Is a SF Vibrolux Reverb Too Much Amp for Me?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Slim Chance, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    I've posted some VR questions in other threads, but now I'm wondering if it's too much amp for me. I recently played a '73 and loved the tones and have been looking for a good example of an early '70s SF to purchase. Part of my research has entailed reading a lot of internet reviews and posts on forums like this one. Actually, I trust this group more than most.

    I'm primarily a home player, but can turn it up if I desire. However, I'm thinking that the amp may be too powerful and a bit heavy if I do want to take it somewhere and that I should look for something with lower power. Currently have a HRD, which will go if I buy another amp, especially if its around the same power.

    My two primary parameters are vintage Fender and something that can sound similar to a Vibrolux Reverb. SF era rather than BF for price and I like reverb and trem. Princeton, DR, something else? Or should I just get a VR.

    As always, I appreciate the wisdom of TDPRI.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2015
  2. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Can't really comment on the weight but as far as tone and volume, it was similar to a DR in my experience. I don't think it's too much amp for you, especially considering your #1 criterion -- sounding like a VR..
     
  3. Singin' Dave

    Singin' Dave Friend of Leo's

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    Hi Slim!

    I would reckon that a SF Vibrolux Reverb is no larger or louder than your HRD. A Vibrolux is only nominally larger and heavier than a Deluxe Reverb and fairly easy to transport.

    So if you're OK with the volume and totage of your HRD, and you yearn for an amazing and iconic do it all 6L6 based vintage Fender amp, you can't do much better than a Vibrolux Reverb, with silverface versions the most affordable hand wired option.

    Go forth and get thee something that will make you smile every time you play it (at any volume!)
     
  4. kavalero

    kavalero Tele-Meister

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    VR is not too much for anyone, suitable for many applications.
     
  5. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    You guys are a bunch of enablers!
     
  6. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    Can I still get a nice VR tone with volume say at 2-3?
     
  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I ditched my beautiful SFVR because it was too loud for almost anywhere we played.

    And that is still my greatest (and one the few, really) gear regrets. I miss it all the time. Even before it gets to the "sweet spot" the tone is unbelievably sweet, and unique.
     
  8. adjason

    adjason Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'll join the group-if you played it and loved the tone then buy it-I consider it small but that is compared to a twin reverb or super reverb. The tone should be far superior to that hot rod and I think they sound good at all volumes
     
  9. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

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    I was going to say that a Vibrolux Reverb is not much bigger than a Deluxe Reverb, and sounds great at all volumes -- but I think it's all been said. :D Seriously, if you find a SFVR that you can afford, grab it. I doubt you'll ever look back. :cool: Best of luck, CS
     
  10. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  11. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    OK. Let's say that I'm going to pursue a Vibrolux Reverb or any other vintage amp. How can I be sure I'm getting a good example if I can't play it in person. Even in person you can't see the chassis. Most sellers on eBay and Reverb don't post pictures of the guts and they all say they sound killer. Some claim to be blackfaced others claim original.

    The '73 I tried was quite nice, although maybe a little muddy. I spoke to the shop that serviced it prior to it being traded to another store was told that it needs new bias and filter caps. Foot switch went missing in store. They are asking $1,200. Seems a bit steep for an amp that needs work. Otherwise it's in nice shape with original transformers, good tolex and grill, and what I believe are Oxford speakers (465 code).
     
  12. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    This may be the 10th time I have made this comment on TDPRI.

    The best guitar sound I have ever heard was a Tele through a silverface Vibrolux. Buy it!
     
  13. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've owed a BF Vibrolux Reverb. For weight I'd estimate 45 lbs (light weight as compared to 3 of my 7 amps). Not much louder than a Deluxe Reverb. Great sounding at all volumes (mine began to overdrive 5-6 at band volumes). As for size, my Fender branded Deluxe Reverb cover would fit on my Vibrolux Reverb. Only sold the VR to help fund other amp purchases (a Fender Super Reverb and a Marshall Bluesbreaker). Buy a VR.
     
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    From what you've said it sounds like you'd be very happy with a SFVR, but at the same time given the hit and miss quality of buying the right amp without getting to see and play it first, I'd think you might be just as happy with a SFDR if you find a great one nearby.
    A SFPR maybe not so much.

    If you really needed the special VR sound over the DR sound, you'd probably not ask if it was too much amp.

    I only say this because buying vintage amps without checking them out first is so shaky and the VR is not all that easy to find.
    I would not buy one online with no gut shots, though I'm personally not as concerned with transformer codes on a SF amp as long as the transformers are good ones.
    I'd prefer all excellent NOS tubes with a MM replacement transformer over original transformers and all Sovtek tubes!

    Even the speakers in a VR can make or break a sale, as well as the sound. Some are new and poorly matched in weight and tone, others are old and mushy above 4 on the volume, new tens is another purchase to choose without getting to hear it first. Even if you buy a vintage pair of the same speakers in the '73 you liked, they may be mostly used up and not sound good.
    All that said I love my vintage amps and don't mind spending months getting the right one and getting it to sound right.
     
  15. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    This is all good advice. Happy to hear other comments as well.
     
  16. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Have you tried the one of the new '68 Vibrolux Customs? I haven't but, I've heard good things about them. Might be worth a look... Although, they are not vintage.

    I had a '69 and it was a wonderful amp. And incredible amp, really. I would only be repeating things others have said, size, volume, etc. if you can handle your HRD, a VR is fine.

    Find a local amp tech you trust. Get them to check any amp out before you buy it. Or do some research on what good capacitors look like or find pictures of amp guts online. Compare them to any amp you go to look at.
     
  17. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

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    Personally, unless I know the amp has been recently gone over by a tech, I always take a vintage tube amp to my guys (NY Music and Repair) and have them go over it. It might cost $100 - $300 depending on the scope of work (and I've never had to replace a complete set of tubes), but then I know the amp is perfect and gig-worthy. Money well spent!
     
  18. jondanger

    jondanger Poster Extraordinaire

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    Does Beltway, USA mean DC area? If so - any chance the store you were in was Atomic Music? Those dudes will work with you big time on the price of it was. Just asking because last time I was in there they had a nice sounding '73 or so VR.

    Otherwise, do you mind driving a bit? Here's one in Lancaster PA. Heck, some people drive almost that far every day to commute to DC.

    http://lancaster.craigslist.org/msg/5297988214.html

    I love my Vibrolux but I never play it at home. If you think that the volume would prevent you from playing more often than you would take it out to a jam/gig, that would factor in for me at least.

    That said, Vibrolux is magic - it just is.
     
  19. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Afflicted

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    The amp I am considering isn't at Atomic, but I know where they are and will give them a call. Thanks for the tip.
     
  20. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Slim Chance, $1200 without assurances/proof that it is all-original but for electrolytics is too much. If all codes are correct and the components Including filter caps are original and the amp has what you take to be good sound, then $1200 is not a bad price for what I hold to be perhaps my favorite BF/SF Fender reverb amp. If it has original caps, expect to spend $175-300 depending on labor and tube costs. If the amp is not original regarding the components on the board and a transformer, that is a major hit on value, imho.
    Will iT do Vibrolux Reverb sounds at 2-3 on the dial? It will do the VR clean sound magnificently at those low volume settings....just push the tones up to maintain presence and richness. It will not do the 'pushed overdrive' thing down there.
     
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