Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Choosing a Fender '68 Custom: Deluxe....or, Vibrolux?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by E5RSY, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    I'm aware of the price difference. Any experiences with these two that would lead one to, or away from, these? How do they stack up to each other?


  2. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I tried both and left with the '68 Deluxe. They are both killer amps, IMO.

    To be honest, in this day and age and not playing any stadiums or un-mic'd outdoor shows, even the Deluxe with its supposed "early breakup" is still too loud at breakup to use for any but our loudest shows. If I want any amp breakup, that is.

    So I ended up getting a '68 Custom Princeton. It has better tremolo than either the DR or the VR imo. And it is loud enough that I'm using it for all rehearsals and most shows. I prefer the tone of the DR just a bit but that's really splitting hairs.

    I can at least get the PR consistently to and just beyond "edge" of breakup without being overly loud. I kept the '68 Deluxe and just pull it out for big shows.

    All three are great amps. Hard to go wrong. Of the units that I tried, the VRs were consistently the hissiest, but that all goes away in a band context, IME.

    Happy hunting Scott.

  3. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    I've thought about the Princeton. If you had only one, would you miss the "Custom" channel on the DR if you only had the Princeton?

    My initial question comes up because on my local CL all three are available. And, amazingly the VR is the cheapest of the three, with an asking price of just under $700. o_O

  4. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    I have some vague dissatisfaction with 10 inch speakers. So I vote for the DR.

    See my sig below. They are all good amps

  5. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    Interesting. Ironically, I tend to unconsciously gravitate toward the 10" speaker for some reason: Super Reverb, Pro Junior, and a weird old Japanese Elk combo with one of "their" alnicos.
    t guitar floyd likes this.

  6. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I wouldn't miss the Custom channel. To me it is voiced VERY similarly to the Vibrato channel, in a real world sense. I have been patching the channels just because they are in phase and for the slightly different EQ.

    I would guess the VR is the cheapest for the reason I articulated - it's very loud . . .

    If you were asking me, in my bands, which is the most used, it's the PR hands-down. I like the DR too much to part with it, but realistically could just mic the PR for anything where the PR wasn't loud enough. I did put detachable tilt legs on it so it points towards my head a bit. I'm not a guy who dimes amps, but I have gotten frustrated never being able to get amps into the "edge" zone or just beyond, where to me the magic really happen, without getting yelled at for being too loud. The PR accomplishes that. I left the speaker stock. But I may drop an Allesandro in.

    My personal assessment is that the speaker in the '68 PR is good enough (which surprised me) but the speaker in the '68 DR is a keeper. Really good.

    I actually had a Custom Vibrolux Reverb (not the '68, it's predecessor with blackface looks and white knobs) and finally sold it because I NEVER had occasion to unleash it. Just incredibly loud.

    But don't take my word for it - plenty of threads about how the '68 CVR (and the predecessor that I owned) has "no" headroom and isn't nearly loud enough for people's "restrained" bands.

    Were I you, I would head to GC or whatever local shop has all 3 and plug them in.

  7. I agree, try out each one, side by side if possible, only you will know for sure what you want and are looking for. Even then you might not know until you get home and try it out in your own settings.

    Personally only in the quietest setting could I get by (gig wise) with a PR - I have a nice Tweed Pro Jr with the blue alnico speaker that stays home 100% of the time, just can't cut it in a live setting. If you wanted 100% dirt then possibly, but I need options for clean from time to time. That's why they make so many options in amps, for everyone's needs/wants.

    I just gigged over the weekend with a SF Vibrolux with 1965 Jensen C10Q's (low efficiency) and it worked perfectly for me. Just at the edge of breakup. Speaker selections is really important (less volume/more volume).

  8. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    That's really a different amp/circuit, correct? There's one in a nearby shop that's taken up residence going on a few years, now.

  9. Yep, it's a tweaked 63 Vibroverb RI circuit which I dearly love, although many do not. It's actually my number two and sometimes number one gigging amp (must have the blue alnico speakers though, to me they are magic in this amp). Picked mine up needing a bit of work (nothing major at all) for $500.

  10. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2013
    I got the Princeton last November. It's still honeymoon.
    LiteAsh likes this.

  11. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    So, that's how this place works...I come here asking about two amps, and leave thinking about two more amps. :confused:


  12. viccortes285

    viccortes285 Tele-Holic

    Jan 14, 2017

    My 3rd Fender Deluxe Reverb Amp love the tone.

