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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Best year for Fender Vibrolux...

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United States

Jan 7th, 2010 09:46 PM   Edit   Profile  


Just wondering about a few questions regarding the vintage Vibrolux amps:

1) What are the most sought-after years of production (for their quality/sound)?
Is it 65? 66? 67/68?...

2) What are the differences between the different years, and between silverface and blackface?

3) How does it do with pedals? I am thinking that I would use a Fulltone trower OD, a Boss DD3 delay and some xotic BB and AC pedals, plus a vox wah, using the vibrolux as the basis for a clean tone.

4) What are the respective $ estimates for these years? In other words, what is a fair price for a 66? What is a fair price for a 68..

Thanks so much. I tried one today ('74 Silverface) and was blown away. I don't know how it ranks compared to other years (sound-wise and investment-wise), but I really dug the rich sound. Look-wise, I definitely prefer the look of Blackfaces though..


Current gear

Contributing Member

Philly, B-3 Capitol

don't dream it.....be it
Jan 7th, 2010 10:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

here's my take on it...

like anything else, every amp is different, ie: you can find a spectacular sounding one from any era 60's thru 70's, but the VR's that most collectors/players feel are the 'best' are the original blackface models from '64-'67...this applies to most blackface Fender combo amps of the 1960's....

the next generation amps, the early silverface models that retain the blackface circuit [mid'67--early '68] are the next most desireable models, followed by the 70's models

depending on originality and condition, the blackface models generally sell for between $2-$3000, the early silverface $1200-$1600 and 70's models $1000-$1200

maybe someone else will chime in on how they take to pedals, I use them straight up for jazz....

everyone likes the blackface models, but the early silverface amps w/aluminum 'drip edge' grill trim and 'blackline' faceplates have really jumped in price the last few years and for good reason, many have the blackface circuit and the cool cosmetics 'scream' late '60s looks.

(This message was last edited by jazzguy at 10:56 PM, Jan 7th, 2010)

Contributing Member


Don't watch my foot!
Jan 8th, 2010 07:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

My preference has always been for late 65 and 66 VRs that have the original Jensen C10N speakers. Of course you can always find a good pair of speakers to replace the other OEM Oxfords, but if I had my druthers, I'd pick the one with Jensens.

MT Buckaroo
Contributing Member

Big Sky Country

Guitars, Cadillacs,...
Jan 8th, 2010 08:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

I can't see paying the huge premium for '64-'67 "blackface" when the early (not late) 70's silverfaces sound so good, and can be tweaked 95% back to the blackface circuit if desired. Yeah, I know the cabs aren't as nice on the silverface models, and the rectifier is different, but man, my spruced up '72 sounds great.

Unless the work has already been done recently, they are all going to need a power cord and electrolytic cap overhaul, new tubes here and there possibly, and replacement speakers (keep the old ones for collector value). So figure that cost in.

Contributing Member


We had the hit but Van got the money
Jan 8th, 2010 08:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ditto. The early 70s amps make great players, too. Easy to rid them of the CBS curse, add some good tubes & speakers and you've got a killer amp for about the price of a reissue.


Out by Bakersfield

Dutch Okie, mama was from Muskogee
Jan 8th, 2010 09:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

Your question was asked about a Vibrolux, so do you mean without the reverb. The answers above come back with two of the four assuming you are referring to the Vibrolux Reverb. I am guessing that also. If not, then consider the 61-63 brown Vibrolux with a single 12". It is very highly prized, although not as many available. Price 1600.00 2200.00. Seen a guy asking for crazy money on ebay in the spring of 2009 for 3400.00. Hard to say if he got it.



the blues hides in the strangest places
Jan 8th, 2010 09:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

I agree with Mein. For a non reverb model I absolutely LOVE my '63 brownface. The favorite of all my amps.
For blackface style amps..as mentioned before the blackface version with Jensen C10NS speakers would be my favorite. Best sounding speakers I've ever heard.

Contributing Member

Philly, B-3 Capitol

don't dream it.....be it
Jan 8th, 2010 09:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm thinking he means the combo amp as he mentioned the years of production for reverb models and tried a 70's model he liked.

