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Help restoring 1961 Fender Vibrolux Reverb Amp

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Flix, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. Flix

    Flix Guest

    I am currently restoring a 1961 fender vibrolux reverb amp and have bought everything needed to restore it... examples: new tubes, new speakers etc. I will give some info about the amp itself now...
    There was no model number of any kind that I could find on it, but I found out the year by looking at the history of the vibrolux. It is a combo amp with a 45 watt tube head... the tubes go in this order from left to right... GZ34, 6L6GC, 6L6GC, 12AT7, 12AX7, 7025, 12AT7, 7025, 7025. The amp is powering 1 12 inch 16 ohm speaker.
    The problem is that there are two channels the regular channel which has a volume, treble, bass knobs, and two inputs. The vibrato channel also has two inputs, a volume, treble, bass, reverb, speed, and intensity knobs for the vibrato... My issue is that when pluged into the vibrato channel the volume knob crackles as does the treble knob slightly, but not nearly as bad as the volume knob. When this happens the volume goes up very loud when the knob is set on like 4 or 5, any where below or above 4 there is crackling, but when above 8, it is too distorted to be considered clean... understandable, but I'm getting aggitated by the fact my volume knob on the amp for what it needs to be used for is malfunctioning.
    Any feedback on how to resolve this issue?
    I would greatly appreciate any information from anybody.
    -Flix
     
  2. 908SSP

    908SSP Supporting Member

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  3. Wakarusa

    Wakarusa Member

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    First, I doubt it's a '61 (they didn't start making that model until a couple of years later).

    For your volume and treble scratchiness issues try cleaning the pots. Recommended goo is Caig Deoxit D5 (the red stuff) to clean and Caig MCL (the blue stuff) to put the lubricants back in after you've cleaned 'em.

    Small shot of D5 into the back of the pot (the opening under the tabs where you solder the wires), twist the knob stop-to-stop 5 or 10 times. Let it sit for a while, then go back and do the same thing with the MCL.

    If this doesn't solve the problem, consider replacing the pots.
     
  4. DANOCASTER

    DANOCASTER Supporting Member

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    hey Flix -

    You have a BLACKFACE Vibrolux w/ 1-12" ??

    They DID make those in '63 /'64 but they very rare - and they never made a 1-12 vibrolux REVERB. So does it have it reverb ??
     
  5. Wakarusa

    Wakarusa Member

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    The tube layout suggests a reverb amp from the blackface or later days. (A blackface vibrolux would have had two fewer preamp tubes).

    The single 12" 16 ohm speaker is more than likely not original (at least I'm unaware of any Fender amp from that era that expected a 16 ohm speaker load). So, assuming the original poster can read what's printed on his amp's faceplate it's probably a VR with a replaced baffle and speaker; all from 1964 or later. No idea where the 1961 claim came from -- perhaps Flix will enlighten us.


    And, unless he's got his hands on some wacky Fender prototype or something with a replaced output transformer, I'll be surprised if it lasts for long with the 16 ohm speaker.
     
  6. DANOCASTER

    DANOCASTER Supporting Member

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    Wakarusa -

    Oh yeah - I didnt see in his post where he mentioned the reverb knob so clearly it IS a reverb model. In that case - you pretty much nailed it - a VR w/ a replacement 12" baffle.

    Actually, w/ the proper 4 ohm load , I could see how it could sound pretty sweet. Like a DR w/ 6L6s
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Sometimes we come off as a bit rough edged, so let me summarize here:

    1. Someone has told you a story about the amp that doesn't seem to be possible. Check the "Fender Amp Field Guide", the Vibrolux Reverb didn't come out till 64. Then it was blackface and black tolex, which Fender didn't start providing till 63, anyway.

    2. When it did come out, it was supplied with a pair of 10", 8 ohm speakers. That means that the OT is expecting a 4 ohm load (if it's still the original OT). Using a 16 ohm speaker with that is likely to cause arcing (sparks) which will destroy the tubes/tube sockets/transformers. If you can find the number codes on the output transformer we might be able to tell you if its the right one. If it is, you'll need to change to a 4 ohm speaker very soon.

    3. A blackface Vibrolux Reverb is a very cool amp-at 35 real watts it puts out enough power to hang with a drummer, and still breaks up at decent volumes. With the right speaker, that's going to be a killer gig amp. With the original cab and speakers, that's a $2000 amp!

    4. Dirty pots are the most common cause of the noise you describe. You can remove the chassis (undo the screws that run thru the silver straps on top of the amp with the amp resting on its side and slide it out) to clean them with the method mentioned above. If that doesn't work, it probably has problems with damaged caps/resistors and should see a tech.

    It's worth fixing up!
     
  8. Flix

    Flix Guest

    Thanks everyone for your input. Apparently, the website I visited was a false information produced site. I did some more research and realized that it was probably a 64'. It is a vibrolux with reverb. There's a footswitchable channel in the back for vibrato and reverb (RCA plugs). I'll have to check the pots and try the goo method and hope that works. If not, tech is the way to go. I can't screw this amp up. It could definately be worth some money considering it's the original enclosure, the only thing really new are the tubes and the speaker. The original speaker is trash. There's no way I can keep the orange back, It's beat. So I'll have to settle for celestion. I removed the 16 ohm speaker I had in it, and was wondering if since the original vibrolux pushed 2 10's at 4 ohms a piece, do you think the head would be able to push 8 ohms without any problems? I hope so cause that's about the only other option as far as getting a speaker goes.
    Feedback appreciated to all!
    -Flix
     
  9. Wakarusa

    Wakarusa Member

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    The original Vibrolux Reverb pushed two 8 ohm 10s in parallel for a total of 4 ohms seen by the amplifier. If the amp still has its original output transformer, then it will really behave best with a total load of 4 ohms.

    You list your location as PA, so I'm curious why a Celestion is your only option? Weber, Eminence, Jensen and others all make replacement speakers available mail-order that you could use. There's E-Bay if you want to try to find a vintage set correct for the amp. You can get a replacement baffle board set up for 2x10 through mail order as well.
     
  10. Flix

    Flix Guest

    I know that there are other good replacement speakers but I want to stick with a celestion. Unless I can't find a 4 ohm 12" e-bay is going to be my best bet. My question is though that 8 ohms will work right? I mean obviously if I want it to be correct, I should use a 4, but I know definately not 16. I don't want to mess the head up for life.
    -Flix
     
  11. DANOCASTER

    DANOCASTER Supporting Member

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    Flix -

    an 8 ohm WILL play / work - as does the current 16 ohm. But the amp will never sound as it should w/ out a 4 ohm load.. Take yer time w/ this.. Get the celestion RE-coned to 4 ohm if you need to..but if you are gonna change it - at least make it right. Otherwise you are simply making it "Half as screwed up";)
     
  12. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    There is a difference. Most Fenders do just fine with a 2:1 mismatch impedance wise, so the 8 ohm should be safe, the 16 isn't. That said, it will be loudest and be able to be cleanest at 4 ohms. What are you planning to do with it?
     
  13. Flix

    Flix Guest

    I'm planning to sell it at some point. I may just find a 12" 4 ohm speaker and go from there. I'm not trying to change the baffle to a 2 10 setup. Unless someone thinks it would be wiser and worth more to do that.
    -Flix
     

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