Fender Champ Reissue Review - I Hate It

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by overlook1977, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    12AX7 gain factor = 100

    12AY7 gain factor = 45, so about 1/2 the gain
     
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  2. JDRNoPro

    JDRNoPro Friend of Leo's

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    12AY7 is a lower gain tube. A12AXt has a gain factor of 100, a 5751 is 70, a 12AT7 is 60, and a 12AY7 is 45 or 50 IIRC,

    In theory the lower gain preamp will make the amp more quiet but I didn't really notice it that much in my amp.. As I mentioned earlier, I tend to play single coils with my 57Custom Champ volume @ around 5 to 6.

    What I observed is that the 12AX7 overdrives sooner and sounds more harsh. I think the lower gain12AY7 provides a wider range of tone between clean and overdriven and is easier to fine tune that "edge of breakup" sound that I like - and easier for me to control by picking attack . Also, the 12AY7 just seems "smoother" sounding regardless of volume or amount of overdrive.

    Others may have a different opinion or experience but that's what I hear. If one wants max overdrive and tube distortion. then a 12AX7 will do that better.
     
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  3. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow, I guess people can have different tastes. I bought a new one for $850 from MF with their regular 15% discount and I love it. It has better tone and I use it more often than some of my bigger and more expensive amps. A Champ gets its breakup from the power tube, so if your not liking the breakup on it, maybe our ears are different, or the 6V6 power tube could be subpar or on it's way out. With a neck humbucker, any Tweed can get muddy and you will need to have your tone on your guitar turned all the way up or use an equalizer pedal to brighten the sound. I've also gotten dead sounds on a humbucker neck pickup of a guitar and changed to fresh strings which made a huge difference. I play a lot on the neck pickup on mine with both humbuckers and single coils and am able to get a good sound. Played several different Pro Jrs. and they were decent amps, but did not really bond with them. There have been a lot of great songs and guitar tones recorded with a Tweed Champ and several well known guitar players swear by them.Different strokes for different blokes, I guess. Fndr57Chmp.jpg
     
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  4. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Oh wow...I have to try this. Tube G.A.S. initiated! Thank you! I've been looking for ways to make my champ clone less harsh. I mostly play clean anyway.
     
  5. Chipss36

    Chipss36 Tele-Holic

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    I have built fender style tube amps for about 25-30 years now, I don’t build champs..
    I messed with every type of single ended small amp circuit tricks, and I just don’t think they have enough power to stay clean, pretty much Princeton and up, makes a good versatile amp, I did build a ax84 back in the day when that internet project had just started, made a kinda cool little amp with one sound…ac/dc, it did that at lower volumes well, but clean? Nope especially not with any humbucker guitar. Sold it to an ac/dc fan, and he loves it.

    I have always hated champs, or any little single ended amp, and still do.
    Lowest power I like is the Princeton reverb. Or a tweed deluxe, running a push pull pair.

    sorry to see you shelled out a grand for one…man yikes.
     
  6. Wharfcreek

    Wharfcreek Tele-Meister

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    12AY gain = 40.

    Personally I prefer the AT. Slight reduction in gain, tames the crunch a bit, but still delivers all the tone. To me use of an AY, AV, or AZ just practically shuts it down, ...... and an AU?......forget it!! Might was well buy a solid state Bronco!

    And 'Yea!!!'.....the little Pro Junior DOES blow the champ away. Twice the power from the push-pull output stage plus a tone stack....... it should!! I love that little amp.

    Last comment: I've got one of the 600 repro amp where all I did was remove the baffle board with the small speaker and baby-blanket grill, and replace it with an 8" speaker, some 3/16" 3-ply wood for the baffle, and just a bit of hogging out of the inside of the bottom front of the amp to accommodate the larger speaker. I used one of Ted Weber's gems. Honestly, that amp has got some mojo that I really don't understand if having over the vintage Tweed Champ. But.....it does!! Go figure!
     
  7. JDRNoPro

    JDRNoPro Friend of Leo's

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    One other comment/suggestion I'll offer - amp placement and room acoustics are important......especially with smaller amps like a Champ. Don't stick the amp in a corner and get it off the floor - makes a big difference IME.

    My music room is about 13x15, My Champ ( and other small amps) are on open stacked shelves about 30" off the floor and the backs are a foot or a bit more away from a flat wall. SFSR,SFDR, 5E3,PR and other larger amps are on floor and/or a few inches off the floor.
     
