The vintage blackface fender vibro champ is a unique, lightweight gem. The vibrato is rich, and luscious sounding. These are low-watt treasures that are perfect for recording, keeping stage volumes manageable, and jamming or practicing around the house. They are ok on their own for very small gigs, and are very useful miked when a bigger sound is needed out front. The trend these days is to play low-watt amps that can be pushed a bit. Most venues can't accommodate the beastly loud amps that many guitarists used to think they needed, only to be told repeatedly: "Turn it DOWN!" Your soundman, bandmates and audience will thank you.
The circuit is fender's only Class-A circuit. All of their other combos are Class-AB. Class-A amps are prized for their single-ended tone. Mesa Boogie and many boutique manufacturers go to great lengths to make Class-A amps due to the rich sound produced. This is not to say Class-AB amps are inferior-not in the least. But the tone and responsiveness/feel are different.
Like most vintage fender amps, the tone is beautifully clean up to around vol 4-5. The tonal character of these amps is very rich, because of the circuit, and also because of the 8" speaker. Interestingly, the 8" speaker rolls off a bit of lows in such a way that
the guitar sits in the mix perfectly without clashing with the other instruments. Replacing the speakers with modern upgrades can further increase their
versatility at minimal cost. Jensen and Weber make very inexpensive 8"
When you increase the volume beyond 5 you get an additional beautiful grit that is very touch sensitive. When you crank these amps you realize why these were used in the studio by Clapton so often. This is a very expressive instrument.
These are beautiful sounding amps filled with character. Highly portable, with very comfortable volume levels for clean or dirty sounds, these are truly remarkable, under-appreciated instruments that help guitarists express their individual creativity. Currently these are the most affordable of the vintage fenders. Watch the prices increase as more guitarists and studio owners snatch them up.
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