Servicing a 1950 Champ

Hey everyone!

I love amps, in case you didn’t know.  I especially love Fender amps.  But I really super especially love old Fender amps.

This thing fits all those categories, especially the old part – this is a 1950 Fender Champion 600.  While not in perfect shape (most things that are 65 years old aren’t…) it didn’t need much to get it running.  Let’s check it out!  You can click on any of these photos to open a high-res version in a new tab.

So this is what one of these guys looks like:

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While you don’t have much scale to go one based from this picture the whole amplifier isn’t even a square foot around.  SO TINY – SO CUTE.  Okay, maybe not cute, but still.

Here is exactly how it looked when I opened it up:

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Now, you don’t have to be a brilliant amp tech to know that little guy over on the right should probably be connected to something…likely hanging out with his friends in the middle.  Hey, he held on for a good long time.  It’s gonna be okay buddy…

Here’s some more shots to show the condition of the front panel and the components in their original state.

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Here you can see the tape reading “Lupe” – one of the now famous builders for Fender in the late 40s and all through the 50s

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To give this thing new life and allow it to make music for another 65 years it’s gonna need some maintenance.  Here’s a shot where I’ve replaced one signal bleed capacitor (white) and one bias capacitor (black)

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No matter what anyone tells or any crazy things you may read on the internet (oh the irony……..) I never trust old capacitors.  Especially ones that are 65 years old.  So, this is getting new caps in the power supply as shown in this next photo.  You can also see the grounded power cord I added for safety.  Tying it in a knot is just how the original cord was held on too.

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The next string of pictures shows the speaker, the tube chart Fender installed on every amp (which is in amazing condition on this particular amp!) and the condition of the chassis and cabinet.  Everything here is original including the tubes.  These use the early metal 6V6 tube before they were being made in glass.

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As with many of the handles from vintage amps, especially ones this old, this is a replacement I put on.  It’s a near-perfect match to the original.

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Here’s a group shot of all the parts I ended up replacing – the remnants of the handle, all the electrolytic caps, the power cord, and the fuse holder, as the original was cracked and wouldn’t stay in place safely.

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So there you have it!  A restored 1950 Fender Champion 600!  Ya know, a lot of these sound tiny with their 6 inch speaker, and really that’s what you would expect for something that is physically, by amplifier standards, very small.  Well, this blew me away once I got it up and running – I plugged in a good Telecaster and it sounded killer.  You had to crank it nearly all the way up but this amp had the tone these guys are known for.

I ended up selling this to an *extremely* well-known world-famous collector.  No, I’m not gonna tell you who, but he was very happy with the work and the sound.

Thanks for checking out the blog – see you next time!

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