Fender reinvigorates classic tube amp tones with new '68 Custom Vibro Champ and Pro Reverb

Fender '68 Custom Vibro Champ and Pro Reverb
(Image credit: Fender)

NAMM 2021 isn't taking place in the physical realm this year, but you'll find all the hottest January gear launches in our guide to the biggest guitar, amp and pedal releases of 2021 so far.

Fender's '68 Custom line seeks to recreate the sounds of its most coveted guitar amps, and for 2021, the company has added two new classic designs to the range.

Boasting new speakers, new reverbs and modified circuitry, the refined and upgraded '68 Vibro Champ and '68 Custom Pro Reverb amps seek to reintroduce classic sounds that resonate with the guitarists of today.

Fender '68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb

Fender '68 Custom Vibro Champ

(Image credit: Fender)

First up is an all-new '68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb amp, directly inspired by the original five-watt classic. The new iteration maintains the key functionalities assigned to the original while offering up a number of tonal modifications which seek to deliver a classic Fender sound.

Equipped with a 10" Celestion Ten 30 speaker for an increased bass response, the Vibro Champ features modified circuitry, custom-made Schumacher transformers inspired by the original, and an added Fender hall reverb and tremolo.

The control panel contains a bright switch, as well as volume, treble, bass, reverb, speed and intensity controls to allow for greater tone sculpting.

The new amp boasts a 1968-style silver-panel aluminum trim, and flashes a silver-turquoise grille for that classic Fender vibe.

Described as the ideal tube amp for rehearsals, home recordings and even small gigs, Fender '68 Custom Vibro Champ Reverb is available from April for $749.

Fender '68 Custom Pro Reverb

Fender '68 Custom Pro Reverb

(Image credit: Fender)

Another new addition to the Fender amp catalog is the '68 Custom Pro Reverb, which again seeks inspiration from its classic 40-watt ancestor.

Equipped with a 12" Celestion Neo Creamback speaker, which utilizes a lightweight neodymium magnet to achieve classic rock and roll tones, the new amp weighs in at under 30lbs in a bid to improve its portability.

As well as featuring the same controls as the aforementioned Vibro Champ – bright switch, volume, treble, bass, reverb, speed and intensity – the Custom Pro Reverb also boasts a middle control which allows for even greater tonal possibilities.

Things to write home about include modified Pro Reverb circuitry, genuine Fender tube-driven reverb and grid bias tremolo, reduced negative feedback for more touch sensitivity, and a new single-channel format.

The refined amp is the "perfect size and volume for any gig" according to Fender, who also suggest that it could well be the ultimate pedal-friendly platform.

To keep things in line with the classic aesthetic, this amp also carries a 1968-style silver-panel aluminum trim with silver-turquoise grille cloth. As an added benefit, the Pro Reverb comes with a vintage-style two-button switch and a fitted cover.

The Fender '68 Pro Reverb is available from April for $1,299.

The new amps were announced alongside a string of new Fender guitars, including a new Noventa series, signature models for Jason Isbell, Chrissie Hynde and Ben Gibbard, and a collection of high-spec Squiers.

Head over to Fender for more info.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.