Any Reason I Shouldn't Get a SF Vibro Champ?

Dave B

Exit... Dual Stage Left
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,803
Went to the store today to try out a boatload of small 1x12 tube combos, and on a whim tried an early 70's SF Vibro Champ. Impressive little devil. It was a little dingey looking, and the knobs worked fine, they didn't spit or crackle when spun (but were a bit sticky), and it sounded great with volume settings at both 5 for the cleaner stuff and 10 for the grit. Tremolo sounded good at both slow and fast settings.

Here come the questions...

Is the tremolo footswitchable? If so, are the FS easy to come by?

Are these fairly easy to get cleaned up?

Are they dateable by serial number? (No, I didn't write it down :jo)

They wanted $300 for it. I'm guessing that whatever it's actually worth may not be altered by it's cosmetic condition - it looks old but not abused, no rips, just a bit dirty. Is this a decent price?
 

Bruce Bennett

Senior Member
Messages
1,106
Great amps, and thats a reasonable price,
these are going to go nowhere BUT UP!

I have one that just smokes most small amps. and it's a 1981 model.
it doesn't even have the best model speaker in it.

You couldn't buy mine for 300.00, I can tell you that.
 

RL in Fla

Member
Messages
3,197
Originally posted by Dave B

Is the tremolo footswitchable? If so, are the FS easy to come by?

> Yes , and all it takes is a single pole/single throw switch , simplest kind there is

Are these fairly easy to get cleaned up?

> Yep .

Are they dateable by serial number?

> http://www.tcguitar.com/articles/gagliano_pt5.html

Champs and Vibros have an "overlap factor " on serial #'s , no doubt because it's the same chassis , ( +/- the number of holes ) , so if it's not under one chart look under the other .
 

spikeRI

Member
Messages
801
overhyped and overpriced........tho as they said prolly will up in value (for some reason)........get a Princeton
 

erksin

Senior Member
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23,127
Originally posted by spikeRI
overhyped and overpriced........tho as they said prolly will up in value (for some reason)........get a Princeton
I don't agree - I think $300 for a well built PTP tube amp isn't overpriced by any means. It may not be your cup of tea, but Champs and VCs sound awesome IMO. I wouldn't part with my '65 BFVC for a $1000...

BUT - my Princeton does sound better. I doubt that he could find one for $300 though...
 

RupertB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,315
I've owned one for a couple of years. It was a gift from a friend (non player) who had had it in his attic for several years. I recapped it and replaced the speaker with a Weber 8A125. I recently put a NOS RCA 6V6 in as well.

I think Champs/VChamps are fine little amps and have gigged with mine a couple of times. They have a great blues-rock grind when pushed & sustain beautifully. The quality of tubes & speaker make a significant difference in the quality of sound. The stock Oxfords were not very good speakers.

Champs live in the mid-range. As such, they are not good amps for metal styles or applications that require a lot of clean head room or bass response.

You can find the trem footswitches at Angela Instruments or build one out of a SPST switch with an RCA plug.

Check the cap can (silver can next to the tubes). It has a four digit date code that corresponds to wwyy: 4173 = 41st week of 1973. If the cap can is more than 20 years old, its probably original and in any case, should be replaced along with the other electrolytics (cathode caps) inside the amp.

If the speaker & caps are original, I'd try to work the price down a bit but IMO $300 isn't bad.
 

spikeRI

Member
Messages
801
yep, not for $300 and like you say it will go up in value. But, also like you said "just not my cup of tea"......I've owned one (SFVC) and had a weber alnico in it and thought the tone was cool, just didn't have that 3D thing I look for in amps. I also tried a 2x10 and 2x12 with it.......just didn't do it for me.

Having said all that, I'm not one of those guys that only thinks amps that work for me are good.........thats why there are lots of flavors. Like its been said many times here.......let YOUR ears be the judge, not some ifgoon from a BB
 

srepetto

Member
Messages
95
I've heard lots of good things about Champs and their vibro brethren as being a good chocie for low wattage bedroom applications. I've been looking for one of these in the Emporium for a while and they rarely show up. I take this to mean they are awesome little amps if all you gear dorks arent moving buying/selling them out the......

I'm interseted in also checking out the Reverend Goblin in the US mode as another lo-watt 6V6 amp, would this be comparable to a Champ. What do y'all think?
 

Cody McLain

Member
Messages
1,317
The SF/BF Vibrochamps are great little amps for what they are, IMO. I have one of each. The thing that i find amazing is what they can sound like being recorded. I was shocked the first time I heard my playback when using my little BF Vibrochamp and a TS-9 with a Strat. I do feel that you can get a lot better results playing these smaller amps in a small room, like the bedroom.

Another amp I'm really impressed with along these lines is the Tech 21 Trademark 10. There are tons of small amps, both vintage and new, that can really work for home use. I rarely turn on any of my large amps until I'm playing with a drummer.
 

trisonic

Member
Messages
13,152
So far as I know the circuits are the same BF vs SF.
I have a '67 BF which has been modded by Jimmy Somma (completely reversible) to have a switchable bypass on the tone stack. Makes it more tweedy (although we retained the NFB because we considered that it sounded better) when the tone stack is switched out (much more gain too).

You may want to swap out the speaker. The original in mine would not have done justice to a '60's Radio (a Utah).

Best, Pete.
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,430
Great amps. Now that I've figured out how to tweak it, it's one of the best rigs I own. Actually mine is a Bronco... But same thing.

The year (bf or sf) doesn't really matter. I'd never pay extra for blackface on a champ. Be patient... $3-400 will get you there. I paid 400, but mine is in nearly mint condition and came with very newish old stoc tubes in each slot. The RCA black plate 12AX7 alone made it worth the extra.

Put a Jupiter speaker in it and you'll never know its only an 8. Put a 6L6 in it if wou want a slightly bigger, cleaner tone. I run mine withe volume on 5 for a little open jam at a local pub. Mic it if you need more volume.

Btw - I also have a deluxe reverb and a princeton reverb. There's just a little extra goodness with a single ended amp.
 

keithb7

Member
Messages
1,421
They are good sounding little amp. Mid heavy tones is a good description. The bottom is missing for obvious reasons. 5W and an 8" speaker does not yield a wide tonal range. I enjoyed my '68 for while then sold it. Through trial and error I prefer 6L6 based Fender amps best. They are fun though, enjoy the Vibro Champ.
 

SnidelyWhiplash

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,449
$300 is a great price for a SFVC. If it hasn't already,you might have to figure extra $
for a trip to a reputable tech.
 

Custom Deluxe

Member
Messages
4,811
Yeah, zombie thread but worth it. I picked up a one owner '66 VC on CL for $350. $60 bucks later (thanks, Jimmy Somma) it sounds great. I'll often run a A/B/Y box and play the VC and my '66 Princeton Reverb in stereo. With the trem engaged on the VC and the reverb from the PR, that combo sounds glorious.

I am going to get a Jupiter speaker to replace the original Fender blue label (Jensen-I think).
 

TJNies

Member
Messages
2,831
Enough current threads on Vibro Champs. Excellent amps BTW.

I adore them, have a 65 BFVC that is stellar. My fourth. Really no need to dig up old threads for $300 finds. Ain't happening in late 2015.

Unless you are quite lucky.
 




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