Next Amp? Champ with Vibro Question

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Axis29, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Okay, So, I have big iron tweeds, a '58 Twin and a '59 Bassman Ri. I have my mid weight Tweed in a Deluxe. Whilst I am contemplating the next step and have wanted a Bandmaster/Pro/Super for a while, I am thinking a lower wattage grindy amp might be more useful to me right now.

    I will use it for smaller venue use. Typical bars. I play more traditional style Blues, West Coast stuff, Chicago stuff. Not the more modern rock based stuff. I am thinking I want something really dirty and raw sounding to use with my Resonator (lipstick and piezo pickups). I can usually mic it up at any gig. I run our own PA and always have an open channel. We almost always mic up the Harp player (much to my dismay! LOL).

    So, I am thinking low wattage, a tweed Champ. But, I would love to throw in a tone control and a little vibrato action. Does that just make it a Silverface Vibrochamp? Or, does the tweed circuit vary a good deal from the later Champ circuits? Does the tone control change it too much?

    Or, am I better off using my vibrato/tremolo pedal and sticking with something like a tweed Princeton? I do know I'd throw a 10" speaker in it (I seem to have a pile of them I can't sell right now)....

    I am also gonna build it myself. So, the options are kinda overwhelming.
     
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  2. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

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    Hey Axis,,,, I just got a new Monoprice 5 watt all tube amp for 90 bucks from Monoprice with a 10 per cent discount,,,,, It absolutely kicks ass,,,, Many reviews,,,, It is a re-badged Laney Club 8 with a better speaker,,,, YouTube has videos,,,, They also have a 15 watt all tube amp, that I will get next,,,, It is a rebadged Laney Cub 12,,, $180 with 10 cent off.. Amazing deals..
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
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  3. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Why don't you just build a 5f2a with a 10" speaker and use a tremolo pedal with it when you want trem? That's what I do, and I love it. It's a pretty simple and straightforward build, and the sound is magnificent.
     
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  4. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

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    Both Rod and the Professor have excellent ideas. I wouldn't mind building Champ. I am, however, enjoying my Vibro Champ.
     
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  5. Snfoilhat

    Snfoilhat Tele-Afflicted

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    I'd say what makes a Vibro-Champ a Vibro-Champ is 1) the lossy tone stack with a mid scoop and 2) the very high voltages on the power tube plate and screen.

    Even with the relatively lossy Treble-Bass-(fixed Middle), there is enough preamp gain to get overdrive, so I'd choose VC tone stack vs. tweed Princeton Volume-Tone (interactive treble cut) based on what sounds you like more, which frequencies the rest of your setup either needs or is capable of getting rid of.

    The higher voltages in the VC were a consequence of using a Princeton Reverb power transformer so it's only about half or 3/4 loaded (you could say this in the opposite direction, that the PR uses a VC transformer that is 100%+ loaded!). The whole mid 60s black panel idea was to keep them cleaner at higher volumes. Of course they still break up when pushed, but Fender was looking for the limit of what a 6V6GT can accomplish, I guess.

    You can put trem in any amp (including a 5F2-A clone like you describe above) and it will probably have a little different character than a trem pedal. Matter of taste. Internal trems can be sensitive to lead dress. Good luck!
     
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  6. keithb7

    keithb7 Friend of Leo's

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    I have heard some 5F1 demos lately that makes me want one again. Bad.

    I like trem too. A Vibro Champ/Bronco or a 5F2A could have a switchable tone pot to remove it from the circuit. Making it Champ like. Yet there’s something about the bF/SF Vibro-Champ that turns me off a little. The gain is not like tweed Champ or Princeton gain. There’s certainly less. The small cab can sound boxy to some. The EQ lacks bottom end. Which makes sense due to its circuit limitations. Yet I have heard demos that prove otherwise. Maybe their is some creative mastering going on in the recordings? Likely.

    What about bias vary trem added to a 5F10? Or build an amp, and also build an @moosie magificent magical reverb and harmonic trem external effect?
     
  7. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    @keithb7, you have more faith in my abilities (or maybe just my patience) than I do! Adding reverb pushes it into a whole new realm.

    @Rod Parsons, I am going to check out one of those little Monoprice amps. At that price it just seems ridiculous not to!

    @theprofessor, I think you're right... I'm thinking I was overthinking it. I am now re-thinking to a Champ, with a tone control (maybe switchable, like Keith has suggested) and then just use my usual pedals.

    @Snfoilhat, With your description, it definitely pushes me back at a tweed Champ for sure.


    I am definitely thinking a 10" and a homebuilt cabinet are called for. So, now to look up Champ or Princeton parts....
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  8. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    A 5f1 Champ with a tone control is pretty much a 5f2a Princeton. You can use the same type of pot that @King Fan and I used on our builds, and it will switch out almost all of the tone pot. To get it all the way out, you'd have to do it slightly differently than we did, but I doubt you'd notice much difference.
     
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  9. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    No - a tweed Champ with a tone control is essentially a tweed Princeton.

    I have gigged with a '58 Princeton - unmic'd in a a very small club and mic'd in several venues, both times with drums and bass in blues and country-rock situations. Used right and with the right speaker they work great. When mic'd, crank the amp and dial back the guitar - then use the guitar controls (both volume and tone) to drive the amp and increase "bite".
     
