It’s all about the tone…

Recently picked up the blonde version of Fender’s Super Champ XD, a combo amp. You can click the image at left for the Fender specs.

Lots of tones to choose from. I first played one at Guitar Center with an Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top Electric Guitar in Harrisburg. This is a bit unusual because I am more of a Strat guy, but I can see the allure of the Les Paul sustain.

Despite the noise of everyone else trying out guitars there, this amp really impressed me. The tremolo alone is worth the purchase price, reminding me of some great tones on recent Dan Lanois and Robert Plant recordings. I would have bought one right there, but I knew sales were coming for the holidays, and I have a general policy to not buy anything full price at chain stores (if at all). So I waited and got one a week later in Scranton, and am so glad I did.

Even though I have a Fender Blues Junior that has similar tones and is approaching vintage in its own right (12 yrs old and flawless), the Super Champ is a great two channel amp (which the Blues Junior is not). So there’s a clean channel, and then a lead/overdrive channel as needed. Only thing is that GC recommended a stupid Livewire footswitch (against my better judgement) that ended up not working, so I am going back this weekend to get the Fender-approved switch (which they threw in free for my trouble). As much as I hate these big retailers, I make it work my while.*

Except for a bit of tube rattle from the 12AX7 preamp tube (which is  normal for stock tubes, and will get replaced with EHX or some other better brand), this amp is awesome. Highly recommended, possibly with EHX tubes or whatever your favorite is. Tons of tonal options here, and really great for recording. I’m not an electric player overall, but this might change that. It is likely this amp will be showcased in my upcoming material for the play Dog Assassin and a so-far-unrecorded blues album that I am contemplating (with support from some local blues talents).

* Yeah, yeah, I know, buy local… but this was a GC special, not offered by smaller dealers. Believe me, I tried. As noted, I rarely pay full price at these stores. And can I just say how annoying it is to go into a Guitar Center and hear people playing “Iron Man” and “Crazy Train” when I’m trying to auditioning amps with more subtle blues material? I like Black Sabbath just as much as the next guy, but can we guitar players please find some better riffs to use?


By jjdeprisco

Sonic explorer, sound artist, guitarist in Fricknadorable, software designer.