opinions on fender tweed 57 champ?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by adjason, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    Recent CL score of a Muchxs 57 champ with an old Jensen alnico 6x9...absolutely love it...best champ I've ever played; not boxy nor flubby; surprisingly loud, clear and warm and sooo responsive to the git and its knobs. No tone knob needed.

    Would also love to have a 54 octal Deluxe which to my ears is a different beast.
     
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  2. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    The tweed Champ was made from 1956 to 1964, pretty much unchanged as the 5F1 circuit; there's nothing special about a '57.

    I played one with a Strat, backing a singer-songwriter with an acoustic, and I loved the tone.
     
  3. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    Have a modeller and I never stay on the 57 Tweed champ very long. Unless you are a collector you will likely not care for the thin raspy sound for very long.
     
  4. WYfish

    WYfish Tele-Meister

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    I bought a new 57 champ a few months ago. I LOVE it. I had a SF vibro champ and like the tone of the 57 a lot more. Also built a 5f1 clone a few years back and while it was nice, I always wanted the fender tweed version. I feel like by the time you buy the kit, cab and speaker (or materials to build a tweed cab), you're not too far off money-wise from the genuine article. I got mine from MF for around $825 (i just asked for their best price). I usually play it at 4 with my tele and strat because of close proximity to neighbors. Cranked louder its even better. Takes my pedals real well too.
     
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  5. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Afflicted

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    You run that as a small gig rig or small practice room rig?
    I've got both amps and now I'm tempted to try that as a gig rig but most of the time my tweed deluxe is too much power as it is. Not sure if a champ would add any actual volume though. No shortage of mids in that situation!
     
  6. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

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    Hey Gobi-I have done either- but mainly for band practice and jams. The champ doesnt add volume really- but it is way into overdrive so it a lead thing or a thickener when used with the 5E3-although I usually us one or the other not both on at once. Using them with an ABY for me lets me enjoy what I like best about each amp.
     
  7. oatsoda

    oatsoda Tele-Holic

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    Looked at and played one alongside the PRRI, the tweed one with the 12" Cannibis Rex, and it seemed like for the same money I could have spring reverb and trem, and be able to play it out, why was it even a question? Yeah, sure, hand wired has some old school allure, but let's not fool our selves, there's no real magic there, just a bored employee with a soldering iron thinking about the weekend, same as all the other assembly line employees, (Who do a great job on those Princetons by the way).
     
  8. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

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    the 57 champ and the reissue princton reverb are as similar in sound as a les paul and a tele. I keep the princton in the LR and there is nothing that sounds like it clean with a touch of verb-magic sound. But it doesnt sound anything like a tweed champ on 12, which is also magical! If one had to choose a single amp, the princeton would be a fine and likely better choice as it is flexible.
     
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  9. Dr. Bill

    Dr. Bill Tele-Afflicted

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    I can't speak to the '57 Champ RI, but I recently picked up a used Tungsten Mosaic. I had been looking for something that would complement my Clark 5E3, which I dearly love, and had tried a number of Champs. Speaker choice is critical, and I've settled on the Weber Sig alnico smooth cone speaker. There's a reason why Fender chose that speaker for the '57 RI and the EC Vibro Champ. Suffice it to say that I get a similar tonality at markedly different volume levels with these two amps. Mission accomplished.

    upload_2019-11-19_12-5-36.png
     
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  10. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Deluxe, Deluxe, Deluxe. After building countless 5E3 Deluxe types I almost gave up on 'em.

    I just bought a batch of Deluxe parts from another builder who has given up on them.

    I have several beefs with the 5E3. It's way too loose. If you're a great rhythm player you can turn it up a little bit, get groovy and make it work. It's too loose for me. Also, it seems like it should sustain for a week considering how much is distorts. It's a demonstration that distortion isn't necessarily gain. Unless you're Neil Young, the sustain craps out leaving you (and me) high and dry.

    I wouldn't (female canine) about if I didn't do something about it. I built a modified version that has plenty of loud clean tone before it gently transitions into nice tight overdrive.


    And, believe it or not I have a Fender '57 Custom tweed Champ. For now.

    If you know me you'd wonder why. The '57 Custom is expensive. It has a couple cool features like the power switch divorced from the volume knob. For the most part it's just costly without any benefit aside from sporting a legitimate "Fender" badge.

