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Sound Quality

I play mostly Telecasters or an Esquire, then sometimes a Strat, sometimes a Les Paul Special, sometimes a Les Paul Custom, sometimes a Ricky 360, and rarely a PRS custom 24. There's just something about a Fender guitar through a Fender amp. Those of us who love it really love it!! Everything else works fine too, particularly the Rickenbacker....a very cool jangly tone there. I'm very impressed with the P-90 sound of the LP Special through the Champ--nice creamy, crunchy distortion when cranked, or nice warm bottom with the neck pickup. You can find out what each of your guitars is really about with a Champ circuit. It's fun!! I play mostly classic rock, blues, and a bit of country....the stuff Champs were built for. These amps really only make one good sound--bass on 10, treble on 5--and that's it. You go with pedals from there or just straight in and use the guitar controls--yes, those knobs on the guitar that most of us forgot about in the 1980s. Certainly, the 1964 is the better sounding amp of the two. It is louder and fuller in the midrange and bass. She runs very quietly at any volume. The 1975 is still a great sounding amp; it runs a bit noisier with hum/hiss but it is relatively forgiveable. I would use the 1964 for recording though. As usual, you need to turn up the bass control all the way and keep the treble between 4 and 5. Then it's just a matter of volume settings on amp and guitar. You can learn some worthwhile things about volume and distortion relative to your guitar volume setting with a Champ. I really have fun with this aspect of sound. This is a great blues/rock/country amp. I really think it needs to be judged and appreciated for what it was originally designed to do--be a practice/beginner amp for "classic" styles of music. Given that context, the Champ has killer sound. Sure, many companies are now on the 5-10 watt bandwagon and perfecting it, but the Champ is still impressive. I like how these amps respond to pedals--Boss Blues Driver, Turbo Overdrive, Chorus, DD-3 delay, and MXR Micro amp. These are all used rather sparingly. Sometimes I use a Vox Bulldog distortion and a Boss '65 Deluxe Reverb pedal, but I find I'm using less stuff on the floor and concentrating on my hands, which includes the controls on the guitar itself....that's right, those knob thingies. There's a lot more to 'em than "all the way on" and "all the way off" and I get the feeling that some reviewers of this amp don't get those subtle nuances of tone over there in that wild republic of HYPEROVERDRIVESHREDLAND--hey, it's fun to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Reliability/Durability

Simple is dependable. They were built to last. Like any vintage tube amp, things can go wrong, especially with the tubes if the amp gets bumped too hard, but that's not the amp's fault. I haven't needed to change the capacitors in the 1964 yet!! That's pretty amazing. I've only changed the power cords to three prong for safety.

General Comments

After 35 years of playing and experimenting with lots of gear, my Champs get a lot of use because they are all I need in a loud enough, light-weight package. Sure, I love my Princetons (reverb and non), Marshall JTM30, and yes, even my Fender Blues Junior (changed tubes and speaker, got a mod kit still to install--it's getting there....Champs still sound better). My Twin Reverb and Marshall 100W half-stack are long gone now and I don't really miss them--well, a little. I get all the sounds I want today out of a small collection of small amps, and the Champs are true to their name. If lost or stolen, I would replace them ASAP. For the money, the silverface Champ must be one of the best amp bargains out there. If the blackface was lost or stolen, I would cry!




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