Fender, Champ 5E1, 1957 - Arlen Roth


Champ 5E1
The Story Behind

The Fender Champ was a guitar amplifier made by Fender. It was introduced in 1948 and discontinued in 1982. The Champ had the lowest power output and the simplest circuit for all of the Fender tube amps.

The Champ had only one power tube, which meant that the circuit is single-ended and class A. Five watts and the simple toneful circuit allowed the Champ to be used easily and often in recording studios.

First introduced in 1948, it sported the name "Champion 800"  (with 8" speaker), changing a year later to "Champion 600" (6" speaker) with circuit designation 5B1. It was rated at about 3 watts, featuring a "T.V. Front" style cabinet with two-tone blonde and brown vinyl covering. This style lasted until 1953, when Fender's cabinet style changed to the "Wide Panel" design with a tweed cloth covering.

Fender also renamed the circuit the "5C1", "5" standing for the decade (1950s), "C" for the third circuit revision, and "1" was the Champ's circuit designation. The 5C1 circuit was extraordinarily simple, using one 6SJ7 pentode in the preamplifier section to provide a single stage of voltage amplification, one 6V6 beam power tetrode in the power amplifier section, and a single volume knob and no tone controls.

By 1955 Fender started putting its amps in the "Narrow Panel" tweed cabinet with a plastic oxblood colour grill cloth, and by this time the Champ was officially named the Champ (model 5E1). Through 1957, Champs only had a six inch speaker, but the 1958 model 5F1 featured an 8". The 5E1  and 5F1 circuits used a 12AX7 dual triode in the preamplifier to provide two stages of voltage amplification, and a single 6V6GT power tube to produce about 5 watts.
A Champ from this era can easily be dated by the code stamped on the tube chart, by the code stamped on the speaker or by its serial number.

This Champ amp is in perfect working condition and has been used and owned by Arlen Roth.

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