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  1. #1

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    In my never-ending search for bottles of vintage spirits, i come across plenty of musical equipment with most of it being current stuff. So, the picture of the little tweed amp on the shelf in the background of an estate sale listing wasnt totally without precedent. With the tag hanging on it and the unblemished condition, i assumed it was a Pro-Junior or similar. I blew up the picture a bit more and started inspecting. Soon realized that this was most likely a vintage 50s Champ. Crazy.

    I immediately contacted the estate sale company and asked if they had another picture or two and a price.
    Soon after i got a text with a couple more pics confirming it was a 50s Champ and informing me the prices was $50.00. Yes, $50.
    I assume from my experience that in Estate Sale 101 they teach you that musical equipment=potential high dollars. While its their business to know and research the stuff they sell, not everyone does obviously. Even with that said, i wasnt going to pay that little(no judgement of anyone that would).

    Long story short, i gave her a number and asked if she could ship it. She was very happy to do so and i told her i would pay for all shipping costs, materials and their time. I sent her a video on how to pack an amp and of it went.

    Well, recieved it today and the box looked like Ace Ventura was the delivery man!
    Yikes!
    Box was beat to all hell. Thankfully she removed the tubes and bubble wrapped them separate. Will be bringing to amp guy tomorrow for inspection.

    Thru some research. I have conflicting dates. Looks like late 1957 or early 1958, so im pretty certain i will sound exactly like Julian Lage. Easy.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    1957-58 Fender Champ-20210415_180526-jpg1957-58 Fender Champ-20210415_180545-jpg1957-58 Fender Champ-20210415_180600-jpg1957-58 Fender Champ-20210415_180622-jpg1957-58 Fender Champ-20210415_180903-jpg

  4. #3

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    Un-be-lievable score!!
    True 60+ yr old time capsule.
    Tweed looks immaculate and you could eat off the guts they're so clean. Looks about unplayed, very rare find these days.

  5. #4

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    Amazing! Congrats! Let us know how it sounds.

  6. #5

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    Remarkable! Congratulations!

  7. #6

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    I love 5F1 Champs since I built mine!

    Are you going to change the electrolytes, remove the ‘death cap’ and install a 3-prong chord?

  8. #7

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    Wow, very nice!!
    I never played a champ but sounds like fun!

  9. #8

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    omg... at that price... unbelievable! congrats, good that it went into good hands. maybe put some clip how it sounds!

  10. #9

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    Very nice. I got one like that about 35 year ago (which I still own). Mine is not as clean on the outside, but the inside looks similarly like new. I have plenty of amps in which I have replaced all the old components, but I keep the little champ as a time capsule.
    35 years ago, mine was $5.

    1957-58 Fender Champ-tweed-champ-jpg

  11. #10

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    Damn! That's terrific. Great NAD.

  12. #11

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    Great score. Hopefully the original Oxford speaker is in tact. Those are wonderful speakers.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    I love 5F1 Champs since I built mine!

    Are you going to change the electrolytes, remove the ‘death cap’ and install a 3-prong chord?
    Jay,
    Im not sure. I dont know a ton about amps, but i do own 2 50s Gibson amps that i had those alterations done to.
    With this amp, im wondering if i should keep it as is for sake of value. Gonna talk to amp guy about it.

    Im nervous about putting the tubes back in and firing it up. Dont want to get a shock or blow the amp. It looks like it was never used.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by icr View Post
    Very nice. I got one like that about 35 year ago (which I still own). Mine is not as clean on the outside, but the inside looks similarly like new. I have plenty of amps in which I have replaced all the old components, but I keep the little champ as a time capsule.
    35 years ago, mine was $5.

    1957-58 Fender Champ-tweed-champ-jpg
    So cool!
    Tell me about the sound of it? How is it with archtops?
    I may follow your lead and keep it all original as well.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66 View Post
    So cool!
    Tell me about the sound of it? How is it with archtops?
    I may follow your lead and keep it all original as well.
    I have a 1963 5f1. It's identical to the tweed champ except that it has black tolex and silver grill cloth. When I got it it was all original, hardly ever used. I had a tech replace the power cable to a 3 prong and inspect the components. Turns out it only needed one cap changed. These mods are reversible and usually what people do is include original components in the sale if they end up listing it later. It's such a good sounding amp that I wanted to maximize playability. The other thing my tech did was go through and clean up any grime he saw. The tone was exactly the same as when I dropped it off but far less noisy. As much as I appreciate originality, I tend not to let that impact usability for something like an amp. Just like a guitar, an old amp sounds so much better than a new one. They are worth the setup time/cost to get them sounding their best.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMgolf66 View Post
    Jay,
    Im not sure. I dont know a ton about amps, but i do own 2 50s Gibson amps that i had those alterations done to.
    With this amp, im wondering if i should keep it as is for sake of value. Gonna talk to amp guy about it.

    Im nervous about putting the tubes back in and firing it up. Dont want to get a shock or blow the amp. It looks like it was never used.
    It still has the original Fender hangtag!?? Wow.

  17. #16

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    Super score! I miss my old tweed champs. Congratulations, and play it in good health!

  18. #17

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    This '57/58 Champ is a once in a lifetime score...especially for what you got it for!

    Take it to a qualified amp tech to be checked out and enjoy that little beast for many years. It'll likely out live all of us!

  19. #18

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    Dumbest estate sale people ever ! Somebody did zero research

  20. #19

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    Since it's so clean I would leave it just as it is, unless some of the caps are gone, then just change out the bad ones and leave the old ones in a baggie inside.

    I wouldn't even bother with a 3 prong on one that clean. It is a true time capsule.

    You might even consider selling it exactly as it is to a collector and getting one that is more of a player, if that's what you're looking for.

    Great score! I once found a '60 tweed Bassman in that condition- for $500!

  21. #20

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    I don't understand the obsession with keeping original parts. Bad capacitors are useless, and should be tossed. They can't be used for anything. An old electrical cable is more likely to have issues other than just the lack of a ground, like other parts. If you just want to put the amp on a shelf and use it strictly for decoration, the old deteriorated parts are fine, but if you're going to use it for what it was designed for, it's essential to use working components that are within tolerance, and which won't kill you. Personally, I don't need more useless decoration taking up space.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    I don't understand the obsession with keeping original parts. Bad capacitors are useless, and should be tossed. They can't be used for anything. An old electrical cable is more likely to have issues other than just the lack of a ground, like other parts. If you just want to put the amp on a shelf and use it strictly for decoration, the old deteriorated parts are fine, but if you're going to use it for what it was designed for, it's essential to use working components that are within tolerance, and which won't kill you. Personally, I don't need more useless decoration taking up space.
    If you want to play the amp then all caps need to be replaced, death cap removed and proper grounding needs to be installed. You can be lucky with caps and sometimes even those paper electrolytes are still in spec and not leaky, but it’s rare abd still won’t be very safe....

    If you just want to leave it all original and become more valuable then put it in a cabinet and sell it in 25 years or so....

    But I can tell you a Champ is too nice to put it in a cabinet. Work on it and play it! You’ll thank us later 1957-58 Fender Champ1957-58 Fender Champ1957-58 Fender Champ

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go View Post
    Dumbest estate sale people ever ! Somebody did zero research
    Maybe the estate sale company just has a different scale in their mind.

    What is the worth of an average estate? Depends but tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

    Compared to the worth of a vintage tweed amp: thousand? Two thousands?

    Maybe it's just peanuts to the estate sale company.

    But it's good for You DMgolf66!

  24. #23

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    Wow! What a score! Congrats, and enjoy!!!