1966 Fender Vibrolux Review: The Ultimate Gig amp for the Blues?


Well recently I found a great deal on a 1966 Fender Blackface Vibrolux amp. This amp is known to be great for playing gigs, due to the wattage and amount of clean headroom you can get as well as the natural overdrive that can be obtained.

I’ve had the amp for a little over a month now and have played a couple of gigs with it playing multiple styles of music. All I can say is wow! I’ve played Marvin Gaye, Van Morrison, ZZ Top, Prince, Aretha Franklin, and many more styles using this amp and it can handle everything.

I’m simply amazed at how good this amp sounds. You can get that Derek Trucks tone, SRV, John Mayer, BB King, and a thick ZZ Top or Dickey Betts Sound.

The video below shows me playing a blues using the neck pickup of a Gibson ES 335. I’m going for a more BB King tone here using only the guitar and amp. The amp has celestion 25 watt replacement speakers but I don’t know what kind they are. I’m also using Groove Tubes in the power section.

Check out the amp sound in this video


So now that you’ve heard the amp, what do you think? Does it sound bad to you, or do you like. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

21 thoughts on “1966 Fender Vibrolux Review: The Ultimate Gig amp for the Blues?”

  1. very cool John, the amp sounds awesome. That amp looks like it been in many a smokey blues clubs. I have a friend in my part of the country that uses a Blackface Vibrolux amp and it can more than just the blues. Country, rock-a-billy and the blues. You have that BB sound down pat. Congrats on the amp.

  2. Hi John,

    Thank you for the review of your amp. The tone is fantastic. I have to say, your playing is superb. Your touch and use of dynamics is outstanding. I am grateful that you are so open to sharing your talents with us.

    Thanks and take care…Brian DIller

  3. You and I are SO priviledged to share our evolved inspirational blues guitar
    expression through the divine soul of the Vibrolux! What a gift it is! My whole
    life long I sought that tone that only real players would understand, appreciate
    and give reverent homage to. Having to admit my Vibrolux is a reissue “Custom
    Vibrolux Reverb” which I purchased from our local Guitar Center used but yet
    unabused, I can only state that this amp truly provides the finest tonal quality
    of any amp I’ve ever experienced. I am so proud to own and perform with her,
    each and every time I take her out, it’s like going to the senior prom with the
    fox of the class – you know, that pride of the moment, having the best that you
    can have. Nice to hear some spiritual playing in this era of Corporate Business
    which some irreverently call the Music Industry, stay true to your roots – their
    value far outweigh the commercial rewards dangling before the musicians who
    often relent to prostitution of one’s self respect in favor of instant gratification.
    Love the Vibrolux! Love your playing and tone. Thanks for sharing, brother.

  4. Great amp and playing. I have a ’66 VR as well and after going thru too many amps to mention, I always go back to the VR. Nothing seems to match it for live playing and as you stated, it covers so many sounds for such a basic amp. The new builders try to copy it, but nothing sounds like a real Blackface VR!
    If you are in the market for an amp, look at a REAL Blackface Vibrolux Reverb, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.

  5. @Nick Thanks for the comment! The Vibrolux in my opinion is the greatest amp ever created. The Blackface model is definitely the way to go if you want some serious tone.

    It will cost a little more, but you’ll never have to buy another amp again!

    The reissue while good, doesn’t even come close to the original.

  6. Sounds awesome man, great job! I have a couple questions about that old fender. Did they come originally with alnico or ceramic magnet speakers? What ohms did they run at?

  7. The vibrolux…and your playing touch make nice partners. There is a european guy on youtube named gregor hilden who has a similar style. He is a vintage guitar dealer
    and there are several vids playing 335’s strats, tele’s etc through the vibrolux. He also demos a really neat pedal called an Okko Diablo which is worth checking out. Any way, thanks for the inspiration, I just bought a 66 blackface vibrolux,and…your blues solo lesson…a nice pair.

  8. john

    as everyone says — awesome playing and awesome tone…. thanks for showing the settings — what was the volume on the guitar? my 335 9sam as yours) doesn’t get that great sustain on the high e string — volume gets lower and i have to boost it.. any suggestions?? also I don’t want to sound stupid but what key are you playing in ???



  9. That amp is THE SOUND! (Ive heard the super and deluxe reverbs give it up also) THAT AMP IS RIGHT !
    but we all know great chops don’t just jump right out of any amp…

  10. Thank you John. I own a Vibrolux and recently had a maintenance done on it, tubes, caps, the works as it hissed a ton. What a difference the amp tech made as the hiss is pretty much gone. Thanks also for posting the settings. Just curious where you would have set your pickups at as @ 5 on the Vibrolux, it gets VERY LOUD, as this is a strong amp.

  11. I’ve never understood why there are not more amplifiers with 2 10″s rather than 1 12″ . . .It makes a huge difference.

  12. John, it sounds great. I play an ES 335 through a Deluxe Reverb Reissue which I think is a great combination. But wow, the tone in this video is great.

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