Showing posts with label 6. Related Topics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 6. Related Topics. Show all posts

Vintage Tweed Amp

My first tube amp that was worth anything was a 70's era Silverface Fender Vibrochamp. I liked it, however, Fender had been, ironically, tweaking their amp circuitry to have more clean headroom, and as a result, that breakup and distortion we all love was just not possible in this amp.

I did some research and found a lot of boutique (French word for expensive) amp builders that were recreating the early era Fender Tweed amps. After some patient searching, I came across a great deal on this Hot Bottle Champ on eBay and have just loved it ever since. I have changed the tubes over time (can't leave anything alone I guess), but the Jensen speaker (C8R) is just to perfect and so I have left it alone.

By the way, if you are looking for a great guide on vintage Fender amps, I think this resource is outstanding: AmpWare

Custom Fender Tweed Amp

It is my nature to want to adjust, refine and otherwise put my personal mark on anything I do. To that end, I could not stop with custom building my guitars.

This is essentially a Tweed Champ (5F1) with a much larger pine cabinet and a 12" custom ordered speaker. I ordered the speaker from Weber Vintage Sound Technology. The specs I chose give it a warm, crunchy, early breakup similar to the early 50's Chicago Jensen P12R (I have had to play it a while before this character really started to show up).

I special ordered the cabinet after doing a lot of research, I finally figured out who does the cabinet work for a lot of the custom tweed amp builders (I recommend these two: Amp Cab Co and Better Built Workshops though I ultimate chose Better Built). The tricky part is to get a large cabinet, suitable for a 12" speaker, yet cutout at the top for the tiny Fender Tweed Champ chassis.

The chassis was bought on eBay and I am assuming that the individual sold it because the amp stayed very (no breakup) clean, even at high volumes. I addressed this by researching tubes and determined which ones would provide the color and breakup I was looking for (check out Mojo for tubes).

I really, REALLY, love this amp! It smells yummy, pine and lacquer and hot tubes and toasted dust, and the parts (tubes, speaker, cabinet) all work together very nicely. It can been very sweet and clean, and with a little overdrive (Fulltone Full-Drive 2) you can really get some fabulous blues sounds.

Pickguard Choice Makes a Big Difference

It is interesting to see how much of an impact can be made by merely changing the pickguard and pickup covers color. I started out with white pickup covers, pickguard and trem cover on this copper metallic custom Strat, but later decided that black would look a little more edgy, and so I made the change, which I am still happy with.

Hard Shell Case

After all that hard work, you will want to transport your guitar in a way that ensures its safety. The new Fender hard shell cases are ideal if you fly because they have latches that are protected from accidently opening during transport (a fatel flaw of the earlier cases) and locks that are TSA approved so you can lock the case for extra security.