My Fender Champ Amp Project

fender champ front

The Fender Champ amp is one of the oldest guitar amplifier designs out there. Started in the forties this amp has undergone few changes and lives by the old rule "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." As my guitar playing progresses my interest and curiosity continues to grow. I've entered into the realm of amplifier building, and my first project is a copy of the Fender Champ 5C1 circuit.

fender champ rear

For the virgin amp builder, like myself the champ was an obvious choice. The circuit is as simple as it gets, and is extremely cheap to build. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the enclosure, so I opted to make it out of some leftover lexan I had. I tried to give it a smoked look, I've been told it's pretty ugly, but it works.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Fender Champ it's a five watt amplifier with a single volume knob. It incorporates one 6V6GT power tube, a 5Y3GT rectifier tube, and a 6SJ7 preamp tube, which is quite different than the 12AX7 preamp tubes used in many modern amps. I built a head only, but an actual Fender Champ amp comes with an eight inch speaker.

Along with the lone volume control the champ has a high and low input, a 4 and 8 ohm speaker output, a jewel light, and a two amp fuse. Not original equipment is a standby switch which I added, and now that I think of it, I don't think the original champ had two speaker outputs.

To my surprise the champ worked pretty much flawlessly upon first turn on. This was quite an achievement for me, because most of the things I build usually need some serious troubleshooting. The sound is incredible, not only can you get great tube distortion at low volumes, the champ has classic Fender tone. This amp is six months old and it has become my everyday amp. And that's saying something because I could be playing through a Deluxe Reverb, a Vibroverb, or a vox 30. With a little reverb from a 65 Deluxe pedal, this little amp can't be beat.

If you have any electronics background you can get a complete schematic and circuit layout for free at Weber Speakers . In fact you can buy a complete kit, or just the components. Weber offers great support, and components at prices hard to beat. I highly recommend building or buying one of these, simply great tone at low volume, and low cost

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