Guitar Amp Faceoff: 1966 Fender Vibrolux vs 65 Reissue Fender Princeton – Slide Guitar

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In this guitar amp Faceoff I’ll show you the difference between a 1966 Fender Vibrolux and a 1965 Reissue Fender Princeton. In the video the demonstration will be using Open E Tuning Slide Guitar on a Gibson SG combined with a Maxon OD 808.

Obviously the two amps are a little different. For instance, the Princeton only has one speaker. Just by having two speakers, the Vibrolux will have a larger sounding tone so please keep that in mind. No EQ or Compression were used on the guitar tracks. The tracks were recorded straight into Pro Tools with no effects.

Watch the Video Now

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Gear Used in this Video

Maxon OD 808 and Radial Bigshot

1966 Fender Vibrolux

Fender 1965 Reissue Princeton



So what do you think of the two amps? How do they compare and which do you like the best? Leave a comment below.

To learn more about playing Open E Tuning Slide Guitar like this, please check out my DVD and Download lessons.

20 thoughts on “Guitar Amp Faceoff: 1966 Fender Vibrolux vs 65 Reissue Fender Princeton – Slide Guitar”

  1. They both have their strengths. The Vibrolux has a more full-bodied tone that’s smoother while the Princeton has a nice low volume tone that’s edgier than the Vibrolux. They can definitely be functional in a live environment to complement each other.

    All in all, both nice amps – just different!

  2. Both sound good, but the Vibrolux leaves the Princeton in the dust as far as thickness/body. Speakers and cabinet can make a huge difference too. Ever take a little amp and plug it into in 4×12 cab?

    Would be interesting to hear the Princeton through the Vibrolux speakers and cabinet.

    Nice job on the video, and love your playing as always.

  3. Both are great amps and each would have its place in any situation. However, the Vibrolux clearly has more depth, fullness of body and deeper, smoother sustained sound. The sound is both immediate but also suspends/hovers back into space for just the right amount of time. The Princeton is more immediate. The sound is a little thinner, but crisper in the high tones; more treble. It seems to have more bite, but it happens then it’s gone. For general playing, especially the blues, the Vibrolux. For immediate punch, like faster heavier sound, the Princeton. Brilliant playing.

  4. THE VIBROLUX IS WITH OUT A DOUBT THE SUPERIOR VOICED AMP AND WORTH THE BUCKS TO A PRO TOURING MUSICIAN , BUT FOR THE AVERAGE HOME TOWN LOCAL GIG MUSICIAN I THINK THE PRINCETON IS THE CORRECT PRICE RANGE AMP , UNLESS YOU GOT RICH PARENTS AND MONEY IS NOT A FACTOR ….LOL

  5. I like both, each one is a keeper. Each one has its sweet-spot. I can feel the Vibrolux and find myself searching a bit for that same feeling from the Princeton. There’s just more to feel…more mojo if you will…hits me in the gut…does the Vibrolux. saw two, a 65 & 66 on ebay…one was like show room clean, wow…just under 4k…the other in good shape…3.5k

    Thanks John!
    Mike

    • Yeah the Vibrolux is very amazing. I got mine 3 years ago on ebay in mint condition for $1600. It was a steal and I don’t think they will ever be that price again.

  6. Nice comparison work. By the end I started appreciating the Princeton especially with bridge pickup stuff. Which makes me want to dig mine out of the garage and finally fix the electrical cord. It has been a long long time coming, lol.
    Thanks again.

  7. First let me compliment Mr. Tuggle on his excellent instructional technique. As an educator and a 40+ year blues player, I know that any teacher that does not state the goals of his lesson, how the student should succeed from the lesson, and display the teaching techniques and tools used right UP FRONT in the lesson, will usually not succeed. Also, the instructor should always have a built in teaching system evaluator to monitor progress, improve and adjust his system. Mr. Tuggle does a good solid job with these “professional techiques” as demonstrated right in this email, video and suggestion box. Good job John! I bought the standard tuning slide lessons and have learned a bunch already.

    As far as the amps go, a bunch of money for an old tube amp (any old tube amp) is only an entry fee. The Princeton is cool but I feel is way overpriced and should have a 12 inch speaker. Also in my opinion, I have not played a non-master Fender that is at all good with any pedals except time based pedals, EXCEPT the PRO JUNIOR. That said, I prefer the Marshall JTM re-issue, and its clones, because it vibes with out reverb, is more versatile being a head unit, gives function, as John mentioned by using the lower powered inputs, works really well with all pedals, and fits ANY sized gig. Plus the VIntage Marshall, and its re-issue, is much more Allman Bros. tone-wise in respect to the slide lessons taught here. The Marshall re-issues are pretty faithful to the vintage vibe and cost much less than 40 to 50 year old original amps. I have had most all the popular Marshalls and Fenders starting from the mid sixties up to the present day, yes, I am that old (57) and the only Fender I ever had that truly smoked with no pedals was a silver faced super reverb bought new in 1973 for $350.00. Folks, believe me, great amp tone, especially tube tone, is about moving lots of air, pushing output tubes hard, and torturing speakers!

