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Trade Time Vibro Champ for Mustang

#1 User is offline   Izzy 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 10:11 AM

I've had my CIJ Mustang guitar up on CL for a while and I got an offer to trade if for an amp I'd never thought to research before, seeing as I had a monogamous relationship with Vox. Fender Vibro Camp. This one has a silver face. The man sent pics and it looks like the 70s one. I did some research, watched some vids. People like these little guys o.O

Never played/heard one before in person.
It sounds like a country music amp to me.
Tone is pretty and headroom is ample.
I generally prefer to break up at low volumes, but a quality instrument can sway me.
You got one? You like it?
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#2 User is online   surfpup 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 10:20 AM

Vibro-Champ is on my hit list. I have Deluxes and Princetons in the same era (silverface) and want to add a VC. They go for around $500 from that era. There is also a Fender Bronco from that same era that is a Vibro-Champ with a different name. Sometimes slightly cheaper. Clapton recorded the Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album with s Champ so they can do a lot. Billy Gibbons had used them extensively for recording as well. Most studios have a Champ around. You can see I'm a fan.

This shows the sound pretty accurately I think.


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#3 User is offline   Izzy 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 10:28 AM

Very cool. Seems like it would be a pretty even trade to me. Those recordings sound so friggin pretty!
I am going to have a friend here to lend me a second set of ears and eyes. Already have the Vibro Champ site up to date the amp.

Anything I should be on the lookout for?
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I spend a lot of time in my room with my instruments brooding and s%^t. It's cheaper than therapy.
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#4 User is online   surfpup 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:19 AM

View PostIzzy, on 14 May 2017 - 10:28 AM, said:


Anything I should be on the lookout for?


It's an old tube amp. It may crackle a bit but anything excessive is not good. Twist all the pots - again a little crackle is okay. Make sure the vibrato....oh...oh....oh.... works. As far as value, original speaker and transformers are a plus. However, conversion to a three prong cord is a good thing even if it's not original. When you play it loud listen for any out of tune overtones or trailing tones - sign of filter caps that need replacing.
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#5 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:46 AM

Got mine in the 90s.
I'll never sell it but I'd like a bit more bass so may get it looked at.
Changed the stock speaker to a Weber 8" which is much better.

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#6 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:02 PM

They can be a glorious recording amp. It was one of the dozen or so they had in the live room for Layla, and he definitely used it on Key To The Highway. Dowd was pretty good at mic'ng and getting the sound off the amp and onto tape with a minimum of fuss, and that song and that record are his way to a T.

Don't confuse recorded sound with In A Bar sound, you will be disappointed.

rct
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#7 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 05:38 AM

View Postjdgm, on 14 May 2017 - 11:46 AM, said:

Got mine in the 90s.
I'll never sell it but I'd like a bit more bass so may get it looked at.
Changed the stock speaker to a Weber 8" which is much better.

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1974?
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#8 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 05:49 AM

View PostIzzy, on 14 May 2017 - 10:28 AM, said:

Very cool. Seems like it would be a pretty even trade to me. Those recordings sound so friggin pretty!
I am going to have a friend here to lend me a second set of ears and eyes. Already have the Vibro Champ site up to date the amp.

Anything I should be on the lookout for?


You might need to have the thing serviced if it hasn't been recapped in the last say 15 years or so. So figure another $100 might be necessary to get it up to snuff.

You can date the amp pretty closely using the serial number stamped into the back of the chassis:
Vibro Champ AA764 (silverface)

A19000 to A21000 1967

A21000 to A26000 1968

A26000 to A28500 1969

A28500 to A29000 1970

A29000 to A32000 1971

A32000 to A35000 1972

A33000 to A40000 1973

A40000 to A42000 1974

A42000 to A51000 1975

A51000 to A53000 1976

B64600 to B66200 1976
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#9 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:57 AM

View Postbadbluesplayer, on 15 May 2017 - 05:38 AM, said:

1974?


Thanks for the date guide!

B 65032, so '76... [smile]

Hey bbp how can I get more bass out of it? I had it serviced a few yrs back, might the repairman have put a wrong-value component in?
Can you tell anything from a pic of the circuit?

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Weber speaker -

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#10 User is offline   glp2012 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 06:18 PM

This is funny because I get trade requests all the time...my guitar for their amp. Personally, I wouldn't do it just because it seems like guitars hold their value better than amps. Also, amps seem to be harder to sell. Maybe it's the size and weight of them?
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#11 User is offline   Izzy 

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 06:42 PM

View Postrct, on 14 May 2017 - 01:02 PM, said:

They can be a glorious recording amp.

Don't confuse recorded sound with In A Bar sound, you will be disappointed.

rct


I will keep this in mind. Thanks.

Thanks for all the input and Surfpup, I will be sure to crank it and listen hard. My friend who has been replacing tubes and pots is going to be present (because I don't wanna be alone with a stranger in my house) so he's going to lend the extra set of eyes.
Thanks for the dating guide. There's a Vobro Champ forum out there. Can y'all believe that?

