The WF-55 uses the simplest circuit design of any guitar amp ever produced: the Champ. In 1955, Leo Fender tweaked the circuit of his ‘cheap and cheerful’ Champ to create the famed 5F1, or Tweed Champ. The result was a fantastic little amp – with a warm and woody tone when clean, and a great raunchy crunch tone when the amp’s cranked.
The WF-55 uses the same signal path circuit together with a slightly modified power supply, to lower the Tweed Champ’s inherent noise level and make the amplifier cheaper to build. Just like the original, there’s one control for volume.
As with all Amp Maker kits, the main aim is to make good tone affordable. However, the amp is still stuffed with top-quality components – including British-made transformers, chassis and turret board.
Easy to build
The WF-55 is Amp Maker’s quickest build and very easy to get running. On a complexity scale of 1-5, it rates as a ‘1’ (where the N5X and P1800 are both ‘3’, for example). To see just how easy it is, read through the online construction manual which takes you step-by-step through the whole process. Opt for the version with the pre-punched chassis (see purchase options on the right) for a very fast build (typically within a weekend).
Unlike the original ’50s Tweed design, the WF-55 uses a hand-made turret board – instead of the original’s rather cheap and nasty fibreboard and eyelet design. The result is a fast build that provides a low-noise and trouble-free layout.
Pricing and versions
There are a number of options for the WF-55. If you already have valves, you can buy without valves, and if you already have a donor chassis that you want to recycle, you can skip the pre-punched chassis and control panel. All kits include transformers, turret board, all electronic components, hardware for assembly, wire for connections. (Jan 2023 note: the Russian war in Ukraine and the sanctions that have disrupted the global supply of valves. I have found a small supply of valves and offer them as an option if you cannot source your own.)
Online build guide
There’s a full-colour PDF available (click the image below to open it in a new window). This build guide shows every step of the build process, from unpacking the kit contents to testing the circuit before and after plugging in. It’s worth checking out before you buy the kit, as it will help you to decide if the project is within your ‘comfort zone’!
- All-valve signal path
- 4W output
- Single-ended design
- uses ECC83 and 6V6 valves
- Hand-wired turret board
- Volume control
- 4, 8 or 16 ohm speaker outputs
- 120V (US) or 240V (Europe)