Opinion's on the Fender Vibrolux Reverb amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by crossfiresrt6, Feb 17, 2006.


  1. crossfiresrt6

    crossfiresrt6 Member

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    I am looking at adding one of the supposedly "redone" , not re-issued(is there a difference) Fender Vibrolux Reverb amps to my collection. I understand they have PCB boards ( I'm not electronically savy enough to know for sure if this is a good or really bad thing) I just wanted it to have as a lighter to carry amp than my beloved 59 Bassman and since I haven't actually tried one yet, I was wondering about opinion here from the diversly experienced members as to if this is a decent amp for the 600.00 range used(on e-bay) catagory. I use an american strat that will be loaded with Jason Lollar's blonde series pickups and a volume kit and blender pot. My only outboard rig is a Boss DD3 delay and a Hermida original Zendrive. Clean and simple signal chain. I play mostly blues and a little country now and then. Thanks in advance for any and all opinions.
     
  2. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    If you're talking about the Custom Vibrolux Reverb, it's not the same as a BF or SF Vibrolux Reverb. The original VR was a classic. Never owned a CVR, but have played them and they are pretty good sounding Blues amps. I've heard they can be a bit noisy, but there are some recommended tube swaps that can tame this. $600 seems like a good price if it's in decent shape.

    That's my $.02...

    -KD
     
  3. crossfiresrt6

    crossfiresrt6 Member

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    I had heard about the hiss issue. It is a Custom Vibrolux Reverb and it is in perfect mint condition. Any idea which tubes need to be replaced to end the hiss issue? I was planning on retubing the power tubes with NOS Tung-Sol brown based 5881's.
     
  4. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    I've heard one CVR a lot live. It's not the same as the BFVR or SFVR. Not really to my tastes, in part because it has a somewhat hissy, in your face presence, very different from the depth I've heard in older ones. I'd like to get my hands on one and try it for awhile. Chances are there are ways to work with it. FWIW, the DRRI stock had some rough edges too, with a few well-place mods became a real sweet amp. This amp might be the same.
     
  5. crossfiresrt6

    crossfiresrt6 Member

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    I truely do respect yours and all the opinions here at the Page. I'm very close to trying this one because the original BFVR's and SFVR's are pretty pricey and a little out of reach for my wallet. So my thinking was if I could re-tubed it and learn from here what mod's to make that would bring this close to a BF or SF version, it might be worth investing in. Does anyone know what inexpensive mod's could be done other than retubing to get this amp a deeper sound?
     
  6. Chirpy_72

    Chirpy_72 Member

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    I used to have the CVR and liked it a lot. Sold it to buy a Victoria. I really like the amp. It was a bit "hissy" on Vibrato, but I'd be willing to bet a tube change would cure that issue. Mine took a while to "Warm Up" ... meaning it was a little weak for a few seconds when taking it out of standby when first powering it up. I took it into a good tech who checked everything and said it wasn't functioning out of spec.

    Not a lot of clean headroom ... less than what you would think for 40 watts, but it did sound great ( nice early break-up with hot pickups ).
     
  7. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    The newer CVR doesn't have much clean headroom at all. It would take more than changing some tubes, or the speakers,for that matter,to get it to "clean up".I believe you'd have to change the negative feedback resistor to start. I'm sure there are some mods to do which would get it gig worthy,but overall,IMHO,it will never sound like a "real" Vibrolux.
     
  8. crossfiresrt6

    crossfiresrt6 Member

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    in your opinion, would I be better off with say a 72 or 75 silver face Vibrolux Reverb? At least that's a true PTP and it should be easier to make as gig ready as it would have to be, yes?
     
  9. tuna

    tuna Member

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    There is a big ol' thread on the Fender Forum, that is about the CVR only, with mods and tube swaps to remove that "viper" from the amp.
     
  10. mezcalhead

    mezcalhead Member

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    Are the old SFVRs really that much more expensive than the CVRs? I've got a '71 SFVR which I love dearly .. one day I'll find a BFVR to keep it company.
     
  11. shakti

    shakti Member

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    My friend has one (it was mine previously, sold it when I got my '66 BFSR). It does need a couple of tweaks to sound its best.

    - first thing is to toss out the 12ax7 in the PI slot. I don't know why they use a 12ax7 there, it sounds miles, miles better with a good 12at7. A tiny bit more headroom, much more defined and controlled overdrive.

    - get a good tube in V1, obviously

    - get some good output tubes. This one only has something like 390V on the plates. I went with Jan Philips 6L6WGB or whatever they're called. More like a 5881 type. They actually have less output than 6L6GCs, but sound very sweet.

