The Fender Champion 600: Modifying the PCB To 5F1 Specs

Hack up the fender champion 600 again!

In this video we’ll hack up the champion 600’s PCB and convert it to 5F1 Tweed Champ specs! After this mod, which involves removing a lot of parts, the amp sounds so much better! Makes you wonder why Fender doesn’t let you have this amp in that configuration without buying your expensive ticket into the boutique club.

The Champion 600 (reissue) was a reasonably priced, read low budget amp. But it’s design allows it to perform like a Tweed style amplifier with fairly simple work on the circuitry

A small practise amp that has the overdrive , harmonic richness and dynamics of the amp it was supposed to reissue was all we wanted anyway, so let’s go.

warning! working on electrical gear involves high voltages! make sure you are qualified and experienced in doing this kind of work. if not, leave it to someone who is! 

neccesities overview

Obviously we need a soldering iron. But we also need a bit of jumperwire a pair of plyers and a multimeter. It’s wise to have a drain cable or another safe way to drain the filter capacitors. 

Component wise we only need: 22k@2W, 22k@1w, 1,5k@1w and a 0,022uF Tone cap. Optional some 2w resistor values ranging from 470 ohm to 1k to finetune the bias if needed.

modification steps overview

– Removal of R18, R19, R20, R21, R22. 

– Removal of C1, C8 and C9

– Connect bottom of C1 to bottom of R21 with HQ Tone Capacitor. (Mallory or Orange Drop etc.)

– Jumper the connections over R3, R14, R17, R25 and R26

– Replace R7 with 22k@1W

– Remove C10. And C3 for less preamp gain. Before 5F1 the first cathode didn’t have this cap.1

– Replace R12 with the 22K@2W resistor, used the removed resistor in R11

– Replace R23 with the 1,5K resistor

– Calculate the output tube bias. Check the video how to. This amp can have the output tube running at 100%. However, due to the SS rectifier and net voltage from the wall it may even exceed the rating. When you want to use your nice NOS vintage tubes, beware of a too hot bias value. Cooling the amp down a tad will be better.   




0:00 INTRO











17:36 OUTRO



So. The sounds that The Fender Champion 600 amp can deliver in this configuration, even with it’s PCB design and otherwise stock components is good. It makes you wonder why no low-budget tweed version wasn’t available in the first place. Especially when we see we mainly need to cut parts out and simplify the thing. I do would like to state that the stock amp sounds good on it’s own and I might do a proper A-B comparison between both. Therefore keeping a stock one is also an idea, or make the tone stack mod switchable. But, I do imagine most recording and touring guitarists would go for the more desirable tone, harmonics and responsiveness of a tweed amp, no?

Questions or amp-modding requests? Leave a comment or contact me here!

Regards, A

2 thoughts on “The Fender Champion 600: Modifying the PCB To 5F1 Specs”

  1. Well just for reference what specific type of music do you like to play and what kind of tone are you looking for (raunchy, sweet blues, twangy cleans?)? I have played Champion 600 s and I wasn t too impressed. Right now, Guitar Center has the Fender Ramparte amp on sale for about $210 after their big sale. It s a 9 watt tube amp with two channels, one thats meant for cleaner tame tones, and a hotter channel for a little crunch. It has a 12 speaker and can get pretty loud but personally I like the larger speakers for clean tone, and I practice in my bedroom with a 3 watt danelectro tube amp from the 50 s with a 8 inch speaker, and a 12 watt Fender Excelsior with a very loud 15 , and both are great for their own respective things. Look up the demos on the Ramparte, they re a big upgrade in quality and features in my opinion compared to the champ 600. Edited: Changes in content

    1. Hi man,

      I like a lot of different music styles, but when it comes to nasty rock and roll sounds small fender combo’s are the works for me. The Champion 600 is a super low budget amp, yet with the work as mentioned in the video and a speaker upgrade, you can make it sound like a Tweed 5F1 at a fraction of the cost. Micing up the small speaker can give big sounds. The 3w Danelectro will probably share a lot of the circuit with tweed fenders. Gr,

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