Fender Champ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Gasp100, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    So I'm in search of a cheaper way to get a BlackFace Fender clean fix. I see tha Champs go for around $300 - 400 depending on condition, SF or BF, etc... 8" speaker sounds VERY small but you never know. I've been trying to replace my Gries 5 with something cheaper but I don't know if even a real Fender would come close.
    I've even considered some Ampeg's -- not many people talk about them, but I've heard pretty good things.
    In particular I want a lot of really nice, clean headroom in a home studio situation and an amp that can take pedals well. If it can get to edge of breakup that's killer too. Obviously I gravitate towards the BF but I'm open to other ideas.
    I found the 5 watts was just the smallest bit too low for clean headroom. If Dave made a 10 - 15 watter (for the same price ;) I'd be all over it!
    For example, I love my new Vox AC15CC (15 watts) and my Winfield (30/18 watts) because I can get everything I need at lower volumes, but I KNOW that if gig time or jam time came, these would deliver.
    Maybe I'm asking for too much?
     
  2. blackba

    blackba Supporting Member

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    I really like my BF champ. SF champs are still a great value. I would be worried that the champ might not have enough headroom, a fender princeton or princeton reverb sounds more like what you are looking for, but even the SF's go for more than $400.

    Have you thought about checking out one of the Fender Champ XD's?
     
  3. PFunk

    PFunk Member

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    I have a SF that sounded huge in the studio last summer. Those little alnico 8" speakers sound BIG for some reason. I had also just thrown in a RCA 6V6 and a Bugle Boy in the pre-amp.
     
  4. Shnook

    Shnook Supporting Member

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    My absolute favorite small low watt amp is a BF Champ. Perfect for home practice/recording.
     
  5. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks fellas. I actually have a line (called the AMP Emporium :rolleyes:) on a BF PTP chassis built by Nik of Ceriatone. I think that would be pretty slick seeing as he does great work (supposedly anyway) and I could decide if I want to go head or combo cab. Plus I have a 1x12 that I can drop in virtually anything, so maybe that would open up the Champ a bit. We shall see.
     
  6. schmerf

    schmerf Member

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    If you are looking for slightly more headroom and a Fender clean sound you could also look into Fender Musicmaster Bass amps. 12 watts through a 12" speaker. They have good low volume cleans and can overdrive as well.
     
  7. camelface

    camelface Member

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    The Champ won't give you the Fender BF clean fix totally. The speaker is too small. The cleans don't push any air at all. It's good for other things though. I have a SF Champ but I can't lie and say I wouldn't want a Princeton Reverb instead!
     
  8. Janglin_Jack

    Janglin_Jack Member

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    I got a SnakeSkin covered Champ 12. It has a Torres Mod, (turns out to be standard Fender values) and I put in a Celestion Heritage G12M, (had an extra one). Sounds killer. I have spent more for pedals and this thing kills!!!

    Jack
     
  9. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    How does the Champ (in particular a SF from around the mid-late 70's by my accounts) take pedals? I normally just plug in and play pretty clean when I'm practicing. Sometimes I dial in a little breakup which might be possible with these, but I would use pedals to accentuate and provide harder gain. I'm starting to see this little guy as a great practice amp and possibly for recording as well.
    Is is possible to use it as a head to push a larger cab with a 1x12 in it?
    Also, anyone have their SF Champ modded to BF specs? Are there differences? Is it possible? I know people have their Bandmasters and such modded to BF specs all of the time. I don't want to get too crazy on this little guy, but it's good to know what upgrades and such are out there.
    Any other mods I should know about? I'm not an amp tech, but there is one locally who is really good.

    -- Wow, holy google search. Maybe I should get this tweedified? Anyone do these mods? Seems like it might not make sense to render the bass or treble unuseable? Thoughts?
    http://www.schematicheaven.com/mods/champ_tweedifying_mod.pdf
    -- Also looking at some of the Torres mods as well.
    I LOVE THIS STUFF! Wish I was an amp tech though :)
     
