5e3 Myths vs. Realities? Enlighten me!

RyanFromQA

Member
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447
So I know it's kind of funny that I have my Li'l Dawg D-Luxe coming in on Thursday (woohoo!) and I have YET to play a 5e3. But it's true. So today I got off work early, and swung by Sam Ash, and lucky me, they had the full line of tweed custom shop amps there waiting.

So I played it with a Strat. For a half hour, I felt like Johnny Carson:

"I did not know that! Weird, wild stuff!"


First let me say, if my D-Luxe is exactly like this, I will be a happy man and never get another amp as long as I live. ;) Well . . . maybe I shouldn't limit myself THAT much, but I loved it. To me, this is THE FAT CLEAN TUBE TONE. I wanted to get down on my knees and thank the good Lord for giving us tubes.

But . . . it wasn't NEARLY as dirty as I expected. I was a little confused. Let me summarize what I was told about the 5e3 as far as what to expect:

  • No volume till 2, then dirty by 3
  • Very dirty at 4
  • Never really clean
  • If you turn up the volume of the unused channel, it gets cleaner, more scooped
  • The tone control acts like another gain stage
  • You're going to love it

Here's what I found instead:
  • No volume until about 2, decently loud by 3 (so far so good, happy for the headroom)
  • still clean at 4, getting louder (hmm, maybe I'm not hitting it hard enough)
  • max volume at 5 (about what I expected)
  • just started to break up at 6
  • still only on the edge of breakup at 8 :)huh)
  • gain/dirt observations unaffected by the unused channels volume :huh:huh
  • Interactive Volume controls were SORT of true . . . sort of. It was a little quiter, definitely less mids with the unused channel up, but if the unused channel was on 12, it got muddy and dark.
  • The tone control gave a little more gain, but not much, mostly acted like . . . a tone control
  • I loved it :BluesBros

I compared the Fender Deluxe schematic by the vintage 5e3 schematic, and it SEEMS to be fairly identical. I find it very strange that it wouldn't be dirty, especially given the use of higher gain tubes.

Maybe I was expecting a caricature of an amp, and what I met was the real thing. Here are my theories on why it didn't have breakup like I expected:

  • Use of weaker single coils?
  • Didn't really pick super hard
  • Groove Tubes 6V6 less prone to breakup?
  • Sneaky schematic changes?

Am I missing something?:bonk
 
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pedalcr8z

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3,446
Not to worry, you simply used the wrong guitar for any more dirt than what you got as a Strat's forte is clean. Had you plugged in a Tele you would have had to change your shorts in their bathroom!
 

billyguitar

Member
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5,514
Except for the tone control "acts like another gain stage" you pretty much described what a 5E3 sounds like. I haven't tried a new one but your clone should sound like an old one. The clones I have played sounded right.
The one you played in the store must have some unusally weak preamp tubes.
 

RyanFromQA

Member
Messages
447
Not to worry, you simply used the wrong guitar for any more dirt than what you got as a Strat's forte is clean. Had you plugged in a Tele you would have had to change your shorts in their bathroom!
Huh-oh. It arrives Thursday, and I've got someone who hopefully is going to buy my Tele coming over that day. I hope I can still part with it. ;)

Except for the tone control "acts like another gain stage" you pretty much described what a 5E3 sounds like.
The one you played in the store must have some unusally weak preamp tubes.
Could be . . . though they're already ax7's instead of ay's, aren't ax's s'posed to have about twice the gain of the ay's?
 

mbratch

Member
Messages
2,379
The Fender Deluxe is fixed bias and the Tweed is cathode bias. That's a big circuit difference right there in terms of sound.

I agree with the comment that the lack of break up must be the guitar. Although I use a strat on my 5E3 kit, put the guitar volume on 8 for break-up at above 4 on the amp or at 4 if I crank the guitar's volume. Average output pickups I suppose. The speaker can make a big difference. If I put in a larger magnet and more efficient speaker, amp is louder and break up is later.

By volume 8 on the amp, if your guitar volume is up, you should have some serious overdrive unless the guitar output is really really wimpy.

The interactive nature of the Normal volume is very subtle and really kicks in when it's almost maxed out.

Here's something fun to try: jumper the channels. Plug your guitar into jack 1 of the bright channel, and put a patch cord between jack 2 of bright and jack 1 of normal. That should give you more gain.

Tone control certainly adjusts tone, but will give a moderate increase in gain as it's increased as well. It's not huge, but it's definitely noticeable.
 

GrungeMan

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Messages
6,576
Park the Strat and use a Tele or a guitar equipped with P90's and the real 5E3 will appear!

Grungy :cool:
 

falconer

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Messages
640
Not to worry, you simply used the wrong guitar for any more dirt than what you got as a Strat's forte is clean. Had you plugged in a Tele you would have had to change your shorts in their bathroom!
Not only this, but you will literally spend months find new settings to get different tones with my Dawg. I discovered another settings combo yesterday that brings out a fatness/dirt combo with my Strat that I hadn't heard before.

Be patient, and enjoy your journey. ;)
 

RyanFromQA

Member
Messages
447
The Fender Deluxe is fixed bias and the Tweed is cathode bias. That's a big circuit difference right there in terms of sound.
Aha! Big difference indeed!:idea
I agree with the comment that the lack of break up must be the guitar. Although I use a strat on my 5E3 kit, put the guitar volume on 8 for break-up at above 4 on the amp or at 4 if I crank the guitar's volume. Average output pickups I suppose. The speaker can make a big difference. If I put in a larger magnet and more efficient speaker, amp is louder and break up is later.

