#1
So I move around a lot between Seattle and Toronto and decided to buy another amp to keep in Seattle (and leave my BJ in Toronto.) I was going to buy a half stack but have now decided to just stay with a fender combo. I've decided I want one of these three amps but don't know which one to get.
The Twin has the most watts which may be a problem (40 would be better) but it's the most common and therefore, the cheapest (I'm buying used btw.)
The Vibrolux and Vibroverb are both 40 watts, but the Vibrolux is more common so would be cheaper. I've heard the Vibroverb sounds better but I don't know what the difference between the amps is (both in the circuit and tonally.)
Could I get some opinions and/or descriptions of the amps.

The not so accurate model names:
(1993+) Vintage Reissue '65 Twin Reverb
(1990-1995) Reissue '63 Vibroverb (Discontinued blackface reissue with the brown tolex)
(????) Reissue '64 Vibrolux (Not the '68 Currently in production, the discontinued blackface)
#2
How did you settle on those three options? Fender has a ton of amps in that wattage range, and you didn't really list any requirements so it's hard to figure out what might suit you. For example, you haven't listed the Super Reverb, but you did list the Vibroverb. They're similar circuits, but different speaker configurations, and the Super is a lot easier to come by. It would be very hard to choose between the two without playing them. So I wonder how/why you narrowed it down to those three choices when there might be a cheaper, similar option available. Amps like the Bandmaster Reverb are nearly the same as the Vibroverb but can be had a lot cheaper in head configuration.

In any case, quick rundown:
The Twin is super loud, clean, and bulky. It's got a distinctive voice and nothing can really replace that fat sound that comes from the huge transformer and big power section. Easy to find cheap Twins, especially Silverfaces, which are great amps.

BF Vibroverb is a neat amp, but fairly similar to a Super reverb. A lot of the 40 watt Fender amps are just minor variations on the same circuit with different transformers, maybe a bit of preamp voicing, and speakers. It's tough to compare them without sitting in front of them because the differences can be subtle. Don't confuse this with the 'original recipe' Vibroverb which had a bias trem and is quite another amp entirely.

Vibrolux is basically the same thing as a Vibroverb but with different speaker configuration. Again, you might be better off finding a used Super or Bandmaster given the similarity of those amps, and their prices/availability used. I wouldn't say it's worth paying the premium for a Vibrolux over any of the other more common iterations, especially if you haven't even played one.

The differences really come down to speakers and transformers in most cases of the Fender 40 watt amps. The circuits are nearly identical, but some have larger transformers (more headroom, bass, clarity) some smaller (earlier breakup, faster 'sweet spot,' can be warmer at low volumes), different speaker combinations (smaller speakers don't flub out as much but have less bass; might cut through a mix better but may sound harsher/aggressive). So, I assume you haven't played those amps, because if you had you'd either have developed a preference or noticed that they're close enough to work for you. I'd suggest playing a few if you can, and casting a wider net if you can't. If you're not able to play enough to form a strong opinion, you really can't go wrong with just finding a good deal on any of the vintage style 35/40 watt Fender designs. Also, don't count out the Deluxe Reverb. You might be surprised at how easily it can hang with the slightly larger amps even though it starts breaking up earlier.
#3
Twin is by far my favorite amp in the world, but if you're going for a mid-wattage home amp solution, the Twin probably isn't a good option, especially because (IIRC) its noticeably heavier and louder than any other Fender combo save for its bigger brother the quad reverb.

I have a friend who works at the Fender HQ here in AZ who was telling me that all those 60s era brownface reissues use most of the the same circuits/components and that the difference in tone lies in what speakers the combos are equipped with. Apparently there are a lot of Fender freaks out there that mod Vibrolux reissues to Vibroverbs and back.

I've never played a Vibrolux but I have played a Vibroverb and it sounds immaculate.

Personally I think at 40 watts you should just go with whichever one is cheaper and easier to carry.
~GEAR~

'93 Fender Duo Sonic Reissue

'84 ProCo Smallbox RAT->Fulltone OCD->Akai E2 Headrush->Acoustic Model 470/Acoustic 105 4x12
Last edited by thief_of_fire at Jun 5, 2015,
#4
They are all great sounding amps and are still a goto choice 50 years after their design. Finding a quantifiable difference in guitar tone will require very sensitive instruments and golden ears.

I have owned 6 different Fender tube amps over the years and my personal preference is "anything 60s Blackface". They just sound better to my ears. Don't rule out a Princeton or Deluxe Reverb either. Also great sounding amps in a more portable package.

