Contemplating a 5e3

seth3

Member
Messages
946
So, I'm a long-time Pro Junior user, and I'm thinking about trying a 5e3. You know: just 'cuz.

The problem, of course, is that the 5e3's are like five times as much as the PJ. Part of the thing is that I'm trying to minimize pedals, and I've heard that 5e3's don't need reverb.

Anyway—any thoughts? Contentment vs curiosity...

Also, has anyone ever ab'd any of the kits (Mission, especially) vs the big 5e3 names (Tungsten, Victoria, etc.). I think that the only way I could swing the 5e3 switch, financially, is to build my own.
 

Dale

Member
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10,314
I love my 5e3. Whether it needs reverb or not is a personal preference. It is a lot louder to get grind than one be lead to think reading TGP.
 

seth3

Member
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946
Thanks Dale—yeah, I always take that "no headroom" thing with a grain of salt. My PJ, which also has "no headroom" is totally clean in any bearable setting, decibel-wise. My Honey Bee gives me warm, slightly dirty sounds when needed.
 

lostpoet2

Silver Supporting Member
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3,288
There is a Mission 5e3 build in the emporium right now for $750 which would be worth considering.
 

Dale

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10,314
There are a number of great builders as noted. I like my Sara Richter verson.
 

louiscyfer

Member
Messages
99
5e3's are great. i have an original one, i love it. it doesn't have a whole lot of headroom, but using an nos rectifier makes it better, the voltage is too high on the new ones, and a 12au7 in the preamp also gives you more headroom.
 

MrGibson

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Messages
1,036
I have a Fender 5E3 and a Blues Jr (Master Vol and Reverb). These amps are very different. It’s almost impossible to dial in any tone and get an identical match. It’s not about the cab or the speaker (both have similar Jensens) – it’s all about the amp circuits that are completely different.

The 5E3 has a powerful low end that must be controlled not to get muddy when playing at lower volume. At higher volume settings the 5E3 opens up and become gradually brighter. My Blues Jr has a very thin low end, at any output level, and it has an aggressive high end that needs to be tamed.

The 5E3 is an obsolete design that Fender abandoned entering the ‘60s. The Blues Junior III is a top selling modern tube amp for the 21th century. Since I play obsolete music (Rock, Blues, Jazz, Soul, Funk) on my obsolete guitars (Mainly 335, LP and Strat) I really like my 5E3. I’m trying to figure out what to do with my Blues Jr…I have a new speaker incoming (Eminence Legend GB128), but will it make much difference?

I did some testing running an ext cab parallel to the internal speaker in the 5E3. Very nice at low to medium output. But I never cranked it due to the impedance mismatch (don’t know if impedance matching really is necessary with this amp?) Anyway, I’m thinking that the ultimate dual rig could be pairing the 5E3 with the Blues Jr via an isolated A/B splitter…

About Reverb, I like to dial in a small amount of reverb for practicing with low volume cleans to simulate a larger tone. With amp distortion, and especially when the output tubes break up, the reverb must be turned off (a distorted reverb is not pretty). I don't use it much with my BJ. The 5E3 is a pretty loud amp and it breaks up early so amp reverb would be more or less useless. When practicing with the 5E3 at low volume, you could just plug a reverb pedal or a delay in front of it, but as soon as you enter distortion territory you probably like to turn those pedals off. Post amp reverb and delay is another thing and you can get it live via a mic or a dual amp rig.
 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,740
I built a Mission 5E3 kit about seven years ago. Totally satisfied. If I wanted another, I'd call Bruce Collins first thing.

I haven't felt like taking the time to try to compare it to the other brands you mentioned, life is short.

I have a $70 EH Holy Grail pedal if I want reverb. Sometimes I do, just personal preference.

If you build one, build it stock. Find out why it's still famous 60 years later before you start fooling with the design.

