Fender Vibro-King Custom 60W 3x10 Tube Combo Reviews
Bought Fender Vibro King new in 2010. It is a pre-CBS blackface white knob amp with the familiar silvery sparkle grille cloth and Fender logo. It is an absolutely stunningly beautiful guitar amplifier. The sound is phenomenally good from clean to crunch. All the sounds it produces are full bodied shimmering and gutsy. The three button reverb sounds great. I am amazed at how much I like the tremolo - something I thought I would never warm to. The amp has flawless sound. The speakers are 3x10' Blue Label Jensens. The transformer is so big that I can see why there are only three speakers. The Fender Bassman and Super Reverb have room for 4x10' each because the transformer is tiny by comparison. The 2x12 Celestion closed back extension cabinet for the Vibro King delivers punch to the shimmering and crunch 3x10' of the combo. That is the sound that delivers the goods. The tubes are GT white 6L6 (Hardness 5) power tubes, the reverb tube is a GT 6V6 white (Hardness 7). The tone controls are interactive. It was possible to get good sound in seconds but I know I will spend years exploring the tonal possiblities of this amp. The non-negative feedback circuit of this amp produces the dynamic sound. There is a useful gap between clean and overdriven sounds where picking dynamics can give your sound varying amounts of compression and sag. It is in this increased size magic tone zone that the beauty of this amp lies. Many other amps have such a tiny gap between clean and overdriven that there is almost no room to play - with lesser amps either you are clean or you have total saturation. This amp is made to be played in a way that improves your playing because now the amp works with you instead of against you. The giant transformer is one of the secrets of this amp. You have to remember that since this amp is hand-wired it is going to have some of the characteristics of pre-CBS Fender amps, each amp is a little different. No two amps will sound the same. It is the nature of the beast when circuits are hand wired and not done in a mass production cookie cutter approach. The Fender Custom Shop is one of the last places on Earth where you can buy pre-CBS Fender sound new. The amp I got came new, double-boxed, was put together the way you would expect Fender`s flagship amp to be delivered, flawless. The quality of materials and workmanship was first rate. After dealing with crappy amps I am glad I finally had the balls to pony up the dough for this amp which delivers the best sound I have heard in decades.
Canadian dollars, $4000.00. I know, but I was so disgusted with crap from Mesa Boogie Express and Fenders Hot Rod Devilles that I was almost desparate to get good sound. I am not an amp tech, I am a musician, I want to play a Strat thru a tube amp on stage, I do not want to repair amps. An expensive amp should work new out of a box. I am not going to fiddle with a piece of crap even if it is under warranty. I am gambling that a hand-wired amp has less things to go wrong with it than a circuit board amp. As expensive as the Vibro King is, I ordered the 2x12 extension cabinet and I am budgeting to get another Vibro King to run in stereo and as a backup amp. It is easy to get spoiled with this kind of sound quality. I have a dolly for this 72 pound amp. If I could afford it I would hire a roadie to carry it to gigs. This amp will help me play better and get me better gigs so the expense is relative.
Sustainable good sound that I can rely on day after day and night after night. Good for stage and recording and practicing. The amp looks great. Reminds me of the golden age of Fender, pre-CBS blackface. This amp represents the best of that era soundwise and looks. I know what kind of tubes I need as a replacement. I donít need a whole bunch of tech knowledge to make this amp work flawlessly. Some reviewers of this amp replace the speakers, change tubes, modify the electrical circuits supposedly to get a better sound. This was one of the best sounding amps I have ever heard right out the box, I donít see any need to mess with this amp. After using many of the amps in the Hot Rod line I knew that I did not want to do a mod for many reasons. First, it renders the amp worthless in a trade in situation and second I have never heard a mod that would make a Hot Rod sound anything like a Vibro King. I had a few Super Reverbs before which where okay but if they were delivering what I wanted them to deliver I would have kept them. Decades ago I heard the sound that I have used as a benchmark to judge all other amps with a 10Ē speaker configuration, it was a tube amp with the name of Aims. I have never seen or heard of an amp like that since until now. It is difficult to describe that sound in words but shimmering clean warm twang and operatic throaty singing crunch and many other variations, all pleasurable. Bruce Zinky really nailed the design of the Vibro King. Mike Lewis of Fender told him to double the power of a Bandmaster, add an outboard Reverb unit to the front of the signal line, and add tremolo based on what he saw and heard on Saturday Night Live one night when Nirvana was using a Twin Reverb and G.E. Smith was using a Showman with a flat Fender logo. The Vibro King look was born and debuted at the winter NAMM show in 1993 and the rest as they say is history. Guitar Player called the Vibro King as somewhere between a 4x10 Bassman and a Hiwatt half-stack. It was what the Super Reverb only pretended to be. I believe the current Custom Shop Vibro King is the most desirable amp Fender has ever built. It was built by inspiration based on the best of the pre-CBS blackface era and upgraded to live and work in the present musical environment. 17 years in production and still going strong. I am buying another one for sure. It is what a guitar amp should be.
