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What about a '73 Vibrolux?
Old 4 days ago
  #1
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What about a '73 Vibrolux?

I found a '73 Vibrolux at a local music store. I only played through it a little because I was in a hurry, but it sounded lovely. Its not a Blackface, but it's really chimey / sparkly sounding.

They say its been re-tubed and re-"whatevered". There was a work order from an amp tech in the back with the old caps and stuff. It said the tube sockets had been tightened, but they felt pretty loose to me, tbh. Couldn't tell if the vibrato works, because they didn't have the footswitch.

I have an old Brown Vibrolux that really rocks. And I think my first real amp was a Blackface Vibrolux that I bought used. I think I sold it when I got a V4 when they first came out.

Anyhow, the price tag on the silverface was something like 1150, but he would take less. What's the story with these? Is there anything weird about them?


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audioforce
Old 3 days ago
  #2
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Nobody has one of these?

The one I saw in the store sounded good, but scared me a little bit because of the work order re: tube sockets. Is that a thing with those silver face amps? I know I've had some trouble with tube sockets causing noise with other Fenders.


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audioforce
Old 3 days ago
  #3
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It actually could be a blackface because they made very few changes to medium and low powered Fenders during the CBS period. Let's say very close to blackface. The master volume mod in these amps came later in the 70s, if memory serves around 77 or 78. By 73 they made a few resistor value changes but nothing serious design wise. So I would snap it up pronto.

The only issue I have seen in used Silver face amps or Blackface for that matter is the filter caps and maybe a few of the white mallory (or square) capacitors might need replacing. You can tell the need by seeing where the amp starts distorting on the volume dial. If it's in the 3-5 range on the dial, then yeah, gonna need caps. However, it might sound extremely good but just no headroom. If it distorts around 7 - 9, very loud, it's probably had a filter cap change recently. Note that all this work will cost you around $300 additional but is well worth it. I have an 81 Vibrolux, last year of original line, which is my favorite amp among 10. I've modded it every way possible across it's life and recently took it back to original state. Sounds infinitely better. Best live/studio amp out there with the Deluxe Reverb being the second in my opinion, although the DR occasionally is not enough amp with a loud band.

A well tuned Vibrolux from 65 to 81 (the master boost versions 77 to 81, need a few changes where they tried to imitate Mesa Boogie, this just doesn't sound that good) is a thing of beauty for a lot of types of music. It's a great pedal platform as well.

The tube sockets, if they've been replaced is a good thing. Sometimes the pin clips get loose and need crimping. Really not a big deal. The thing I look for in these vintage amps is if the power transformer has been replaced. It really lowers the collectable value of the amp, if they found a good matching transformer or original, then not a problem so much but a mercury transformer or similar takes the amp into another sonic territory, not desirable in my opinion, just loud and stiff sounding. That's all I have. Hope that helps.

Edit: Ugh, just re-read your message. If the caps are done. You are good to go.

Last edited by Oldone; 2 days ago at 12:43 AM..
Old 2 days ago
  #4
Go for it. I'm jealous.
Old 2 days ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
It actually could be a blackface because they made very few changes to medium and low powered Fenders during the CBS period. Let's say very close to blackface. The master volume mod in these amps came later in the 70s, if memory serves around 77 or 78. By 73 they made a few resistor value changes but nothing serious design wise. So I would snap it up pronto.

The only issue I have seen in used Silver face amps or Blackface for that matter is the filter caps and maybe a few of the white mallory (or square) capacitors might need replacing. You can tell the need by seeing where the amp starts distorting on the volume dial. If it's in the 3-5 range on the dial, then yeah, gonna need caps. However, it might sound extremely good but just no headroom. If it distorts around 7 - 9, very loud, it's probably had a filter cap change recently. Note that all this work will cost you around $300 additional but is well worth it. I have an 81 Vibrolux, last year of original line, which is my favorite amp among 10. I've modded it every way possible across it's life and recently took it back to original state. Sounds infinitely better. Best live/studio amp out there with the Deluxe Reverb being the second in my opinion, although the DR occasionally is not enough amp with a loud band.

A well tuned Vibrolux from 65 to 81 (the master boost versions 77 to 81, need a few changes where they tried to imitate Mesa Boogie, this just doesn't sound that good) is a thing of beauty for a lot of types of music. It's a great pedal platform as well.

