1970 Fender Vibro Champ

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by Mark V Guitars, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. Mark V Guitars

    Mark V Guitars バナナフライング... MLP Vendor

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    Might be getting one of these. Tell me more. Do I want one, and if so, why.

    I've watched some good videos, and not so good videos.

    That's all I've got right now. Just need some steerage in the right direction.
     
  2. Soul Tramp

    Soul Tramp Speaker Snob MLP Vendor V.I.P. Member

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    Great little amp that's hard not to like. Not a fire breathing dragon, but not all amps are meant to be.
     
  3. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Premium Member

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    You've seen the videos, you know what these amps are capable of. I use a tweed Champ clone for low volume practice. I play mine pretty clean. I'm not looking for Marshall crunch at bedroom volume. What are you planning (expecting) to do with yours. That might help us to steer you in the right direction.
     
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  4. Gridlock

    Gridlock Senior Member

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    Yes you want one, great Fender tones and a true keeper amp. Just need a good reverb pedal and a Tube Screamer and you are set.
     
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  5. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    If you want vintage Fender clean tone at low volume, or the ability to drive the amp without knocking the house down, these are great amps. They make great pedal platforms for low volume in home practice.

    The Vibrato is off the chart cool, if you like that. Personally, if an amp has a good vibrato or tremolo, I have come to the point where I want it on, with a subtle setting, all the time. It adds so much swampy mojo and depth.

    I have a regular Champ and with my 70's Maestro Fuzz and a Tube Screamer to boost, I am transported to a different time, being a teenager in the 60's, practicing to be Clapton or Beck, in my room. I wasn't a teenager until 1979, fwiw.

    P-90's and some fuzz and you can play Yardbirds and Summer of Love San Francisco type music all day.

    I would go Gridlock one better and put a reverb tank in front of the whole thing. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
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  6. pnuggett

    pnuggett Senior Member

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    I heard old tube amps are almost free now.:D
     
  7. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    Honestly, I tried to sell my 1978 Silverface Champ a few years ago. I got down to what I felt were just about give away prices and it still didn't sell. I only listed it here, so maybe that was the problem. But I'd buy a Champ, or a Silvertone, over a new amp in the same price range, 10 out of 10 times.

    But I only want vintage tones. The more vintage, the better.
     
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  8. pnuggett

    pnuggett Senior Member

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  9. Gridlock

    Gridlock Senior Member

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    In fact the prices on Champs and Vibro Champs have risen the past couple of years.
     
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  10. Gridlock

    Gridlock Senior Member

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    I actually purchased a Fender '63 RI Reverb Unit a few months ago and have yet to try it with my VC.

    My Catalinbread Topanga Reverb pedal does really sound good with the VC.
     
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  11. Mark V Guitars

    Mark V Guitars バナナフライング... MLP Vendor

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    Well, looking for the good tones at a lower volume, and an amp that likes pedals. These seem to.

    The amp I'm getting is a 1970 Silverface VC. It appears to have been through an amp place here in so cal for some sort of upgrade, and there is also some sort of paperwork from Chicago Music Exchange. So certainly, this amp has been around.
     
  12. Shelbyblues

    Shelbyblues Senior Member

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    I had a 65 Vibro Champ.

    The small cab and 8" speaker made it sound like a small transistor radio.

    Made up a cord with the RCA jack on one end and a 1/4" jack on the other and ran it thru a 2X12 Bandmaster cab.

    It grew some balls then.
     
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  13. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    It was 2012 or 2013 when I was trying to sell mine. I wasn't trying to make a point, just relaying my experience. I thought people would jump all over a fair deal. Instead, I got crickets. :dunno:

    On the other hand, I sold my Marshall Class 5 relatively easily, at a competitive price.

    Ultimately, I am glad I still have the amp.
     
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  14. Mark V Guitars

    Mark V Guitars バナナフライング... MLP Vendor

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    I dislike when people ruin vintage stuff. Case in point, someone makes a replacement pine cab that allows you to drop in the VC chassis and add a 12" speaker. I hate to say it, but I'd consider going that route if I didn't have to change out the OT for one with 8ohm taps. Kinda ruins the whole size factor of the Champ. I will probably see how it sounds, and then maybe stick a Weber in there. They make one in 4ohms.

    I'm pretty excited. But...what am I gonna do with my awesome little National Studio 10?
     
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  15. Gridlock

    Gridlock Senior Member

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    I boxed the original vintage speaker up in my VC and installed a Weber, sounds big now.
     
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  16. Shelbyblues

    Shelbyblues Senior Member

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    No need to change the output tranny, just get a 4 ohm 12" speaker.

    This is my 67 Bandamaster in a JD Newell combo cab with a 4 ohm Weber 12A150.

    Combo 1.jpg Combo 2.jpg
     
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  17. mdubya

    mdubya Senior Member

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    8" speakers were good enough for Eric and Duane. :dunno:
     
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  18. Gridlock

    Gridlock Senior Member

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    and Joe Walsh...
     
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  19. Mark V Guitars

    Mark V Guitars バナナフライング... MLP Vendor

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    Yeah...first thing I want to do is tear apart a near 50 year old amp as soon as I get it. I never was one to be like that. Most I'd do is to change out the speaker and maybe have my guy give it a good once over. He loves checking caps to see if they are within spec and replacing them with comparable parts. Thankful that he is conservative in his solutions though, trying to maintain the vintage and original parts as he can.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
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  20. sonar

    sonar Senior Member

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    The 8's found in BF/SF-Champ/Vibro Champs have not fared well over the years. Rarely you find one that can still give up the goods. Most sound tired. These amps could benefit with a fresh speaker.

    The hot 8" used as a replacement right now is the Jupiter 8SC. Made by WGS to Jupiter Condenser Specs. TGP went bonkers when this speaker came out and it still seems to be the speaker recommended for Champs. I have one in a 50's Supro amp. Sounds really good.

    As for other Vibro Champ notes. Like any 50 year old amp electrolytics might need to be replaced. Speaker (mentioned) and the cathode resistor sometimes floats out of spec, which can make the amp buzzy. Also the trem caps can get wonky, giving you a weak tremolo effect.

    Not to freak out because these are pretty minor, or standard issues with any old amp. Sometimes (but not always) you need to service a vintage tube amp.


    Do I like Vibro Champs?

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    Heck yeah! My favorite house practice amp. Add a Barber Direct Drive for Les Paul goodness or a reverb and delay for surf/rockabilly make me happy man.
     

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