The price is so high as to discourage most people. They will try many other amps but they will all experience nothing but mediocrity. To the noodlers who want a downsized Vibro King to play in your bedroom I say - play the Vibro King on stage and you will see why a racehorse has to be running on the track and not stuffed in your bedroom. You want to feel those speakers vibrating thru your body as well as hear the sound in your ears. You want the real thing, not an inflatable date. The wood cabinet itself is part of the sound. I use a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 on the 5 watt Class A setting in my bedroom and it is okay for practicing. However, the whole point for practicing in the bedroom is so that the payoff will be playing that delicious sonically radiant Vibro King on stage in front of a live appreciative audience.
As good as any amp I have ever seen. Dials are smooth and fluid. All screws are tight. Amp is sturdy. Soldering is clean with no lumps or discoloration. All parts look brand new and matched for consistency. Amp came with all needed documentation and accessories.
Wish the amp came with an amp cover at this price. Wish the footswitch had indicator LEDís. Ordered the extension cabinet, going to fit the combo on top of the extension cabinet. I am impressed that somebody makes an amp this good. Wish more music stores could have an amp like this in stock because many music store staff workers have no idea how good the Vibro King is.
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This is a clasic design I bought this unit slightly used it was on consignment so I got a deal.
I bought it at Guitar Center in Concord and got a great deal I paid $2100.00 I believe the new price was $3200.00 I bought it after hearing it in use at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. After hearing what it could do I went looking for my own.
The Fender Vibro King is a custom amp with a lot of great features. The unit I am reviewing is a 60 W 3 X 10 Tube guitar combo amp. It is a retro style amp that works for a lot of styles. The unit has a single channel with a stand alone reverb circuit that combined with the tremolo and fat switch give you tunes that are clean and true and as the fat switch is engaged you get more responsive distortion that is real sweet. For my money it does exactly what you want a combo amp to do and performs well when playing lows that sound kind of bluesy and warm or the mid rage that was real crisp but still bluesy but when I got to the upper end thatís is where it really earned the money. For me the best performance was with the amp cranked from 10 to 12 with every note cracking against the other. I love this amp. . All this in a compact package make it a great versatile amp. The sound was crisp no matter how I set it up with great counter resistance at both ends. What really surprised me was how easy it is to build in preset tones. I set it up for a crunchy sound that got some tunes I am not used to getting out of my Fender Starcaster but this amp is a perfect fit for that vintage sound. I am still playing around with the settings but not being a computer wiz it is nice that this is so easy to set up.
I don't have anything negative to say. I have had Fender guitars for a while and Fender has always responded to me quickly. This unit is too new to say but from the research I did prior to buying it they have been making a similar unit for years and I have yet to read about a problem.
Sturdy as hell this unit is compact and as light as you are going to find for an amp this size.
This amp is small but puts out a big sound and the price is in the ball park. It is a point to point amp and easy to maintain so no problem there the fat switch gives you a lot of different tunes and it is easy to preset the tunes you want this is the Holy Grail of Fender amps.Drix2
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