The tube sockets, if they've been replaced is a good thing. Sometimes the pin clips get loose and need crimping. Really not a big deal. The thing I look for in these vintage amps is if the power transformer has been replaced. It really lowers the collectable value of the amp, if they found a good matching transformer or original, then not a problem so much but a mercury transformer or similar takes the amp into another sonic territory, not desirable in my opinion, just loud and stiff sounding. That's all I have. Hope that helps.

Edit: Ugh, just re-read your message. If the caps are done. You are good to go.
I thought the ones with almost no changes from Blackface were a bit earlier than '73, no?

But the amp sounded very nice [what little I played it]. There was a bag of what you're describing as Mallory [square white] caps in the back, so I guess those where changed. The amp is very quiet. I had the kid at the store turn it all the way up just to listen for hiss and hum, and it was real quiet.

The tech's work order / invoice was there, too. I think it says what was done.

I want to give it a better listen, and then see how much the guy actually will take. He wants to trade stuff, I think, but I don't really have any amps I want to get rid of, so we'll see.

Thanks for the info.

I do wonder about those tube sockets, and the vibrato, but I guess I'll see what's up with all that when I go back to listen to it again.


Best,

audioforce
Old 2 days ago
  #6
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Buy It

A buddy of mine had a 68 that had been blackfaced, but had the original speakers. Normal maintenance had been done, caps, tubes, ect. It was a killer amp, loved the tone.

At the asking price it sounds like a good deal. I paid more for my 66 Deluxe Reverb.
Old 1 day ago
  #7
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I went and listened to the Vibrolux again, and it sounded good, but I have to say that it was almost too hard to get to break up. I mean I dimed it and it was still somewhat cleanish. It looks like it has the original Oxfords in it, if I am identifying them correctly.

Still no word on the Vibrato, but I got the number of the tech who apparently serviced it, so maybe he knows. There's definitely no footswitch, and that kind of sucks.

I think one problem is I did not bring my guitar and I was using a couple off random Strats in the shop, neither of which played worth a crap.

I looked again at the bag of goodies in the back, and I actually did not see any "white square" caps, but a bunch of other caps and resistors, and diodes, I guess [not that I know much about that stuff]. And there's a work order / invoice showing a bunch of maintenance stuff having been done to it. So that's good.

Anyhow, it would for sure be a good amp for certain stuff, but I don't think it rocks as hard as my Brown Vibrolux, or my Tweed Tremelux. In fairness, I should play it some more to really know what it can do.

I do know that the first time I played through it, I liked it right off the bat, so maybe that's something to consider.

Hmmm.


Best,

audioforce
Old 1 day ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
I went and listened to the Vibrolux again, and it sounded good, but I have to say that it was almost too hard to get to break up. I mean I dimed it and it was still somewhat cleanish. It looks like it has the original Oxfords in it, if I am identifying them correctly.

Still no word on the Vibrato, but I got the number of the tech who apparently serviced it, so maybe he knows. There's definitely no footswitch, and that kind of sucks.

I think one problem is I did not bring my guitar and I was using a couple off random Strats in the shop, neither of which played worth a crap.

I looked again at the bag of goodies in the back, and I actually did not see any "white square" caps, but a bunch of other caps and resistors, and diodes, I guess [not that I know much about that stuff]. And there's a work order / invoice showing a bunch of maintenance stuff having been done to it. So that's good.

Anyhow, it would for sure be a good amp for certain stuff, but I don't think it rocks as hard as my Brown Vibrolux, or my Tweed Tremelux. In fairness, I should play it some more to really know what it can do.

I do know that the first time I played through it, I liked it right off the bat, so maybe that's something to consider.

Hmmm.


Best,

audioforce
It's a clean amp overall. Go find the live video of Roy Buchannan on YouTube. He has his Vibrolux cranked in that video. That's the sound if you need to compare the one you are considering.
Old 23 hours ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
It's a clean amp overall. Go find the live video of Roy Buchannan on YouTube. He has his Vibrolux cranked in that video. That's the sound if you need to compare the one you are considering.
Good idea. And I think Larry Carlton played one for a long time, way back when. I have the Brown one, but its very different, and the other one I had was like 40-some years ago.

Thanks,


audioforce
Old 9 hours ago
  #10
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Well I listened to some of the Roy buchanon clips. Nobody can accuse him of underplaying, that’s for sure. : )

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audioforce
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