Shown to the left is my venerable 1958 Fender Champ… Well, it’s my ’58 Champ chassis in a custom 1 X 10 combo cab that my good buddy, Jeff Aragaki of Aracom Amps built.
Up until recently, I hadn’t really played it much. For one thing, I have a bunch of other amps. But mainly, it’s because that amp would hum after about 1/2 hour of playing. It’s okay on stage, but practically useless in my studio.
Originally, I thought it just might be the old circuitry – for goodness’ sake, it’s 55 years old – even though I had Jeff Aragaki replace the old oil-filled, paper caps with newer ones. I also thought it was a grounding issue because the amp uses a two-prong plug. But I had played another ’58 in a shop that was whisper quiet.
Then a couple of months ago, I got the RocknStompn power strip. I’ve been diggin’ it for how it turns my gear on in the proper order, so I never get any pops from things turning on in the wrong order. But as an added bonus, the unit includes two Ferrite cores in its circuitry to help filter out electromagnetic noise, plus the internal PCB board has a capacitor specifically designed for noise filtering. The net result is nicely filtered power going into the gear plugged into the power strip.
I loved what the power strip did to quiet down a couple of my sensitive pedals, like my ToneCandy Spring Fever Reverb unit. So I figured that if it could help quiet those pedals, it just might help with the Champ. So I switched out amps and hit the foot switch, all the while crossing my fingers, and then the Champ came to life.
From past experience, I knew it would take time for the hum to appear. But after two-and-a-half hours of playing. It never happened. The amp was dead quiet! Just to confirm that it was the power strip doing its filtering, I plugged the amp into a regular power strip, and lo and behold, the hum was there.
That was about three weeks ago. I’ve been using the Champ since then for everything from a little studio work to my regular gigs with nary a buzz or hum coming out of her. This is huge because this amp has such a bright, sweet tone, and it with no EQ controls, I get the natural character of whatever I plug into it. On top of that, it has tons of clean headroom, so when I need dirt, I just use either an overdrive or distortion box. It’s the perfect clean platform for using pedals in a lower-volume application!
That said, as I entitled this article, there ain’t nothin’ like clean power! The RocknStompn power strip has made a HUGE difference for me. When I have one less thing to worry about with respect to my gear, that’s always a good thing!