Other Amps



For no good reason, well, actually it was the discussion about 15" speakers in another thread, I did a vague craigslist search for "Fender amp" and found this little gem:

A '73 Vibrosonic Reverb, essentially a silverface Twin with a 15" speaker, with a cover and the footswitch for temptingly little money. I went over to the guy's house and this 39-year-old amp is practically mint. Some torn tolex near one corner, but there isn't even any dust inside it (it's probably been cleaned, but still, this puppy is clean). Just re-tubed and some new caps, and mercy, what a sound. Nice, drippy Fender reverb, standard Fender tremolo (admittedly, I'm spoiled by the magic that is the Nocturne Nailhead, so I wasn't too wowed), more clean headroom than I've dreamed of in a while (and I dream about clean headroom a lot), and even with single-coil pickups, vewy, vewy quiet for an amp of this vintage. Here are a few more pics:

My neighbors didn't complain about the Vibrolux, but let's see how they feel about 100 watts of 6L6 tone. It looks like I'm back into the big iron.

Added bonus, the seller works in an L.A. guitar store I'd never heard of, "Old Style Music" in Silverlake. Don't know if they serve Heilemann's there or not, but I plan to find out. The Yelp ratings speak highly of it, but I'm intrigued.


That is one SWEET amp. Now, keep you eyes open for a JBL D130f and have sonic perfection.


Not sure if it's a Neo (forgive my ignorance, but do you mean is the magnet neodymium? If so, I doubt it, because the amp weighs a ton). The speaker appears to be designed for playing Gretsch guitars through, because the magnet has a heat sink and the frame is orange :D .

My thoughts exactly, Bear, though this one sounds pretty darn good. Now if we can just figure out who this Bobby character is that you're talking about.... :P


I asked if it was a neodymium because I've only seen heat sinks on neo magnet speakers. AlNiCo magnets usually have a rather sturdy piece of steel surrounding the smaller magnet and ceramics have the black ceramic magnet going around a steel mass.


Nice score Frank. Now go disturb the neighbors.


Ah, OK, sorry if I sounded flippant, Hermitt (it's my default sound). Well, I looked into what I could find about the Fender PS-15 speaker used in the 72-73 models of this amp, and what I found mostly corroborates what Billy Zoom said in another thread, that "the Internet is a vast reference of partially-correct information." The PS-15 was made by Gauss, or maybe Gauss with JBL components, or maybe Electro-Voice, or maybe even JBL. They also had a PS-15B for bass cabinets, and I found pictures of a variety of different PS-15 speakers, and they all looked different, though a few looked like mine. They are also said to sound great for guitar, but not for anything else, or great for hi-fi, but not for bass, or not good at all, or they were of exceptionally high quality, particularly for bass.

I'd now guess a couple of things: 1, in reversing my earlier statement, that these are indeed neodymium magnets, based on your observation that neos are the only ones you've ever seen with heat sinks, and 2, Fender, as they did with a lot of things, just called whatever 15" speakers they were buying for their Professional Series applications "PS-15s" and left it to the cork-sniffers to speculate and pontificate about the actual origins, internal components, and thought processes of the designers, or at least the procurement department (this was CBS Fender, after all). There's a guy named Carducci who hangs around here, and he's worked for Fender for a fair bit of time. I wonder if he knows (he seems to know damn near everything when it comes to that company)

What I am certain of is 1, this amp sounds great, and 2, I really like it. Carry on.


Thanks Doug. I do hope the neighbors like country music and rockabilly, because they'll be hearing it a bit louder for the foreseeable future.


Congratulations Giffenf,

Great Score!

I had one back in the 80's and I should have never let it go.

They sound fantastic!

I put an EV 15 Lead in it and it just was a Bomb,,,

,,, but, as is now, I'm sure it's great!

"A Fender Showman with Reverb and a Good sounding at that"! :)

I think early 70's Silverfaces rule! :)


Didn't you sell me half that amp for twice as much money?

Shame about the master volume. Is it the push/pull kind for distortion? And when did you start going by Bobby?


What I am certain of is 1, this amp sounds great, and 2, I really like it. Carry on. --giffenf

That's all that counts. Good score!

One of these days, I hope to score a decent 15" speaker to build an extension cab to plug my 2x6L6 Pignose into.


BTW, I know a fella with a couple JBL 15s for sale, but if it ain't broke . . .

I'm like you - if the original equipment ain't buggin' ya, don't mess with it.

And I neglected to say "nice score".


That thing is sweet. Especially for it's age.


"My thoughts exactly, Bear, though this one sounds pretty darn good. Now if we can just figure out who this Bobby character is that you're talking about...."

Brain fart! I saw Hermitt's post right above mine and my fingers took on a life of their own.

If I hear of any D130fs, I'll sure let you know.


But Tommy, that Victoria had BROWN tolex, and you know that's worth double. Yup, master volume, but no boost (that's a good thing, from what I read; besides, a boost on a 100-watt amp? Is that for demolition work or something?).

I know what you mean, Suprdave. This amp is older than some of the people I work with, and it looks a lot better.

I have an Eminence Big Ben in a separate cabinet I may plug into the ext. speaker jack on this beast to really make the floor shake. Can't wait to stand between them.


Took it to rehearsal today. When I rolled it in, our bandleader/steel player said "A Twin with a 15? Why would you want that? I hate Twins." I said "lots of bottom end and clean headroom, for starters." By the end of rehearsal, he said "That amp sounds great!" I figured he would.


Hmmm. This has got me thinking. My Silverface Twin Reverb is also from that era. Probably late 72 because it has master volume, but not the push-pull knob for boost. Two thoughts occur... is it lopsided in weight with the off-center speaker mounting, or does transformer weight even it up? And, as I have just remodelled mine into a seperate head, could I just go for a single 15" instead of the two 12"s? (total load 4 ohms)? I just love that single 15" sound in my Delta Blues, and would love to reduce some weight with the Twin. I'm guessing someone here will know if it's just a straight speaker swap...


Reminds me of a Panzer Tank! I wouldn't want to get in it's way when it really begins to fire...8-)


I'm pretty sure some of these had Cerwin Vega speakers too. They had a HUGE magnet

I had one about 25 years ago, hated that JBL d130 then, love them now.


I didn't notice any lopsidedness, but then I only pick it up when I absolutely have to, and so far that's been 8 times, 6 of which were lifting it in and out of the car. And I agree, General_Lee (hey, that rhymes), being too close to this with it cranked would not be prudent. I tilted it back at rehearsal yesterday so I would catch the brunt of it, thereby reminding me to be considerate of my bandmates.

Our first gig in a couple of weeks is at a bar with a reputation for not letting the band play loud. And I'm fine with that, but if they recognize the amp when I roll it in, they might make me take it back out.

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