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badbluesplayer

1949 Fender Champion 600 Amp

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I got to work on a '49 Champ that was likely built by Leo Fender himself, according to inside sources. Serial number 1763. It needed new electrolytics, a little more work on a previous 3-prong conversion and also needed to have a factory defect corrected that was supposedly common to all of these models at one point.

 

It needed to have an old coupling capacitor replaced. I replaced it with a modern type. I might try to rebuild the capacitor if that's possible. Replacing the old capacitor devalues the thing maybe a few hundred bucks. Or maybe I can find one on ebay.

 

The amp is in fair shape with the back panel missing and speaker replaced. Otherwise original. Worth maybe a thousand dollars or so.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59ocIoqIa-M

Edited by badbluesplayer

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Hey, I think it's cool whether Leo made it or not. Great bit of early memorabilia however you cut the cake.

Nice to see you are trying to re-use the original capacitor so good luck with that!

P.

 

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I don't know the history of Fender at all and didn't realize they were building amps as far back as '49.

 

Cool that you got to work on it, and that it still works at all. Sounds pretty good - not quite as clean as a Twin Reverb but they got there eventually.

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While I am not at all an expert on amps, I am never wrong about Fender Musical Instruments Company.

 

Leo built that, and I am just so jelly.

 

Thanks for sharing badbluesplayer, that was definitely heartwarming to see. I wish I lived nearby, I'da been over in a minute to huff that thing for a while.

 

Twang Gang: 1945 he went into business with CKaufmann, and K&F amps were what he made, Kaufmann was only a business guy. He bought Clayton out about 5 years later and became Fender.

 

rct

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So I think it's already devalued a little.

 

If you could verify Leo and you touched it that would be cool.

 

Yeah. My customer has access to lots of gear that he gets turned onto. He owns all kinds of vintage Fender stuff. I played his "new" '52 Telecaster/Esquire a few weeks ago. It must have weighed like 5 pounds.

 

The amp could be worth like maybe 3 to 4 grand max, if it was in very good condition and original except for electrolytics. Fair condition without the original back devalues it maybe 500. The speaker and the cap replacement say 500. Having to change anything, period, in itself devalues it another say 1000 - 1,500. [woot]

 

Somebody I know who seems pretty "in the know" says Leo was doing the building then. There's about a 1-1/2" long piece of masking tape on the chassis that says "Lily" on it written in pencil. And I don't know if that means anything.

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While I am not at all an expert on amps, I am never wrong about Fender Musical Instruments Company.

 

Leo built that, and I am just so jelly.

 

Thanks for sharing badbluesplayer, that was definitely heartwarming to see. I wish I lived nearby, I'da been over in a minute to huff that thing for a while.

 

Twang Gang: 1945 he went into business with CKaufmann, and K&F amps were what he made, Kaufmann was only a business guy. He bought Clayton out about 5 years later and became Fender.

 

rct

 

A guy I know from Facebook said he was pretty sure Leo was making the amps at that time. This gentleman - I'm not exactly sure who he is but he has a familiar surname - mentioned in passing something like "Yeah, one time they arranged to bring me in to meet Leo at the factory on a Sunday afternoon, being that it was usually slow and all, and I met with Leo and showed him my 19somehtingorother Telesomethingorother, and Leo mentioned that he noticed how the guitar was from the first week of production 'cause of somethingorother about the the somethingorother, and I told Leo I thought that was pretty cool how he remembered that, and..."

 

And I was like :o [omg] [omg] [omg]

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A guy I know from Facebook said he was pretty sure Leo was making the amps at that time. This gentleman - I'm not exactly sure who he is but he has a familiar surname - mentioned in passing something like "Yeah, one time they arranged to bring me in to meet Leo at the factory on a Sunday afternoon, being that it was usually slow and all, and I met with Leo and showed him my 19somehtingorother Telesomethingorother, and Leo mentioned that he noticed how the guitar was from the first week of production 'cause of somethingorother about the the somethingorother, and I told Leo I thought that was pretty cool how he remembered that, and..."

 

And I was like :o [omg] [omg] [omg]

 

I woulda pooped.

 

The big fat Smith Sound Heard Round the World book of mine is packed away, maybe I will dig it out over the weekend. I'm pretty sure it would say that he was still chief cook and bottle washer in 1949. Him and Carson and Paul Bigsby were still fooling around with maybe guitar ideas someday, and he had not yet been approached about making a bass, which was the best distraction that ever happened to anyone. So I would bet a good buck or two he was still putting them together every day. You know, he may have still been using K&F parts too.

 

I'm a man of very few regrets. Not getting to meet Leo is one of the few.

 

rct

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I figured out that the amp was apparently built by "Lily," one of the assemblers whose name appears on a piece of masking tape on the chassis. Her name appears on various Fender models into the fifties. [thumbup]

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