Fender 57 custom champ. Thoughts? Stew Mac kit?

Texicaster

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It Varies.....
I have never tried a vibro champ. Will check one out yhough. Thank you.

Then there’s this:


This is quite the rabbit hole :)

Somehow I missed this first time around!

I just got mine and I gotta say this demo does not do it justice. Sounds very boxy in this video.

This one is a little closer to reality. A totally different universe than a Vibro Champ!


 

screefer

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My $0.02?
Grab a Mojo 5F2a kit and employ a 10" speaker.... for all the reasons stated above.
You've got the build idea in yer head and if you don't follow through it'll bug ya.
I guarantee you won't be sorry:)
 

Cali Dude

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I saw a review of this. Has vibrato right. Looks great.
Yes, the EC vibro champ does have vibrato. It's a glorious effect. I love mine. It's certainly quiet enough for apartment playing, and has a half power switch. Still, if you crank it too loud, even 2.5 watts can be loud when running the amp past 7-8.
 

Powdog

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I’ve found that with either the 5F1 or 5F2a a bigger cabinet and speaker make ALL the difference. Get the amp kit and build or buy an oversize cab. This is a 5F1 chassis in a cab that currently houses a pair of vintage Jensen 6x9s, but can easily accommodate a 12” speaker.
1651501757257.jpeg
 

schmee

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Build one in a commonly available 5E3 chassis ($39?) and cab for 10 or 12" speaker. Cheaper than a kit. Then it wont be nasal and boxy.
Buy the 12 watt output tranny available, it's multi tap 4, 8, 16, and only $31
 

bananafist

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I bought a fender champ reissue about 3 years ago. Harsh, brittle and no sweet sounds IMO. Sold it at a loss. My other amps are handbuilt PRs and a VVerb. PRs do it all really, incl reverb and trem. I'd get a Vibrochamp or a PR in your place.Good luck.
 

foh50

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Peterborough, Ontario
Happy weekend to you all. I’ve been thinking about buying a 5 watt amp, most likely a Fender 57 custom champ, and wanted to ask those who own one a bit more about them. Most of the reviews out there are positive, as reviews tend to be, and listening to the tones Julian Lage gets out of his is certainly a factor (yeah yeah I know it's all in his fingers). This will be my first tube amp. I'll be playing at home and don't see myself gigging with it, so I'm looking for something small, but with "nice" clean tones at volumes that don't get me evicted from my apartment or divorced by my wife. I play mostly ambient and jazzy stuff these days. Some youtube clips I listen to sound very thin, tinny and trebly, but when I listen to others they sound pretty full with decent mids and bottom end. It's hard to tell what's real and what's not on Youtube, hence my question here.

Then... I saw Stew Mac sells a kit. This is appealing as it's half the price, and building things myself is something I like to do. So.. does anyone have experience of both, and if so is there a noticeable difference from having different components, speaker, etc? (I would pay up for the Fender amp if it sounds better, but part of me is hoping the answer to this last question is "no, they sound alike").

Anyway, looking forward to hearing thoughts on the above and what people think of these small amps in general.

Thank you.
Hey Thegaigin: I built a 5 watt Champ clone from Boot Hill Amps and I love it. Decent price and great communication should you need help. just bought the amp kit and built my own slightly oversized cabinet for a 10" Eminence speaker. It does have that early Fender vibe if that's what you're after.
I also built a MOD 102 5 watt amp. Again I built my own cabinet and put a 10" speaker in it. It is a terrific amp. Certainly my personal favorite. It's a bit richer and fuller than the champ and has a bass and treble feature missing on the Champ. Real clean and rich at low to mid volume and a nice break at high volume. Both amps are great for avoiding eviction and if you build your own you keep the price down and that, my friend will certainly please the wife.
FOH50
 

DrCorey

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Happy weekend to you all. I’ve been thinking about buying a 5 watt amp, most likely a Fender 57 custom champ, and wanted to ask those who own one a bit more about them. Most of the reviews out there are positive, as reviews tend to be, and listening to the tones Julian Lage gets out of his is certainly a factor (yeah yeah I know it's all in his fingers). This will be my first tube amp. I'll be playing at home and don't see myself gigging with it, so I'm looking for something small, but with "nice" clean tones at volumes that don't get me evicted from my apartment or divorced by my wife. I play mostly ambient and jazzy stuff these days. Some youtube clips I listen to sound very thin, tinny and trebly, but when I listen to others they sound pretty full with decent mids and bottom end. It's hard to tell what's real and what's not on Youtube, hence my question here.