By volume 8 on the amp, if your guitar volume is up, you should have some serious overdrive unless the guitar output is really really wimpy.
That's good news about the speaker, I'm considering small-magnet Weber Sig's for this amp. Either 10's or 12's.

I didn't get it up over 8 on the gain, it was real quiet in Sam Ash today and I didn't want to stand out too much. Where's an obnoxious shredder when you need one?
Here's something fun to try: jumper the channels. Plug your guitar into jack 1 of the bright channel, and put a patch cord between jack 2 of bright and jack 1 of normal. That should give you more gain.

Tone control certainly adjusts tone, but will give a moderate increase in gain as it's increased as well. It's not huge, but it's definitely noticeable.
I heard about the jumper but you should'a seen the time I had finding just one patch cable, never mind two!


Let me just say there's no way I'm parkin' the strat. That clean tone was aural heroin. Besides, I have overwound BG V60's in there, I think they've got a little more bite than whatever crap Fender Mexico's putting in.
 

Curly

Member
Messages
1,400
I think the sweet spot on my '56 is something like this:
  • main volume: 9-10
  • 2nd volume: 6
  • tone: 8-9
that gives me decent gain and harmonics, and gets me on the edge of break up, so that I can use my attack to go from clean to mean

on my Mission 5E3, I use similar settings, but they're a little different ... I think it's due to a difference in the pot tapers or other circuit components that are a little different, but that amp still has a bit of mojo :)
 

Don A

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,234
A tweed Deluxe without a Tele is like....

...well, a tweed Deluxe without a Tele!

The go together. Maybe you could sell a kidney (or the Strat) instead?
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,130
Playing a 5E3 bbeofre the speaker is broken in will not sound the same too.
Once it breaks in you hear the sweetest surprise.

That makes a difference in all amps but espoecially in a Tweed Deluxe.
 

hasserl

Member
Messages
4,708
Did you plug into the #1 input and not the #2? There is a difference you know, #2 has much less gain than #1.
 

cbpickin

Tweed Supporting Member
Gold Supporting Member
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7,079
You have to try a P90 equipped guitar with it! That is where the tone is just heavenly. My Heritage H137 with Lollar P90's is the best tone I've heard through my Clark. I always bring a strat or LP as a backup to the gig, but once I play the first song with the P90's there is no way I'm switching guitars. I play the Heritage all night, except for slide where I play a P90 equipped Reverend Roundhouse. Single coils, in general, sound best to me with 5e3's, but P90's just scream, cry, clean up fat, etc.
 

mbratch

Member
Messages
2,379
I didn't get it up over 8 on the gain, it was real quiet in Sam Ash today and I didn't want to stand out too much.
Hmm. At 8 on the volume on the amp you should have stood out pretty good! ;) Someone else asked a good question: which input did you plug into? #2 on the bright channel will be noticeably quieter than #1. And the Normal channel will be very rolled off in the highs and so won't sound quite as loud as the Bright channel by comparison.
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
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That's right, the bright channel input #1 is the way to go on the 5E3.
You can adjust everything to taste from there.
 

RyanFromQA

Member
Messages
447
Hmm. At 8 on the volume on the amp you should have stood out pretty good! ;) Someone else asked a good question: which input did you plug into? #2 on the bright channel will be noticeably quieter than #1. And the Normal channel will be very rolled off in the highs and so won't sound quite as loud as the Bright channel by comparison.
That's right, the bright channel input #1 is the way to go on the 5E3.
You can adjust everything to taste from there.
Yeah I was in #1 on the "Instrument" channel (that's how they're labeled on the reissue). I tried the others, but and got the results you mentioned. I'm sure I was quite audible, but I could still hear the guy at the end of the row plinking away at a $59 Hartke 1x8 combo. In any event, I got the nod of approval from the grizzled old guy working the strings counter.

For my Dawg, I've got an A/B/Y FX chain and I'm planning on the A going into Bright #1 and B going into Mic #1, that way I get the jumpered sound.

You have to try a P90 equipped guitar with it! That is where the tone is just heavenly. My Heritage H137 with Lollar P90's is the best tone I've heard through my Clark. I always bring a strat or LP as a backup to the gig, but once I play the first song with the P90's there is no way I'm switching guitars. I play the Heritage all night, except for slide where I play a P90 equipped Reverend Roundhouse. Single coils, in general, sound best to me with 5e3's, but P90's just scream, cry, clean up fat, etc.
Well I have a strat made of solid maple which has a Humbucker sized P-90 at the neck, Tonerider AC4 at the bridge - one of my favorite pickup combinations. I'm guessing that's gonna sound pretty great. My dad has one of our semi-hollow maple guitars with the same pup config, and I'm looking forward to trying it, too.
 

kmcmichael

Member
Messages
779
I have had my 5e3 from Jim for a couple of weeks now. I think the speaker is starting to break in. I am still experimenting. I use a strat with rather low output pickups(Fralin 54s). It is kind of going to depend on what you like.

I am going to use this amp for my cleans. We have a very low volume. My dirt amp is an attenuated Alesandro. Both going through the same speaker.

I found your first post to be pretty much the same for me.

Jim is a great guy to deal!
 






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