    To answer the question asked on the two amps. I would buy two Princetons, change for better tubes and speaker, play both which offers a backup, benefit from warranty, and have an easier resale if wanting to move on. You just may find that bass response from two exact amps is much more pronounced than two exact speakers from one amp. And isn’t that the issue on these amps, bass response?

    I know this was a lot of words but I really like the way Mr. Tuggle is doing things and feel detailed feedback is important if not at least complimentary. Thanks for your hard work John. More later, Bud Handly

  8. With all due respect, its really not a fair comparison. The settings on both amps are the same except that the Princeton bass control is at 4 vs 3 for the Vibrolux.. Tolerance for the pots used in these amps was pretty substantial when they were new; I know from experience that the tolerances over many years could be even greater. Also, the tapers on the pots used could be completely different. So, the point is that in order to hear each amp at its best, it should be dialed in regardless of the other amps settings. The Princeton in this example has less gain, which makes a huge difference in the sound and response of the amp. Turning the volume up would most likely yield a much closer sound to the Vibrolux. The fact is that either of these amps, in proper working condition, will yield similar results tone wise. The biggest difference is loudness; and that is how these amps should most properly be viewed. Arguably, the best sounds out of either amp happen when the power tubes are driven hard; in other words “loud”. And there will be a substantial in volume difference. So the question is, “how loud do I need to be for the venue I am playing?”. Are you mic’ing the amp?, ect. That is where the real difference in these amps are. In my opinion and with all due respect.

  9. A really nice comparison, both being really good amps, but i can’t decide just from this. I need to hear them live. For those prices you really need to be sure about what you are buying so you won’t regret it later, although i must admit that it’s hard go wrong with either of them.

    • Hi Bryan,

      To me they sound entirely different. They sound pretty good, but not nearly the same. Your best bet is to find a 70’s vibrolux with some old speakers.

  10. Thanks for the reply. I thought you might say something like that.

    Any comments on any of these Fender Amps:

    1. Blues Deluxe Reissue (40w) – http://www.fender.com/series/hot-rod/blues-deluxe-reissue/

    2. 65 Twin (85 w) – http://www.fender.com/series/vintage-reissue/65-twin-reverb/

    3. ’65 Deluxe Reverb (22w) http://www.fender.com/series/vintage-reissue/65-deluxe-reverb/

    All have reverb, 2 channels but they span the power spectrum. An attenuator is assumed for the ’65 twin. Are these all different animals too or just variations on the same theme.

    I have a Fender Blues Junior and a Soldano Astroverb (both single channel). I love the OCD and EP Booster for throatier tones at lower volumes and I am getting used to using the guitar controls to control my tone, but I cannot seem to leave well enough alone…always looking 🙂

    P.S. I am LOVING your Blues and Open E Tuning Slide DVDs, It’s going to take a long time to get through it all, but I am already seeing gains in my skills after just a few short days !!

    • All those three sound completely different to me. Out of those three I would choose the 65 Deluxe Reverb. The twin has no breakup and the blues deluxe is more marshall sounding. I’m glad you like the lessons!

      John

      • Went out and played a Deluxe Reverb RI. With no gain or preamp control you gotta get pretty dang loud to find the breakup point (like 6-7 or so).

        The Astroverb I have has a Preamp knob so I can crank the power tubes up and get them to breakup in a way that’s great to my ear and still at a decent volume (albeit still too loud for anyone else in the house). I’ve always found it a little harsh in the high end, so I think I’ll try a 2×12 cab for the Astroverb and a Weber miniMass. If that doesn’t work out, at least I’ll still have nice cab and the attenuator to use on other amps.

      • My Weber miniMass 50 came in yesterday and I really like how it smooths out the shrillness of the highs and tames the whole thing down a bit. Finding my 20 watt amp’s sweet spot and setting the weber at 6-7 is perfect for in my home.

        • As it turns out, there was something that continued to bug me about that Astroverb. It was still very shrill and harsh on the high end; I continued to cringe every time I went to the bridge pups…almost unusable!

          So, I went back and tried out just about every Fender amp in the store (no DRRI’s in stock this time). I narrowed it down to a ’65 Twin Reverb RI and a Hot Rod DeVille 410. With the HRDV turned up past 5 and the Weber attenuator engaged, I found it hard to justify the extra $$ for the TRRI. I wen with the HRDV 410 and love it. The Astroverb is just not cut out for blues, and you just can’t go wrong with Fender tube amps!

  11. Hi John. Great discussion here. Our band is traveling to Europe and we’re trying to get a back line together. I have a ’65 Vibrolux and am pretty dependent on it, but cannot take it with me. Which modern amps do you consider comparable?

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for the comment. I actually just purchased another amp to take around occasionally because the Vibrolux is becoming pretty rare and don’t want to take it around. The amp I think that maybe even tops the Vibrolux is the Andrews Spectraverb 40. I should have it soon and will be able to do demos with it but this amp is killer in my opinion.

  12. John, you are truly gifted you’re playing is phenomenal. After seeing this video ,I feel like laying it down.

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