The tweed Fender Champ amp of the late 1950s is a terrific practice amp, prized by countless pro players for its great sounding, low output, easy-to-record capabilities. Guitarists often turn the amp'... Read More
The tweed Fender Champ amp of the late 1950s is a terrific practice amp, prized by countless pro players for its great sounding, low output, easy-to-record capabilities. Guitarists often turn the amp's volume up high, and manipulate the guitar's controls for a variety of sounds from pristine clean to swampy overdrive. Rock legend Eric Clapton, who recorded some of his biggest hits with a tweed Champ, still uses one today.
Eric requested a special model with a couple of unique features: '50s era output tube bias tremolo, with a more "throbbing" pulse than later Fender tremolo circuits; and a switchable power attenuator to reduce the speaker's output if desired. The Fender Eric Clapton EC Signature Vibro-Champ 5W 1x8 Hand-Wired Tube Guitar Combo Amp is designed and built to EC's exact specifications. This interesting variation of the '57 Champ amp is a must for Clapton fans, tone seekers, and for any player seeking the ultimate in low-powered, top-quality tube performance.
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Reviewed by 4 customers
Displaying reviews 1-4
While I don't own the EC Vibro Champ, I have the model that the EC Vibro Champ was based on, which is the 57' Champ Reissue which I bought used from GC and was made in early 2011; the ONLY difference between the 57' Champ RI is that the EC Vibro Champ has a tremolo and power attenuator for reduced volume. So my review is based on everything about this amp - but the tremolo and attenuator. I previously owned a Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue which I exchanged for the 57' Champ Reissue; I live in a condo and the Blues Deluxe had no control over volume - it was quite or "blast the windows out" and the clean tone was "flat". Upon delivery of the Champ, I was (visually) taken back by the size of the Champ, especially compared to the Blues Deluxe RI, BUT was in total disbelief when I started playing through the Champ. First off, the tone is out-of-this-world! I was skeptical about an amp only having a volume knob, but that is ALL you NEED for this amp. Their is NO NEED for reverb as the tone has so much chime and sparkle - often times that sparkle delay's and hangs quite well with the sustain. It was evident thru this amp, that reverb is something that "adds flavor" to a sterile-like clean. Play a chord and all this natural, tube clean sizzle envelopes around the sound. The best way to compare this is to say that most SS and Tube cleans are like "skim milk" while the Champs is more like "half n' half". It's treble and mid's are thick with plenty of harmonics and shimmer that makes reverb sound artificial. The bass is tight but can still shake the windows. I tried out a vintage 1972 Champ and thought it sounded "tinty" and thin, but the tweed version here is round, thick and full of tone. Place this amp near a wall and it's hard to discern where the sound is coming from. Compression wise, it sounds like a great 8" speaker, but dynamically, it fills the room. This is not your typical "small amp". It sounds bigger than what it looks like. Compared to the Pro Jr, this amp is out of the park. Sure one can own a bigger amp, but for studio or home practice - this is all you need and you can also get out the full range of a tube amp without neighbors complaining. Sure the Deluxe Reverb is great; the DRRI is a 4 carot topaz; this is a 1 carrot diamond. Some say it's a one-trick pony - their wrong. Most video's and sound clips don't do this amp justice. If their is too much GRIND or early break-up or distortion, then sub the preamp tube with a 5751 and get rid of the GT 5Y3 rectifier tube and get a JJ 5Y3S which is a "true" 5Y3. The GT rectifier tube pumps out too much voltage and is not a true 5Y3 per specs. With those changes, the tone leans more towards a warm, clean and rounder tone, but still breaks up - just later. Compared to the 12ax7a, the 5751 preamp tube breaks up a bit later on the volume knob. The distortion is so very good and is not always "on" but can say that one's "touch" determines the tone and distortion - not the amp setting(s). This amp will reflect subtle inflections in one's playing -including mistakes -which also makes this a great practice amp. Some don't care for the price, but if you like pristine cleans like you've never heard before and want vintage distortion - get this. It's also my opinion that this amp is better suited for single coil pickup guitars like a Les Paul with P90s, teles and especially, Strats which for my review was based on a 88' Eric Clapton Strat with the original lace sensors.
I wanted a small amp to play at home, but wanted great quality. I kind of had the Vibro Champ in mind and took it into the demo room for a while. I took my John Mayer Stratocaster with me to test it and was completely blown away. Basically you just crank up the amp to 10 or 12 and control the sound with your guitar's volume control. It goes from a nice clean to a very impressive swampy overdrive. It's more than loud enough in my house when set to half power. Tube bias tremolo sounds absolutely fantastic and will likely make me use it more than I normally would. Workmanship is very impressive being hand wired and hand built with great materials. When I first saw this amp (before playing it) I thought Fender was nuts to be asking a grand for it. I got mine with a $200 off coupon and it was well worth the money. After using it I'd actually say it's not overpriced, even without a coupon. When i play through this amp it makes me say "wow" all of the time. If you're looking for a small amp for home use, recording or to mic up on stage this could be the one. You certainly won't get metal tones out of this little monster, but blues sounds don't get much better. Classic rock players should also find that it would suit your needs and won't need a bunch of pedals to get a great sound. I use a Line 6 M5 pedal mainly for reverb (wish the amp had it)
ok the price sounds crazy but so does this amp. i,m blown away ! i have several amps a blues deville 4-10, a fender twin, a hot rod deville and a blues junior nos all sound good at low volumn but need to be cranked to sound great. this little amp is un beleivable!! sounds incredible for blues and 60,s 70,s rock without pedals! great for playing leads with my les paul nice and punchy! loud enough but not too loud. great dynamics and harmonics don,t even care for the blues junior anymore. its like playing twenty guitars and finally finding the one! well this amp is the one i was looking for! great job fender!
OK, no one could ever really justify a $1000 recreation of what was originally intended to be an affordable "practice" amp for students, but I have to say... wow. I was looking for a nice sounding, low wattage amp to put in my bedroom to practice, etc. I wanted something that sounded good, but quit enough to push without rattling the walls. So I bought this amp and a marshall class 5 so I could a/b them and return the one I don't like. First off, I have a Fender 600 reissue that I did some simple mod's to and it sounds awesome. The amp, new speaker, tubes... all said about $200-225. Good enough, except now I had these other two amps sitting at my house... no turning back now. The marshall sounded awesome (the choice became so difficult I almost kept them both) it broke up nice and early, the 10" speaker sounded great, it was loud but the switch that cuts the wattage made it almost too quiet. As for the EC Vibro-Champ I was fortunate to have a coupon, so it only cost me $899! This amp sounds incredible... period. Forget practice amp, this amp has a very full sound, the attack is awesome, put this thing at 12-3 oclock, lightly pick the strings and you get a nice full, clean sound. Strum or attack hard and it breaks up with incredible harmonics. This has got to be the loudest 5 watt amp I have ever heard. A little bit of a downside for me on one hand, but on the other I could totally see mic'ing this thing at a gig without worries, in fact I'm anxious to see how this sounds with the ext speaker option. Anyway, the wattage cut switch does take it down a notch, but barely. Overall, this is a great amp that has caused me to put the dust covers over my bigger stuff. It not only sounds great, it is a fun amp that I am excited to do some recording with. Putting a 57 in front of it and a condenser for ambient room, it sounds like something 10 times it's size. If your looking for a small amp and are tight on funds, get the 600 plus new speaker/tubes. If you got the money and don't need something bigger, get this amp... you won't be disappointed.
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