Then... I saw Stew Mac sells a kit. This is appealing as it's half the price, and building things myself is something I like to do. So.. does anyone have experience of both, and if so is there a noticeable difference from having different components, speaker, etc? (I would pay up for the Fender amp if it sounds better, but part of me is hoping the answer to this last question is "no, they sound alike").

Anyway, looking forward to hearing thoughts on the above and what people think of these small amps in general.

Thank you.
The tube depot kit (5E3) was a fun build sounds great and might fit your needs. PCB is easier to solder than point to point. Getting pricey now though. Nice review on the site also.

 

mmannaxx

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My recommendation is, unless u really enjoy building amps and know what u r doing, buy a vintage Vibro Champ as it will always have value. Black or silver face.
 

Itgoesto11

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Please excuse me as I color outside the Fender lines for a minute…
I owned a 57 Champ and though I liked it, I wanted a less boxy sound with more tonal flexibility. I would up with the Tone King Gremlin. Though rated at 5 watts it puts out more like 12 watts. You have volume and tone and can plug into the blackface or tweed channel and AB/Y for more flexibility. What really sold me was the Ironman attenuator built in to the amp so you can attenuate in 5 increments and crank the amp to get the KT66 tube going without the neighbors calling the police on you.

B06E7887-72B6-4F7A-BD5E-174522403457.jpeg
B06E7887-72B6-4F7A-BD5E-174522403457.jpeg
 

Trailpro

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Why don't you look into a Super Champ x2. It has more bells and whistles than a champ but you don't have to use them. It has reverb and or tremolo if desired, and well as channel switching. It comes with a 10" speaker. I use mine every night for practice and would not be afraid to take it to small gigs. I love the sound of it. It's like 2/3's of a deluxe. You can find them used at very reasonable prices.
 

rustyblade

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Happy weekend to you all. I’ve been thinking about buying a 5 watt amp, most likely a Fender 57 custom champ, and wanted to ask those who own one a bit more about them. Most of the reviews out there are positive, as reviews tend to be, and listening to the tones Julian Lage gets out of his is certainly a factor (yeah yeah I know it's all in his fingers). This will be my first tube amp. I'll be playing at home and don't see myself gigging with it, so I'm looking for something small, but with "nice" clean tones at volumes that don't get me evicted from my apartment or divorced by my wife. I play mostly ambient and jazzy stuff these days. Some youtube clips I listen to sound very thin, tinny and trebly, but when I listen to others they sound pretty full with decent mids and bottom end. It's hard to tell what's real and what's not on Youtube, hence my question here.

Then... I saw Stew Mac sells a kit. This is appealing as it's half the price, and building things myself is something I like to do. So.. does anyone have experience of both, and if so is there a noticeable difference from having different components, speaker, etc? (I would pay up for the Fender amp if it sounds better, but part of me is hoping the answer to this last question is "no, they sound alike").

Anyway, looking forward to hearing thoughts on the above and what people think of these small amps in general.

Thank you.
Ship arriving too late ... I haven't built a tube amp in ages but this should be simple enough if you only follow the suggestions and learn to solder properly.
 

tsneff

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Happy weekend to you all. I’ve been thinking about buying a 5 watt amp, most likely a Fender 57 custom champ, and wanted to ask those who own one a bit more about them. Most of the reviews out there are positive, as reviews tend to be, and listening to the tones Julian Lage gets out of his is certainly a factor (yeah yeah I know it's all in his fingers). This will be my first tube amp. I'll be playing at home and don't see myself gigging with it, so I'm looking for something small, but with "nice" clean tones at volumes that don't get me evicted from my apartment or divorced by my wife. I play mostly ambient and jazzy stuff these days. Some youtube clips I listen to sound very thin, tinny and trebly, but when I listen to others they sound pretty full with decent mids and bottom end. It's hard to tell what's real and what's not on Youtube, hence my question here.

