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

VibroChamp WTH?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by wblynch, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. wblynch

    wblynch Tele-Meister

    Apr 24, 2017
    California USA
    what the heck is going on with Vibrochamps all of a sudden?

    About a month ago I decided to look for a Vibrochamp and noticed they were going for $300-$450. There were only a few available, one or two.

    I started watching for a good one close to me in Southern California and now all of a sudden the prices have gone nuts, as much as $1200 and there are tons coming out of the woodwork. One guy on eBay alone has like ten of them.

    So does this stuff happen, where a market spike runs everything up and then it settles back to earth? Or is this going to be the new normal?

    I like to believe it's just some flippers trying to make an artificial market and they're going to get trapped with an unsellable inventory.

    These were always cheap little amps. Any thoughts or comments?

    Thanks, Bill

  2. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 19, 2006
    Gilbert, AZ (PHX)
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
    Dismalhead likes this.

  3. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2016
    People have been sitting on amps for decades hoping for a new interest to turn up so they can cash in. The VC has been getting crazy for the last 3 years at least. I went shopping for one last fall and when I saw a steady diet of $650 plus for examples that still needed servicing, I gave up and found a Victoria 5112 for $700 and walked away happy.

  4. BartS

    BartS Friend of Leo's

    Feb 18, 2013
    St. louis MO
    I have no idea why someone would charge that much for there old dirty, non serviced, 5watt, which pretty much a practice amp. I mean they are great for recording and sound excellent. If it already needs a new cord. New caps and resistors, The man hours to put into it. For the price you could probably build one twice.

    I forget what I spent building my 5f1. It was pretty reasonable. Maybe 400 or so. I think a vibrochamp may have 20 dollars more worth of parts. I know They are two different sounding amps by far. They shouldn't be that expensive.

    I just looked up blackface amps on cl I found a few super reverbs for way out of line prices. They looked all old and beaten up. One said it was recapped and had pictures. It had two messed up mods. The wiring looked all ratty and messed up. These amps looked bad. For 1500 dollars? By the time I went through these amps I would have enough money in them to build them from scratch. They wouldn't of sat in someones dirty freaking house. all new wood and upholstery.

    I have known people that say the super reverb is one of the best sounding amps ever. That's bull crap. Super reverbs suck. My amps sitting next to me sounds 1000 times better than any super reverb. look up buffalo springfield mr soul. A super reverb has never sounded as good as the amp neil Young is playing. It's proabably hot rodded what ever it is. No super reverb has sounded that good.

    The only reason you would see people using the supers is when they needed something really loud live and who gave a crud how it actually sounds.

  5. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Sep 24, 2004
    Endicott, NY
    I've never gotten the whole Vibro Champ attraction.
    I owned one years ago and I never thought much of it. Ended up selling it.

    My only regret is that I didn't wait to sell it until the prices skyrocketed.

    There are a lot of amps available today that are as good or better than a VC and most of them will cost you a fraction of what a VC will.

    OK, let the stoning of the heretic begin. :eek: ;)
    SnidelyWhiplash likes this.

  6. Grux

    Grux Tele-Holic

    Jan 10, 2017
    Clarksville, TN
    Vibro~champ XD's are cheap and sound awesome!
    Jim622, Believer and jimash like this.

  7. Want to hear a great VC - plug it into a big 2x12 or 4x12 external speaker cabinet... and crank it! It is all BF tone... but that defeats the purpose of the amp, small, portable, less volume, cheap. There are many other amps out there I'd rather have.. had a couple, but no longer do.. just not worth having around personally.

  8. Milspec

    Milspec Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 15, 2016
    There are just a lot of old Fender stuff that is priced way too high these days. I saw a local shop with a Bandmaster speaker cabinet (no speakers) for the piggyback heads. I have a couple of those heads and asked the price......$825 was his response.

    It is a speaker cabinet....not a magic amulet that transforms a player into Clapton. I had Avatar build me a clone with speakers for $425 instead.
    asnarski and wblynch like this.

