Black/Silverface Champ Overhaul
We can get your blackface or silverface Champ, Bronco or Vibrochamp sounding and performing better than it ever has. As part of the standard maintenance/tune-up service, we clean all pots, jacks & switches, clean & re-tension all tube sockets, test all tubes, tighten all pots, jacks, switches & transformers, and give the entire circuit an exam.
A full electrolytic recap is often required in original amps. We replace the cap can with new individual F&T power filters. This does wonders for tone and performance! Modern replacement cap can replacements just don’t meet our sound and performance standards.
As part of the service we dial in the circuit (called blueprinting) – certain key components are replaced if out of spec.
We replace certain resistors that do get noisy over time such as the plate resistors in the preamp, bias resistor, and power drop resistors in the power supply.
If you have a stock silverface, we HIGHLY recommend a signal cap upgrade. It’s like taking a wet blanket off of your speaker cab. This upgrade brings you closer to the blackface sound as much as the blackface mod does!
The Mallory M150s are a big improvement over the stock signal caps. The Jupiter “Vintage Tone” series rolled mylar/foil caps are absolutely amazing, and very close both in tone and performance to the classic “Blue Molded” signal caps found in the original Blackface amps.
If you have one of those rare blackface Champs with the blue ‘molded’ signal caps (many BF Champs have the brick red caps), keep those in!
In a Champ, Bronco or VC, there are only three or four signal caps – a little bit goes a long way here!!
We also offer mod services for these amps:
Sexy Vibrato: This mod allows a much slower range on the vibrato speed knob! Fast stays fast, but the slow end gets considerably slower. We also make the vibrato effect have a deeper range of intensity. You get deeper vibrato effect available on the knob. VERY useful and players love this mod. If you’re a vibrato fan this is highly recommended. Not available in the standard champ amps with no vibrato.
Power Tube Resistors: A great feature that extends tube life. The Champ amps were built to be affordable student model amps, and some cost saving practices were implemented as a result. Resistors were left off of the power tubes. These resistors act as buffers and improve the operating conditions of the power tubes themselves, making them much more ‘comfortable’ in their operating conditions. All larger Fenders are fitted with these resistors. No change in tone, these resistors are more of a performance enhancer and tube stabilizer.
Full Tweed Rebuild: This is an amazing upgrade for any blackface or silverface Champ! We rebuild the circuit to reflect the famous tweed Princeton. The tweed Princeton was the same circuit as the famous tweed champ with the addition of a tone control. We also add a NFB (negative feedback) control, which gives the amp an incredible amount of versatility. This allows you a tonal spectrum ranging from sparkling, shimmering cleans to downright nasty overdrive at the turn of a knob!
Your volume/treble/bass controls are converted to volume/tone/NFB. This entire circuit rebuild only adds about $100 to the cost of the standard overhaul!
A speaker upgrade is also a BIG step towards better tone. The original speakers were ‘ok’ back in the day (keep in mind that Fender did offer a JBL upgrade at additional cost for most models). These original speakers are often flat and dull now (some 50 years later)! We use Fat Jimmy Vintage Series speakers in our shop. They pair incredibly well with vintage Fender amps and really help bring a dull amp to life! Highly recommended! Very rich, full, deep, and 3D sounding. These speakers do amazing things to bring a Champ to another level of tone and performance. $49 for the 8” speaker.
We like to send the player back an amp that blows away the tone & performance of the amp that was sent in!
Shop rates are $90/hour plus parts. A typical complete overhaul takes about 2 hours for a Champ, and tends to average around $250 – $400 for the full treatment, depending on selection of certain components – NOS or new production carbon comp resistors, tube condition, etc.
After an overhaul, your amp will be good to go for a very long time circuit wise.
Current turnaround time is approx 15 – 20 business days.