Opinions on the Marsh Big Texan ('64 Vibroverb clone), please.

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Bowpickins, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Bowpickins

    Bowpickins Tele-Meister

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    Hi, everyone!

    I'm looking to see if anyone can give any feedback on the Marsh Big Texan amp.

    When I'm playing fiddle and guitar (mainly with tribute bands), I use high-powered amps with 2x12", or 4x10" speaker configurations (twin reverb, '65 SRRI etc.) due to the size of the venues we play. Around October of last year, I started working in a cover band again to keep dates filled, and we're playing medium-sized dance halls and small restaurants.

    Due to these new circumstances, my twin reverb and 65 SRRI are pushing too much air, compared to the steel and bass player's amps (they're both using amps with 15" speakers). We also tend to play with our amps un-miced. Our drummer plays at moderate volume, but still with authority.

    Since I play fiddle, I need an amp that can keep a good clean tone, and also take pedals well, as I play lead guitar as well (Country is our main genre). I need it to be in the 35 - 40-watt range for this. I owned and played through a DRRI when I was just starting out 4 years ago, but its lower wattage didn't help my fiddle much when the shows got bigger.

    Apologies for the long post, but I'm wondering if a '64 Vibroverb-style amp with a single 15" speaker would help? I like 6L6-based Fender amps (works best for my fiddle), and have the 15" speaker as my monitor.

    I'd like to hear from any Marsh amp users (especially, Marsh Big Texan amp users!). I haven't owned any fender clones before, but I like what I hear on clips of his amps (I think his DR clone sounds very similar to DRRI amp I owned).

    Just to recap: I'm looking for a 40-watt, Fender-based, two channel amp for fiddle and guitar; that runs a single 15", and is easier to move than a twin/pro reverb, or SRRI amp.


    Thank you,
    Joseph. :)
     
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Imho, you have the amp/s you need for fiddle...especially the TR. Both of them take pedals well..as you undoubtedly know. And...both of them can yield great sounds at lower volumes by adjusting the tones...lower volumes demand higher settings on the tones, ime. but....a Vibroverb 1x15 is slightly lighter than either one of the other Fenders...and has slightly smaller dimensions.
    The....there are those who hold that when playing acoustic instruments that solid state amplification can do the job. They want the amp to be more neutral and not introduce any harmonic content to interfere with the harmonic content of the instrument.....as I have a fiddler convey to me. OMMV. The best acoustic instrument amplifier I have ever heard was a Gibson GA-100 bass amp...a tube amp from 1960.
    Except for the weight, the Vibrasonic would be an option if you had to have a 15” speaker...it is a TR with a 15” speaker.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
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  3. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Have you considered just miking the fiddle? Or some sort of DI setup?
     
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  4. Bowpickins

    Bowpickins Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for the info, @Wally . I've tried playing through solid state amps, but they just sound a bit 'metallic' to me. And options are limited for me to plug in both my fiddle and telecaster. I got to try a Roland JC 120, and while it was decent, I always thought there was something missing to it.
    I've heard of the vibrasonic amps (there was one for sale in my area), but I haven't had a chance to play through one yet.
     
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  5. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Not sure that "pushing too much air" is the issue. You mean you are too loud compared with the others? You can't just turn down though and get the tone you want?
    I don't know that a 15" speaker is going to necessarily be the answer, it could be if not an efficient speaker. You could do the same with a heavy duty 12" speaker.

    Most all the BF or BF clones are similar amps inside from the Vibrolux to the Super. The guts are nearly identical. Transformers etc get them from 35 watts to 45 watts. But maybe a single speaker 12 or 15 will get you a bit less "in your face" than a Super which is definitely a big sound. I've had a VV clone and had a Super Reverb with a single 15" baffle. It worked great and probably was a bit less bold than the 4 x 10.
    I currently use an EV15B speaker with a Super Rev clone head for outdoor gigs and it's wonderful, but loud, very loud.
     