    Fender used a 12AY7 tube rather than a 12AX7 in the Custom. Way I figure it they wanted to avoid complaints and returns from a stock tweed Champ's characteristic of getting sloppy at the big end of the volume range. It's a Band Aid fix. Put a 12AX7 in there, it's virtually the same as any vintage 5F1.

    A 5F1 will sustain for a week. No problem with overdrive and sustain. The extra gain is useful when using vintage guitars with weak pickups. The last couple notches on the volume knob can be too much with hot humbuckers, just enough with weak old single coils.

    An SM57 can't tell the difference between a Champ and a JCM800. An engineer can tell the difference because the bigger amp whacks the VU meters harder.
    It's too bad you sold your '60s Champs. There is a simple relatively unintrusive mod that facilitates switching between '50s and '60s tones. There is a caveat. A '60s Champ runs hot bias and elevated supply voltage. Whacking it with tweed style gain may drive the 6V6 tube hard enough to make it arc internally.

    Additional modifications enhance tube life at full crank. No arcing.
     
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  11. RYAN1987M

    RYAN1987M Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I also own a Fender '57 Custom Champ and I'd be curious - and appreciative - if you could expand on this a bit. I'm not the least bit technical, but I'm interested to know what tonal/sonic differences I would hear if I swapped the stock 12AY7 for a 12AX7.
     
  12. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    It's simple. No one cranked their amps in 1957. If you turned it up all the way you'd get into all that yucky (remember, we're back in 1957) you'd get into all that yucky distortion.

    It's funny that 1950s amps had fantastic distortion tones and no one went there. Then 1960s amps had nice loud clean tones while "everyone" was trying to figure out how to make their Fender amps sound like Zeppelin or Cream.

    In any case the volume knob on a tweed Champ goes up to 12. It tends to get sloppy above 10. The preamp has more gain than the amp can handle, simply put.

    Considering musicians' aversion to modified amps, Fender kept the circuit true to the original 5F1. They likely used a 12AY7 to knock down the gain and avoid the slop at the big end of the volume range.

    Swap in a 12AX7 to hear it.
     
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  13. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

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    To me the champ with the AY is sweeter and more bell like and the AX quicker to overdrive-but still nice sounding. This just may be my selection of tubes though.
     
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  14. regal2

    regal2 TDPRI Member

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    great little reverb pedal you have there as well, should have kept mine. I just got the Fender 57 Champ, and really like it. Used it for a lower volume blues gig the other night, it killed.
     
  15. regal2

    regal2 TDPRI Member

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    or a 5751 is between those two. The 12ax7 would be hotter than the 12ay7, more distortion, volume, maybe a little brighter.
     
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  16. darkwaters

    darkwaters Tele-Afflicted

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    Simple answer: buy it. Try it. Since it's used, you should be able to at least get what you paid for it, if it doesn't work for ya.

    I suspect lots of people would be interested. Heck, I'd buy it, but Virginia's kind of far away.
     
  17. Deepblankspace

    Deepblankspace TDPRI Member

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    Like alot of people are saying, going the kit direction will save you alot of money.
    Another option is to just make a head or like i did, put a standard output jack on the back of that thing and plug it into a 4x12 or whatever speakers you have around. The 8in novelty gets old and its not what alot of us are used to hearing our guitars through
     
  18. jimgchord

    jimgchord Tele-Afflicted

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    Champs are great little amps but I think people are insane for paying that kinda money when you can get a much better built clone. To each his own.
     
  19. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Actually the 8" speaker sounds like the EQ and compression that was used to master countless rock 'n' roll albums.

    If vinyl was mastered with the same dynamics you get from stacks of Marshalls next to three SVTs and a live drum kit, the needle wouldn't stay in the groove.
     
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  20. Deepblankspace

    Deepblankspace TDPRI Member

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    Okay.
    But again. Im used to the size and sound of a 12in, so i like to play my champ through 12s.
    Are they alnico or ceramic?is my clone exactly like the one on countless records? Is it 8oh or 16 ohm? Did i use oil in paper? Is my 8in cab made of pine? Did i put the 25uf in there like fender or did i follow the schematic? Is the amp against a wall? Did i use a microphone from 1957? I my tweed actaul tweed or tolex? Is the oxblood actually oxblood?

    I dont care. I play music with what i like.
    Im not mastering albums, im not even recording albums. Im having fun, pure and simple.
    Im a young dude, all the rock albums ihave are digital. Not to say i dont own 200 vinyl albums, because i do, but my rock sound and your rock sound could be very different, and so could OP's
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
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