  8. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    Like so....?

    3BA0CBA9-D1AA-4338-99E3-1512F2E210C2.jpeg
     
  9. Wharfcreek

    Wharfcreek Tele-Meister

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    Ya know, yesterday I stopped in to my local GC with the intent of walking out with an EQ pedal. I wanted to give that a try, as I don't own one, never have, and figured that if there was favorable commentary here about putting it between the Champ and the guitar, I'd be willing to give it a try. Sadly, there was not an EQ pedal in the place!! Go figure...........
     
  10. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    I am, for the most part just using an old MXR 10 band eq as you see in the pic. Works just fine.

    A23815B3-0E00-450B-9A72-51241B9BC396.jpeg
     
  11. NatillasdeMuertos

    NatillasdeMuertos TDPRI Member

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    I like my champ, it’s a nice amp to have around at home for getting that particular vibe and feel. Definitely an expensive little toy though if not recording it as well.

    I gave mine a set of NOS tubes a bit back and it improved it. Went 12AY7 so that there’s a more usable range on the knob. Looks like mine’s sat on 6 from last time I used it and was getting a nice range of sounds however my hands could change something up on the Tele
     
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  12. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    What iteration of the Champ are you using?
     
  13. NatillasdeMuertos

    NatillasdeMuertos TDPRI Member

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    Now you're asking a question! I think it's the current model that looks to have been around since 2016, front plate says Fender Champ 57 custom corona CA if that helps identify it.
     
  14. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    Yes it does. Thanks.
     
  15. Wharfcreek

    Wharfcreek Tele-Meister

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    Speaking of 'Champ Iterations', here's a shot of a few different 'iterations' I brewed up here in my shop. Note the use of different rectifiers, output tubes, power and output transformers, etc. Two of them also include the Tone control as found in the tweed Princeton amp, which is otherwise a Champ in every other respect. My objective was to see just how changing things up actually affected the 'sound' of the amp as well as how it reacted when being played at different levels, with different guitars, and thru different speaker cabs. I also have a 'repro' Champ which is 100% to spec, and the Mojotone 'kit' Champ which comes with a slightly 'larger than OE spec' cabinet. Honestly, my ugly'st amp is the one I'd say works the best overall. EL84 output and 6x4 rectifier. When building like this you learn a lot about how subtle changes can have subtle but very desirable affects on an amp's performance!!
     

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  16. neilshane

    neilshane Tele-Meister

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    I've owned three of those '57 Custom Champs. I bought into the hype. And I kept trying, but the hype let me down. I just could not get good tone out those things without a ton of pedals. Deciding to give it one more shot, today I made a trade for a 1960 Fender Champ with Weber speaker. It's literally like night and day. The reissues have absolutely nothing on the originals. Not even remotely close. Insane breakup at low volumes with a 12ax7. Incredibly organic blues tones with a 12ay7. I'm shocked at how much better it is. Complete keeper of an amp. The reissues should be embarrassed!
     
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  17. Mike M

    Mike M Tele-Afflicted

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    For a contrarian view :)

    I have the new 68 Custom Vibro Champ, and love it
     
  18. Wharfcreek

    Wharfcreek Tele-Meister

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    I should probably mention that I've played the 'Reissue' versions....'new', from the Fender company as sitting on the 'for sale' floor at GC. And, IMHO, I think the comment that the 'reissue' versions are just not even close to an 'OE' version is pretty accurate. BUT.....one must consider that the 'OE' version used tubes that were made differently, as well as transformers and even the speaker itself. In building all the different 'clone' versions that I've created over the years, I've come to believe that even the OE versions had their good ones and their bad ones. Just like a guitar, you can play 10 of the same model, 2 or 3 will get ruled out immediatel, a couple may rise to the top, and the rest will reside 'in the middle'. Eventually you'll chose 'the one'.....and the other 9 will become the inventory from which the next guy will chose. But, my point is that 'amps' are the same way. If you go try 10 of any of 'em, the same basic thing will happen. There may be a couple the 'tie' for first place..... but you get my point! So, while I'm still of the belief that these new reissue version really aren't the same as the OE ones, I do believe that perhaps 50 of 60 years from now they'll be someone's idea of perfection.....as most of the 'originals' will be under lock and key in the hands of the very rich collectors!!
     
  19. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    LOL! I call the "Chumps."

    While they do record very well, I can't see any other reason for them in the real world.
     
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