how to convert your Fender Champion 600 to a 5f1 Tweed Champ
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. Looks like the one from the 40’s but technically it houses a blackface or silverface champ circuitry, but with inferior components. However, 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! I'm not, i'm just desperate.
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.
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!