57 Custom Champ... not nearly enough high end

David Meiland

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Trying to decide if this is my ears or actually a possible issue. Got a used 57 Custom Champ and it only sounds right to me if I run an EQ pedal with a fair amount of high end added... according to the pedal it looks like at least 5db around 3k with a fairly wide bandwidth. If I plug the same signal into any of my other amps with their tone controls neutral it's way too bright. The Champ sounds great like this but it seems like it shouldn't be necessary. Is this just the way it is, or is there a possible tube or component issue that I should look at? I have the day at home today and would love to chase this down if anyone can give me advice on where to look.
 

57fenderstrat

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This won’t be very helpful because it is regarding my 57 custom deluxe, but I felt the same way for a long time. I find that the sound really changes depending on where I sit in the room. It seems dull when I sit close like I normally do or off to the side of it. But when I’m farther away and give it some breathing room it sounds like I want it too.
 

Dacious

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That's the way a 57 Tweed sounds.....

Play it for a while, recalibrate your ears especially if used to a treble intense (mid deficient) amp like most Fenders with reverb.

It's fair to say they aren't for everyone. But believe it or not it's the mids that cut. If your guitar is a humbucker or has hottish pickups plug into input 2.

You can usually get sweeter tones by exchanging the preamp tube. Fender don't put the optimum.in these. A lower gain 5751 usually works a treat.

Also - it takes a lot of hours for the speaker to break in. 30-40 which is a lot of playing. It smoothes out a fair bit.
 

Jazzerstang

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Trying to decide if this is my ears or actually a possible issue. Got a used 57 Custom Champ and it only sounds right to me if I run an EQ pedal with a fair amount of high end added... according to the pedal it looks like at least 5db around 3k with a fairly wide bandwidth. If I plug the same signal into any of my other amps with their tone controls neutral it's way too bright. The Champ sounds great like this but it seems like it shouldn't be necessary. Is this just the way it is, or is there a possible tube or component issue that I should look at? I have the day at home today and would love to chase this down if anyone can give me advice on where to look.
Yup. I have a 5f1, and it is what it is. The highs come out when you get OD going. At lower levels it’s a jazz machine.

the larger tweeds have a bit more balanced tone (I just built a vibrolux kit and it is waaaay more balanced) but still are on the middy side. The 5f1 champ is generally a darker amp.
 

Lowerleftcoast

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Is this just the way it is, or is there a possible tube or component issue that I should look at?
The Champ is a simple circuit. It kinda is what it is.

If you were to mod the circuit for more highs...
A bright cap on the volume pot might help. It becomes less effective as the volume is turned up so if you are playing at lowish volumes this may take care of the lacking highs. If you have the volume knob up... don't bother. Try 100 to 250pF. Just clip it in to find the right value. Solder it in if you like it.

The 68k input resistors could be changed to as little as ~30k. That would help to not scrub off some of the highs. You could try this out by just clipping in 68k resistors in parallel with the existing 68k resistors. Easy way to see if it does enough to be worthwhile.
 

Frontier9

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Greetings from Sunny New Jersey
You can see what your amp is doing by using this calculator
The calculator will open with the default values of a typical 12AX7 tube in the preamp section of an amplifier.
From the schematic of the '57 Champ that I found online, it seems that the cathode bypass capacitor on your amp is 25uF. The cathode resistor is 1.5K ohms (which is the value already in the calculator by default).
If you move the "Desired half boost frequency, Hz" slider towards the left until the "The capacitor value is xx.x uF" reading (first line under the graph) says 25uF, the graph will show you that your preamp circuit is allowing almost all of the lower frequency range thru. Keep in mind that the frequency of the low E string is 82.4Hz. You can tame the amount of low end by using a lower value bypass capacitor (Ck in the illustration). Maybe somewhere around 4uF to 1.5uF? Slide the "desired half boost
" slider until the capacitor value reads around 2uF and you'll see that the lower frequencies are attenuated a bit. Not sure if you are up to poking around the insides of an amp - it can be lethal - but a tech could replace the bypass capacitor for you for a resonable fee.
 
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Minivan Megafun

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I don't know what you guys are all on. I had an EC Champ and that sucker was plenty bright with single coils.
 

JDRNoPro

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Get it up off the floor and stand/sit at least 6 in front of it.

I think this makes a difference too. As as been said, the original 5F1 is a darker voiced circuit than some others. My 57 Custom Champ sounds a little darker than a 5F1 clone I have that was built by a highly regarded builder. Having said that, it also sounds much bigger/fuller(better) than the clone IMO, which is thinner & more shrill in comparison. I run same mix of NOS tubes in both but same was true with OEM tubes. BTW, I play single coils almost exclusively........
 

Whoa Tele

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I use a Wampler Black 65 pedal to EQ my Goodsell Champton which is also darkish in tone. If works well as it has bass Mids and treble and I can go from tweed to blackface with the press of a switch.
 

Ess Eff

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You might think this is crazy but just snip the cathode bypass capacitor.

Fixed!

Fender themselves left it out on the original Champs.

Will solve your problems and if you want to sell it, just solder it back.
.
 

STFYVR2022

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Trying to decide if this is my ears or actually a possible issue. Got a used 57 Custom Champ and it only sounds right to me if I run an EQ pedal with a fair amount of high end added... according to the pedal it looks like at least 5db around 3k with a fairly wide bandwidth. If I plug the same signal into any of my other amps with their tone controls neutral it's way too bright. The Champ sounds great like this but it seems like it shouldn't be necessary. Is this just the way it is, or is there a possible tube or component issue that I should look at? I have the day at home today and would love to chase this down if anyone can give me advice on where to look.
Hi David,

I have the same problem with mine.
Did you find a solution that worked for you?
Thx.
 




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