Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: EBAY
Features — 8
I bought this particular amp the first time after seeing it demo'd at the Winter NAMM in 2009. It is a MIM amp with solid state effects added, all black, silver face grill cloth. The average looking Fender amp, nothing out of the ordinary except for the VM logo on the bottom right corner. Comes with a 4-button hardy footswitch that controls the Gain, Reverb, Delay and Chorus, all easy and smooth to dial in. The only negative I would have with the amp is that there is only one input jack. I would like to have seen another; one for the clean and another for the effects side.
Sound — 9
I am primarily a blues, '60s-'70s guitarist who also plays at our non-denominational church where we play traditional gospel to the contemporary and rockfish Christian music out today. I run mainly Strats/Tele's through the amp, but it also takes beautifully to my Epiphone Sheraton II/Casino and Les Paul Standard Plus Pro Top and a Gibson Les Paul Standard. The it has it's original Jensen speaker which for me sounds wonderful, though I have thought of changing out to a Celestion Alnico Gold having heard one recently in a Deluxe Reverb. This Deluxe VM cranks out at 40 watts, strong enough for a medium sized venue with no issues in the competition department over drums, etc. The amp did not seem to do well with the public and it was discontinued within a short time. It's not too heavy to pack around, has the basic effects one would need to play at a local gig. This is not what I would use for a touring rig but surely at local events; Definitely! The Gain while not in the class of a Tubescreamer, does a decent job as does the Reverb which comes in quickly and turned up all the way, drips wetness. The Delay while not tap tempo capable, still does a fine job. I don't use the Chorus much so I can't comment for comparability purposes to anything. lastly, this is not a good bedroom amp; again as it is powerful, BUT you can run it low volume and still enjoys all of its capabilities.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've never had one lick of problems with this amp in the 5 years I've owned this one. I still have the same tubes it came with. It's really a sturdy amp and that I have enjoyed time and time again. I've let it run hot for 4 hours stints and never found it to overheat or lose tone in the Jensen amp. Again I plan to swap out soon when I get the $275 for the Alnico Gold, but no issues with the current setup. The knob setting are not overly sensitive, easy to dial in all the basic settings, and even the effects are a breeze, smooth and reliable. A well made amp. Tubes are easy to get to for change, though I haven't had to yet. I do have several Fender amps I like to swap out through for fun so perhaps that is why the duration of the current tubes which are the GT. I also plan to swap for JJ's, though I put Mullards in my Deluxe Reverb and love the tone of those tubes.
Overall Impression — 8
Again, I play primarily the blues, '60s-'70s rock and Christian music. I play out routinely at local gigs, jams and at our church. The amp is reliable, sturdy, light weight enough even for a guy like me in his 60's to haul about. This is my second time around with the Deluxe VM. My first I purchase in 2009 after the Winter NAMM where I first heard and fell in love with it. I wound up trading with a fellow musician who wanted a Fender amp with built in effects so he didn't have to haul around a pedal board for the 3-4 pedals he used and with the umph. He had heard the Deluxe VM and I let it borrow it for a gig he had. When he returned with it, he came with his Fender HR Deluxe asking if I would trade him. I played with the HR Deluxe about a month and though not convinced, said I would trade him after much pleading from him. While L enjoyed the HR Deluxe, it was not fit for my needs with the OD and more OD was too much, so I sold it and purchased my current Deluxe VM which I've owned since 2000. This one is a keeper, so don't ask to trade. I'm a Fender fan through and through so this may be completely bias in review. So be it! Still for the price (and don't pay more than $400 as they are out there) you can't beat this wonderful yet non-popular Fender 40 watt amp. The 9 rating is simply for the effects being not solid state and lacking a skoosh and the lack of a second input jack on the effects side of the amp.