Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 38

In addition to the stock Oxford speakers, an envelope
in the cabinet carries "Your Fender Instruction
Manual, Guarantee, and Schematic Diagram."

as one of Fender's greatest utility amps, and
many players hail it as the best and most
versatile grab-and-go combo ever produced.
Several factors support this argument, and
certainly given the ratio of portability to
features - with an addendum to note the
difficulty of getting many of Fender's bigger
combos to behave adequately on today's quieter stages - the Vibrolux Reverb is definitely
a contender for the crown.
Among those desirable features are:
* A pair of Oxford 10L5 speakers, attaining
the magical articulation of Fender amps of
this era when translated through 10" speakers
* A beefy, robust-sounding dual-6L6GC
output stage, tempered by...
* A smaller output transformer than that of
the Super Reverb, for example, yielding just
35 watts and an earlier onset of distortion
* Lush-sounding built-in tube reverb and
tremolo
* A GZ34 tube rectifier for a stout immediacy, yet appealing dynamics, in the
playing feel.

With all of these attributes, the Vibrolux
Reverb still weighs only an extremely manageable 40 pounds, just three pounds more
than a stock Deluxe Reverb of the same era,
even though it carries a lot more firepower.
Rein in the volume and the combo exudes
what many guitarists, whether Fender fans or
otherwise, would agree is one of music's archetypal clean-with-character electric guitar
tones, yet it will do so with enough volume
to compete with most reasonable drummers.
Push it a little harder, and it eases into rich,
dynamic, somewhat glassy overdrive that
could be characterized as "mini-SRV" - a
more containable rendition of Stevie Ray
Vaughan's delectably scooped, wiry, stinging
Fender-on-Fender tone. Add a Tube Screamer
or other midrange-enhancing/medium-gain
overdrive pedal, and it's rock and roll incarnate at aurally acceptable volumes.
As for this particular '68, well, its owner's
thoughts on tone and performance tend to
echo the consensus with some adjustment
for the relatively unplayed condition.

VINTAGE GUITAR

38

January 2018

"I have a '66 Deluxe Reverb that has
always been home base for me," Hawkins
said. "I like to say, 'If you can't get a good
tone out of an old Deluxe, you need to take
up the violin.' I would say the Vibrolux has
a similar sound, but it can stay clean at a
louder volume. That's obvious, of course,
but very true. And this one just sounds
tight and focused no matter what guitar I
play through it. I really don't think it had
been played for more than a few hours
before I got it."
The Vibrolux Reverb model came into
being in mid 1964 as part of the second wave
of blackface models, et al, the first wave of
which had arrived in late '63 and early '64.
As with many of the new reverb-equipped
Fenders, it replaced the short-lived reverbless blackface 1x12" combo version of late
'63/early '64 (if any '64s actually exist), but
the speaker complement was really more
like a junior-sized 4x10" Super Reverb.
Like most mid-sized Fenders of the era,
the Vibrolux Reverb had two channels


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - January 2018 - open - 4
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