Other Amps

Fender Champion 600


Saw one at a local pawn shop today. Reissue. Would this be worthwhile as a home practice amp?


Like a lot of things, depends on price and really what your needs are.


Asking $125. Would use it for low volume practice, figuring out new stuff around the house. Important that it can sound musical rather than flat or annoying. If I could get it for $100. I probably have some tubes around I could put in it. Not sure I'd want to do more than that though.


Got mine for $80. They were $200 new, so, maybe the shop will haggle with you. I added a pair of NOs tubes that helped a lot. The speaker can be easily upgraded---I use mine to drive a pair of 8" speakers to get down to 4 ohms. There are a couple of mods you could do, but as-is it will work for home/practice use just fine. And, the knob goes up to 12!


Normally I get to 10 and I want to go louder, but where can I go? there is no louder. So 12 would be very useful volume-wise.



$75 to your front door. Small enough to disappear into a corner and loud enough to fill a room. Very clean jazz tones, plus reverb. Not a tube amp, but sounds a whole lot better than a stock Champ 600.


I went back and was able to get it for $90. Looked in my box of parts and found an NOS 12AT7 (can't read the label) and an RCA 6V6. That helped it a bit. It already had an Electro Harmonic 6V6 in it but the original Chinese 12AX7. A bit harsh sounding. Keeping my eye out for a replacement speaker. Thinking it might be worth doing the negative feedback mod and adding a bypass switch to the tone stack to get a little closer to a champ circuit.

It is what it is, can be useful for around the house but will never be a real champ. $90 bucks so far, trying to resist the impulse to put more into it. Probably better to save to build or buy a 5F2-A Princeton circuit to get the sound I really want.


Just remember that the speaker needs to be four ohms. Weber makes a direct replacement. As it's a really tight box, a 6" is about all that'll fit.


Yeah, I looked at a utube of someone installing an 8" and it wasn't pretty. It seems like the vintage ones commonly had 3.2 ohm speakers. The next thing I definitly want to do is put some real grill cloth over the speaker. It's like it's covered by a blanket the way it is.


Just played through it for an hour. Actually sounding really good with a slight delay from a pedal added. Nice to have rich tube saturation at house friendly volumes. It seems almost loud enough for jamming if the drummer was being mellow. The low input is nice for practice without disturbing anyone in the vicinity.


The 5F2 Princeton is just a 5F1 Champ with a simple tone control like the one on your guitar.

Jensen has an affordable 6" speaker for those. Under $30.


Better tubes, speaker and grillecloth will make a big difference, likely more than any of the mods. Kinda funny how far you can take these things once the ball starts rolling.


Yeah, I see examples of people replacing transformers. I'm trying to stop well short of that, thinking I should build what I want from scratch if going to that much effort and expense. But for 90 bucks and some extra tubes that have been sitting in a box for 15 years I'm pretty happy with how it sounds.


It's a small practice amp, and it does exactly what you'd expect it to do. The Fender's grille cloth is a lot like the original. The similar Gretsch G5222 has a grille that is also historic, and more of a sound suck than the Fenders. 5 tube watts is what legions of guys learned with. They're also handy if you work with acoustic players---you won't overpower them. Enjoy it!


The Gretsch G5222 is the same amp, but with different cosmetics. My wife bought me one as a Christmas present in 2007 or 2008, so I can never sell mine (even though it isn't the best sounding amp I've ever had the pleasure of using). It is what it is-- as Wabash Slim states above-- a practice amp.

Mine looks like this after I changed the speaker (Weber), the grill cloth, and lacquered the tweed:


They certainly have potential


They certainly have potential

– Powdog

A second 6V6 running in parallel single-ended? Heck, I might try that myself.


Nope. 5Y3 recto. But two 6V6s would sound killer!


As they say in Beverly Hills: "Looks like she's had some work done."


Search online for modifying fender champion 600, you will see a lot of simple mods. I did mine years ago but forgot exactly what I did but I added a 3 position switch with position 1 being normal, 2 - boosted, and 3 where it breaks up much earlier. They were fairly simple mods to do if I recall correctly, e.g. Resistors, caps, cuts, jumpers.


I bought one for $15 from a garage sale that wasn't working. It had a burnt resistor from a common problem they had plus a missing back panel. I did the simple fix got it up and running. Enjoyed playing it for a bit then gave it too my brother who can appreciate a low volume distortion amp better than me(I can't really play amps in my ^$%#%^$^ apartment) I thought that perfectly stock it was voiced well and had a great sound. I didn't feel the need to swap anything out. Perfect for low level goofing around and probably for recording too.I kind of regret I gave it away but I think my brother has a lot of fun with it. Also there's lot's of mods online if you want to monkey around. I'd buy another if I could find one for a similar deal....it would just be hard to pay a lot more for something I already picked up cheap. I'm tempted to build my own now.


I have a EC Champ, which is Fender using a Pro Junior chassis in an inventive way to create a 5F1 clone - second 12AX7 for bias trem, very tasty. Otherwise, it's a close facsimile of a 5F1 (A/B'd mine with a genuine, and it not bad for a new amp), it uses a Fender-badged Weber Signature (which is his budget line alnico speaker, I think they fit a 600) and it's a great little unit. I had a Silverface Vibro champ and swapped the generic ceramic which was rubbish for a Weber Sig and it was a massive upgrade, doubled the volume easily, like taking a thick woollen blanket off the amp. The stock fender speaker in these is low-fi, probably like an original.

Rather than a 12AT7 which is low in gain (60% IIRC), try a 12AY7 (75% gain) which there is current production of (Sovtek, I think but there's plenty of NOS too). A 12AX7 and 12AT7 are quite different and a 12AT7 triode is a lot less gain, but also changes tone a fair bit due to different cathode resistor.

The 3.15 ohm O/T thing was probably inadvertent. Fender bought many parts in job lots and practically, there's little difference. Single-ended cathode biased amps are very self-limiting in terms of power and current draw. They probably got a deal on surplus transformers intended for some defunct radio supplier - a buck saved on each amp back then was money in the bank, Frank - and a speaker maker obliged with a batch of lower impedance voicecoils.

That little Gretsch has a kewl-looking Alnico slug speaker....


That little Gretsch has a kewl-looking Alnico slug speaker....

Hate to let that cat out of the bag. Great little 8" alnico used in the Hammond AO-44 reverb circuit. Made by Rola or Heppner, you can pick these up on ebay for 10 or 20 bucks.


Searched for similar speaker, found a few similar but all are 8 or 16 ohms so far.


The OT is a Hammond unit with 4/8/16 ohm secondaries.

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