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Fender's EC Custom Amps

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by PastorJay, May 6, 2017.

  1. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    756
    Apr 12, 2014
    California
    Last fall I was looking for a 68 Custom Princeton (with the 59 Bassman tonestack). Never found one to try out and ended up buying a Mesa TA-15 that does great Vox sounds at 5W. Wasn't what I was looking for but it sounded great and my wife actually talked me into it.

    I'd still like to get a small combo with a Fender Tweed sound. I often go straight cord or use just a tremolo pedal, so having onboard tremolo as an option would greatly reduce the need for pedals and give me a true plug and play combo amp.

    I only recently discovered the existence of the now-discontinued EC Custom Series amps.

    The Vibro Champ and the Tremolux both look like they potentially fit the bill--and would be options in addition to the 68 Custom.

    If you've got one of these, what do you think of it?

    And, if you could find a used EC Series Vibro Champ or Tremolux, what would you expect to be the price range?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017

  2. Mekhem

    Mekhem Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    823
    Oct 31, 2010
    Minneapolis
    I have both - They are awesome. Both that I have are quiet (dis-proportionately important to me probably) - light, well made, and hit very very useful sweet spot with me and using the low power switch. Importantly - I play a lot of single coils and I like the very 'fendery' sound of them. I have also found that they 'take pedals well' or at least they take mine well so if you did want to put a 'Klone' and a reverb/delay in front of it it will work. To be honest - I like the VC a little better. The guy that sold it to me called it the "beast" and boy does it fill the room.

    The one knock that people seem to have is that the trem has no 'intensity' control. You only get speed. Matters not at all to me personally because i like the tremelo the way they are. I believ there is a thread here that talks about tube swapping to mellow the tremelo effect a little.

    From what I have seen when I was looking: VC's list and sell around 800-1000 and the Tremolux 1400-1800
     

  3. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    756
    Apr 12, 2014
    California
    Thanks.
     

  4. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    I tried an EC Tremolux in a store and really, really loved the tone! I would hop on one quickly, if I were looking for another amp... Currently I am looking to sell amps! LOL

    I think the only real knock on these from the get-go was the pricetags. I have no idea how they are holding values though, sorry.
     
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  5. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    756
    Apr 12, 2014
    California
    Thanks this is helpful.
     

  6. Nevada_Bob

    Nevada_Bob TDPRI Member

    75
    Sep 9, 2015
    Pac NW
    I have an EC Vibrochamp and I can't imagine a better amp for my situation.

    In the low power mode, it's exactly the sound I hope for, at a TV kinda volume.

    Unleashed, it's the real deal tweed
     
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  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    They didn't seem to sell very well and they seem undervalued on the used market.
    I kind of suspect the public opinion was hurt by internet forum complaints about their not being worth the high retail price, followed by IIRC a very heavily discussed youtube comparison between the EC Tremolux and a Mustang. The idea presented was that the Mustang sounded just as good.
    Internet forums can make or break a niche product it seems, even lots of stupid press hurts.
    I've never played any of them, but the impression i got from actual owners was that they are as good as they set out to be.
    Also can't recall the range of selling prices, but they were way below original retail and mostly in like new condition.
    There's one on Reverb for $1500 now, seems fair and cheaper for the features than a similar Victoria Deluxe clone ($1900 new) with no trem or attenuator.
    I'm pretty sure I've seen them sell cheaper, but not as low as $1000.

    OK I just read that the one on Reverb for $1500 has a replaced OT, not the correct MM either.

    Edit: Reverb lists the value as $1200- $1600
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
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  8. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    756
    Apr 12, 2014
    California
    Thanks.
     

  9. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    756
    Apr 12, 2014
    California
    Thanks.
     
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  10. Reivaj

    Reivaj TDPRI Member

    17
    Jul 3, 2014
    Madrid Spain
    I remember those Munstang videos. I could spot the difference with my ears closed. I tryed just for fun and I did. Every time. It felt ridiculous to me.
    Lots of comments of people hating that the EC had only a volume and tone knob and what not... accusations that Mr Clapton was greedy to ask that much for the amps in "his" line... Even if it had higher spec and lower prices than the Custom Shop line they were replacing... You know.

