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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy.

I'm in the market for one of these bad boys, and it's been a bit frustrating trying to wrap my head around them.

The nicest one I've heard was on consignment and had a lot of work done. I've got no problem with that, but the buyer was stuck at around $1700/$1800. It's not worth a buck over $1000 and I offered $1200. The shop was pretty upset he was claiming all original save the speaker. He took it back.

Anyway, next one was great, but $2900 + tx.

Last one was fine, and I'm hoping to get it for the original offered price of $2K all in.

My question:

This 3rd one is lacking in the chime department. If I swap it out the tubes, can I get some chime? The $2900 amp had a newer sovtek.
 

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Seems like a lot for a Champ. I may be the odd man out here but I've never really liked Champs. They record well, but sound kinda crappy in person.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Seems like a lot for a Champ. I may be the odd man out here but I've never really liked Champs. They record well, but sound kinda crappy in person.
Which one seems like a lot? Or do you mean all of them.

1) There's the modded one for $1800 (that's probably worth about $800-$900) - transformers, speaker, etc...gone.

2) There's the one for $2K with weber speaker and comes with original speaker.

3) Then there's one Tundra for $3000 + tx.

The new handwired champs are $2700 + tx.

The last two years of actual reverb sales have shown that these numbers aren't really out there - except for amp #1

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Just freakin ridiculous. There are a 100 other amps that are basically the same thing and cost WAY less. You want vintage? Check out numerous Gibson, valco, supro, Kalamazoo, Garnet, national etc. The prices above are completely absurd. You could build one for dirt cheap. If you want a $2000 logo then go for it, but otherwise save your money.

FWIW, I've owned a tweed, BF, and SF Champ. Nice amps, but the prices you listed are nuts. There is no magic dust in these. It's about as simple as you can make a circuit.

TG
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just freakin ridiculous. There are a 100 other amps that are basically the same thing and cost WAY less. You want vintage? Check out numerous Gibson, valco, supro, Kalamazoo, Garnet, national etc. The prices above are completely absurd. You could build one for dirt cheap. If you want a $2000 logo then go for it, but otherwise save your money.

FWIW, I've owned a tweed, BF, and SF Champ. Nice amps, but the prices you listed are nuts. There is no magic dust in these. It's about as simple as you can make a circuit.

TG
Jeez, I wasn't expecting that.

When you buy something for $2K and you sell it for $2K, how much does it really cost you? And, if they're basically the same thing, then I'm not sure it's something to get frustrated about.
 

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Jeez, I wasn't expecting that.

When you buy something for $2K and you sell it for $2K, how much does it really cost you? And, if they're basically the same thing, then I'm not sure it's something to get frustrated about.
Well, if your plan is to buy an amp just to sell it later I guess you won't lose anything if the market holds. But if your goal is to use the amp to produce a certain sound, why spend so much cash? Keep it, use it, enjoy it. If you want to pay for the Fender logo or buy it knowing you will flip it then fine, but just be clear about what you are paying for.
 

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I don't know how deep your pockets are, or how many amps you own. I also am not here to judge you.

I also know how great it is to experience old and vintage amps/guitars.

I tried to experience whatever amps that were offered to me to try. I also spent time researching sound clips, you tube, etc. I spent time with modelers, and amp that others claim to mimic aspects of vintage amps. It has been a learning experience, and it is tough to spend enough time with every amp that I own; let alone another new to me amp.

I settled on what I can afford, and likely can afford to sell when I decide to do so.

Some very good new amps can be had for less money, that will do the old Champ thing, and so much more. Also there are quite a few more common amps that have had good mods done to them that get you in a pretty close ball park to the real thing; and then there is the variation among the limited available original Champ units. They don't necessarily all sound identical.

I am only suggesting to spend when you are confident about your research, knowledge, and experience. Don't let the GAS get the best of you and your bank account.

At this point, I am content with a Bronco amp that had been modded in several ways, and serviced by a competent tech who understands these kind of things. It does clean, cleanish almost to 10 with good volume. There is a tonestack lift, negative feedback control, and an all out balls to the walls setting on the single 3 way switch. I added a different speaker and a Dr. Z Brake Lite to allow more control/tonal variations. Some people would say that this amp is ruined. I say not. I likely have less than $700 into it as it sits. It gets near daily use. I kind of stumbled onto this amp and intended to remove all the mods; get it back to stock. The right tech, patience, and experience ears, make it an amp to use nearly every day.

Hopefully my cautious opinion will get others to offer you more input. I think that the amps that you have been looking at are collector grade, or want to be collector grade, with asking prices that just not be justified in some circumstances. Be very careful my friend.
 

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Has anyone answered the actual question re: chime?

I would get steve mac and our west coast guru (name escapes me) to weigh in.
 

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A big part of my playing comes from how I feel about the instrument I'm playing. There is something about vintage gear that I like. I don't know why. I can barely put the feeling in words. Intellectually I know that any decent guitar and amp will sound good enough. A really good amp and guitar may sound better than vintage gear. I still prefer the vintage gear. I think I play better because I like it. If a champ gets your mojo working then get a champ. I don't have any experience with tweed champs and not a lot of experience trying different tubes in the same amp. What I have learned is it can be a crap shoot. A tube that sounds great in one amp may not sound as great in a different amp. You'd have to try some different tubes to know whether or not you can get the sound you're looking for in that particular amp. You could buy it and play with it. If you can't get the sound you're looking for the you should be able to your money back out of it. That's the nice thing about used gear. As long as you buy in the low to middle end of the price range you can always sell it for about the same.
 

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Trying to remember my reading, aren't the BF and SF Champs the same circuit as the tweed? From there, it comes down to component differences, be that drift in caps or different xformer builds or imho the 2 big ones, tubes and speakers.

Been a long time since I posted about it, but I have a 76 or 77 SF Vibrochamp (I know the tweeds weren't vibro). Is was a baffed out mess cosmetically, so my son and I built a 2x8 combo cab and added a speaker salvaged from an old Hammond organ at the dump. I forget which is which, but 1 speaker is alnico and 1 ceramic. Had a tech look it over, he added something (a resistor? I forget) to deal with the impedance. Cab has a removable sealed back.

I swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that amp sounds like a little Marshall and is punchy as anything with the back on. But we (OK, I) forgot to ventilate it an it overheats after 20-30 minutes. Still fabulous with the back off. Best pedal platform ever, right there with my old Hiwatt just not so loud.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Trying to remember my reading, aren't the BF and SF Champs the same circuit as the tweed? From there, it comes down to component differences, be that drift in caps or different xformer builds or imho the 2 big ones, tubes and speakers.
The tweeds sound very different to me. I've owned a vintage silverface and played a blackface at capsule music and they sounded closer to each other (the cleans)
 

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I won't comment on pricing as that's entirely the OP's responsibility. As far as tubes making a noticeable difference in sound, as Kerry Brown said, it depends. In general, the more simple the circuit, the greater the likelihood that tube swaps will not go unnoticed by your ears. With a simple cathode bias amp like the Champ, I find that experimentation with the output tube often pays off. Gerald Weber calls it: "Finding the tube the amp likes best."

Assuming it' properly maintained, the speaker probably plays a bigger role in how much "chime" you'll get from a Champ however. The other critical factor, in my experience at least, is the value/type of cap used off the Vol pot...night and day difference in some cases.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
A big part of my playing comes from how I feel about the instrument I'm playing. There is something about vintage gear that I like. I don't know why. I can barely put the feeling in words. Intellectually I know that any decent guitar and amp will sound good enough. A really good amp and guitar may sound better than vintage gear. I still prefer the vintage gear. I think I play better because I like it. If a champ gets your mojo working then get a champ. I don't have any experience with tweed champs and not a lot of experience trying different tubes in the same amp. What I have learned is it can be a crap shoot. A tube that sounds great in one amp may not sound as great in a different amp. You'd have to try some different tubes to know whether or not you can get the sound you're looking for in that particular amp. You could buy it and play with it. If you can't get the sound you're looking for the you should be able to your money back out of it. That's the nice thing about used gear. As long as you buy in the low to middle end of the price range you can always sell it for about the same.
That's pretty much it. I've played fantastic Nationals, Gibson's (Capsule had about 4 or 5 not too long ago), etc., but an old tweed is simply more appealing to me. I'm inspired by the idea of my new worn tele and a vintage tweed while I try to conquer hybrid picking.

Appreciate the help. I've also tracked down some good specific recommendations from the les paul forum where there actually seems to be some general consensus.
 

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I won't comment on pricing as that's entirely the OP's responsibility. As far as tubes making a noticeable difference in sound, as Kerry Brown said, it depends. In general, the more simple the circuit, the greater the likelihood that tube swaps will not go unnoticed by your ears. With a simple cathode bias amp like the Champ, I find that experimentation with the output tube often pays off. Gerald Weber calls it: "Finding the tube the amp likes best." Assuming it' properly maintained, the speaker probably plays a bigger role in how much "chime" you'll get from a Champ however.
Thanks, I'm going to mess around with the amp once I get my burtone, and see what it sounds like. I'll experiment with a few things then.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
One thing I found is that the new handwired fender tweed champ ($2799 + HST) when a/b with 3 other vintage tweeds was the worst of the bunch.

The nicest "champ" I've heard is the Milkman half pint ($3100 + shipping).
 

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Like you i was in the market for a champ but i knew the tweed and black face were out of my price range.I thought i could get a reasonable deal on a silver face champ.Everywhere i looked the 1970's SF were imo over priced.By the time i got one to my door the prices were reaching 1k or more.....
Then one day i went in to my local pawn shop and seen a 100 percent stock[except the tubes] Garnet Gnome under 100 Canadian....Usually this pawn shop has nothing priced where i would buy....I think they did not know what they had...

Champ killer=Garnet Gnome
 

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...I'm going to mess around with the amp once I get my burtone, and see what it sounds like. I'll experiment with a few things then.
Best way to go about it IMO. See what (if anything) it's lacking and go from there. I may still have some vintage 6V6 singles I could provide if interested...just let me know.
 
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Best way to go about it IMO. See what (if anything) it's lacking and go from there. I may still have some vintage 6V6 singles I could provide if interested...just let me know.
Cool, I'll keep you posted.
 

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I have had many champs, and found tube swapping to slightly affect the quality of the overdrive. I doubt very much it will make it brighter. I won't comment on price either as its your money. I will give my opinion on tone, tweed champs are OK for one sound. I get bored of that sound and want the classic Fender clean.
Now a BF champ....thats a different beast. They are awesome. Take pedals amazing. Plus, you should be able to get one for under a grand.
I had a snobby amp buddy come by one day and I had my BF champ with a Boss '63 Reverb pedal next to my '68 Princeton Reverb. Without looking at the amps, at a mid level volume, he could not tell the difference. I sold the PR after and still have the Champ. It sounds so amazing with reverb and fuzz its unbelievable.
Good luck in your quest!
 
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