Skip to content or Skip to navigation

Pete’s Gear: Fender Vibrasonic amp

Pete Townshend’s brown Fender Vibrasonic 1x15 combo amplifier. Used 1965.

Before the advent of the traditional mutli-amplifier/cabinet arragements, Pete Townshend used a Fender Vibrasonic, along with a Fender Bassman top or Fender Tremolux top, to drive two Marshall 4x12 cabinets, creating the first “stack.” He had originally devised this setup using his Fender Pro “head” and the Fender Bassman.

The Vibrasonic was a 40-watt amp, covered in brown tolex and appears to be faced with wheat grille cloth; featured a 15″ JBL D130 speaker, 2x5881, 4x7025, 2x12AX7, solid state rectifier.

Selected quotes from Pete Townshend

All quotes and references are copyright their original owners and are included for reference only.

Guitar Player, October 1989

I never, ever used a stack with one amplifier until I got into Hiwatts, and I didn’t use Marshalls very long. In fact, I never used Marshall in the beginning at all. I used to use Fenders; I had a Fender Pro and a Fender Vibrasonic and a Fender Bassman top, and I used to drive Marshall 4x12’s with those amplifiers. I thought Marshalls were awful, and I’m afraid I still do, although that’s just a personal opinion. I don’t mean it’s bad stuff: I just mean I didn’t like the sound. And when I heard Hiwatt I was over the moon, because they sounded to me much more like a really good, top-line mid-’60s Fender amp. I still think it’s hard to beat Fender amps; they’re astonishing.

Photo Gallery

Click to view larger version. Ca. 1965, feeding back a 1964 Rickenbacker 360/12 Export through an early “stack” of Marshall 4x12 cabinets powered by a Fender Bassman atop the stack, which is daisy-chained to a custom Fender Pro head at lower right.

Ca. 1965, at the Marquee, playing the 1964 Rickenbacker 360/12 Export through an early “stack” of Marshall 4x12 cabinets powered by a Fender Bassman atop the stack, which is daisy-chained to a Fender Vibrasonic at lower right.

Click to view larger version. Ca. 1965, feeding back a 1964 Rickenbacker 360/12 Export through an early “stack” of Marshall 4x12 cabinets powered by a Fender Bassman atop the stack, which is daisy-chained to a custom Fender Pro head at lower right.

Ca. 1965, at the Marquee, playing the 1964 Rickenbacker 360/12 Export through an early “stack” of Marshall 4x12 cabinets powered by a Fender Bassman atop the stack, which is daisy-chained to a Fender Vibrasonic at lower right.

Resources and Information

Acknowledgements

Tremendous thanks to the following for assistance with this page:

  • Mark Herman