  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Regarding the CVR...Custom Vibrolux Reverb...and the newer '68 Custom SF Vibrolux Reverb, they are both based on the 6G16 Vibroverb Ri board. They both have bias vary trem versus the opto-isolator in the DR's. The '68 SF Custom is a CVR that has been taken back in the direction of the Vibroverb Reissue in that the negative feedback loop is present. The CVR has no negative feedback. Then, Fender did a little bit of the modification to that first channel. The CVR can easily be modded to be a very useful a. Establish a negative feedback loop with a pot to take it from 6G16 to a hotter thing. The Normal channel can be voiced to yield much 'tweedier' sounds than does the '68 Sf Custom, ime. If there were a CVR sitting beside a new '68 SF Custom VR, I would take the CVR due to the lower price....and then I would make I do what I want it to do.
    If a 5 year warranty is meaningful, that is the only advantage of the new amp over a used item, ime.
    King Fan and grolan1 like this.

  14. Vespa_One

    Vespa_One Tele-Holic

    Feb 14, 2017
    The Deluxe sounds better to my ears.

  15. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Aug 29, 2007
    MV, CA
    If you are playing live more, then you will want the Vibrolux. If you are playing at home or in a garage or studio situation then the Deluxe. Tonally, although I love my Deluxe and use it regularly the 12 inch speaker can sound a bit woolly i.e. grainier in the breakup and more treble rounded clean. Not a bad thing but the Vibrolux stays cleaner and punchier. Neither is bad or good, they just do what they do.
    codamedia likes this.

  16. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    I think everybody's comments are spot-on. I have played (and loved the sound of) one of the 68 SF Custom Vibroluxes. Nice and punchy with 2/ 10's and 6L6's. I suppose I'd go to the store and play the DR and the VR side-by-side and see what you think. You can see if you prefer the 2/ 10" 6L6 setup or the 1/ 12" 6V6 setup. If the volume is close on the two, I think I'd prefer the Vibrolux. Other than volume, it will likely boil down to whether you like 10" or 12" speakers.
    daveyboy and grolan1 like this.

  17. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    What kinda music are you playing? How loud do you need to be? What's your practice space like? Do you have any other amps? Are you gigging? If so, what size venues?

    All these are very important questions when deciding on these amps!

    I started my 'modern Fender foray" with a '65 DRRI. It was too loud for quiet practice and not loud enough for a couple of outdoor gigs I did a year or so later. It was great for smaller bar gigs and band practice in a small basement room. Somehow, I bumbled into a '63 Vibroverb RI.... Which I still have almost ten years later. The DRRI is long gone. The DR is a great amp, but it didn't work for my style of music, or my practice/band situation.

    Of course, these days, I'm playing mostly Tweed amps, a Bassman and a High Power Twin are my #1 and #2 amps. (But, the Vibroverb is still with me). But, my practice room at home is pretty large and I have the ability to open up my amps a little bit. I'm playing a number of outdoor gigs and regularly in okay size bars where I need 40-50 watts.

    When it comes to quiet practice in a small room, the part I found surprising was that Deluxes tend to have a quick volume jump from nothing, to too thin to too loud for a bedroom all between 1-3 on the volume knob. But, at 5 or 6, it's nicely saturating and works with a decent drummer. The larger 6L6 amps tend to give a warmer low volume tone and work better with pedals to get that similar grind at less divorce-driving volumes. I regularly play my Bassman and Twin at volumes that my wife and I can have a regular volume conversation over. The amps sit about 8 feet from us... But, it is a large room.

    So, to find the right answer, you need to ask yourself some of those questions above.
    grolan1 likes this.

  18. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    I would lean toward the Vibrolux... but only because I would require that little extra clean headroom. It's easier to add dirt than it is to increase clean. I'd be happy with either though, they are both great amps.
    E5RSY and grolan1 like this.

  19. uriah1

    uriah1 Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Feb 12, 2011
    I have had both. Vibrolux was too loud, which may be a good thing or not.
    I sold it.

  20. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    This is basically how I think, as well. "Too loud" does not compute, for me. If I had a no-pedal policy, then it might be an issue.

    To respond to questions @Axis29 raises, as I mentioned above I have a Super Reverb and a Pro Junior. So, I have low(er) volume applications covered with the PJ. The Super does everything I want it to, but I keep it upstairs in my house and I'm done moving it up and down the stairs. So, I guess I want something more easily transported that fits in the realm of the Super.

    The shop down the way actually has one of each of these amps, all of them new: a '68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb, a '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb, and a white-knob Custom Vibrolux Reverb.

    Further complicating the choice is the fact that they have had the white-knob CVR for a long while and want to see it gone. Told me it's mine for $500 out the door. :confused:
    t guitar floyd and uriah1 like this.

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