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Lets discuss the Vibro-Champ

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by vendo, Jul 7, 2006.

  1. vendo

    vendo Member

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    I have an opportunity to pick one up in the $500 range. Its a '66 Blackface in mint condish, no pedal though. Reviewers seem to love them, I've never played one. But I am looking for a small bedroom amp that will deliver Fender cleans and will overdrive without deafening me. (I have a Nano but the low volume cleans are lacking; it has to be dimed to sound great).

    A couple of questions, what's the impedance load and can you hook it up to an ext cab, whats a good replacement speaker for it (in case I don't like the original), how well does it accept pedals?

    Also, if anyone has a good clear picture of the face and back they could post, I'd love to see it up close. I won't actually see the one I'm interested in for another couple of weeks when on holidays.

    Thanks fellas.
     
  2. lgehrig4

    lgehrig4 Silver Supporting Member

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    I had a 77' Silverface for about 6 months that I recently sold. It will definitely give you Fender cleans and mild OD without deafening you. The speaker had an impedence of less than 4ohms (2.6 I believe) so I guess a 4ohm cab will be appropriate. I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong about this.

    Not sure what a good price is for a 66' blackface, but if you are not a collector I would try to find a later Silver or Black between $250-$350.

    Mine took pedals pretty well. I tried a Tubescreamer, DS-1, Xotic BB preamp, Ibanez Delay and Vox wah with it.

    Hope this helps a little
    Jeff
     
  3. Robertito

    Robertito Member

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    From the interviews I've read, I understand that Eric Clapton used a silverface Vibrochamp for "Layla."
     
  4. Doug's Tubes

    Doug's Tubes Member

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    I'm pretty sure he used an earlier Tweed Champ on the Layla sessions.
     
  5. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    Champs are cool. The correct secondary impedance load for the oem tranny is 3.2 ohms. They are good for mild overdrive and fender cleans at low to reasonable volumes using the tired stock speaker. You can get an 8" WeberVST speaker that is drastically more efficient and will really increase your volume (so much so you may prefer the stock speaker if you are looking for lower volumes). A healthy tweed champ into a 4 ohm 2x12 can be surprisingly loud!
     
  6. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    Champs, in all flavors, are great amps. Point-to-point, low-powered, 6V6, and breakup at reasonable volume. The original alnico speakers are cool if they are in good condition. Otherwise, a Weber or Jensen RI will be a nice improvement. Best of all, you can find SF Champs for $200-300 depending on condition and the circuits are virtually unchanged from the BF ones. Tweed Champs are a bit more...

    -KD
     
  7. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Just to confuse the issue further I believe Eric used a BF Vibro Champ that was modded to bypass the tone stack.....kind of inbetween tone.

    Oh, I like the Eminence speaker with mine.

    Best, Pete.
     
  8. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

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    I've got a 1x15 cabinet that I normally use with my Bandmaster Reverb. Even though the speaker inside (Weber Texas) is an 8 ohm, I have a resistor across 2 of the +/- leads to make it 4 ohm, since the BMR wants to see a 4 ohm load. Anyway, the 1x15 also works with my Champ, but you have to disconnect the Champ/Vibro Champ speaker cable from the chassis. Make sure the speaker cable you're using with the extension cab has an RCA plug on one end, which will plug into the jack where the Champ's cable was inserted.
    A Champ feeding a 1x15 speaker sounds huge!
     
  9. JES1680

    JES1680 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've got a 79 SF VC and it is a really good sounding amp. Very nice cleans and handles pedals well. I tried a Weber Alnico 8S but ended up swaping back to the original which is some non marked ceramic mag. It sounds incredible.
     
  10. Doug's Tubes

    Doug's Tubes Member

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    I'll share a secret, if you dont feel like spending Fender $$, look for an early 1960's Gretsch made by Valco 6150 model or 6150T with tremelo. They are still around for the very low $300's and sound every bit as sweet and maybe moreso than the Champ.
     
  11. ScottB

    ScottB Gold Supporting Member

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  12. vendo

    vendo Member

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    Thanks guys. As usual, you've been very helpful. Any thoughts about the price? Also, how loud does it have to get before breakup? I'm actually wanting it for its cleans too...
     
  13. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Depends on the speaker.
    I've got a '67 BF VC. It's been reversibly modded to be straight or to switch out the tone stack (which gives up more gain). Straight it's quite clean at loud talking levels. The other way breaks up more in a more pleasing tweedy like manner.

    Cleans (with tone stack) are nicely BF'd. I like to use an RC Booster in that mode 'cos it makes it more juicier somehow. The RC Booster seems made for the VC. Incredible Strat/Tele amp.

    I paid $350 for mine a couple of years ago - the SF are the same circuit but cheaper now.

    The thing about the VC is you're getting a hand wired amp for less than a boutique and it will only increase in value.

    Best, Pete.
     
  14. ScottB

    ScottB Gold Supporting Member

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    I paid just under $500 for mine from a local shop. I probably could have done slightly better if I waited and looked around a bit, but I like to give the local guys some business when they have stuff I want and it's competitively priced...
     
  15. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

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    The only difference between Vibro Champs and "standard" Champs is the Tremolo circuitry? I should be able to get the same tones from either?

    This is an intriguing alternative to pro junior, blues junior, etc....
     
  16. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    Hey Pete- It sounds like you may have found some good info on the Layla setup-I hadn't even heard definatively whether it was the tweed or VC, and this is the first I've heard about a tone stack mod. Can you divulge your source?

    Based on comparing my BFVC and tweed Champ, my ears say he probably recorded with a VC. Shame that there aren't more photos of those sessions....
     
  17. Reeek

    Reeek Member

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    I have a near mint 1974 SF VC. I paid $225 for it 2 years ago or so. If I were to sell it today, I'd look at $300 to $325 asking price.

    i have a clip of it with my Agile AL3000 Prestige Gold Top loaded with High Order A3's on my soundclick page. It's just a sound clip and not a song but you can get a feel for its cleans and grind using medium output humbuckers. My Suhr Classic through it is amazing though.

    I still have the orginal Oxford but I have a top-o-the-line Weber alnico 8A125 3.2 Ohm in it now.

    It stays clean up to about 4.5 which is loud enough for what you want for sure.

    AFAIK, yes, the only difference from the Champ is the trem circuitry. My clip has the trem turned on for an idea of the trem sound too.
     
  18. JustAHack

    JustAHack Member

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    Definitely - nowhere NEAR as loud as a Pro Junior or Blues Junior. Great organic tube grind with a tweed mod. Stock, non-tweed Champs are a little too polite without pedals, esp. with Strats.

    I have a '67 BF Champ and a '75 SF Vibro-Champ. I kept the BF bone stock, it was too clean and too expensive to mod. But I got the Vibro-Champ off eBay for $150 two years ago, just to have it tweed-modded by Bakos Amp Works in Atlanta. The only functioning knob on it now is the volume knob, just like an old tweed.

    With the (totally invisible and reversible) tweed mod, the cleans are really warm. You play it and think, "Gee, this is going to be way too much bass if I really crank it up." But you do anyway :), and the miracle of tube rectifier sag and natural compression kick in, it just roars. The overdriven tone is really, really impressive. With no pedals, or deafness. I'd love to swap it into a 1x12 cab, if I could find one that would fit, and a 4 Ohm 12" speaker.
     
  19. JustAHack

    JustAHack Member

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    A picture of mine, for the heck of it. I just love Champs.

    [​IMG]
     

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