Then... I saw Stew Mac sells a kit. This is appealing as it's half the price, and building things myself is something I like to do. So.. does anyone have experience of both, and if so is there a noticeable difference from having different components, speaker, etc? (I would pay up for the Fender amp if it sounds better, but part of me is hoping the answer to this last question is "no, they sound alike").

Anyway, looking forward to hearing thoughts on the above and what people think of these small amps in general.

Thank you.
I have built several, in both 8” and 10” speaker configurations. You can find the cabinets on eBay for both size speakers. The amp is amazing in every aspect. Experimenting with different tubes and speakers will change its personality, as will the way you play (pick attack).
A huge plus is how well the Champs take pedals, so pushing the tubes at lower volume with boost and OD gives you the tone you want without walking the dead.
Tone knob on your guitar is your friend and subs the treble setting on “newer” amps.
Custom capacitors and accurately measured resistors all increase the quality of your amp.
Enjoy the adventure…
 

Rossi163

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I concur with others that say go 5F2A and while others say 10" speaker I went all the way up to a 12" . It will easily fit in a Princeton cab and you have way more options with 12's than you do 8's or 10's.
All the sweetness and dynamics of a single ended clas A circuit, a very useful tone control and the larger cab and speaker eliminates the nasal / boxy complaint of the Champ

You're welcome
 

OmegaWoods

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I feel the black-hole like pull of building a kit amp. I sense that resistance is futile and I should just walk toward the (jewel) light. Toward the light. Toward the light....
 

Wiley

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I've had a '57 Champ since 2010, a very early model with just the "Fender" on the face tag. It's my favorite of all my amps because of it's size, tone, etc. I don't gig anymore so around the house it's perfect. The only changes I made and would suggest is NOS tubes and a few years ago I replaced the Weber speaker which I thought did little to bring out the full range of sound. I replaced it with a reissue Jensen P8R, Alnico also, and once that broke in, it had a nice vintage sound with more cleans but still with a lot of bite. It's probably difficult to justify another $100 after paying an excessive $1,200 but I found the diff worth it. Happy playing whatever you decide on.
 

Big_Vig

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Do yourself a favor, checkout any of the Roland Micro Cube solid state amps. IMO, they can yield sounds and tone beyond anything the Champs or the kits offer, plus no tubes. And save yourself a bit of money plus avoid the inevitable for the tube market.
 

Volcanicash01

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Happy weekend to you all. I’ve been thinking about buying a 5 watt amp, most likely a Fender 57 custom champ, and wanted to ask those who own one a bit more about them. Most of the reviews out there are positive, as reviews tend to be, and listening to the tones Julian Lage gets out of his is certainly a factor (yeah yeah I know it's all in his fingers). This will be my first tube amp. I'll be playing at home and don't see myself gigging with it, so I'm looking for something small, but with "nice" clean tones at volumes that don't get me evicted from my apartment or divorced by my wife. I play mostly ambient and jazzy stuff these days. Some youtube clips I listen to sound very thin, tinny and trebly, but when I listen to others they sound pretty full with decent mids and bottom end. It's hard to tell what's real and what's not on Youtube, hence my question here.

Then... I saw Stew Mac sells a kit. This is appealing as it's half the price, and building things myself is something I like to do. So.. does anyone have experience of both, and if so is there a noticeable difference from having different components, speaker, etc? (I would pay up for the Fender amp if it sounds better, but part of me is hoping the answer to this last question is "no, they sound alike").

Anyway, looking forward to hearing thoughts on the above and what people think of these small amps in general.

Thank you.
Just get a Roland Micro Cube and forget about tones etc. This little Demon has it all!In spades!
 




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