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A small number of the last 5F1 style cabinets were covered with the "Blackface" amp cosmetics around this transition, as the factory most likely ran out of the tweed cloth covering.
Fender brought back the blackface cosmetics for a short time in 1981 before discontinuing the Champ the following year.
DATE CODES Date Code: Most Fender Wide Panel Tweed, Narrow Panel Tweed, Brown, Blonde, and Blackface amps will have a date fender champ amp dating hand-stamped on the tube chart and sometimes on the chassis as well. The first letter indicates the year and the second the month of manufacture.
I wish I could say that I figured all this out on my own.
Most of the amps were finished in a "gray crinkle" finish.
I had to cut open the “cheap-tack” reverb cardboard box-tunnel and yes….a spring was off!
The amp had been designed to tap voltage off of the cathode circuit in the cathode-biased output stage as a low-voltage source for the switching circuitry.
I checked the resistors in the cathode circuit, and then replaced one that was way out of tolerance.
A Champ from this era can easily be dated by the code stamped on the tube chart, The 5F1 lasted until 1964, when the Champ finally made the transition to the "Blackface" style of circuit and cabinet.
The Champ switched from Blackface to Silverface four years later.