Even if it doesn't work out, I learned a lot just researching it and will keep an eye out in case this one isn't in good condition. Or maybe it's cleanliness will put me off [scared] Not likely [tongue]
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#12 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:11 AM

View Postjdgm, on 15 May 2017 - 08:57 AM, said:


Hey bbp how can I get more bass out of it? I had it serviced a few yrs back, might the repairman have put a wrong-value component in?
Can you tell anything from a pic of the circuit?

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I'm wondering if the amp was always too thin sounding or did it just get that way after your tech worked on it? The big blue filter caps seem recent but the big one is dated 2001 and they're good for like 10 to 15 years. It looks like somebody replaced the output transformer - the smaller one - and I'm not so sure it's wired right. The colors of the wires don't seem consistent with where they should be hooked up. Can you look at it and try to see what brand or model it is? Then I can find out how it's supposed to be wired.

There's a couple of other things I see but I'd check the output transformer first. [thumbup]
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#13 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:54 AM

View Postbadbluesplayer, on 16 May 2017 - 09:11 AM, said:

I'm wondering if the amp was always too thin sounding or did it just get that way after your tech worked on it? The big blue filter caps seem recent but the big one is dated 2001 and they're good for like 10 to 15 years. It looks like somebody replaced the output transformer - the smaller one - and I'm not so sure it's wired right. The colors of the wires don't seem consistent with where they should be hooked up. Can you look at it and try to see what brand or model it is? Then I can find out how it's supposed to be wired.

There's a couple of other things I see but I'd check the output transformer first. [thumbup]


Many thanks for your reply. It definitely has less bass since the guy worked on it. Unfortunately he moved away right after doing the job...[huh]. I know where he is but it's nearly a 2-hr drive away and if he got it wrong once......
The smaller tranformer is the one behind the valves (right?) and has red, yellow and blue wires coming out of or going to it, plus an earth to the casing.
The only i.d. I can see is a label on the bottom of it which reads - NOS 771 9960407.
And from what you say I should probably replace the big blue filter cap...?

I did contact another amp repair firm who are Fender authorised repairers; they were incredibly sniffy about it, wouldn't touch it as they said it had been modified (Weber speaker which I fitted, and the new transformer).....gits.

Finding a good (or any) valve amp repair guy is very hard these days; I appreciate any help you might be able to give but understand that you can only see so much from a pic.
If it's a simple solder job I would now try to fix it myself as I don't have money coming in like I used to.
If any Brit members read this and may be able to help I'd really appreciate it.

@Izzy - so sorry to hijack your thread.
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#14 User is offline   Izzy 

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 06:59 PM

View Postjdgm, on 16 May 2017 - 09:54 AM, said:



@Izzy - so sorry to hijack your thread.


No way! these are the educational detours I love about this forum. You get way more than you bargained for [thumbup]
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#15 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 02:14 AM

View Postjdgm, on 16 May 2017 - 09:54 AM, said:

If any Brit members read this and may be able to help I'd really appreciate it...

If you don't mind a possible journey in to Crystal Palace you could do a lot worse than to give these guys a call;

http://dickinsonamps.com/

I don't know for sure whether they offer an amp repair service but they have done work on three of my guitars five or six years ago so repair work was definitely something they used to do. They were all super-helpful back then and the end-results were great. The main man, Jon Dickinson, used to be the amp-repairman for dealership(s?) in Denmark St. and, obviously, is now an amp designer so he certainly knows his stuff.

Pip.
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#16 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 12:06 PM

View Postjdgm, on 16 May 2017 - 09:54 AM, said:

Many thanks for your reply. It definitely has less bass since the guy worked on it. Unfortunately he moved away right after doing the job...[huh]. I know where he is but it's nearly a 2-hr drive away and if he got it wrong once......
The smaller tranformer is the one behind the valves (right?) and has red, yellow and blue wires coming out of or going to it, plus an earth to the casing.
The only i.d. I can see is a label on the bottom of it which reads - NOS 771 9960407.
And from what you say I should probably replace the big blue filter cap...?



The output transformer could be o.k., if that's a blue wire going to the board.

I see some parts in there that I would replace and/or check if I was looking at it but it wouldn't necessarily be worth swapping stuff out to try to find the problem.

If it was me I'd play through the amp with it turned up to about 8 - about as loud as you can play and still have the bass dig in pretty good - and play the low e string up to the twelfth fret and down real hard and see if the bass sound from the amp stays solid all the way up and down the scale or if it gets thin, muted or howling anywhere in particular along the scale. If it's wanky sounding on the A or Bb that can be an indication of a bad filter cap.

Go from there.
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#17 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 03:12 PM

Yes the blue wire goes to the board right next to the big blue cap. Thanks again bbp, good tip - I will try it.

@P - yes I have heard of Dickinson and their amazing-looking combos! Will drop into Guitar Village 1st and ask who they use.....
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