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5F1 Model Tweed Fender Champ Under Chassis

2010 April 28
by Jason Isadore

A while back I bought a Fender Champ on eBay.  It was a total POS.

Now, at the time, I didn’t realize it was a total POS, but a POS it was nevertheless. I bought it on impulse. When you collect vintage gear, every now and again you’re gonna buy a clunker. At least that is what I told myself in the hours after unboxing…

It was a 5F1 model made in July 1959. When I got it, it was covered in that crazy, really-old-thing-sitting-in-the-basement-for-30-years, kind of dirt.  It smelled dirty, old.  The tweed was coming off the bottom of the cabinet, probably because it got wet. The caps had leaked and were bulging. Some of the resistors had broken their solder joints and others looked moldy. Why would anyone buy this amp? Like I said, it was an impulse buy and I can’t quite explain why I did it. Any-hoo…

I figured that I would restore it, give myself something to do. Sounds easy, right? I mean, how hard is it to do some soldering? Tinkering around with it I realized that this might take me a little more money, time and skill than I anticipated (the transformer was rusted for frak’s sake!) so I haven’t really gotten very far. However, I now have an awesome pile of POS parts and I noticed a few interesting things that I’ll share with you all over several posts. These are the kind of things that you would only see if you took a Fender Champ apart.

To begin, I’ll start with showing the seams of the tweed covering from the perspective of right under the chromed chassis. These fabric cuts are nearly invisible unless you look closely at the corners of the cabinet in the chassis cutout. If you were to pull the chassis out of your 5F1 model amp, the photos below are what you would see.  In these photos the cabinet is upside down.

Tweed Fender Champ, Under Chassis, Front

Tweed Fender Champ, Under Chassis, Front

So it looks like the corners are wrapped in at least two pieces of tweed. The main piece of tweed that stretches across the top of the cabinet, and then a piece that goes under each corner to completely cover the pine cabinet. What I really like about this is that whoever covered this cabinet, took the time to line up the diagonal tweed lines. They aren’t quite perfect, but they are about as close as you can get.  The screws in the photos are where the chassis mounts to the cabinet.

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