  10. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Member

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    The 5F1 circuit (and all it's kissin' cousin brethren) are amongst the most ubiquitous small single ended amps ever produced. Love that Class A tone. I've had oodles of Fender Champs over the decades. These dayze I prefer modern 5F1 versions simply because they're better built, with far better components. A *really good*, robust 8" speaker is in a class of its own and shouldn't be compared to the wimpy crap found in all stock Champs. It's also reasonably easy to retrofit a Champ with a 10" speaker, I've done that to more than one Champ. My particular fave is the Li'l Dawg Champster Special (15w trannies, can handle 6V6 as well as 6L6 power tubes), here in an AmpCabCo tweed box and 10" Weber Chicago Vintage CTC-10 and special Carling off/standby/on switch - small, light, dangerously wonderful tone for stage or studio ...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. jpervin

    jpervin Member

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    Greg, I have a '69 Champ that I bought a few years ago, and the tone stack was modified to include a push/pull pot on the treble control which, when pulled out, defeats the stock tone stack and produces tweed Champ tones. Pushed in, it retains the stock s/f tone stack. Bruce Marcolina in Philly performed this mod for me and it sounds fabulous!
    I put an 8" Weber alnico speaker and some NOS 6V6/12AX7/5Y3 tubes in it.
    Amazing tones from a fantastic small amp!

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v341/jpervin/ChampAmp/S5000400.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v341/jpervin/ChampAmp/S5000399.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v341/jpervin/ChampAmp/S5000410.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v341/jpervin/ChampAmp/S5000407.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v341/jpervin/ChampAmp/S5000408.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v341/jpervin/ChampAmp/S5000404.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v341/jpervin/ChampAmp/000_0837.jpg
     
  12. 5E3

    5E3 Member

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    Wow! That is a sweeeeet setup! I need a 5F1 setup just like that. Thanks (I guess?) for posting that. :D
     
  13. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    Jim, that is awesome! It sounds like I'd be able to keep the "BF/SF" tones in place with this mod, then simply use the pull on the treble to get into tweed territory. I will PM your for more details. I don't even have the amp yet but it should be shipped soon. Thanks!
    I also dig that 10" speaker mod. This one has a Weber in it already, so I want to at least give that a shot first.
     
  14. big brekfest

    big brekfest Guest

    I've got a vibro champ on the way that I'm extremely excited for. I'm thinking of throwing a 10" speaker in there, but i'm hesitant to chop up the existing wood. I think something like this would be a better fit for me.
     
  15. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Member

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    For the very most part, vintage bf/sf Champ baffles are made from crap flakeboard.

    Grille boards are separate and Velcro'd in place.

    If the baffle is screwed into cleats, remove the baffle and make a new one - chances are high that a good 10" speaker won't fit by just enlarging the existin baffle.

    If the baffle is glued and stapled into cab dado channels, it's gotta get busted out - which, IMO, is a good thing 'cause flakeboard baffles suck.

    Champ 10" retrofit
     
  16. big brekfest

    big brekfest Guest

    that drop in baffle does work with champs that have the existing board screwed in. if i read correctly, the glued baffles came in to play prominently in the mid 70s. I'm lucky enough to have one screwed into the cabinet. I was also thinking about ditching the existing cab altogether and moving it into one of the sweet Allen amp cases, which have cabs made to handle 10" and 12" speakers.
     
  17. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Member

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    I've been VERY impressed with the AmpCabCo all pine, tweed cloth covered cabs that sell for $150/shipped - with either 8" or 10" baffles. For another $20 you can get the cab built larger, with a 12" baffle.

    IMO, if you want to save some bucks, stick with the stock all pine Champ cab and just replace the baffle board with a custom 10" - and enjoy.
     
  18. camelface

    camelface Member

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    BFchamps = early SFchamps in terms of circuit. It would be a waste of money to go blackface i think

    no circuit changes were made to champs until later
     
  19. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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  20. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    I have a modern 5F1 I put into a 1x12 tweed cabinet, a bit larger and deeper than a 5E3 cab actually. I also added a switch to open the negative feedback path and with an efficient 12 in there, the amp just screams with a tele or esquire. It's actually giggable until you get a pretty loud drummer and/or second guitarist. Not loud and clean, but that really great single ended grind that's perfect for so much rock&roll.

    Of course everybody by now knows that Layla was recorded with Champs.....tweed or BF vibrochamps is still somewhat debatable as I've heard both accounts, but to my ears my stock BFVC gets a bit closer than my stock vintage 5F1. There is also another account of Eric and Duane using BFVC's with the tone stacks bypassed, so that's yet another possibility that would make the BF closer to the tweed topology. Either way, champs are great recording amps!
     

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