5e3 differences

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by andycaster, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. andycaster

    andycaster Member

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    Ran across a post the other day that seems to have disappeared, so I'll ask the question again. Sorry if it's a repost.

    Watching youtube clips, it seems like different 5e3's vary a lot. Some make you understand why so many people love Deluxes, with sweet soulful cleans and that glorious overdrive. Others sound harsh and splatty, almost like a bad fuzz pedal in front of a low volume amp. What gives? Is there a big tonal difference between different builders and kits? Speakers and tubes? Or is it just that the 5e3 is finicky when it comes to dialing it in?

    I know that youtube compression and recording techniques probably make a big difference, but it would be great to have some input from those with experience. I'm trying to decide between a Tweed Deluxe clone and a Vox AC15HW and sadly, neither one is available locally so I can't try before I buy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  2. wyatt

    wyatt Member

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    Yes and yes.

    To the first part....

    Each builder has their own recipe for what is ultimately a simple "comfort food."

    Due to component drift, any two real '56-'60 5E3's can have deviated from one another by up to 50%, add to that that they were wound for 110VAC wall current, so their secondary voltage vary greatly depending on if you have 110-115-120-125 or anything inbetween wall voltages; many have replacement speakers and parts; etc. So, it's near impossible to find any two vitnage 5E3's that sound alike, yet ultimately they all sound like 5E3's.

    So, each builder approaches the design differently, some use compenstaed power transformers to get the secondary cvoltages as close to '50's levels as possible, others don't hand mimic that pushed hotter than designed voltages and biasing. And everyone under the sun has an opinion on the best component value (if not construction), speaker, etc. for a 5E3. So, once again, they are all different, yet all inherently 5E3.

    To the 2nd part...

    5E3's are very particular. They have very little clean headroom and the volume taper most the least of it. On a dial that goes to 12, the average 5E# will break up on "3" and be a fire-breathing machine by "6". So, how you control that Volume knob from 0-5 or so totally changes the nature of the amp.

    Of course, that means how hoit the incoming signal is makes a big difference as well. Humbuckers and hot pickups make it very, very difficult to dial in clean tones, they just overdrive the amp too easily, thankfully that's why there are the attenuated inputs (#2 inputs) to pad the incoming signal by 6db (cutting it in half), but that changes the tone because now you've loaded the circuit.

    And finally, there are the interactive controls. The Volume knob on the unused channel has a noticeable affect on midrange in the channel you are plugged into. Plugged in the the Bright/Inst. input, you can get he maximum midrange (reducing headroom) with the Normal/Mic Volume set to "6" and the least mids with it set roughly to "11" (set it to "12" and you can dump most of the signal to ground inadvertently). And the Tone control really increases bite and rasp and makes everything overall hotter when turned up past "9".

    More complicated amps are a million times more versatile and offer a greater pallate of tones, but because they are so complicated, they just can't do the 5E3, which has roughly two o dozen parts in its circuit.
     
  3. tbblues

    tbblues Member

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    Another thing to keep in mind is the pre-amp tubes, especially the V1 position. The stock or vintage V1 is a 12AY7, but some folks put a hotter 12AX7 in V1 for more gain. Also, the speaker choice would make a difference to the sound, no?
     
  4. LPVM

    LPVM Member

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    It must be magic

    Danelectro's 5E3
    Made with the cheapest materials available at the time of construction: many low cost componts PTP wired, thin pressboard cab, run of the mill Fisher console speaker, tolex that looks like it would better suited for lining a closet shelf than wrapping a cab, and yet the tone is killer!

    This one is 100% original right down to it's 2-prong cord so its not mods or a better speaker.

    Clean


    Crunchy


    Maybe it's the RCAs it's loaded with? :dunno
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  5. andycaster

    andycaster Member

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    Thanks for the input, this is why I love the TGP. That Danelectro sounds great, just like I think and hope a 5e3 will sound. Guess I have to learn to solder and discover the rest on my own.
     

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