With the unlimited availability of PA mic channels there is little need to drag around the big ones anymore IMO. Just keep a mic in your bag for those hopelessly unrestrained drummers.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#5
Quote by Roc8995
You haven't listed the Super Reverb, but you did list the Vibroverb. They're similar circuits, but different speaker configurations.

The super reverb seems like it would be a hassle to move around

Quote by Roc8995
Amps like the Bandmaster Reverb are nearly the same as the Vibroverb but can be had a lot cheaper in head configuration.

I don't have a cabinet. I assume it would be unlikely to find a head and cab for less.

Quote by Roc8995
Vibrolux is basically the same thing as a Vibroverb but with different speaker configuration.

Both the Vibroverb and Vibrolux (or the reissues anyways) are 2x10

Quote by Roc8995
So, I assume you haven't played those amps, because if you had you'd either have developed a preference or noticed that they're close enough to work for you

I've played the deluxe and twin before. I personally find playing an amp at a store isn't as helpful as watching a video/demo of the amp. If I really want to get to know the amp I have to take it home and spend some time with it. Having watched some videos, I've found my favorite is the Vibroverb, but I'm finding it's the hardest to come by.

Quote by Roc8995
Also, don't count out the Deluxe Reverb.

The Deluxe is a great amp but in comparison to the ones I mentioned it seems "dry/thin/dull."
#6
Quote by JFH59
The super reverb seems like it would be a hassle to move around

Fair enough, just an option to consider since it's similar but usually cheaper and easier to find. If you don't want the hassle of a Super you are also not going to want a Twin.
I don't have a cabinet. I assume it would be unlikely to find a head and cab for less.

Not true. A good option IMO. Pretty easy to price out used cabs in your area.

Both the Vibroverb and Vibrolux (or the reissues anyways) are 2x10

Yes, my mistake. I was thinking of the "custom" with the 15" speaker.
I've played the deluxe and twin before. I personally find playing an amp at a store isn't as helpful as watching a video/demo of the amp. If I really want to get to know the amp I have to take it home and spend some time with it. Having watched some videos, I've found my favorite is the Vibroverb, but I'm finding it's the hardest to come by.

I find that youtube videos aren't as useful and can be misleading, but if it works for you that makes things easier. In person some characteristics can come out that just don't translate from clips online. Your mileage may vary.
The whole reason I suggested the others is that the Vibroverb is hard to come by. You could try clones, like Ceriatone or Allen.
The Deluxe is a great amp but in comparison to the ones I mentioned it seems "dry/thin/dull."

Good, I just didn't know if you'd been able to compare. If the Deluxe isn't for you you've got plenty of good 40 watt models to choose from.
#7
Yes the Super Reverb is a hassle to move around, at least one without rollers, which mine has. It's 85 lbs. That said, it's my favorite amp. The Twin Reverb is actually lighter, having a pair of 12 inch speakers instead of four 10's. But I've seen very few with rollers. A two wheel dolly is your best friend.

Any of the 40 watt range Fenders will sound good, the main difference is speaker configurations. I've never played a Vibroverb, played one Vibrolux and loved it. The lower wattage Princeton is a great amp too. Mike Campbell with Tom Petty's band has been using one onstage for many years. i've seen touring bands using just about every Fender you can think of from Twins and Super Reverbs, the most common two, to Deluxe Reverb, Blues Deluxe, Vibrolux, Deville, you name it. Then there's the heads...Bandmaster and Showman, and the 50 watt Bassman is hard to beat too. Of the heads, I think the Showman is my favorite, I wish I had been able to buy the one I use to test my 1967 Kustom 212 cabinet after I got speakers in it...I forget, seems it's around 60 watts though. Maybe 70.

Lots of options, best thing to do is shop around and see what's available, try out a few and see what seems to work. The best thing about Fenders is you already know if it's a Fender tube amp it's going to sound good as long as it has good speakers, all you have to do is look at how many big name bands have Fenders onstage. Same as Marshall, you'll see Fenderson stage with Clapton, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Kenny Wayne Shepperd, John Mayer, Jeff Beck finally added a couple of Fenders, and loads of others. Anything from the 18 watt Princeton up (in wattage) is a good stage amp. I even use a Champ sometimes but I play a lot of really low volume gigs where I can use it without running it through the PA.

Look around, get the best price you can, play a few, and when you get one, it might be a good idea to have a tech look it over and be sure it has good tubes, and doesn't need a load of capacitors replaced. Capacitors dry out after 30 years, so anything made before about 1985 needs to have every cap in it replaced. That's about $50 if you can do your own soldering and know how to deal with tube amps. I did my Super Reverb soon as I got it. (it was payment for a computer repair job I did for a relative)
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Jun 5, 2015,