Duane Allman’s Fender Champ

Most likely the amp was used during the Layla studio sessions with Eric Clapton in late 1970.

Tom Dowd, who produced the album, gave different reports on what exact model of the amp was used for the recording. There’s mention of Fender Blackface Vibro-Champs, Princetons, and Deluxes, and even some unknown Gibson combo. Howard Albert however who worked as an engineer on the album gave a pretty clear statement regarding the amps:

If you looked through the control-room glass, the piano was to the left, and on top of the piano, which had the lid closed, were our [Fender Tweed] Champ amps that Eric and Duane both used.

Howard Albert (Derek & The Dominos ‘Layla’

What’s most likely is that Eric himself primarily used a Tweed Champ which was used extensively on the album, and Duane played through a Champ that could have been his, or as Howard stated – locally hired or belonged to Criteria studio.

Clapton had recorded with a Champ before (first solo album). He saw Delaney Bramlett using one (probably in September 1969 when they recorded Comin’ Home). Bramlett gave Clapton a tweed Champ as a present that was beefed up with bigger tubes and a Lansing speaker (JBLansing or an Altec Lansing) [Guitar Player magazine, March 1996][Tom Wheeler, The Soul of Tone, p. 175].

It is also possible that Clapton himself used this Champ during the Layla sessions, to some extent.

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M g
M g
5 years ago

Why is “Fende Tweed” in square brackets? Usually that means that the person being quoted didn’t actually say that, but it was implied. How was it implied in this case? My guess is that the author just assumed it.

Matthew
Matthew
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan Kopilovic

I’ve seen quotes of people who seem pretty confident that they were actually blackface fenders that were used. I believe Joe Bonamassa relates it somewhere on pretty good authority

Matthew
Matthew
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan Kopilovic

I’ve seen quotes of people who seem pretty confident that they were actually blackface fenders that were used. I believe Joe Bonamassa relates it somewhere on pretty good authority

{In the Vintage Guitar article with Joe Bonamassa awhile back Joe says Tom Dowd told him the Layla album was a blackface Vibro-Champ running into a blackface Princeton Reverb with the volume all the way up, treble all the way up and bass all the way down.

He describes his blackface Fender Vibro-Champ and Princeton Reverb amps as “…my Layla rig. Tom Dowd said (Eric) Clapton used those two models to do the Layla album – he [connected] one to the other, turned the volume all the way up, treble all the way up, and the bass all the way down; that’s the ‘Layla’ tone.”}

Can’t speak with any authority myself of course, just interesting because elsewhere I’ve seen lots of people asserting they were tweed. I’m not sure how different the circuits would be, if at all, I don’t know the differences between the tweeds and early blackface that they may have been.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew