Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

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Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby Bluesrocker » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:34 pm

Hello everyone. I just picked up a '78 Silverface Champ and I have to tell you I am really impressed with this little amp. Very simple, Volume, Bass, Treble, but when you crank this little puppy up to 5 and beyond, it breaks up really nasty and just screams some chunky, crunchy blues. I've played my American Strat, Les Paul, Emperor and Tele thru it and they all sound great. For a little amp it surely picks up every nuance of your playing, so you got to be clean and accurate! You can get some raunchy, swampy slide sounds, too! O.k., onto my question: It came with a Ruby 6V6GTBC power tube and I read that this tube is weak compared to others. The Preamp and rectifier are Fender tubes. I know a lot of harp players use Champs. What would all of you who swear by Champs use as a good bluesy tube combination? She sounds great right now, but how can she sound better? Thanks for any suggestions.
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby jeffl » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:53 pm

You might want to google on "Champ Mods". There are lotsa mod kit suppliers out there and it might be interesting to see what they're using. I had a '78 Silverface as well, but I can't remember what I was using for tubes in it. Don't make the mistake I did.... don't ever sell it. I miss it primarily 'cuz it was great for rehearsals, especially 'cuz it was small enough to tuck under your armpit, and it was so darn cute-- a classic Fender in its smallest derivative. Also, don't make the mistake of trying to make it to be something that it isn't. It's only got so much speaker and so much enclosure and it's never gonna be a Princeton or a Deluxe Reverb.
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby zhyla » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:05 pm

I don't really buy the wine-tasting rubbish that surrounds tube brands. I haven't noticed much difference in preamp tubes. Power tubes in a push-pull configuration can sound audibly different between sets but I suspect this is mostly a question of how well matched (or evenly biased) the tube pairs are.

But that said, tubes are cheap enough to buy a few and see what sounds good to you. It's not a waste, you'll need spares eventually.
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby texas blues » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:01 pm

No worries about the bias in a silverface, it's class A. In my tweed champ clone I have a Sovtek 12ax7, Tung-Sol 6V6 GT (about the best Soviet tube) and a JAN5Y3WGTA for the rectifier. It's a veritable tone Godzilla. If you can find them, like the JAN-Philips I have, and if you can afford them, NOS either, Brimar, Mullard or Seimans, are all recommended. The new chinese made 12ax7 and EL34 Mullards sound great. I have them in my Marshall and they smoke the Ruby's and JJ's I had in there before.

Salute', TB.
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby Rick-e » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:16 pm

zhyla wrote:I don't really buy the wine-tasting rubbish that surrounds tube brands. I haven't noticed much difference in preamp tubes. Power tubes in a push-pull configuration can sound audibly different between sets but I suspect this is mostly a question of how well matched (or evenly biased) the tube pairs are.

But that said, tubes are cheap enough to buy a few and see what sounds good to you. It's not a waste, you'll need spares eventually.


I totaly agree, I got caught up in the NOS tube thing about 10 years ago. I bought a crapload of NOS Mullard preamp tubes. Several different ECC83 variants. When it came right down to it in a band setting I couldn't tell any diff in my Rivera R55-12. Then I got away from playing electric for a while and found out that the mullards were in high demand on the bay. I think I sold about 16 of them at an average price of $85 each :mrgreen: (I paid about $10 ea. for them).. I'm still not playing electric all that much, and I'm back to the original tubes that came w/ the amp. Maybe in a small amp like the Champ or Princeton in a quieter setting it may be more noticable, but IMHO in the real world it's not.

YMMV
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby 601blues » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:56 am

JJs in Mullards out
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby rdeeno » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:22 am

My silver face champ has the tweed mode (delete the treble and bass controls) just has a volume now. The tubes are an EH6v6 with a new remake of the Tung Sol peanut. But the best change was a new, better 4ohm speaker. Mine is a Kendricks, but I wouldn't hestate to get a Weber one. The new speaker made my tone better stronger across the board (especially mids and bass) and louder.
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby ricochet » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:45 am

A good speaker makes a big difference!
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby deltablues57 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:42 pm

I Pulled the original tubes and speaker from my silverface champ. Set them aside as I can reinstall them at a later date and the amp will be 100% original. The brittle paper in the 20 + year old speaker won't stand up to too much loud playing. I put JJ tubes in and a new Jensen alnico. It sounds good and takes pedals very well. The speaker makes much more tone difference than the tubes if that's what you are looking to do. Make sure you put a 4 ohm speaker not 8 or 16. If you are looking to bypass the tone controls you just need to turn the treble and bass to 10.
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Re: Best Tubes for a Silverface Champ

Postby jeffl » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:08 pm

God bless the Silverface Champ, I sez. From a harper's standpoint, I'd sum it up to say that the little devils have more cute factor than the slew of little cheap major mfg's.' amps like the Crates,Fenders,Voxes, etc., primarily due to their 30+ years of building credibility, and, their capabilities are more suited to guitar, but adequate and handy for harp; Given those factors, their outside dimensions being Lilliputian as they are, portability wins the field. God save the Champ (and a few others, for cross-breeding purposes). On the other hand, small speaker enclosures create sound that lacks depth... if you're a guy (girls, escuse me please) who likes nice lungs on a girl, you might have to develop an interest in the pretty face instead.
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