Making the switch - Fender to Vox?

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by 6124Bassman, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Gretschie

    418
    May 20, 2018
    Tempe, Arizona
    So I have been pretty curious about Vox amps lately, and I have a chance at one now. It is an AC15 Heritage Handwired combo (with the blue Alnico). I have been a strictly fender amp guy forever but I’m kind of curious about switching over. I got an offer to trade my ‘67 Blackface Bassman for that Vox. I’m going on Saturday to compare the amps with the guy. He said he’s never played a Bassman before so we’ll both be trying out something new.

    I have heard that these Vox heritage amps are made in China and although they say “handwired” they are not actually 100% handwired, so that kind of makes me weary. Not that I have heard about them actually lacking quality, but you know...

    I have a feeling I’m going to be coming back home with my Bassman, but I am kind of excited to try it out.

    Here’s the pic of the Vox he sent me.

    23D14EA9-9099-4B28-ABED-A70453C43B3F.jpeg
     
    savofenno likes this.
  2. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    These are both very, very nice amps but to compare a big vintage Bassmann with a tiny 15 watt Vox is like comparing apples with pears.
    Furthermore I assume that the Bassman is way more expensive so you should expect some extra dollars and not a straight swap.
     
    Lindo, Telechamp, Merc and 1 other person like this.
  3. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Yeah, that's not what I'd consider an even trade. Both amps have their good points, but your needs, and your ears will tell you which is the one you really want. A more even comparison (apples for apples) would be a Fender DRRI for a Vox AC15.
     
    Telechamp likes this.
  4. RG7X

    RG7X Gretschie

    258
    Nov 11, 2018
    Los Angeles
    I've been in similar situations and it's easy to get caught up in the moment. If you're feeling a little weary about the Vox, I wouldn't jump into the decision quickly after trying it out. Take some time to think it over. Let us know how they compare!
     
  5. afire

    afire Country Gent

    The Vox isn't all that far from a '67 Bassman head, but I would still expect a couple hundred or so in the bargain, considerably more if it's a complete rig.

    That said, IMO, these are the coolest amp Vox has made in its modern era. They don't have a whole lot of clean headroom (especially compared to a blackface Bassman), but the sound of the EF86 channel through a Celestion blue is glorious all the way from 1 to 10.
     
  6. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I’d advise you to venture east, to Rainbow Guitars in Tucson and plug into a Winfield Cyclone. It is very similar to the AC-15 circuit, has that wonderful Vox chime and is completely hardwired: I’ve seen it happening in real time.
     
    6124Bassman likes this.
  7. Crooner

    Crooner Friend of Fred

    Apr 15, 2009
    Boston
    I agree. These limited run Heritage Vox amps (with the AC15 and 30) sound amazing. The trick is going through all the configurations with the switches on the panel to tailor your tone and try both the low and gain inputs.
    The tone you'll get is nothing like any Fender, but can be amazing if it works for you. I'd recommend spending some time fiddling around and bringing some of your pedals if you use them, to see how they react with the amp.

    I missed out on a deal for one of the amps a few years ago and regret it to a certain extent (I ended up grabbing a late '80's Deluxe Reverb that I love), so I hope you like what you hear. Good luck and let us know how things turn out.
     
  8. milocj

    milocj Electromatic

    26
    Apr 1, 2018
    MI
    I have one of those AC15s and it's a fantastic amp. Extremely versatile with the EF86 and Top Boost channels. The "gripe" about them not being completely hand-wired is that most of the connections between the eyelets/turrets on the board are by PCB traces.

    All of the pots and tube sockets are chassis mounted and all of the flying leads are hand-wired and the board seems very solid compared to what most PCB amps are in this price range. It's more like a tag-board that has traces between the components where a completely hand-wired amp would have under the board wires.
     
    wildeman likes this.
  9. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    The EF 86 front end is a wonderful sounding preamp.
     
  10. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Gretschie

    418
    May 20, 2018
    Tempe, Arizona
    Huh, about how much do these Vox amps go for? I was seeing somewhere around $1000?

    I have been thinking about it throughout the day and I played my Bassman for about an hour today and I’m not sure I’d be willing to part with it for that. I do get caught up in the moment and get eager to trade so this time I’m making myself take it slow. I’m still going to play it on Saturday and see how I like it but we’ll see what happens
     
    RG7X likes this.
  11. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Gretschie

    418
    May 20, 2018
    Tempe, Arizona
    Yes it is a full, all original set (Head and cab).
    I’m not sure if he expects a straight trade, but I’m going to see how I even like the amp before I start negotiating.
     
  12. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    DON'T DO IT!
    Keep the Bassman and offer him some money for the amp. There are lots of those Chinese Vox amps floating around at good prices these days. The Bassman amp is just going to go up in value in the future because it is a truly and totally hand wired amp and certainly built better than any of those Chinese amps. That 67 Fender has seen 50 years of service and is still kickin'. I doubt that Vox amp will be around that long.
     
    Taylor910, wabash slim and j.s.c like this.
  13. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    There was one on Craig's List here in Baltimore last week for either $350 or $450. I don't know why people are dumping them or what they are replacing them with but there have been a lot of them for sale this year.
     
  14. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Gretschie

    418
    May 20, 2018
    Tempe, Arizona
    Wow, so it seems there’s a pretty big price difference.

    I’ve been debating all day on it so I might pass. I’m still interested in getting a Vox so maybe I’ll just throw down $150-200 and get a little AC4 and keep the Bassman
     
  15. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    I will tell you the same thing folks here told me when i was thinking of selling my Magnatone 280 to buy a new Marshall " DONT, Are you crazy" or something like that:D...... I didnt;)
     
    6124Bassman likes this.
  16. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Keep the Bassman and look for a Vox to buy. Nothing wrong with having both. I would pass on the AC4 unless it was a head and or the 12" combo. I would suggest saving a bit for the AC15.
     
    G DynaTron likes this.
  17. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    An AC30 HW would be a more even trade, I'd still prolly not do it though.
     
    Bertotti and 6124Bassman like this.
  18. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I think you’re better off that way. That, or save a few coins and hold out for a 15 watter. You still need to try a Cyclone. I’ll meet you up there Saturday. :)
     
    6124Bassman likes this.
  19. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Age:
    63
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    6124, I love Vox sounds and I love Bassmans. DON'T DO THIS TRADE. I had one of these amps (remember, I love Vox amps) and I kept it for 9 days before I sold it to a serious gearhead buddy who dumped it in 5 days. This is not even close to the same league as a Bassman. Try a Cyclone, save your pennies and buy a Matchless Lightning, buy a AC30 Head, buy a Berns 1530 by Phaez, but you will regret this deal my friend.

    * With respect and apologies to my friends who like the Vox amp.
     
    Robbie and 6124Bassman like this.
  20. G DynaTron

    G DynaTron Synchromatic

    807
    Dec 7, 2015
    France
    Keep the bassman.

    Save for a vox.
     
    j.s.c and 6124Bassman like this.
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