  10. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Axis if you're like me you won't be happy very long with a Champ. Can't put my finger on the reason but I can only stand to play my Vibro Champ for a short period of time before I plug into something bigger.
    Some years ago I found a VC in a junkyard and tried several mods on it. The "tweed" mod that takes out the tone controls and even a master volume. That one got traded to my brother who did what I was thinking about doing with it. He made it into a 6g2 Princeton. He gigs that junkyard find all the time now.

    That said, I wish I could love a Champ because really that's about all the bigger amp I need anymore.
     
  11. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I really did know this before starting this thread and I guess I worded it poorly... I was trying to say that I would basically want a Princeton. But, thanks for clarifying... and making me clarify! LOL

    That's the way I play my amps now at performances. Everything from my 5e3 to my Twin gets turned up more than most folks would be comfortable with and then I ride the guitar volume like a $2 whore!

    At home. it's a little different story. At home I am usually turning my amps down, and my guitar down.

    My electric band is not a loud band. Although., with the recent change in drummer, we've crept up a tad. We had the reputation as the quietest band in town for a long time. The harmonica player and I often only play 12 watt amps and neither of us has it cranked up much (in decibels).

    Funny thing is.... At home I play my big amps a lot. My HP Twin is my go-to for practice. I practice at conversation levels, or maybe slightly above. But, I don't take the Twin out that much due to weight and volume issues. It can really overpower the band if I am not careful.... But, honestly, my 5e3 can overpower the band. I am in the midst of fiddling with my "59 Bassman Ri, but it was my go-to gig amp for along time. Not for volume, but because of the eq flexibility over my 5e3. But, I've been using the 5e3 for several months now and really end up squishing the overall volume a lot by riding guitar and pedal volumes.

    What I am looking for is that ratty, falling apart on the edge of destruction, looseness to use with my Resonator, without peeling the eyelids back of the first two rows of tables. It has a lipstick pickup and a piezo, and both are very low output. I am wanting to use it with my small duo act. We do more traditional styles of Blues, mostly acoustic. But, we both do some slide work and I kinda want that grit going on.
     
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  12. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

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    Monoprice On sale today,,, 90 bucks, free fast delivery,,, One watt/five watt switch,,,, [ 8-16 ) Ohm speaker line out, [for 10 0r 12 incher]. 6V6/12ax7.. Pure clean to raggy and raunchy,,, LOUD as hell or very soft, amazing sounds V0X meets Marshall fullness,,, Solid five ratings.. Ridiculous price, great guarantee.,,,, I sound like a salesman for Monoprice,,, but I'm not Monoprice 5 watt class A .jpg monoprice 5.jpg
     
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  13. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Thank God.

    Around here that's a very common way to play. I actually teach players how to do it, and every one that's figured it out has stuck with it because (with good gear) there's just more "richness" to the tones.

    I'd be very cautious of the inexpensive Monoprice amps. The build quality is very low - hence the price. Some sound good and might be good for home use, but gigging with something built that way would give me the willies.
     
  14. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Why not build a Tremolux - basically a 5E3 with trem. Best of all worlds, small to medium gig amp.
     
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  15. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    This was one of the amps I contemplated a while ago. But, it's kinda redundant with my 5e3.

    I don't plan on replacing my 5e3 any time soon, either. It's a Cox Ultimate 5e3 with all the right bits and bobs and the wiring is absolute artwork (Brian Cox was truly a master. Much better than I!)

    Funny thing is, I love a bit of reverb and I love fooling with tremolo from time to time. My trem needs to be at leas bias vary, though, Can't stand the BF optocoupler style. But, only one of my amps has either (and it has both). Over the last couple of years, I've discovered a few pedals that work spectacularly with all of my current amps. They've become part of my sound now.... So, as @theprofessor suggested, and @Silverface fine tuned, I think a Princeton with my pedals running into it might be the answer.
     
  16. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Very cool! Just curious: which trem pedals are getting you the sound you want? I only have one, and it's the optical trem (Voodoo Labs), which I actually like a lot. But I'd like to know about yours, too.
     
  17. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I only have one, the Alexander Equilibrium. It’s real magic lies in the mix knob. It allows you to adjust how much of your dry signal comes through (duh). But, by using this, you can make the signal behave very much like true bias vary trem!

     
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  18. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Wow, that sounds fantastic! Now I'm on the lookout for one of these!
     
  19. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I forgot to mention, I have the first version. I am not familiar with what they changed on v 2.


    Also, in regard to my anality about bias vary trem. When you play an amp with bias vary trem, the first notes you strike will start the trem. But the notes themselves will remain unaffected, until you hold the note, or maintain a flow of noise past the timeframe to begin the ramp of the tremolo. So, you can make a run of staccato notes and each one will sound. Then, when you hold a note, it begins to wiggle and eventually reaches full depth of trem. By using the mix knob on the Equilibrium, you get that full note on the front of the attack, and then the ramp up or down slides in nicely.

    Along with the fact that you can adjust the actual wave shape on the Equilibrium... Just makes it funner! Then, the Equilibrium has the harmonic trem thing as well!
     
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