fender amps

Embracing and overcoming the quirky qualities of an under-appreciated hero of tube tone.

As a guitar player, I consider guitar amps to be tools. The more varied work I do, the more tools I need. There are some amps that excel in one or two things but often disappoint outside their playing field. These amps require experience to dial in good tones and to pair with guitars and other gear.

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This 1994 Vibro-King hangs with another versatile tone machine—a Fender Strat. The combination can yield enough clean or gnarly sounds that some players might want to leave their overdrive pedals at home.

This bruising 60-watt powerhouse is ready for anything, with three speakers, five reverb and tremolo controls, and a fat boost.

I'd like to pay respect to the Fender Vibro-King. I still remember how I first admired it, brand new in guitar magazines, in 1994. It was the raw, wild, and blonde Viking cousin of the classic vintage Fender amps. I immediately wanted one and got my first in 2004. So, let me share my view on this flagship from Fender's Custom Shop.

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An unsung sleeper from the black- and silver-panel years sees its DNA scrambled to intriguing ends.

Classic cleans and excellent pedal-platform versatility. Nice onboard reverb and tremolo. Light weight for an amp of this size.

No output-reduction feature.

$1,299

Fender '68 Custom Pro Reverb
fender.com

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Fender's '68 Custom series won plenty of fans by resurrecting the stylish silver-panel amps of the late '60s and '70s and making some of those models into more modern gigging machines. One of the newest additions to the lineup is the '68 Custom Pro Reverb—an evolution of an amp that debuted as a black-panel model in 1965.

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