Contributing Member


Jan 8th, 2010 11:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

A friend of mine swears by a '74 he has. It's the only one he takes out, and his vintage amp collection is huge. If you like that '74, grab it. Like Jazzguy says, every amp is different. One in 50 might have the tone you're after, irregardless of the year. Caps, resistors, tubes, speakers can all be switched out but some amps just don't have it.
Price wise now is a good time to buy. If you could find a nice clean '66 VR with Jensens, you'd pay 2/3rds what you would have 2 years ago (about 2K vs. 3K+). This won't last.



RonHalen Jokingly He Says
Jan 8th, 2010 12:31 PM   Edit   Profile  


Contributing Member

Tiger Town

Holy Djangomoley!
Jan 8th, 2010 04:50 PM   Edit   Profile  

Love my 73 SFVR. It's been my main amp for years. The circuit has not been blackfaced, but the cosmetics have (prior to my acquisition of the amp in 2003)

It's terrific, and takes pedals faily well, although it sure doesn't need them to sound great. It doesn't have a ton of clean headroom, though, and seems to get warmer/dirtier towards the latter part of a 4-hour gig with the volume set on 4-5. That tends to wreck havoc with delays and chorus pedals.


Central Florida

stock is for puffs!
Jan 11th, 2010 01:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

+1 on Tele295's comments. The Vibrolux Reverb runs lower voltages on the preamp compared to the Pro and Super, resulting in less headroom (relatively speaking). The AB768 and AA270 Vibroluxes (late 68 and up) were set up for a little less gain and more clean headroom than the blackface models. If the clarity was what really impressed you on the '74 SFVR you played, a BF Pro Reverb may suit you better than a BFVR would.




the blues hides in the strangest places
Jan 13th, 2010 06:05 AM   Edit   Profile  

> and seems to get warmer/dirtier towards the latter part of a 4-hour gig with the volume set on 4-5. That tends to wreck havoc with delays and chorus pedals.

If you don't want it to loose power you can install a small fan pointed on the power transformer. This will keep the PT cool and wont change the sound of the amp during a gig

Contributing Member


Jan 13th, 2010 10:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have to question why the interest in this specific amp? Hopefully not SRV motivated. I'd put my '66 Pro Reverb up against any Vibrolux any day of the week.

It has the added advantage of not having every SRV groupie driving the price up looking for SRV tone.

I also love my '57 Vibrolux but in fairness it is a significantly different amp than its blackface cousins.

Contributing Member


Don't watch my foot!
Jan 14th, 2010 05:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

I thought SRVs amp of choice was a Vibroverb. I like Pros too, had more than two in my past.

Paul Boudreau
Contributing Member

Washington, D.C.

Just a smile, just a glance...
Jan 15th, 2010 06:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

Anyone have a tweed Vibrolux?


United States

Jan 24th, 2010 04:15 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hi guys,

Thanks for your responses. No I did not even know that SRV was a Vibrolux player. I am just looking for an overall great amp with amazing clean and reverb.

Initially I watched a german guitar player on ebay (Gregor Hilden), playing dozens of instruments with always a great sound. I contacted him and learned that he was playing a BF Vibrolux. Then I got a chance to try one at GC in San Francisco. Ever since, I have loved the clean sound.

Bobby Jones

Ms Gulf Coast

Jan 26th, 2010 06:31 AM   Edit   Profile  

Re Paul B's question. I have a Marsh reproduction of the late 50's Tweed Vibrolux. I think it's great, perfect for me.

Contributing Member

San Diego , Ca.

Clam King
Jan 26th, 2010 03:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

Value wise SFVR's from 69/70 without the drip edge are less costly than drip edge and BF ones, yet they still retain good cabinetry with removeable baffles. My 69 was Blackfaced and along with my late 70's Princeton Reverb and my 65 Super reverb, my quest for Fender tone for every venue imaginable is over. Good Luck.


Lawrenceville, GA

"I'm not joking, this is my job!"
Jan 27th, 2010 09:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

Revisiting the original question (things seem to have drifted a bit...lol)...

Ive owned and or worked on virtually every model and year of VR ever made..multiple times over the years. To me, the best VR ever were the ones made from about '65 to '66. I owned and traveled with one that I bought new back then..kept it for a long time, and it was heavenly. You can indeed modify later models to sound wonderful..but the question was about what original issue was/is thought of as best. That said, the best value in VRs is certainly in the silverface issues no doubt cause folks are wanting "stupid money" for the blackface issues these days.


(This message was last edited by willie at 06:24 PM, Mar 27th, 2015)

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FDP Forum / Fender Amps: Vintage (before 1985) / Best year for Fender Vibrolux...

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