Fender Champ, Fender Twin, Fender Bassman and EVH!
Fender might have become most known for their guitar and bass models such as the Telecaster, the Stratocaster and the Precision but Leo actually started out repairing amps.
In 1938 Leo Fender set up his first company: Fender’s Radio Service where he repaired radios, phonograph players, home audio amplifiers and musical instrument amplifiers.
Leo soon thought he could improve the design of the instrument amplifiers and make a larger profit doing this than just repairing them.
Leo teamed up with Doc Kauffman and got to work.
One of the first commercially successful amps Fender ever made was the Champ, a single ended class A 5W amp with a very simple design became hugely popular almost instantly at its 1948 launch.
The Champ has changed many times since then using 8″ and 6″ speakers, different schematics, valves and covers.
These days the custom shop keep churning out variations on the theme.
The Fender pro Junior is possibly the closest you can get to what the fender champ was intended for; a low wattage, recording amp.
If any amp can be considered to have changed the world it is the Fender Bassman.
Leo built this to go with his new innovation, the precision bass, the world’s first electric bass with frets, complete with its own amp it pretty much single handedly paved the way for the modern rock combo.
Not only bass players favored the Bassman, guitar players used it as well.
These amps were very well made and once they started to export and Jim Marshall got hold of them he got together with Pete Townsend and Eric Clapton to develop the Marshall JTM45, using the Bassman as their starting point.
Today Basssman’s might not be as popular but the amount of spin offs built off this original model is crazy!
Fender Twin Reverb
The Fender Twin is a so called AB amp, Valves (A) are used for preamp, Reverb, Tremolo and Power amp, the rectifier is solid state (B).
The Twin is known for it’s ability to be very loud and still remain ‘clean’ and it’s lush sounding Reverb.
Over the years the Twin has seen many modifications, both internally (speakers, wiring, valves) and externally (covering, buttons etc).
One thing that always remained however is that a Twin come with tilt back legs, allowing you to angle the amp up towards your ears rather than legs.
Known for being heavy to lug around but very reliable for a valve amp, the Twin has had millions of working guitar players to come through her.
Pedal friendly as she is, the Twin loves a bit of delay and some light overdrive from pedals such as the Tube Screamer. Tremolo and Reverb are off course built in.
Cybertwin and Amplitube Fender
Fender teamed up with IK Multimedea to digitally build replicas of their amps, the result was Amplitube Fender which when used with Amplitubes other products inside X Gear gives you a serious combination of amp history, as a simple plug-in.
The Cybertwin was fenders move on the digital market and they started this seriously complicated project in 2001 with a digital amp that had all real routing set up and wired, using a digital interface to control the signal.
No other company has attempted to build a digital amp in the same way, instead of digitally modeling amps like line6 and amplitube does, the cyber twin actually lets the signal through different circuits to achieve the different sounds.
A nice hint of Fenders enormous legacy is the Cyber Twin’s preset “Her Majesty’s Bassman” which refer to the JMP45, Marshall’s first amp.
EVH 5150 III
Eddie Van Halen has always been modifying his guitars and amps and while doing so gone through many different brands such as:
Music man, Peavey, Charvel, Marshall and now finally he has teamed up with Fender for his take on the ultimate amp.
Classic Van Halen riffs will obviously sound awesome, but it’s also clear how great Eddie’s sound is for any kind of rock guitar.
With three independent channels and very quite switching between them you can build a sound that seamlessly move from clean distortion.
Combine this with volume control on the guitar and you might be able to put the pedal board on Ebay.
Sounds tempting? It should.
As history teaches us, the best amps have always been developed by players, could the EVH 5150 III be the Holy Grail?