SOLD! - 1962 Fender Vibrolux Brownface 6G11-A
This super nice Vibrolux used to be the studio amp at Al's Music Studio as part os the famous "Al's Bar" in LA, California.
Al's Bar was a Los Angeles bar in the American Hotel that served as a gathering spot for that era's downtown art and music scenes. In 1979, Marc Kreisel and his partners purchased the dilapidated American Hotel on Hewitt Street, with a view to creating a cultural hub for the burgeoning art scene forming in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to converting the hotel into galleries, studios, and a home for artists, Kreisel, who viewed the whole building as "one big art show," purchased the ground floor bar from Alfonso Vasquez, the bar's namesake. Al's Bar was created to give artists a place to discuss art over beer.
For two decades, Al's Bar "survived" changes in musical fashion. Bands and singers that played there over the years included: Beck, DNA/Arto Lindsay, Ry Cooder, The Fall, Fear, Hole, Hüsker Dü, Imperial Butt Wizards, Los Lobos, Social Distortion, Mighty Joe Young, Nirvana, NOFX, The Party Boys, The Residents, Sonic Youth, Urge Overkill, Wall of Voodoo, and Dwight Yoakam. According to Jim Freek, "It's nearly impossible to overestimate the importance of the club to unsigned and risk-taking bands."
But if there was a single one person who made the Brownface Vibrolux famous it would be Mark Knopfler.
Knopfler got his first Strat only shortly before Dire Straits were formed. Before that time he had played a Gibson Les Paul Special through a Selmer tube combo amp in a band called The Café Racers. It is not clear if he owned the Selmer amp or if it was borrowed. What we know is that when he got the Strat, he plugged it into a Fender Vibrolux amp which probably belonged to Dire Straits bass player John Illsley, but today however it is still in Knopfler’s possession.
This amp was a Fender Vibrolux from the early 60’s from the brown-tolex era. Fender called this model 6G11 for first revision, or 6G11-A for the second revision. The brown Vibrolux is a really wonderful amp with about 30 watts from two 6L6 tubesit has enough power to be played in a band with drums and bass. It has one 12” speaker an Oxford 12L6 or 12M6 and a tremolo effects.
The controls are pretty much standard with volume, treble, bass and two tremolo controls (Speed, Intensity) which affect both channels. The Vibrolux does not have a Fender logo on the front grill cloth – the one on Knopfler’s amp is not original.
Mark played this amp live in 1977 and early in 1978, there is only a limited number of live pictures from 1977 and most do not show any amps. We have the following sources from this period that mention the Vibrolux. First Knopfler himself said in a an interview that “Sultans of Swing” was first written in open tuning on a National steel guitar, but it was totally changed when he got his Strat and played it through the Vibrolux.
There are two pictures from an early live gig at the bandstand on Clapham Common, London, September , 1977 – two months after recording the demo of “Sultans of Swing”, five months before the recording of the first album in February 1978.