Fender Deluxe VM Users

Bren

Member
Messages
121
I'm likely going to pop for a Fender Deluxe Vintage Modified in a couple weeks. Tried one in person and liked it, and I've read previous threads here for others' opinions and experiences. I'm wondering if those who have passed the honeymoon stage still enjoy this amp and if you've had any reliability issues. Thanks in advance.
 

TS808

Member
Messages
1,659
I'm likely going to pop for a Fender Deluxe Vintage Modified in a couple weeks. Tried one in person and liked it, and I've read previous threads here for others' opinions and experiences. I'm wondering if those who have passed the honeymoon stage still enjoy this amp and if you've had any reliability issues. Thanks in advance.
I had the Bandmaster VM (same amp only in a head format). No reliability issues at all when I had mine. My issue was that I was more dissatisfied with the tone. The amp is voiced very bright, and the overdrive channel almost sounded a bit too "digital" to me. The reverb, above 3 also sounded a little digital.

The clean channel is solid state and runs through the Power amp section, and gives some really good clean tones.
 

guitarman_nebr

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,291
i had the Bandmaster VM head. it sounded pretty good at first. after playing my other all tube amps, the Bandmaster started sounding pretty sterile and lifeless.

the cleans reminded me of a Musicman amp, but the gain channel sounded like a digital distortion. kind of like a Line 6 product.

had i not have owned a couple real good tube amps, the VM series might have stuck around. but there is no escaping the fact that there are a lot of dynamics missing.
 

lpdeluxe

Member
Messages
1,532
I have the Band-Master head. I use it with a Weber California Ceramic 15 cabinet, which makes my 335 sound rich and full. No problems, so far -- I've had it about a year -- and I like the fact that it's a little different from my other Fenders.

I find the Drive channel works better than the Clean for what I do. I use only the reverb. I never turn it up past three, but that's the case with all my Fenders -- they get pretty cartoony sounding after that, whether the reverb is tube-driven spring pan, solid-state ditto, or digital.

A friend, and many years-long playing partner has told me the BM VM/Weber is the best sound I've ever gotten. I'd love it if the Deluxe VM had a 15, but that won't happen.
 

TC (Houston)

Member
Messages
81
No reliability issues, but I did just dump the VM after only three months. I was initially attracted to the portability and the convenience of having the effects on board. I wasn't really dissatisfied with the VM until a few weeks ago when I had the opportunity to play through a lot of other good tube amps while demo-ing a bunch of custom shop strats. When I got my new strat home, I didn't seem to be getting the same warm and rich tone out of the VM that I was getting in the guitar shops. I thought it was maybe just some of the novelty of the CS strat wearing off, but next week, I went back and actually A/B'd a couple of all tube amps with the Deluxe VM. This is when it became clear to me that the VM was not producing those warm and rich tones I was after. I took it in the a$$ and traded the three month old VM on a new Vibrolux. Night and day.
 

Bren

Member
Messages
121
Thanks for the replies so far. I should mention that I'm more interested in the clean channel, which sounded pretty good to me the one time I've tested it, and seems more geared to my purposes than a hotrod deluxe. Warmth and headroom is what I need. Only briefly checked out the VM's gain channel, but I'm not too concerned about that, otherwise I'd be barking up another amp's tree. Just want some nice, rich fender clean without much heft or maintenance. (It's either that or go whole hog with the twin reverb.)
 

blackba

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,180
My how the opinions have changed. When the Deluxe VM and Bandmaster VM were first launched, I read alot of good reviews. Many liked them better than the Fender hod Rod Deluxe and DRRI.
 

TC (Houston)

Member
Messages
81
Thanks for the replies so far. I should mention that I'm more interested in the clean channel, which sounded pretty good to me the one time I've tested it, and seems more geared to my purposes than a hotrod deluxe. Warmth and headroom is what I need. Only briefly checked out the VM's gain channel, but I'm not too concerned about that, otherwise I'd be barking up another amp's tree. Just want some nice, rich fender clean without much heft or maintenance. (It's either that or go whole hog with the twin reverb.)

The clean channel was my main concern as well, and I'd strongly encourage you play the VM back to back with the other all tube Fender amps that are a little more pricey. For me, the dramatic improvement in warmth and tone more than justified the greater economic investment. Although this is all very personal, so of course YMMV. I'm just trying to help you avoid the same mistake I made, it was expensive. (Used VM's are very hard to move BTW).
 

