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Sweet, small and crunchy - Riffs and Licks
Sweet, small and crunchy

New Amplifier
Originally uploaded by kenf225
And no I'm not talking about something I might have brought back from Hershey, PA, but about an amplifier I bought today. It's a Fender Champ 600, circa 1955 or so. It's small -- about five watts of power, and maybe 18" across (a standard diatonic harmonica would just about fit under the handle) and sounds ... amazing.

Tube amps sound best when you drive them hard, but even mid-size amps are just too loud to play at top volume. This little guy, though, can be opened up to 8 or 9 without blowing anyone out of the room, and sounds hot, with just that level of tube-distortion crunch that makes for that blues harp sound.

I rarely play amplified, but this will make its stage debut early next month at the Greenwich Village Bistro, with Saboteur Tiger. I'll be playing harp for two sets with them on April 3, and before that I'll be playing the Barrington Coffeehouse in Barrington, NJ, on March 29. More details to come on both shows.

New Amplifier New Amplifier

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8 comments or Leave a comment
rednoodlealien From: rednoodlealien Date: March 15th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

With the opening strains of "Leavin' Trunk" in my head

I can't wait to hear you on it! I LOVE amplified harp!

Watching the opening act for Taj Mahal a few weeks ago, I was feeling decidedly nonplussed, until the very cute guy started playing amplified harp, at which point I got up and jumped all over the place. ilivetodye remarked on my general change in mood once the harmonica came out.

I notice, however, that the amp only goes up to 9. Couldn't you at least have gotten a 10?
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: March 15th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: With the opening strains of "Leavin' Trunk" in my head

That's the sound all right! And it does go up to 10, although the numeral is half-hidden by the knob.
harrietbrown From: harrietbrown Date: March 16th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Where did you find it?
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: March 16th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
At Retrofret, a vintage instrument store, at which most of the folks I saw play last night work.
doodlegoat From: doodlegoat Date: March 16th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

I think you should get a new handle, tho. It looks like the same one is on the new version.

steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: March 16th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice! I did not manage to find that last night, tho it does contradict several places that say the widefaces weren't produced until 1955 (the TV version was before that).

As far as the handle, it looks pretty sturdy. The guys at the local shoe/leather store made me a handle to replace the one on my '62 Princeton, and Fender also sells replacement handles. If I were to replace it I'd try to duplicate the look.
doodlegoat From: doodlegoat Date: March 16th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
8 comments or Leave a comment