

21

Just bought one! I don't have it yet, I bought it from my cousin who lives about 5 hours away, so we're going to have to schedule a meet-up for delivery... the thing is in mint condition, still has the hang tags. $400. Opportunity of a lifetime, even tho I don't even have the cash LOL.

The CVR is one I have been looking to own for awhile now, so I'll finally get to experience one. I don't even know which speakers his has... I'm guessing the ceramics, because the thing is in just pristine condition, that it must be one of the newer ones (the first ones came with alnico blue frames, I believe)

22

Nice score! My buddy's has some Celestions, and it sounds really good. Maybe ceramics re the way to go with that one.

23

I'm thinking it probably has the Jensen P10Rs in it. That seems to be what Fender switched to after using the Blue Frames early on... they are also in other Fenders with 10s... Bandmaster, Bassman, Vibro-King... I dig alnicos, but not a fan of that one. If I decide to speaker swap, I'll likely try Legend 1028s, as Eminence says those are the closest things to the "Blue Frames" they make for Fender (that Fender charges an arm & a leg for). I've always wanted to try the Legends anyway.

After that, I'll go to my tried-and-true: hemp cones. Either Eminence or maybe I'll drop $$$ on a couple of Tone Tubbys.

24

I'm thinking it probably has the Jensen P10Rs in it. That seems to be what Fender switched to after using the Blue Frames early on... they are also in other Fenders with 10s... Bandmaster, Bassman, Vibro-King... I dig alnicos, but not a fan of that one. If I decide to speaker swap, I'll likely try Legend 1028s, as Eminence says those are the closest things to the "Blue Frames" they make for Fender (that Fender charges an arm & a leg for). I've always wanted to try the Legends anyway.

After that, I'll go to my tried-and-true: hemp cones. Either Eminence or maybe I'll drop $$$ on a couple of Tone Tubbys.

– ruger9

Ruger ...I’ll take it off of you for $400 when your done with it And speaking of hemp,have you seen Emi has released the CRex in 10’s ?

25

Ruger ...I’ll take it off of you for $400 when your done with it And speaking of hemp,have you seen Emi has released the CRex in 10’s ?

– Michael Williams

I did indeed. And I love the 12" C-Rex in my Supersonic 22. I'll have to see how much mids the CVR puts out first (it is not really a blackface circuit; it is much closer to a brown-era Fender. Bruce Zinky designed it, as well as the Vibro-King and Pro Junior, all non-BF-sounding amps), before figuring out which replacement speaker to try.


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