    - add an extension cab. The 2x10s aren't really enough on their own. It lacks bass and headroom. I have a Mojotone 1x15 with a JBL D130F in it, sounds great as an extension. I'm sure there are other good choices.

    These things go a long way without intervening much on the amp. Stock, it's a little ratty sounding with mushy bass and lack of bass and headroom. It's also a little hissy, but that isn't an issue once you start to turn it up. What it does have is a very cool clean sound with a sizzly, crunchy top end that, with the right tubes, isn't too in-your-face, just the right kind of dirt. Sounds great with a Strat or Jazzmaster! Good for country and blues. It's not as warm/fat as a good 60s amps, seems almost more tweed-like in a way? The normal channel loves pedals. The tremolo is outstanding. The reverb is good, would have liked a little more, but it's adequate.

    All in all, a decent amp out of the box, much more lively sounding stock than the awful Twin Reverb RI (which I owned prior to this), but with some issues as described above. Likes single coils much more than humbuckers (muddy bass), takes pedals really well and has medium volume.
     
  12. crossfiresrt6

    crossfiresrt6 Member

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    as always I have recieved a varied, experienced and outstanding education so far on the CVR as well as the SFVR . You guys are very generous and kind. I want to learn as much about this as I can before spending the hard earned bucks. A one time educated investment always beats a "rush to judgement" purchase for sure.
    To confess the truth, I gave a dear friend of mine an original Deluxe reverb so he could have an amp for his new electric guitar. I kind of wish I had that one back but no sense crying over spilt milk now. That was 40 years ago. Kind of like the 57 strat I should have kept if I'd of known any better. LOL!!!
     
  13. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey cross: It is a tough call. Having been down this road with a DRRI, let me add that you might buy the RI only to later buy the orignal anyway. The CVR with NOS tubes, more efficient speakers and a little tech attention, could well be a good amp for you. At what total cost? Will it prevent you from searching for a SFVR anyway? If you're like me, probably not. How much do you save by going the CVR route? SFVRs can be found at quasi-resonable prices if you are patient. I'd own one in a second. If you put money into that amp, the typical blackfacing, retube, maybe speaker swap, that's money very well spent, and the value holds up should you wish to sell.

    Life is short. Spend too much right now!
     
  14. homerayvaughan

    homerayvaughan Supporting Member

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  15. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    Cross,try to find a '70-early '71 as they don't cost a fortune, and ask if the cabinet is finger joint pine,which would be a big plus. Somewhere around this time frame Fender started using the ply cabinets. Then have a tech tweek it for you and you'll have yourself a great amp with some nice clean headroom,which will also be an investment.
     
  16. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    I had a CVR for about 5-6 years and yes, it was a little hissy. My biggest complaint was the lack of bass response. I don't think I'll ever buy another but if I do I'll consider a new baffle and a 12" speaker.

    Would that be a waste of $$$ ?
     
  17. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    Cross. My advice would be to either spend a few more pennies and get a SFVR or possibly an Old Flame 2x10" which come up used on TGP from time to time. Both are PTP although the Allen Old Flame lacks tremelo. Either way it sounds like you'd have to spend a lot to bring a CVR up to snuff.

    Good luck!

    -KD
     
  18. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    I have 64' Vibrolux reverb.(fender electric) Great tone for clean.
    Not enough for stage volume for me. because I like
    to set my volume 4 or less. I prefer 12's sound, Pro Reverb.
    It's nice to have this for studio recording.


    Tomo
     
  19. 900

    900 Member

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    I own a 2004 CVR amp.

    To me it's one of the best sounding actual Fender Amps. Basically, the cirquit is the same as with a brown '63 Vibroverb Reissue made in the early 90's, but with some tweaks made by B. Zinky when he still worked at Fender.
    Funnily enough, it's because of these tweaks that the amp has more hiss than the original '63 VR, and many people mod the amp back to '63 VR specs.

    You can search Google for "Converting a “Custom” Vibrolux Reverb into a ’63 Vibroverb" and you'll find the mods.

    I like the CRV how it is, didn't change anything and don't care too much about the hiss, which you'll only hear if you play at low volume in your basement, anyway.
     
  20. Dr.Tom

    Dr.Tom Supporting Member

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    I've tried the CVR and their sound is nothing close to the originals. Get a silverface if you can, they are worth the investment. I play out with 2 '68 SF Vibrolux Reverbs and keep the '66 at home.
    [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Tom
     

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