Any 5e3 lovers?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mbratch, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. mbratch

    mbratch Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Webster, NY
    I've been reading about 5e3's (Fender Tweed Deluxe... vintage or clone) with a lot of interest. The very few comments I've seen about them seem very positive. But I don't hear much about them on TGP. So what say you 5e3 owners or former owners? What do you think of the amp? I've thought about getting one as I'm interested in a mild amount of break-up in a lower wattage amp (15 to 20 watts), but with the ability to throw an overdrive pedal in front for heavier overdrive.
  2. garfight

    garfight Member

    May 26, 2004
    i just finished building my first 5e3 circuit and have been tweaking it and have to say i'm really impressed with it as a recording/small gig amp. a good tele,a good volume boost of some sort, and tweed deluxe is definitely a great sounding versatile setup for tube lovers .
  3. Mike_E_McGee

    Mike_E_McGee Member

    Dec 30, 2004
    I love my Mission amps 5E3! I wanted to build it as a project with my Father. He's much better with wood than I am, still he's a retired math teacher not a cabinet maker. I decided to order a 1X12 from Madsound, and have my Da build a head cab for the chassis. I think the results are spectacular:


    He's never taken an interest in my gear, so he had no idea what a "proper" head should look like. It's as big as it is because he wanted it to be symmetrical.

    The amp has a glorious clean tone that came on at 2 on the dial. It came on like a hurricane though. It was way past eviction volume of my apartment. I had to order an attenuator and wait a few weeks before I could hear the breakup. The breakup is just as glorious! It was worth the wait.

    I heard a lot of positive comments on Bruce's (mission amps) vol/tone mod, and bit the bullet. For $25 you get more clean headroom, the volume starts at 1, and rolls smoothly up to 6 before clipping (before it would clip after 3). The normal channel sounds very much like the bright channel used to, and the new bright channel sounds similar, but a little tighter and more focused. The one thing you lose is the channel interaction. It's not gone, but only about 15% of what it used to be.

    On a stock model, turning the unused channel's volume up over 10 would clean up the sound, lower the output, and scoop out the mids. This sound is sometimes described by tweed heads as "better than blackface" cleans. I loved the tone, but the mod has really given me much more than it has taken.

    I now have two usable channels (the stock normal channel may work for harp, but is way too dark for my guitars), more clean headroom (a major gripe about the 5E3), a smooth volume ramp up (THE major gripe about the 5E3), a nice range of clean tones, and a tone knob that works on either channel.

    I can't recommend the Mission kit or the Mission mod highly enough. I think if you do some research (you'll find this forum: indispensable), you'll see that the Mission kit while a little more expensive than some is usually regarded as the best. It is not that hard a build. I had no amp building experience going in, and my amp is quiet as a church mouse. It also roars like a beast when you push it. I know the Cinnamon Girl tone can be nailed, and I've heard that a Tweed Deluxe was the house amp at the Village Vanguard for many years (it really does have a great clean sound). I don't know your tastes, but the 5E3 circuit is a legend for a reason. It really is a great amp!
  4. mtndog

    mtndog Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2003
    Anchorage, Alaska
    I can't say enough good things about the Adam Stark XRay. If you are after this sound (Tweed Deluxe), Adam's amps are sterling choices. You get the benefit of a new high quality build by a guy who is also an incredible player. I feel this adds a lot to the subtlties I would not be able to tweak if I made my own kit. I am not down on kits by any means. My son has recently begun to venture down the path of electronics, and I may have him build me a 5e3 kit, when he has enough knowledge to undertake such a project.

