Val King On A Fender Tweed Champ Amp
Val King: Hey, how are you doing? Val King, again, here at King Amplification. Today we’ve got a beautiful Fender Tweed Champ. This is a 5E1 circuit. This is the first Champ circuit. These were built from ’55 to ’56. By the serial number, this looks to be one of the early ones. After this, they went to the 5F1 circuit, which they built ’56 to ’64. And late ’64, mid part of ’64, they started putting the black tolex on them.
Again, this is the earlier one. This one came in. It was in pretty rough shape, and needed the typical work you’ll find on an amp this old. We got a good quality grounded power cord on there. Let me get that tucked in here.
I put a new power cord on it. Cleaned up all the dirt and debris out of it. Got all of the sockets cleaned and retensioned, cleaned the tensiometer. The filter capacitors also needed replacing. Typically, on this circuit, the filter capacitors are 8-microfarads, and we went with a 16-microfarad value. Beef-up the filtering, get a little bit better, improved low-end response and, of course, less hum.
At the same time, we changed the cathode bypass cap on both the first step preamp tube and also on the power tube cathode, as well. This is a clean little amplifier and will continue to give years and years of performance.
The Fender Champ is a single-ended, low-wattage amplifier, about six watts. Really considered a practice amp, of course, guys use these for recording and, in some cases, gigging. If you want to mike it, you can get some great tones out of these little amps. This is a good example of an amp that will give both preamp and power tube distortion at lower volumes.
A single-ended amp tends to be a Class A Style Amp. Certainly, more of a glassy, “tubey” sound, with a single-ended architecture. Certainly, a favorite amongst any tone freaks or collectors is the lower 6-watt Champs.
We also have kits available if you’re interested in building a Champ. We have an exact reproduction kit that we can build it exactly like the vintage ones were. The circuit is identical. For the most part, all the components are identical, as well, and certainly a way to get an affordable vintage amp.
Man: What would one of these go for?
Val: For a vintage amp like this, you’re probably looking somewhere between $1, 000 and $1, 200. To build a kit, you’re probably looking at less than $1, 000.