I have an interesting little Champ today that kicked off an interesting line of thought for me. It is tweed Fender Champ C-04270. Dating this amp by its serial number tells us it was made in about mid-1957. For a more specific date of manufacture we need to look at the stamped two letter tube chart code. The photo I have is quite blurry but the owner tells me that the two letter code is GE which translates into May 1957.
Since we don’t have a real clear photo of the tube chart, I’m going to assume that what the owner has told me is correct and that this is a 5F1 Tweed Champ. The one item that catches my attention about this is the missing serial number that should be under the fuse cap on the top of the chrome chassis. On the 5E1 Champs, the serial number was stamped into the underside of the chassis between the tubes – like this. I had thought that when the Champ was revised and became the 5F1 (roughly the beginning of 1956), the serial number moved to the top of the chassis, right under the fuse cap – like this. A little homework tells me that this isn’t entirely true.
Happy New Year to everyone! It has been a long time since my last post. The holidays have come and gone, I was lucky enough to acquire this (it’s awesome) and now it’s time to get back to work bringing you these marvelous little blasts from the past!
Today I have photos of Fender Champion 600 serial number 2686. Dating this amp by its serial number tells us it was made in 1951-52. We don’t have a tube chart code to help us out with a more accurate estimate of when this amp was manufactured. That was a later addition. But making a guess, it is reasonable to assume that this amp was made in 1951 due to the relatively low serial number for the period.
Other than the missing back panel, the amp looks like it is in pretty good shape. There is some wear to the vinyl and the leather handle looks broken in. There has definitely been some work done on the electronics with a couple of capacitors being replaced.
I’ve got photos of Transition Fender Champ 5F1 serial number C-22782 for your pleasure today. Dating this amp by its serial number tells us it was made towards the end of 1964. The rough cutoff date for these Transition Champs is C-23000. There weren’t too many more of these made before the circuit was redesigned and the Champ moved squarely into the blackface era of Fender’s amp design.
We can look at the two letter tube chart date code for a more accurate date. The two letter code for this amp is NH. The first letter stands for the year of manufacture (N = 1964) and the second letter corresponds with the month of manufacture (H = August).
I’ve got another early 5E1 Fender Champ for your enjoyment today. This one is Tweed Fender Champ C-00029. It is one of the earliest examples of the 5E1 model Champs. Dating this amp by its serial number tells us it was made in 1955. Dating it by the two letter tube chart code EH, tells us it was made in August 1955. The 5E1s featured a new narrow cabinet styling, with top mounted controls instead of the rear facing controls of the 5C1 and 5D1 models. It also sports an oxblood grill cloth with yellow, gold and red highlights instead of brown linen. There was also a logo change from the old style block letter logo to the new, sleeker script style logo. But that didn’t quite happen on this amp.
Today I’ve got photos of Tweed Fender Champ 5F1 model serial number C-02433. The photos are a little dark and my photoshop skills aren’t all that great, so I’ll roll with what I’ve got. Dating this amp by serial number tells us it was made in mid 1956. Taking a look at the two letter tube chart code usually helps clarify the month of manufacture but this one is a little hard to read. I can make out an F, which corresponds with 1956, but the second letter is a bit of a mystery.
I have a light post for you today. This one features Transition 5F1 model Fender Champ C-20845. This is another example of the shift away from tweed covering on Fender’s amps moving toward the black tolex of the blackface era in amp design. Dating this amp by its serial number puts this amp as being made during the tail end of 1963. I don’t have a photo of the tube chart code for a more accurate determination of manufacture date so this will have to do.