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  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Bow, our ears hear in a similar manner, it seems. A Lab Series L5/7/9/11 is the only SS amp I care to play; and since it weighs almost as much as a TR there is no weight advantage. A Telecaster through a JC-120 is not something I want to hear..again. Ommv.... I took a JC120 in trade and turned loose of it ASAP because it was not a guitar amp to which I wanted to listen. A swing fiddler plays through and loves it.
    Here is a different approach for you. Find a Dual Showman Reverb head...preferably one that has the factory baffleboard in the head...yes...in the head. Eminence makes a great, high wattage 8”. Two of those in the DSR head and you have a lighter package with a TR tone. ??? Carry a bigger 2x12 Cab along if needed. Without the big cab, one might need a stand of some sort.
     
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  7. Bowpickins

    Bowpickins Tele-Meister

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    I use a Baggs DI for my fiddle to help fine tune my tone and gain level to send a decent signal to the amp I'm using. The last time I tried to play directly through the board, I couldn't hear myself through the monitor, as the rest of the band had their amps on too loud.
    Have tried to mic the fiddle before, but again, can't hear it back through my monitor, and once I got a compatible level to everyone else, feedback became a problem.
     
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  8. Bowpickins

    Bowpickins Tele-Meister

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    Hi, @schmee :

    Yes, I can use my SRRI, or twin on these shows, but there are times where they project a little too well. I know that the majority of medium-sized/powered Fender amps from back in the day are of the same power rating and identical (and I want to keep a similar tone stack). I owned a DRRI before, but I kept hearing a bit of breakup when I kicked off a song on the fiddle (this breakup even occured when I was plugged in input #2). I'm just trying to figure out if a single 15" might help me to blend a bit better with the other band members, since they also use amps with 15" speakers.
     
  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It will depend on the 15” speaker as to what it will do, ime. They are not all the same. Do you use the onboard reverb in those two big Fenders?
     
  10. Bowpickins

    Bowpickins Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I do use the onboard reverb on my amps. Does a vibroverb ('64 BF) have a similar circuit to a super or pro reverb? I'm guessing closer to a super since they are both AB763 vs the pro's AA165 circuit.
     
  11. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Afflicted

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    If you still have that fender DR try putting a very efficient 12" in it. That might get you where you need on guitar, and then just play the fiddle through a mic into the PA.
     
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  12. MuddyWolf

    MuddyWolf Tele-Meister

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    Wow! Trying to fight in a volume war against a loud band with a fiddle. You're going to lose. Find a band that understands what a fiddle needs and ditch the loud idiots. Try a electric violin made to go through a PA and use a personal PA. A fiddle through a guitar amp is going to feed back like an archtop guitar.
     
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  13. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, I hear you.
    I use a Deluxe reverb for 95% of gigs and it's rarely above 3 on the volume (5 piece blues/rock band) Things I've done to make that work:
    -Efficient robust speaker of 50-100 watts. Weber 12F150 or Emi GA SC64, Red White and Blues etc
    -A light boost always on. usually an OD with gain on 0-1 and volume to suit. An MXR Micro Amp does this very well too.
    -JJ Power tubes.

    You may be on the right track with a single 12 or 15 and 35-40 watt 6L6 based amp. It just feels like less amp than a Super or Twin.
     
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  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That AA165 Pro Reverb has the same AB763 circuit. Interestingly, the AB763 Super Reverb and the SRRI use a smaller midrange the cap than do the other circuits based on the AB763. The SR uses a .022mfd cap there where all of the others use a .047mfd mid cap.
    The differences in all of these amps lie in the transformers and speakers. The SR carries a big output transformer. The Vibroverb, Pro Reverb, Bandmaster, BF 1x15 Pro, and the Vibrolux Reverb use a small OT. Of all of the BF/SF 6L6 Fender guitar amps, the Vibrolux Reverb differs in comparison 8n that the VR runs lower voltages than do the others. I like the VR.
     