    I also remember the video demos of the Tremolux, and the rest of the EC amps. Whenever they cranked the volume they sounded horrible. It surprised me as I had had a regular 2007 (I think) Fender Tweed Deluxe that sounded Nothing like those demos (it was really sweet) while it shares a biggest part of the circuit with the Tremolux.

    A year and a half ago I was in the hunt for an amp and the Tremolux has the specs I was looking for. So I dug deep in the internet, trying to tell haters from fanboys and both from the sensible and took a leap of faith buying one 2nd hand online:

    I couldn't be happier. Well if only the attenuator would cut the volume a little more... But all in all I think is a first class amp.
    Thick, full, warm, dynamic, clear...

    Mine came with three 5751 preamp tubes instead of the stock 11ax7 and I loved the cleans with my Strat. I favor a full, rich sounding Tweed Deluxe with a Strat and this amp delivers.
    I've had little chance to run it dirty, but I recall it sounding really nice and infinitely better than in any video demo I could find.

    To me it sounds great, period.
    It has the depth and richness that for instance, none of the Blues Jr I've tryed had. In spades.

    I think if you like tweed, you can't go wrong with these.

    The tweed champ is a different amp in general in my experience, because it's all about break up, overdrive.
    It doesn't have the cristaline cleans of the Deluxe.
    I love deluxe cleans, at least with Fender style guitars. While they have lots of mids, they still have this sweet, silky but shimmery high end.
    I'd bet the tweed twins are pure bliss for that... Just too loud for my needs.
     
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  11. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    756
    Apr 12, 2014
    California
    I found and bought a used EC Vibrochamp at a Guitar Center a few weeks ago. It sounds great in the living room. Trying to decide if it's loud enough for outside the home purposes.
     

  12. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    the Vibro Champs are selling for around $800; as I recall the Tremolux goes for around $1500+. Search "sold auctions" on eBay and you may find some info.

    I've played through both and they're great sounding amps and the build quality is great.

    However - for the price...or even more... I'd spend a little more and try to find an electronically-sound "beater" original. It'll go up in value - the "EC" amps very likely will not - most "signature" amps and guitars take a nosedive in value when used and never recover.
     

  13. Reivaj

    Reivaj TDPRI Member

    17
    Jul 3, 2014
    Madrid Spain
    Sorry, I wrote the wrong post/wrong thread, this should be erased...
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017

  14. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Georgia
    I don't have any experience with the EC line, but I built a 5F11 Vibrolux recently from a Mojo parts kit. I think they offer it completely assembled for $1100. I have a higher voltage PT and a tweed deluxe OT. It's my favorite amp I've ever played, and I've built a Tweed Champ, Princeton, Deluxe, and Super. Used a Cannabis Rex (12" speaker instead of stock 10") that is really efficient and loud. I wish like hell I'd had this amp 15 years ago when I started gigging. Anyway, if you haven't found one yet, one of these might be an option that seems to be in the EC Tremolux realm. Db meter hits 120-125db at 1 foot with a Les Paul, so it ain't a toy.

    Demo clip I did.
     

  15. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    I had the EC Vibrochamp. I sold a SFVC when I bought it. Which turned out to be a mistake. Not because the EC sounded bad. It didn't. I found some build details like the switches, tube sockets and the board components less than flash, compared to the SFVC, even though that was a '78 - which also sounded great with NOS tubes and Weber Sig speaker and was more versatile with trem depth control plus treble/bass. Could have fixed/replaced bits on the EC, but moved it on. In the process of trying to get another SFVC.

    The sound at all volumes is pretty awesome, as is breakup - the FSD speaker is a Weber alnico Sig and a great match, transformers good quality. The cabinet and Tweed is great. There's also a similar 5F1 reissue. I used it micc'd for a gig and it was awesome - until it futzed out with bad powertube clinches.

    That was disappointing. I think that's what cruelled it for me. Easy fix, but could see it happening again. For home use the EC is awesome, half power setting using a big resistor works well.
     

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