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These amps, fondly referred to as the “lunch box,” were sold by the thousands to students and professionals alike.
Immediately popular for studio use, they also found favor from musicians playing small gigs.
In this guide, we’ll learn a bit about each of the amps in the Blackface lineup, including performance attributes, key tech specs, and famous users.
Fender offered three versions of the Champ during the Blackface period.
Beginning in late 1963 and continuing into mid-1964, Fender used up remaining old “Tweed style” Champ chassis and cabinets, but with Blackface cosmetics; Leo Fender was famously known as a skinflint when it came to minimizing production costs.
After all, he was the guy who reused his styrofoam cup for coffee.
And of course, your Champ can be mic’d to be used in just about any size venue.
Just grab your guitar and this little powerhouse and head out to the gig.
Cosmetically, the amps featured the aforementioned black control panels with white lettering, black tolex protective covering, and silver thread grille cloth.
Certain words and phrases pique the interest of vintage guitar players and collectors worldwide, like “Burst,” “Blackguard,” “Plexi,” and “Blackface.” Named for their black control panels, Blackface Fender amps are one of the company’s most famous and coveted product series.
Blackface Fender amps tend to be categorized into two groups by collectors and players: “Pre-CBS” (mid-1963 to mid-1965) models with a “Fender Electric Instrument Company” label and “CBS” (mid-1965 to mid-1968) models with a “Fender Musical Instrument” label.
Blackface amps were immediately popular upon release and used on numerous famous recordings.
They continue to be a backline and recording mainstay of musicians who seek a great, chimey Fender clean and, when pushed, a classic overdriven tone.