Converting A Cheap Amp Into A Class-A Tone Machine

Epiphone Valve Junior ModLookin’ for a fun weekend project? How about spending some quality-time with your soldering iron while converting a cheap Epiphone Valve Junior amplifier into a faux-Fender Tweed Champ?

I was looking for some interesting DIY mods for tube amps this morning when I came across Premier Guitar Magazine’s article titled: Rags To Riches––Turning an inexpensive amp into a vintage beast. It’s a moderately in-depth look at how to modify the already decent-sounding Class-A Valve Junior ($140 street price,) into a “Fenderized” tone monster.

As author Dirk Wacker ( writes––

“I’m sure you all know the famous Fender Tweed Champ – it’s one of the classic little amps that can be heard on countless recordings. It featured a punchy and percussive Fender clean tone and a ”true, from the bottom of the heart“ overdrive, full and warm sounding – in other words, a tone combination to die for. The Epiphone Valve Junior can be modded in this direction and I had the pleasure to play the modded Epi side by side with an old Fender Tweed Champ – the differences in tone are really minimal…”

This mod’s probably not for the absolute newbie, but it doesn’t look too difficult for someone with a passing understanding of electronics and soldering.

Of course, as with any modifications having to do with amplifiers, it’s always best to err on the side of caution… even an uplugged amp can carry a lethal voltage if the filter capacitors have not been discharged. Proceed At Your Own Risk!