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Posts Tagged ‘vintage amps’

I’ve always had an appreciation for vintage gear, though the most “vintage” that I’ve ever gone is purchasing several sets of NOS tubes over the years. And quite frankly, though I’ve appreciated vintage gear in general, I’ve never been compelled to be a vintage gear collector as I’m an active musician who uses his stuff all the time.

But despite that, I have wanted to get an 50’s tweed Champ for quite awhile. I love small, low-powered amps, and the tweed Champ from the 50’s has been on my list to get for quite some time. After all, that little amp has been used in studios around the world for recording hundreds, if not thousands of Rock ‘N Roll songs.

My only problem with ever getting a tweed Champ was that I didn’t want to spend upwards of $1500 for a mint-condition unit, which is what these puppies go for. And since I’d use it as a player, I’d have to make modifications to it as soon as I got it to make it safe and usable with different cabinets; thus immediately reducing its value.

But luckily there are tweed Champs out there that aren’t in pristine shape, and they’re low enough in cost to warrant consideration. My criteria was that the amp had to work. Period. As long as it did, I wouldn’t have to do too much once I got it. So I found a ’58 Tweed Champ on eBay for a decent price that was missing the back plate, but was still in great working condition, so I purchased it, knowing I’d have to do some mods to make it safe, plus add some longevity to it.

Right now, it’s on transit here, and should arrive tomorrow – I’m so excited! But I will not plug it in until I have a few things done to it, that my good friend Jeff Aragaki of Aracom Amps will be doing:

  1. First of all, it still has the original two-prong plug. Jeff will install a three-prong grounded plug in it – I’m probably going to go with medical grade on this just to be extra-safe.
  2. It was clear from the pictures that a couple of the original capacitors had leaked a little, so they will be replaced with Sprague caps.
  3. The speaker is also hard-soldered to the amp output, so I’m having Jeff install a 1/4″ female jack so I can use different cabinets with the amp.
  4. Finally, Jeff will create a simple backplate to provide some protection to the electronic components.

All of these “mods” will be reversible, so at least I can retain some value in the amp should I ever sell it. However, I probably will keep this amp forever. I don’t even have it yet, and it still holds some nostalgic value for me. Can’t wait until it arrives!

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