Champ 12 review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.3 (15 votes)
Fender: Champ 12

Price paid: $ 220

Purchased from: eBay

Sound — 9
I play a 2004 American Fender Stratocaster with 3 single-coil pickups through a Line 6 Pod 2.0 which is a great combination for me. I either leave the amp on the clean channel and use the Pod for all of the effects or play straight through on the clean channel which sounds great, it is definitely the best part of the amp. The clean is smooth, round and thick on the neck pickup and bright and twangy on the bridge pickup. Theres no feedback even on single coils unless the coils are facing right at the amp. The drive channel is ok, but I don't notice any change in the sound as I change the drive knob and theres only two volume setting, quiet and loud. Not a lot of variety.

Overall Impression — 8
It suits my style, classic rock mostly. I haven't been playing for wrong, but so far it's a good match with my guitar and effects, I like it. I really wished the knobs were more responsive, especially the volume and drive knobs, the drive has two settings, really, and the volume is quiet or loud. If it was stolen I'd look into a newer amp. I'd definitely stick to tube amps, the warm sound is great and the clean is amazing, but you definitely need a pedal or some effect for overdrive.

Reliability & Durability — 7
I haven't gigged it so I can't say much in this area. It hasn't broken down, it's strong, but it's a 15 year old amp, and it shows signs of wear and tear. I probably need to get the tubes replaced, they're old.

Features — 8
I purchased a 1992 Fender Champ 12 on eBay recently. It is an all-tube, 12 watt amp with 1 12 inch Fender speaker. It has 1 pre amp tube and two power amp tubes which sound great for the money. It has two channels, both clean and overdrive, bass and treble knobs, a mid booster, drive, and seperate volume knobs for each channel. It also has a nice built-in reverb that gives that classic Fender tone.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have a small repair business, and am in need of a replacement input jack for a Fender Champ 12 amp. Any ideas where \i can get one or a few for stock in the New England area?
    EDIT: 2 Pre Amp tubes and 1 Power Amp - 2 6l6's, 1 12AX7
    I also have one of these amazing little amps with a massive heart the clean channels to die for .and now I am playing my blues breaker clone pedal that ive just made! dialing in just the right amount of valve drive, not to much and wow every thing I ever wanted sound wise and ive been serching since 1970 not sure about the reverb though jerry
    Just picked one of these little beauties up myself. Not bad for what it is. Not very forgiving as far as getting a a good tone out of it, but spend some time tweaking the knobs, and you'll be rewarded with a nice rich tone. Don't expect to drive it hard to get that magic Fender small amp 'break up' going- it's not in there. It will, however, provide a very good clean tone, and does make an excellent platform for (the right) pedals. I got it pretty cheap, so I'm happy, I wouldn't spend more that $250-300 for it though, I'd look at a used Blues Jr or even an XD above that price point.
    First of all, it's 15 watts. Secondly, although the pots are very touchy, if you take the time to dial it in properly, this amp sounds friggin' great. I use it on the clean channel with my pedal board, and sometimes I just plug straight in on the overdrive channel, and it never ceases to amaze people, with such a large amount of volume from such a small cabinet, and the tone. It does get a really warm tube sound, when you drive it and get it good and heated up. People see the red knobs and think it's a solid state POS, but then they hear it. I have never even seen an amp with a 12". Speaker that is this small, but this thing rocks. Very loud, really versatile.
    I have a showroom condition Champ 12 for sale. No damage, scuffs, tears. Used little since purchased in early 1980's from Thoroughbred Music in Tampa, Fl.. Make offer text to 239-440-5659