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  15. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I play fiddle and tele in a cover band. I worked hard to manage a genuine fiddle sound at volumes to compete with Marshalls over the years. My formula is similar to yours: more speaker and lots of headroom. Twin-like amps in otherwords.

    I also use a Baggs Para DI, strapped to the top of my guitar/fiddle stand, so I can reach over and tweak the treble and gain realtime.

    My most versatile Twin is a red knob. It has two channels that can genuinely be setup to operate like two amps, one for guitar, the other for a fiddle w/pre-amp. It has two inputs for the separate channels, so I can actually plug both instruments in, and use the switcher to mute the fiddle so I don't need another floor pedal - very handy.

    I also use a 6L6 5e3, (35W?) with a single 12" using a gainable ABY pedal, the Twin Mix.

    And I also use a Fender 75. These are 6L6 based 15" combos, tweaked to 75w. Good onboard reverb. It has a two channel setup, but its really just an extra gain stage for the second "channel" I believe. I use the Twin Mix to run two instruments to it, and keep it on the 1st channel. I use the second channel like a lead boost for solos. Its a nice amp with Fender sparkle, and the 15" is pretty flattering for a Vibrasonic/Vibrosonic kinda thing, and helps tame the typical fiddle harshness with less eq-ing. It weighs a little less than a Twin, and takes up less space. Mics when you need it.

    I also have acoustic amps, one with JBLs that I've used, but unintuitively, they don't sit well in the mix like my guitar amps, when setup for both fiddle and tele. And they tend to be underpowered for a cover band too.
     
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  16. Bowpickins

    Bowpickins Tele-Meister

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    The problem started with the sound guys at the shows I played with the tribute bands. The bands I work with keep the stage volume down enough when we set up, but once the sound guy arrives, and the PA and monitors get turned on: I'm almost fighting the sound crews to turn me up in the monitors due to a blaring PA (and then they ask if I can turn down my amp!). I wound up having to sell my DR and moved up to larger 6L6 amps (this was about a 1.5 years ago). Another problem is that most sound guys keep giving me a thin, bright tone on fiddle, so I can barely hear it anyway. I use a Baggs DI for the fiddle to prevent feedback, but I only let the sound crew mic the amp, so at least I have some hope of getting better tone.

    Now that I'm working in cover bands on a regular basis again, we have much more control over our sound, since we're running it ourselves (yay!).

    Only problem is my 85-watt twin - that works great for the tribute bands - is now too much for a cover band.
    Now I'm looking for a 6L6-based amp that is a bit more manageable than a twin reverb. :D
     
  17. Bowpickins

    Bowpickins Tele-Meister

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    Evidently, I'm unable to edit my first post now, so let me try to explain this again:

    I started out using a '65 DRRI as my main gigging amp. It worked fine for small senior center dances and small club dates with a band that kept very low stage volume. Eventually, both of these dances stopped. Then, I get busy with tribute bands, and the larger venues and massive PA systems weren't allowing the DR to keep up (no matter what I tried). I bought a twin reverb, and that kept me going, no problem. I joined a cover band again, and we're playing smaller venues now, so this twin is too loud at these shows. I bought a Pro reverb (partially because of the smaller OT) and installed a pair of Weber 12F150 speakers, and later on - I got the SRRI by trading off another amp that wasn't really working out either.

    For the sound I like with a fiddle (and my telecaster): 40-watt, tube rectified amps with a pair of 6L6 tubes give me better headroom than the DRRI, but the smaller OT help me stay at reasonable levels with my new cover band; and with 4x10s and a bigger OT than my pro, I want to use my SRRI on the tribute shows. 40-watt Fender-style 6L6 amps have become my preferred platform for my tone (either clean or with pedals), and I'd like to find them in different speaker configurations (1x15, 2x12, 2/4x10).

    I've been thinking about possibly getting the Marsh Big Texan amp and installing a neo speaker to make it more portable. I just want to hear from people who have used '64 vibroverb-style amps for gigging. :D
    Apologies for the lack of clarity in my original post. :)


    Thanks,
    Joseph. :)
     
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