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Baffle Board on a 5F1 Model Tweed Fender Champ

2010 June 23
Baffle Board Edge

I have something a little different today.  Instead of an entire amp, I’m just going to feature one small part – the baffle board. This is how a speaker gets mounted into a vintage tweed Fender Champ.  This particular baffle board is from one of my less collectable Champs.

At first glance the baffle board basically looks like a piece of 3/4  inch plywood (12 5/8 inches wide  x 11 1/8 inches high) painted black with a hole in the middle to mount the speaker over.  When I removed the speaker (finger tight nuts after 50 years!) I got a bit of a surprise.

With the speaker removed it became much easier to determine how the baffle board was constructed without having to remove the grill cloth.  I was surprised to discover that it consists of two parts – one plywood back panel 3/8 inches thick with a 6 3/4 inch hole cut out to mount the 8 inch speaker, with another part  (think a picture frame with sides 1 1/4 inches wide) mounted to the front of that first panel.

The grill cloth is stretched over this second picture frame portion and it is stapled in place along the edge of the wood.  I don’t know much about amp construction best practices but I can imagine that this type of setup provided a measure of protection to the speaker cone.  By setting it back, even by a modest 3/8 of an inch, a lot of puncture wounds were probably avoided.

It isn’t much to look at but there is something appealing about looking at those staples holding the grill cloth in place.  And look at the edge of that grill cloth.  Just about the straightest cut you’ll see!  Another thing I noticed in removing this baffle board was how tight the fit was.  Even after more than 50 years, the fit was about as tight as it could be.  Leo Fender’s cabinets were built to last!

You can also see how the tweed that has been exposed to the elements has darkened up quite a bit to a nice golden color compared to the bright yellowish tweed under the rear cover mount.

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