  9. wblynch

    wblynch Tele-Meister

    Apr 24, 2017
    California USA
    This ^^^

  10. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 24, 2012
    Southern California
    I've got a '68 Vibro Champ that I have just finished a 3 prong plug mod and changed out the OT for a Mercury Magnetics 55 tweed OT. You couldn't give me $1000 for this amp. It isn't going anywhere. The tones that I get from this amp are outstanding.

  11. fender_freak

    fender_freak Tele-Meister

    Jul 13, 2017
    La Crosse, WI
    I got my original 79 for $550. Figured it was a fair price. Love the amp. I'd gladly pay it again. I don't know of any other amp that small that's all tube and hand wired.

  12. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

    Oct 3, 2009
    I saw the market going up when I was buying them for 150 and 200. Kept 4 for about 3 or 4 years, sold them and more than doubled my investment.

  13. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    Yeah, my limit would still be around $500.

    I remember back in the '80s when you could find them at garage sales for $10 (or less).
    SnidelyWhiplash likes this.

  14. irie

    irie Tele-Holic

    Jul 15, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    I hate to say it but I don't think they are going to get any cheaper as time goes on. Even clones seem to have gone up in price. I would broaden you search to include Swart and Victoria as someone else has already mentioned.

  15. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    I just saw two in the $750 range. It will be interesting to see what happens as the boomers age.
    asnarski likes this.

  16. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

    Jun 7, 2017
    I don't believe that the boomers are driving this' I believe its younger folks who are moving to cities and need a amp they can take on mass transit. bands aren't as loud in may places due to noise regulations,many drummers have been cutting down their kits to bass and floor tom for a few years now, and you can gig a Champ in these settings if you mike it up. I have one I bought years a go,had it serviced and upgraded the speaker it does sound great, much better to my ears than the Pro Junior and other small Fenders. I had other small amps so I put it on CL at the low end of Reverb pricing and got nothing, so I sold the others and kept the VC, I do live in a area where even city dwellers drive so perhaps the interest isn't here, but I saw a BF in NYC for 1200 over the weekend, and the shop seemed sure they would have no problem getting it. Personally I wouldn't pay that for cosmetics, but to each their own (the scrip lettering is very sharp) and probably would opt for a clean Ampeg Jet for gigs like this, but you can't put that in a back pack.
    King Fan likes this.

  17. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Hand built amp that's survived 40-50 years. Ply cabinet, maybe MDF baffle. Mill spec components including properly lacquered Formvar on paper bobbin transformers that are just about immortal. If you give me a working example that's in one piece but flogged and abused, as long as it's mostly there, in a couple hours with probably a few bucks of caps and resistors, maybe $40-50 of tubes and at most $50 for a new or good used speaker I will return to you a piece of history that sounds as good as it did new. And Jesus would weep at the tone. Clean, or overdriven And with some soap and water, metal polish and vacuuming, looks not far off new. It might not be your sound, but it is the sound of a zillion recordings. And inspiring to practice - or like one of Australia's leading session dudes, sit in a chair, mic and wail with. I did that at some gigs with my EC Vibrochamp. Lots of people were amazed at how good that little unit sounded.

    Take a modern equivalent made of mdf with bottom dollar components, cheap plastic pots, wave soldered flash-plated board traces with 1/4 watt resistors, flimsy winding wire like my old Epiphone Electar that just shorted one day for no reason. Unrealistic to fix - gutted it. I wasn't even playing it. Those modem amps apart from some boutique examples will be landfill maybe even before they fail. And what amps are the boutique amps copying?

    They sell at that price because they're rare. But there's plenty of similar era amps that are rare too, that don't. Fender does indeed mean something or did for solid amps made 1950-1980.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017

  18. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    I think that would be awesome if the VC is being swept up by younger gigging players. A good amp for some good use. To me it is better than in someone's basement gathering dust for the VC bubble to occur on fleaBay.
    wblynch likes this.

  19. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Holic

    Jul 1, 2008
    i guess i am lucky as i just bought an almost mint 75 vc for $500. i thought i was being stupid spending that much but turns out that combining it with my 76 champ is a fantastic sounding pair. i spread them out and crank them.

    play music!
    Indian Joe and Tone Chase like this.

  20. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    Don't believe everything you read on ebay.

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