FENDER CHAMP SERIES

 

The Champ model used the most primitive design for a Fender amp. It was intended as a budget amplifier for students and begirners, and the typical Champ uses a single 6V6GT or 6L6GC power tube. It has a single-ended power stage with a large amount of second-harmonic distortion. This gives the Champ a sound often described as "soft" and "lush." The Champ's small and cheap output transformer saturates easily and gives a poor low-frequency response. Early Chanps used 6V6GTs, were extremely primitive, with no feedback, while later models have more complex circuits with loop feedback.

In spite of their crudeness these early Champs are now very collectable, with a design has been much copied by others. The Champ's sound is a rock-n-roll standard, typical of many low-cost amps used in those early recordings.

The first Champ was introduced in 1948 and the series was discontinued in 1982 (although an updated version was introduced in 2006 as part of the "Vintage Modified" line). Most tweed and all blackface amps are easy to date, but silverface amps are more difficult. If the amplifier still has the original speaker there should be a code, usually six digits, stamped on it. You should be able to roughly date your amp using this code.

 

Fender Champ 12

The Fender Champ 12 was launched in 1987, the first of a new series of USA made tube amps. This was one of the first product released by the new Fender Corporation following the purchase from CBS. The Champ 12 was small in size and was designed as a practice amplifer. Production was moved to Mexico in 1990 and the Champ was discontinued a few years later. The earliest ones had black control knobs - these were soon changed to red.

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FENDER CHAMP 5E1

In 1954 the Champion 600 designation was dropped and the control-plate logo changed to Champ-Amp. Possibly these first Champ-Amps would have had the 5C1 circuits.

Then in 1955 the amp's controls were moved to the top, reflecting a chassis change, and the circuitry modified quite a bit. By 1955 Fender started putting its amps in the "Narrow Panel" tweed
cabinet. This was the model 5E1, capable of putting out six watts, still with a 6 inch speaker.

 

 

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FENDER CHAMP 5F1

The 5F1 version of the Fender Champ was introduced in 1956 and had an 8 inch speaker. This version had a slightly larger cabinet to accommodate the bigger speaker. The 5F1 circuit was also more powerfu; than the original Champion 800 circuit, rated at around 5 watts.

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FENDER CHAMP BLACKFACE / SILVERFACE

In 1964 the Champ's circuitry and cosmetics were changed again. The controls were moved to the front like the other Fender amps of the time, and the tweed was replaced with black Tolex. So in 1964 the Champ became a blackface amp. Some 1964 Champs were built with the 5F1 circuits, tweed-era cabinet
but Tolex covering. Presumably Fender had finally used up its remaining
stock of tweed.

This model (called the AA764) was in production until 1982. The Vibro-Champ was introduced in 1964: a Champ with an added tremolo circuit and also lasted until 1982.

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FENDER CHAMP II

In 1982 Fender hired Paul Rivera (of Rivera Amplification) to help design amplifiers with a modern sound. Amplifier sales were decreasing. One of the Rivera models was the Champ II, introduced in 1982. It had a 10 speaker, master volume and 18-watt output.

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FENDER CHAMPION 600

The Champion 600 (now with  a 6" speaker) used circuit designation 5B1. It was rated at about 3 watts, and had a "T.V. Front" style cabinet with two-tone blonde & brown vinyl covering.

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FENDER CHAMPION 600 REISSUE

In 2006, Fender reissued the Champion 600. It looks similar to the original Champion 600 model, but it has a modifed blackface Champ circuit (with the settings of the tone-stack being hard-wired rather than adjustable via Treble and Bass controls, and a couple of additional resistors reducing input-stage gain). It also has solid-state rectification instead of the original 5Y3 vacuum tube. The reissue model has the TV-front with two-tone tolex and speaker grille cloth of imitation suede.

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FENDER CHAMPION 800

The Champion 800 was introduced in 1948. It had an 8" speaker. The naming scheme used for later models suggests this amplifier used circuit designation 5A1. It was rated at about 4 watts, with a greenish tweed covering. It was soon replaced by the Champion 600 model in 1949.

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FENDER SUPER CHAMP

This was the second Paul Rivera designed Champ. It was essentially a Champ II with a second, lead channel and reverb. These are great amps!

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Specifications:

ModelImageMade in
Fender Champ 12
1987 to 1992
Mexico, USA
FENDER CHAMP 5E1
1954 to 1956
No image yet-
FENDER CHAMP 5F1
1956 to 1964
No image yet-
FENDER CHAMP BLACKFACE / SILVERFACE
1964 to 1982
No image yet-
FENDER CHAMP II
1982 to 1983
No image yet-
FENDER CHAMPION 600
1949 to 1954
-
FENDER CHAMPION 600 REISSUE
2006
-
FENDER CHAMPION 800
1948 to 1949
No image yet-
FENDER SUPER CHAMP
1982 to 1985
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ModelGrill ClothNumber of channelsNumber of speakersSpeaker brand and modelSpeaker size
Fender Champ 12
1987 to 1992
Silver face grill cloth2 Channels1 speakerFender designed12" speaker(s)
FENDER CHAMP 5E1
1954 to 1956
-----
FENDER CHAMP 5F1
1956 to 1964
-----
FENDER CHAMP BLACKFACE / SILVERFACE
1964 to 1982
-----
FENDER CHAMP II
1982 to 1983
-----
FENDER CHAMPION 600
1949 to 1954
-----
FENDER CHAMPION 600 REISSUE
2006
-----
FENDER CHAMPION 800
1948 to 1949
-----
FENDER SUPER CHAMP
1982 to 1985
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ModelControls material
Fender Champ 12
1987 to 1992
black controls, red controls
FENDER CHAMP 5E1
1954 to 1956
-
FENDER CHAMP 5F1
1956 to 1964
-
FENDER CHAMP BLACKFACE / SILVERFACE
1964 to 1982
-
FENDER CHAMP II
1982 to 1983
-
FENDER CHAMPION 600
1949 to 1954
-
FENDER CHAMPION 600 REISSUE
2006
-
FENDER CHAMPION 800
1948 to 1949
-
FENDER SUPER CHAMP
1982 to 1985
-
ModelNumber of signal inputsNumber of signal outputs
Fender Champ 12
1987 to 1992
2 inputs2 outputs
FENDER CHAMP 5E1
1954 to 1956
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FENDER CHAMP 5F1
1956 to 1964
--
FENDER CHAMP BLACKFACE / SILVERFACE
1964 to 1982
--
FENDER CHAMP II
1982 to 1983
--
FENDER CHAMPION 600
1949 to 1954
--
FENDER CHAMPION 600 REISSUE
2006
--
FENDER CHAMPION 800
1948 to 1949
--
FENDER SUPER CHAMP
1982 to 1985
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