Slowlicks

Senior Member
Messages
968
So, Does this amp definitely have a solid state clean channel?
Local dealer tells me its all tube powered.
I had asked him because it only has two pre amp tubes.
 

blackba

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,180
So, Does this amp definitely have a solid state clean channel?
Local dealer tells me its all tube powered.
I had asked him because it only has two pre amp tubes.
Just looked at the Deluxe VM schematic here: http://www.fender.com/support/amplifier_schematics.php

On Preamp tube is used for the drive channel, the other is the phase inverter before the power amp tubes. So the clean channel has a SS front in, then goes through the Phase inverter tube and into the power amp, so the clean is not all tube.
 

-analog-

Member
Messages
3,269
I don't personally own one, but I have put about 30 hours in on a Deluxe and bandmaster at my hang out music shop over the last 2-3 months- great sounding amps, for the money I'll take a VM over anything else new in that price range- Great gain sounds, the cleans are crisp & defined- the Delay is pretty danm good too! nails a great Edge/U2 sound and it does the jetsons sounds well too.

light weight, plenty loud for giggin.

Fender did a Great job on the VM series- most of these Solid-state/hybrid tube amps really stink, I could go down a list of Fails, but FWIW this is definately a GOOD thing from fender. The VM's easily out class the fender cyber twins and the line 6 bogners imho..
 

jimmi

Member
Messages
18
I picked up a used Deluxe VM a few weeks ago. After a few weeks It seems like the Gain channel is VERY hissy. I don't know if it got like this over the last few weeks or if it way always there and I'm just noticing it. I play a Strat and don't like to add much distortion to the gain channel because it fights with the Strat tone. So I tend to set the gain knob to 2 and the volume knob up loud. So it's the power amp section that's making all the hiss. Any solutions? Might it be a tube? Which one and why? Thanks.
 

jimmi

Member
Messages
18
Actually, I'm just assuming it's the power amp section that's the cause of the hissing because I have the Volume knob on the drive channel set high with the Gain knob on 2. I guess it could be a preamp tube or who knows what!
If anyone knows about this stuff, please... any comments are welcome.
Thanks again,
Jimmi

PS... LP, your Bandmaster looks great (I'm jealous that your amp has no hiss). What's in the bottom, a 15 inch speaker?
 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,217
i have a deluxe vm that i'm currently in the process of getting rid of b/c i couldn't use the clean channel. if you need 2 usable channels, you're much better off with a hot rod deluxe, even though the un-modded drive channel is weak there. BUT ...

if you're willing to go 1-channel'd with the drive turned down and the master up on the drive channel of the deluxe vm and use pedals for od/dirt, you can get some really good tones out of the deluxe vm. plus the built in delay and tremolo are very good (i didn't care for the chorus, but then again i don't like chorus) -- the reverb is ok at low levels.

it's a good amp, it really is. for some folks, i think it's the perfect amp. it just isn't exactly right for me.
 

jimmi

Member
Messages
18
if you're willing to go 1-channel'd with the drive turned down and the master up on the drive channel of the deluxe vm and use pedals for od/dirt, you can get some really good tones out of the deluxe vm.
The master up on the drive channel is what's giving me the hiss. I think you mean the volume up on the clean channel, right?
 

jd400

Member
Messages
15
I have had a Deluxe VM for a little over a year. What sold me on it was the on board effects and overall tone of it. I mainly bought it to play at church where a cranked sound isn't going to happen anyway. I do like the cranked tones when I've had it cranked, though.

I find the gain channel to work pretty well. I had a hot rod dlx, and I find the lead channel on the vm better to my ears. I don't think it's as good as a supersonic, but that's another pricing class, too. I feel that it has more useable gain on tap than the hot rods without external pedals.

The clean channel does have a ss preamp, but I've never really complained about it. I find the cleans really nice...especially for the money the amp costs with the features. The clean channel also breaks up in the power section if you really crank it. Really crank it! You hear those 40 watts.

After all that, however, I purchased a Dr. Z maz 18r head six months ago. The vm hasn't seen nearly the play time since. I've now acquired a monza head and a rx jr. combo. I use the rx and a pedalboard for what I call a gig, now. I do still use the vm when I do not want to lug the extra pedals and cords.

I sold my hot rod, and I am selling other stuff as well after the z purchases. I am keeping the deluxe, though. I think it is very useable for a good backup, if nothing else. I'm certainly not going to lug my silverface twin around everywhere.

I find the deluxe vm to be pretty good with decent minimum effects on board in a convenient, affordable package. Obviously, everyone's mileage varies greatly.
 

weshunter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,217
The master up on the drive channel is what's giving me the hiss. I think you mean the volume up on the clean channel, right?

no, i mean the lead channel -- the ss clean channel was unusable for me and the lead channel doesn't hiss on mine. if i couldn't use the lead channel, i just couldn't use the amp
 




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