'63 Vibroverb RI review by Fender

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 4.6 (7 votes)
Fender: '63 Vibroverb RI

Price paid: $ 525

Purchased from: Used

Sound — 10
I use any kind of guitar with this amp and it sounds very good. I don't get any noise from it unless the guitar I'm using has issues. The amp has that sweet break up around 5 - 6 on the volume dial, which is a nice place to play it. This amp is both a good basement amp as well as a gig amp. It takes pedals well but again, sure wish it had a loop. The tone is awesome, the 6L6 power tubes provide clear highs and booming lows. I have not had it get "muddy" ever. I have replaced the tube in V1 for a 5751 and put Jensen C10Q speakers in it. The stock oxford speakers sound thin by comparison and are the weak link in this amp's tone. Another place where Fender chose to stay true to the original '63. It uses a SS rectifier which to some is one place they could have stayed true to the original but opted not to. Not sure why. But great classic Fender tone is what this amp is all about. Throw an OD in front of it and it's everything up through classic rock. Did I hear someone yell "freebird"?

Overall Impression — 9
I don't think I would gig this amp without a back up, or any for that matter. If it was stolen I would have a tough time finding another for the price I paid. I would probably get a different amp because of the rarity these things are. I also own an Ampeg Jet J-20 and Marshall Studio-15. The Ampeg can do a fair impression of this amps tone, but doesn't have the low end these 6L6's put out. Otherwise, very close. I'm giving it a 9 based on it's tone, looks and ability to do what it set out to do.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I have had one issue with this amp. The speaker wire that goes from the speakers to the 1/4 inch jack went out. It would cause the amp to lose volume and caused a buzz. If you pushed on the jack in the back of the amp it went away, only to return in a few minutes. I replaced that wire and have not had an issue since.

Features — 7
This amp was made in 1991. It's a retake on a classic amp. It has a normal and bright channel, each having a hi and low input. Reverb and tremolo only work on the bright channel unless you modify the amp. Blonde tolex, brown face, wheat colored grill. I do wish that the reverb and tremolo (unrightfully called "vibrato" on the amp) worked on the normal channel. I would have also liked an effects loop. But Fender stayed true to the '63 in that regard, but not others. There is a footswitch for turning off and on both the tremolo and reverb independently. It's 35 watts, some say it's 40. It's loud, clean and has great tones. Fender did not use the same circuit but states the tolerances are true to the original. It has that Vintage Fender tone you hear in surf music. It also does a convincing SRV tone without much effort.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I had two modifications to my 63 Fender Vibroverb Reissue. First, I replaced the anemic speakers with 2-10" Weber speakers and this put the amp into a whole new sonic palette. The difference is amazing. Second, Mark from Victoria Amplifiers installed FAST EPITAXIAL DIODES which made a huge difference. Lastly, I replaced the stock tubes with NOS RCA 6L6's and mil-spec 12axa7's and the rest with 12ay7's + a 12au7 preamp tubes-all NOS. My guitar playing buddies love this amp more than my Mesa Boogie Mark V. So do I. Eddie Jones