63 Vibroverb reissue-thoughts?

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BMWRider
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63 Vibroverb reissue-thoughts?

Post by BMWRider » Thu Feb 15, 2024 4:54 pm

I have been considering a change to my amp (currently a Traynor YCV50), and have been thinking about getting one of the '63 Vibroverb reissues. I know it is a different setup than my old 6G4-A Super, but I'm interested in the thoughts of players who have used these amps with offsets and other guitars. Your thoughts?

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Re: 63 Vibroverb reissue-thoughts?

Post by Surfysonic » Fri Feb 16, 2024 6:59 am

A '90's '63 RI Vibroverb was my gigging amp for my surf/punk band some years back. I only moved it on as I acquired a '90's Vibro King. I'm a sucker for the '90s Fender amps, even though they have their flaws. The Vibroverb's home volumes aren't great - it's wooly, muffled. Sounds like a heavy wool blanket is covering the amp. However, when cranked for gigs and rehearsals, it was amazing. I mainly used a Jazzmaster or Gretsch hollowbody during my gigging days. Both sounded great with the Vibroverb.

There are some mods out there that can resolve the wooly sound issue - Moyer Mod and/or Fromel Mod. I wasn't aware of the mods until after I moved the Vibroverb on. Eventually, I moved the Vibro-King on, too. Then acquired another one...only to move it on as well - cool amp but just too damn heavy @ 73 lbs.

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A few years later, I bought a Fender "Custom" Vibrolux Reissue for pretty cheap. It's notorious for it's production flaws - diminished reverb output, hissing/humming. I got in touch with John Fromel and sent him the chassis for him to apply his Mod fixes. Once back home and back in it's cabinet - oh my, it was a fantastic amp. Fromel fixed all the production faults of this amp. As a huge fan of the brown faceplate aesthetic and hit with some nostalgia, I acquired another '63 RI Vibroverb.

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This Vibroverb had the same wooliness at home volumes like my old one (even with different speakers). While I loved it's look, the Fromel Modded Vibrolux was the better amp. I wish I sent the Vibroverb off to either Fromel or had Big Crunch Amp Repair (closer to home) apply the Moyer or Fromel mods to improve the '63 RI Vibroverb, but I was on a vintage amp kick and preferred hand-wired amps. I moved on this '63 RI VIbroverb, too.

Eventually, due to needing to pay down gear debt, I moved on the Vibrolux as well - it was a great amp but I acquired a few vintage amps and a modern handwired Fender ('62 Princeton Chris Stapleton Edition), so the Vibrolux had to go.

I actually like the Fender Tone Master amps (I currently have a Tone Master Twin Reverb) that I use to play out now and again. I'd totally get a Tone Master Vibro-King or Vibroverb if Fender produces them. The Vibro King if they can halve the weight (90's VKs weigh 73 lbs) and the Vibroverb if the wooly sound issue is sorted.

It's crazy to see the '90s '63 RI Vibroverb going for about $2k on Reverb currently. I love 2x10 amps and someday hope to acquire an early '60s Fender Super. I kind of made my own in the meantime. I bought a '62 Fender Bandmaster head (housed in a non-original head shell) for $1800 and commissioned Armadillo Amps to build me a 2x10 combo cab (under $500) as the Bandmaster and Super have the same chassis measurements. For me, it was a totally worthwhile effort in having a handwired 2x10 vintage Fender amp. :)

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I guess to sum up - some investment is recommended to make a '63 RI Vibroverb a great all-round amp - home/rehearsal/gigs (depending on your needs). Getting the amp modded is a worthwhile effort. If you prefer handwired amps over PCB amps, there are other options out there that may be worthwhile to you (boutique build, clone build, or something like what I did with the '62 Bandmaster).

Good luck! :)
The doofus formerly known as Snorre...

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Re: 63 Vibroverb reissue-thoughts?

Post by BlixaFan » Sat Mar 02, 2024 9:05 pm

this was my first amp and i've now had it for almost 30 years. it's great for cleans when i'm recording. can't beat those fender cleans. it was my go to amp for many many many years until i picked up a few high gain amps and my playing shifted towards metal and really heavy high gain low tuned stuff.
i still use the vibro for any and all cleans

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Re: 63 Vibroverb reissue-thoughts?

Post by 46346 » Wed Mar 20, 2024 12:16 am

i checked them out on a few different occasions back in their day, had high hopes for a deep Surf tone, but on each occasion
found them to be lacking in headroom with a Tele. too much grind and not enough twang. might be better with a vintage-style Jazzmaster, though. i didn't have mine yet. ended up with a real clean vintage1961 Vibraverb for the same price! a bigger, bolder sound. i was in Dick Dale mode and found a matching RI Reverb Unit to go with it. also, a Silverface Vibrolux Reverb hit the mark, and '60s Ampeg Reverberocket for my trio gigs.


all that said, these days i might give the RI Vibroverb another listen, as i appreciate a lower-volume grind more than i used to.
or maybe try a 5751 tube in V1 for more headroom?
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