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Basket case Silverface Vibro-Champ

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by elskipper, Feb 28, 2021.

  1. elskipper

    elskipper TDPRI Member

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    My brother in law very kindly gave me what looks like a late 70’s Silverface Vibro-Champ......on the outside, at least.

    However, when looking it over, I noticed an extra very large transformer on a homemade bracket mounted above the paper tag on the inside of the cab. Further investigation revealed someone had actually cut the bottom of the chassis out of the amp and replaced it with parts of a chassis from an amp I don’t even know what the heck it is.

    It’s powered by 6 tubes total, four 12AX7’s and two power tubes I can’t make out the designation on, about the size of EL-84’s, and the whole shebang is somehow weird into the existing stock Fender controls, with an added mystery pot in the back. The Vibrato circuit seems to have been replaced with reverb leading into a really old looking reverb tank.

    My question is does anybody know where I can find parts to properly restore this thing? Would it even be worth it?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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  2. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Probably Mojotone, but it's a good question if it is worth it.

    The chassis is full of holes, so the only remaining parts are the cab and faceplate, maybe the speaker, along with a few components like perhaps the light thing and switch.

    It might cost more to restore than it would be worth, considering it's mostly unoriginal. But there are cheaper ways, there was a guy who sold chassis on ebay, you can buy an eyelet board, then source out the components instead of buying a kit. Don't forget the transformers.

    It would be a fun project, but I would be tempted to keep the old chassis and trace the circuit, maybe mod it, perhaps into a little Marshall with reverb or something, but that's me.
     
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  3. Midnighttoil

    Midnighttoil Tele-Meister

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    Have any pix?
     
  4. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Afflicted

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    Chassis will run you around 80 bux, power trans 70 ish, plus whatever small parts you need to replace. Only you can say if its worth it to you. Around here silverfaces go for in the 400-500 range in good condition.
     
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  5. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    There was a guy in Arkansas on ebay who made Vibro Champ chassis really cheap.

    Would probably need both transformers.
     
  6. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    At this point I think I'd try to figure out what's going on now and see if that can be fixed or modded.
    Getting it back to a Vibro Champ now would be about like building one from scratch.
     
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  7. Jerry J

    Jerry J Friend of Leo's

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    It sounds like a real mess. If the cabinet, grill cloth and the silver faceplate are good, and assuming you like the VC sound, just order a chassis kit from Mojotone or similar place. Remember that the cabinet by this time was either made of plywood or pressboard. The only thing I'd keep is the faceplate.
     
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  8. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Afflicted

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    How does it sound? Would really like to see some pics.

    No matter what, you have good bones for a project.
     
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  9. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think it would be real cool to have reverb and a master volume in a Champ. I would expect it to have a real phase inverter with the amount of tubes, the output transformer is probably P-P. Get some pictures up and figure out what tubes are in it.
     
  10. elskipper

    elskipper TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    It is a real mess. It actually doesn’t sound bad, but it can’t possibly be safe. The reverb only worked briefly when I bumped something (don’t know what I bumped), the Bass and Treble are reversed, the extra knob on the back doesn’t seem to do anything, and the giant transformer riding on the cabinet seems to be wired with 110 electrical cord. That doesn’t even begin to cover the hack job done to the chassis surgery.

    Looks wise, it looks like a used Vibro-Champ. Tolex is old and a little shabby, the grill is intact if a little rough, the faceplate is in great shape. Nothing to indicate the horror within.

    I’ll get pictures up if I can, I dumped Photobucket years ago.
     
  11. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    I almost spilled coffee on my keyboard when I read 6 preamp and 2 power tubes --how does one squeeze all this into a VC chassis???
    Yes, pics please!!
     
  12. elskipper

    elskipper TDPRI Member

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    Well, I’ll put it this way, one of the power tubes is actually riding dangerously close to the speaker cone and must be removed VERY CAREFULLY before you can slide the “chassis” out. Pretty sure that’s why the monkey-wired transformer is riding on the cab, now.
     
  13. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can post photos directly to the forum, hit the "Upload a File" button next to the "Post Reply".
     
  14. elskipper

    elskipper TDPRI Member

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    Good to know, thank you I haven’t posted in a while.
     
  15. elskipper

    elskipper TDPRI Member

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    Oh, and I misspoke, I meant it has six tubes total, 4 preamp and two power. Real tired when I posted it.
     
  16. elskipper

    elskipper TDPRI Member

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    F044A5AB-0F82-40B4-BA0C-748F709BA5B7.jpeg 8669C308-86A2-4548-B78F-66EA2123FFA9.jpeg 768E6C05-599C-416C-9E35-0C94461BCAFA.jpeg
     
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  17. elskipper

    elskipper TDPRI Member

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    BBDF8499-964E-4DF4-9D91-3C086B73DF88.jpeg Closeup of one of the power tubes
     
  18. CaptainCrunch

    CaptainCrunch Tele-Meister

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    I am literally the furthest thing from an electronics whiz, and even I feel the right to criticize that.

    Somebody formulated and executed that plan. They finished up, put their hands on their hips, and said "That's turned out great! I'm really proud of this one!" and I assume went back to shoving crayons up their nose.
     
  19. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

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    Sacrilege!!! Mad scientist at work there!! I can't even imagine what the chassis innards are like, but scare me...
    I'm assuming the rear knob is for the reverb?
    Yep, this looks like a case where you rebuild the chassis literally from scratch!! At least you have a nice drip edge cab and OEM speaker (hopefully not blown by a pair of EL84s driving it)...
     
  20. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Afflicted

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    Always smile when I see one of those Folded Line reverb tanks...

    [​IMG]

    Looks like a Rola speaker in there. Definitely the work of a madman.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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