    Getting a Stark amp may take a little more time/patience, but man is it sweet! Good luck, whatever direction you go.
  5. Valvetrain

    Valvetrain Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    Altamonte Springs, FL
    <mod edit: Please do not post sale posts as this in discussion threads. Use the dealer emporium. Thanks>
  6. martins3325

    martins3325 Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Well let me say this about the 5E3: I have owned 10's of thousands of dollars of high-end or vintage guitars and amps..incuding Old Marshalls, Vox AC30s, and various Fenders. The only amp I ever sold that I litereally begged the guy to sell back to me was my '57 tweed deluxe. What a great amp! Put a Klon or Rangemaster in front of it and its heaven! I since was able to track down a silly original '55 for a great price, and I also picked up a --highly recommend-- Clark Beaufort. These are the ultimate throw in front seat and go blues/rock amps! A truly great tone is a tweed deluxe with a strat and a rangemaster pedal..sweet! Out of my current gear: '64 AC30, Komet Constellation, and 5E3, the '55 is the last amp to go!
  7. RGB

    RGB Supporting Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    I recently sold a Tweed Deluxe clone, built by a guy on the LP Forum, because I just couldn't get "my" sound out of it. I think for neck pickup blues type tones it was a nice amp, but (even with pedals) I just couldn't get a good classic rock crunch out of it. Wrong tool for the job, no doubt. It came with a Weber Classic Alnico, and I tried a G12H30 which helped marginally, but no matter what I did the low end was kinda farty and loose....even through a closed back 1x12 ext. cab. I also tried another 6V6 amp in the Matamp Minimat and didn't like that either so I suspect I'm not a 6V6 guy. The natural OD of the amp always sounded real ratty to me as well.....but I think for that swampy, ratty, bluesy kinda slide stuff it was a good amp. Just depends on what you need, I guess. I don't miss it at all.
  8. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    I have a 1961 Martin 112 amp that is like a tweed deluxe in black tolex.These were only made for a couple of years for Martin by DeArmond/Rowe. It's circut is the same as a 5e3 but the transformers are much bigger.I set it up with an original cone C12N as the original P12R breaks up a bit too much.I also use a 5751 in the phase inverter so the power tubes aren't pushed as hard and I get a cleaner sound.It's a great low watt amp for band practice and small gigs(if you have a drummer that knows how to play a small room)and a TS9 works well for unlimited sustain. I can keep the amps volume on 4 for chording and clean leads and hit the TS9 for nice blues leads.It puts out about 15 watts and it's a keeper for sure.
  9. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2005
    Frazer, PA
    Anybody here have any experiences with the 5C3 Deluxe? This circuit used a pair of 6SC7s in the preamp as opposed to (3) 12AX7s for the 5E3.

    Just wondering what the tonal differences are between the two.
  10. Anje

    Anje Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2005
    love my old Gibson GA-6 "Lancer", great bluesy tone!

  11. pete100199

    pete100199 Member

    Jul 23, 2005
    Anybody out there know what the Mission Amps Tone/Volume Mod actually consists of?
  12. Ogre

    Ogre Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    The 5E3 sound is not for everyone. There is limited headroom. The bass tends to get a bit farty. But there is a certain something about them that is hard to put into words. They are similar to some of those Valco/Supro/National/Oahu amps that get a cool overdriven character at less than ear-splitting levels. A good example of this can be heard on the Neil Young disc "Harvest".
  13. toddyjoe

    toddyjoe Member

    Dec 12, 2005
    You can check out the 5E3 Forum. There are frequent discussions of the details of this mod offered by Bruce Collins (Mr. Mission Amps) himself.

    A tweed 5E3 Deluxe is definitely a great amp for any arsenal. When it comes to smooth, compressed but loose distortion, the tweed Deluxe is either at or near the top of the list. Even Dumble is reputed to have been inspired by the 50's Deluxe tone in creating the Dumble overdrive. 5E3s seem to like single coil instruments (Strats, Teles, P-90s, lap steels, pedal steels, etc.) more than humbuckers, but they work fine with humbuckers once you learn how to use the interactive controls and think outside the box with respect to the input jacks. There are now numerous places online to find basic mods to custom-tailor the 5E3 circuit if you do not like one or two of its limitations. So many great tones from the past feature tweed Deluxes in action: "Mr. Dave" Lindley, Carlton with Steely Dan, Neil Young and Stephen Stills, Landreth, R. Ford, Blue Note jazz with Grant Green and Burrell, Jerry Garcia, Luther Perkins with Johnny Cash, some Billy Gibbons, "Hotel California" leads, Keith Richards for studio and rehearsals, etc. The list goes on and on.

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