Fender '57 Custom Champ 5W 1x8" Guitar Tube Amplifier - Combo

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1,200
Fender '57 Custom Champ Tube Combo Amplifier

At time of publication this amp was on our recommended list for The Best Low Watt Tube Amps.

In a time where amp modeling continues to be popular, its refreshing to see simple amps still doing well in the market - and it doesn't get any simpler than the one volume knob interface of the Fender '57 Custom Champ.

When it comes to guitar amps, louder isn’t necessarily better. You’d be surprised how many famous recordings were made on sub-10-watt amplifiers; chief among them being Eric Clapton's Layla which was recorded on a tweed Fender Champ from the ‘50s.

The focused tone and manageable volume of this small tube amp can actually result in a huge tone when used in the studio. And it also means that you can have great tube tone at manageable volume levels for practice.

The cool thing about this amp is, rather than just being a small tube amp, is a faithful reproduction of the Champ’s used on famous albums (Joe Walsh and Eric Clapton both used them extensively).

This amp is all hand-wired, uses the original 5F1 circuit, and even uses vintage yellow capacitors.

The speaker is different, though it was designed to come as close to the tone of original Champ amplifiers as possible.

Fender used the same font that was used on their '50s amps and even went so far as to include a genuine leather handle.

It's a true plug and play amp, making it ideal for those who get most of their tone coloration from pedals.

Specifications

  • Power Rating: 5W Class A
  • Preamp: 1 x 12AY7
  • Poweramp: 1 x 6V6
  • Rectifier: 1 x 5Y3GT Rectifier Tube
  • Speaker: 8" Weber Special Design Alnico Speaker
  • Input: 2 x 1/4"
  • Output: None
  • Cabinet: Rear Ported
  • Main Controls:Power, Volume
  • Equalizer: None
  • Weight: 15 lbs.

Pros

While digital modeling is getting close, there is still room for straightforward tube amps, and this is reflected in reviews of the Fender '57 Custom Champ. For a compact and single voicing amp, its interesting how many love its tone, some even describing it as a clear and transparent true tone monster - especially at lower volumes. Its low wattage makes it easier to crank even at lower volumes which makes practice more inspiring - and not to mention making the amp viable for home recording. Obviously, those who are into the American clean tone love the amp, but there are also those who are not necessarily Fender fans who appreciate its sound. There are also a number of users who are happy with the way it works with overdrive pedals, which gives them more tone options. Build quality of the amp also gets a lot of thumbs up.

In their review Premier Guitar said, "this amp is an icon in the saga of rock and roll, it has a superb proprietary speaker with tone to match, it is part of a series of historic ’57 Fender reissues that has collectors drooling and is much more likely to hold or increase its value than any other amp in its class."

Cons

There aren't any noteworthy complaints, but it is important to point out that you're not getting much from your money in terms of versatility and control. It only has a volume control, so all adjustments besides that will have to come from either your pedals or your guitar. So if you're looking for something versatile, this is not the amp for you.

Overall

If you're looking for a great sounding compact tube amp that won't complicate your setup, we highly recommend Fender '57 Custom Champ.

At time of publication this amp was on our recommended list for The Best Low Watt Tube Amps.

About the Author

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.