Tweed Fender Champ 5E1 C-00072
I’ve got one of the earliest 5E1 Champs for your enjoyment today. This one is Tweed Fender Champ 5E1 C-00072. I’ve seen one earlier than this one. I posted about it here.
Dating this amp by its serial number tells us that it was made in 1955. This was a transition year for the Champ, moving from the rear facing control setup of the 5D1 into the top mounted controls of the 5E1 and 5F1 models. The preamp tube also changed from a 6SJ7 to a 12AX7. There were about 2000 of the 5D1 Champs made in 1955 and about 800 of the 5E1 Champs made in 1955. I would expect this one to have been manufactured in the later part of 1955. The two letter tube chart code should help us out here.
The photo of the tube chart is pretty out of focus, but I can barely make out an EI for the two letter tube chart code. This corresponds to September 1955.
I have another blurry picture of the serial number. On the 5E1 it is stamped into the underside of the chrome chassis, between the tubes. The serial number moved to the top control panel, right under the fuse cap, on the 5F1 Champs.
The tweed is in pretty rough shape. It looks like it has had its power cord replaced with a brown two prong lamp cord. The handle looks like it has got a nice split in it and the grill cloth looks like it has about a two inch tear in it. Two of the capacitors have been replaced. This is not uncommon on these old amps. Those electrolytic caps dry out and start buzzing.