They are an absolute blast to play. When I finished mine and lit it up, I went four hours non-stop. The wife wanted to take me to the ER to get the grin off my face. This was with a Squier Std. Tele with Fender OV's.
 
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Rhomco

Making UPS, FEDEX and USPS richer every day!
Gold Supporting Member
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1,925
I built a Mission 5E3 kit about seven years ago. Totally satisfied. If I wanted another, I'd call Bruce Collins first thing.

I haven't felt like taking the time to try to compare it to the other brands you mentioned, life is short.

I have a $70 EH Holy Grail pedal if I want reverb. Sometimes I do, just personal preference.

If you build one, build it stock. Find out why it's still famous 60 tears later before you start fooling with the design.

They are an absolute blast to play. When I finished mine and lit it up, I went four hours non-stop. The wife wanted to take me to the ER to get the grin off my face. This was with a Squier Std. Tele with Fender OV's.
This is gospel,
Rob
 

DeaconBlues

Member
Messages
2,975
I've owned three 5E3's:a Mission built by Bruce, a Clark Beaufort Special and a Victoria.
All were great amps! The Victoria gets my vote for the best quality cabinet and finish and a smoother sounding amp. I'm guessing that's due to the transformers. But, the Vicky was the most expensive of the three I've owned and I would be happy with any of them.
I've heard good things about the other builders(Lil' Dawg, Richter, Tungsten), as well.
 

FreeBlues

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
845
(Full disclosure, I have a Li'l Dawg Deluxe lunchbox head currently for sale on the forum.)

I LOVE 5E3's, they are absolutely the most fun amp I've ever played. Big, fat, greasy, sweet, screaming, and, well, lots more! By far the most touch sensitive amp I've ever played, super sensitive to minor changes in pick (finger) attack, both forgiving and demanding all at once. Tons of tones in this little beast.

Playing only at home at low volumes I need an attenuator to get any OD at all, not much attenuation, but some. Played clean at low volumes I have NEVER heard anything better, but you will need to work on tightening up the low end. They can get a little flubby.

Pedals work great, at least at low volumes. As others have said, they become unnecessary to annoying as the volume increases.

Much depends on what, how and where you play, these are not the perfect amp for everyone. I play blues, some jazz, light rock things, mostly at home, and the amp is fantastic. I also play at church where the tone requirement is much more in the Vox-ish, high end sparkle and chime. The 5E3 does not work well in this setting!

I think almost everyone should at least try - if not own a 5E3. Heck, it's about where all guitar amps started.
 

sstweed

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,146
Another mission kit here. Been my number one amp since 2005. Regularly played and tortured and it just keeps working and sounding great. I put a scumback speaker in it. I had lots of speakers in it, including a Celestion blue. That scumback lit a fire under that amp. It is hard to turn it off. If I don't have enough power I mic it. I would take this amp anywhere.
 

Yossi

Member
Messages
3,505
I have a boutique 5E3 tweed amp made from old parts. It's a nice small amp with a classic sound that is easy to really like. In a band with a drummer you will have to mic it to be heard in the mix as it is not very loud, even when dimed. (which I strongly recommend not to do).

Mine is in my conference room at the office where I play almost every day during lunch hour, and I have to say that it's sitting next to my Two Rock StudioPro 35 and Blueverb, and unless another worker comes in to jam and needs it, I rarely plug in to it.



 

seth3

Member
Messages
946
See, you guys are supposed to say, "Oh no, the PJ is just as good as a 5e3." Wrong answers. : ) This is the type of answer that we on TGP do not excel at giving.

I'll have to try one now.
 

wyatt

Member
Messages
4,167
I always say play one for a while.

I'm a die-hard 5E3 devotee, I've owned a couple originals over the years and now own straight clones built by me; but the internet is awash with threads asking how to mod 5E3's against their own nature by people who should have bought a different amp. And then there are all the Tweed clones for sale used because of the people who didn't realize Tweed Fenders are NOT Blackface/Silverface tone in hipper clothes.
 




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