Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Fender Custom Vibrolux

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    285

    Default Fender Custom Vibrolux

    Just had to share...

    Long story short - I recently picked up a Fender Custom Vibrolux Reverb 2 X 10 tube combo. It needed repair, and a friend wanted me to fix it quickly so he could sell it to pay for another amp he'd purchased before his wife buried him under the doghouse. When I found out how cheaply he was selling it, I bought it figuring I could either turn a little profit on it later or maybe join a country band (it's a great clean amp, but pretty much sucks for most of what I play).

    So, I bought it and fixed it. Then, I thought to myself, "self, I wonder how that would sound with your mandolin?" Not expecting much I plugged the acoustic electric (Fishman bridge on an Eastman 505) into the bright channel and woah, sounds super! With a little bit of tremolo and reverb, the bass on about three and the treble on about nine, it really sings. This really surprised me because I was pretty disappointed with the sound of that mandolin through a couple of other electric guitar amps I'd tried.

    I never thought I'd have any use for the bright channel on a Fender tube amp (even the normal channel is too brittle/splattery for most of what I do on guitar).

    Now I've got another amp I've got to find room for...

    I'm sure glad we don't have a dog...

  2. #2
    Cambridge Mandolinist Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Cambridgeshire
    Posts
    1,802
    Blog Entries
    81

    Default Re: Fender Custom Vibrolux

    I'm betting it's the 10" speakers.
    Nice find!

    Daniel

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Fender Custom Vibrolux

    That could be. The other amps I tried all had 12" speakers and the sound was too "thunky" even with the bass turned all the way down. It's funny though, because those alnico 10's really have great bass response with guitar in that open-back cabinet. Come to think of it, I think it has more to do with it being on the bright channel and the volume being turned way down (the only difference between the normal channel and bright channel is a small treble bypass cap across the volume pot) because when I tried it in the normal channel it wasn't near as nice (thunky, but maybe not as bad as on the other amps).

    I think on that bright channel the mandolin frequencies are well above the typical electric guitar amp mid-scoop because the sound was fairly linear, if not quite "acoustic."

    Fortunately (unfortunately?) I figured out later last night that I'd have to keep this Fender anyway. I made the possible mistake of trying my Epi Casino through it doing some old folk-rock stuff ("Dock of the Bay," "Yesterday," "California Dreamin'," etc.). It sounds way to good doing that stuff to let go of it...

  4. #4
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    15,472

    Default Re: Fender Custom Vibrolux

    Wonder if a couple new Coax 2 way speakers would substitute,
    a HF driver in the middle of each speaker, to handle the high frequencies better.

    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Fender Custom Vibrolux

    Sacriledge!

    Seriously, Fender amps tend to be pretty bright and splattery anyway. I mostly play distorted, or at least well-crunched, and avoid Fender amps like the plague. I'm really kind of surprised that I'm getting attached to this one. Oh, I'm not likely to be playing blues or rock through it anytime soon, but for clean stuff it's got pretty good tone, once you get past the typical Fender hiss. I'll probably replace the hiss-o-matic resistors and caps in the first preamp stages and the reverb recovery stage with some high-quality low-noise parts. It amazes me that Fender puts the same cheap parts in their $1200 (street price) "professional" amps that they put in everything else. Just five or ten dollars worth of parts (less, if you're buying in OEM quantities) in strategic places can reduce noise by 300 to 400 percent.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Bucks Co., PA
    Posts
    2,745

    Default Re: Fender Custom Vibrolux

    There's lots of help over at the www.fenderforum.com to address the hiss problem you describe. The Vibrolux has no negative feedback loop, so it will be hissy even at idle.

    I kind of like the Fender clean sound. If I need distortion, there's plenty of effects pedals that'll do the trick. Or, just dime a 3 or 5 watt tube amp.
    Wye Knot

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Fender Custom Vibrolux

    Hi Lee,

    I design and build amps, and, trust me, you can make an amp with no negative feedback pretty quiet (much quieter than your typical Fender anyway). The trick is using very low leakage components in the early gain stages. Granted, it's not as quiet as you get by running negative feedback through a high-pass filter, but it's tolerable.

    +1 on the small tube amps. I've built several and that's what I always use for blues/rock/etc. Like I say, I'm kind of surprised that this Fender is growing on me, at least for clean stuff. It's the only guitar amp I own anymore that is more than 15 watts - I've gotten rid of all my larger stuff. Now, bass amps is another horse of a different colored story, or something like that.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Bucks Co., PA
    Posts
    2,745

    Default Re: Fender Custom Vibrolux

    I was lucky enough to buy a B1uesboy amp for a couple hundred. Just the bare chassis. It's the Fender F5Y circuit I believe. On/off switch and volume. Ya don't need no stinkin' tone controls. It looks cool sitting there in all it's naked glory with fully exposed tubes. One pre-amp tube, one rectifier, and one octal based tube. It's interesting to swap different tubes. It'll accept anything with no biasing. After about 10 o'clock it starts breaking up and by 3pm it's shredding with glorious power tube distortion without rattling the windows.
    The little Epiphone head is nice too for so little money.
    Wye Knot

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fender Custom Vibrolux

    You can't get a better sounding amp. The 2 10s has always been my choice in an amp. They are hard to find now.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •