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Tweed Fender Champ – C 17243

February 1, 2010

Tweed Fender Champ C 17243 was recently sold for $900.  We don’t have a whole lot to go on other than serial number, but we can estimate that it was made in early 1962.  The cord and caps have been replaced and the Oxford speaker has been re-coned.

The original parts were kept with the amp.  I always like seeing when people keep their replaced parts with vintage gear. Stuff just gets old and eventually wears out.  I remember reading somewhere that the life of these vintage capacitors is about 20 years.  Sometimes you just can’t help having to replace a part.  Keeping the original with the amp just somehow makes me feel better about the whole thing!

Tweed Fender Champ C 17243 Front

Tweed Fender Champ C 17243 Front

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Tweed Fender Champ C 03323

January 25, 2010

Another vintage tweed Fender Champ today.  This one is serial number C 03323.  This serial number tells us this is a very early 1957 amp.  The tube chart is stamped FL which tells us this was made in December of 1956.  We are lucky enough to have a picture of the speaker code 465-639 which tells us this in an Oxford speaker made in the 39th week of 1956 (early September).  This makes sense if you figure that a speaker would have to be made prior to the amp being assembled and could often wind up sitting around for a while.

The power cord is not original and it looks like some wires going in to the rectifier tube are plastic instead of cloth.

So, we have a pretty good idea of how old this amp is.  Even with a variety of dating methods, it can be difficult to nail down a precise age.  Sometimes close enough will have to do!

Tweed Fender Champ C 03323 Front

Tweed Fender Champ C 03323 Front

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Vintage Fender Champ Lineup – These are the Champions!

January 20, 2010

This photo is a mind bender.  If you like tweed Fender Champs like I do, then you like looking at pictures of these great vintage amps.  But what we are looking at here is something that doesn’t pop up that often – one of each variant of the Fender Champ from the pre-CBS glory days of Fender.  This photo appears courtesy of Terry Foster, one of the authors of Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970. Check out their blog on what went into producing the book.  Amazing stuff and it is on my wish list for this spring when it publishes.

(L to R) Champion 800, Champion 600 (tv front), Wide Panel, Narrow Panel (6 and 8 inch speaker)

(L to R) 1948 Champion 800, 1949 Champion 600 (crossed out tube chart), 1954 Wide Panel, 1955 Champ (small box - block logo), 1955 Champ (small box - spaghetti logo)

So what are we looking at here?

Back Row, left to right

1948 Champion 800 (also known as the green tweed Champ).  This is the earliest model Champ from 1948-1949.

1949 Two-tone vinyl Champion 600.  These were produced from mid 1949 to 1953.

1954 Wide panel 600/5C1/5D1 wide panel cabinet with the controls still rear facing like on the two tone vinyl Champ 600 but now covered in the diagonal tweed that we all know and love.  These were produced from 1953 till the switch to the narrow panel cabinet in 1955.

Front Row, left to right

1955 Champ (small box – block logo)
1955 Champ (small box – spaghetti logo)

From the Editor – I have revised this post per Terry’s comment below.  My original descriptions didn’t fully appreciate the uniqueness of what was shared and I don’t want to leave them mislabeled.  ~~JVI.

Fender Champion 600 – Serial Number 744

January 17, 2010

Today we have something a little earlier than the normal 5F1 Champs.  This is a Fender Champion 600.  This is the second version of the Champ and is a step down in speaker size (6 inches) from its predecessor the green tweed Champion 800 (8 inches).  The circuit was identical between the two.

Fender Champion 600 0744 Front

Fender Champion 600 0744 Front

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Tweed Fender Champ – C 10805

January 12, 2010

The great vintage tweed Fender Champs keep coming!  Another great example of a vintage amp.  We can get an idea of this amp’s age by looking at its serial number.  C-10805 tells us that this amp was made sometime in 1959.  Taking a look at the date code stamped on the tube chart we can see that it is stamped with IK which means this amp was made in November of 1959.  We also have a nice clear picture of the code on the speaker 465 – 939.  The first 3 digits tell us the manufacturer (Oxford) and the next digit is the year (1959) and the final two are the week.  The 39th week of 1959 was the last full week of September.  So this speaker was made about a month or so before the amp was assembled.  Not too shabby of an amateur sleuth job!

An interesting tidbit is the strip of masking tape with what appears to be the name Margaret written in pencil.  I’m familiar with Lupe Lopez (there is a great photo of her assembling Champs on page 17 of Fender Amps The First Fifty Years by Teague and Sprung), but not Margaret.  Any guesses?

Tweed Fender Champ C 10805 Front2

Tweed Fender Champ C 10805 Front2

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Tweed Fender Champ – 9055

January 9, 2010

Another oldie but goodie – tweed Fender Champ serial number C 9055 (clearly marked on the tube chart photo all the way at the bottom of this post – how convenient!!).  With this serial number and model number, we turn to reference the awesome work done by Greg Gagliano on determining how to date Fender amps by the serial number.  For the 5D1 model Fender Champ, with a serial number of C 9055, his work tells us that this amp was made in roughly mid-1955.  Looking at the tube chart again, there is a date code stamp of EE, which would correspond to May of 1955 – not a bad approximation just from the serial number!  The handle and power cord look like they have been replaced.

Tweed Fender Champ C 9055 Front

Tweed Fender Champ C 9055 Front

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Tweed Fender Champ C 03227

December 26, 2009

Another interesting little vintage amplifier, this one with a little more character than most.  As you can see from the photos at some point during this amp’s glorious life someone painted it silver.  It is serial number C 03227 so that tells us it is a 1957 amp.  We don’t have a picture of the tube chart but the previous owner tells us it was stamped with the tube chart code GA which points to January of 1957.

Tweed Fender Champ C 03227 Front

Tweed Fender Champ C 03227 Front

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