Fender 5E4-A Super Amp

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bmcmusic, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. bmcmusic

    bmcmusic Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Has anyone ever come across a Fender 5E4-A Super Amp?
    I believe It was made in the mid 50's and is basically a Tweed Bandmaster
    with a 2 x 6V6 output. About 12-14 watts. It must have been almost immediately replaced by the 5E4 as the Deluxe 5E3 had 2 x 6V6's.

    However, I built one from a schematic and it blows a 5E3 out of the water. It is one of the best recording amps I have ever used. The Bass, Treble and Presence controls give it a much wider range of tone.

    I have never seen an original. I'm curious if anyone has. I will have some tone samples on my site soon.

    Bob
    www.mcmusicsound.com
     
  2. hogy

    hogy Member

    Messages:
    11,461
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    I used to own one. It was a '56, only year it was made. Personally, I didn't care for it as much as the Tweed Bandmaster I still have (had them both at the same time for comparison).

    I believe the amp was a design mistake. It used the Triad 8087 power transformer. This is the same transformer as used in the Bassman, Pro, and Bandmaster. It puts close to 500V on the 6V6s, which is way too high and doesn't sound good to my ears. Jim Kelley fans will disagree.

    It had a nice clean tone, but no better than the Bandmaster. Overdriven, the straining 6V6s produced nasty artifacts and poor definition. At least that's how I heard it.

    My original did put out much more than 12-14 Watts at those insane plate voltages. Maybe your own build uses a more appropriate power transformer, which IMO could only help the tone.
     
  3. bmcmusic

    bmcmusic Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Hi Hogy,

    thanks for the feedback and the history of the amp. I can see where running that much on the plates of the 6V6's could lead to some not so pretty tone. I used Mercury Magnetic transformers and brought the power down to a reasonable 14 watts. I also used the first channel as a gain stage so the amp is two inputs but only one channel. With that configuration it can produce some very smooth overdrive distortion and sustain. I also built in the option to Cathode bias or fixed. I prefer the cathode bias.

    The design looked good on paper so I went ahead and built it probably how it should have been in the first place. 14 watt output and then adjusted the B+ to the preamp tubes until the amp sounded very sweet. I will post some sound clips this coming week as it is truly a delight to record using a Weber 12A150.

    The forum is really a great place to share knowledge, ideas and experience. Thank you everyone

    Bob
    www.mcmusicsound.com
     
  4. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,205
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Surrounded by Idiots
    I built a hybrid a few years ago. It is a 5E7 Bandmaster with 1 tube configuration and a 5F4-A Super with another tube configuration. I can swap the rectifier and power tubes, rebias, and plug the speakers into another jack and go from 5U4/5881s to 5Y3/6V6s. I had a custom cabinet made by Weber to hold a 2x12 configuration of 12A125 speakers, then had the cabinet recovered and relic'd.

    This amp really sounds great, and I'm sure I will never part with it. But...

    For some reason, I almost never play this amp. I'm not really sure why other than the fact that I own so many amps, It's hard to show all of them some love. But my wife thinks it looks really cool and likes having it as part of the home decor, so I guess it's all good!


    [​IMG]

    More Photos:

    http://albums.phanfare.com/4823592/2133829

     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  5. Topcat

    Topcat Member

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Livonia, Mich.
    Well, I'm going to have to be the dummy here and ask "What is the difference bt. the 5E4 and the 5E4-A? I have an original 5E4 date code EK (Nov of '55.)...so what am I missing by not having the "A" circuit?

    My amp sounds fantastic to me albeit not that loud volume wise. She does break up early. I would love to know the difference bt. these models.
    Please inform me...

    Terry
     
  6. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,205
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Surrounded by Idiots
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  7. jetlag

    jetlag Member

    Messages:
    1,122
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    I have a buddy that used to own one and he let me play his one night at a gig. It sounded nice but didn't send me rushing to the bank to get the $$$$ to buy one (I have other old tweed stuff like a deluxe, pro, bandmaster). His, incidentally, had what I think was a tremolux PT (stock) and it was unusual because it didn't fit in the oversized hole in the chassis - so fender used some washers in a makeshift arrangement to fit it in there. Cool amp but not my holy grail.
     
  8. chaz

    chaz Member

    Messages:
    1,560
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Heard one a couple years ago and it sounded gorgeous. Don't know the details of the amp's specs though. I do remember thinking the old 2x10 Jensens sounded superb!
     
  9. redtoploader

    redtoploader Member

    Messages:
    643
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Big River
    YES! So i'm not nuts? I've seen two examples that had the 8160 PT in there, held in by washers. The first one I thought was an old replacement...then when I saw the second one, it made me think twice.

    Hogy, did you remember what OT yours had? Did they use the 6K OT?
     
  10. Clashcityrocker

    Clashcityrocker Member

    Messages:
    163
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Have a couple of 5F4 6V6 Supers 1955 & 56 and these amps are the amazing. Tweed overdrive at its best. Will keep forever!
     
  11. hogy

    hogy Member

    Messages:
    11,461
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Don't remember what the OT was, but the PT was definitely the 8087, stock.
     
  12. Clashcityrocker

    Clashcityrocker Member

    Messages:
    163
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    One of mine has a 8087 and the other has 8160 (held in be nuts and washers) power transformers. The output on both is a Triad 1848. These amps define chime and shimmer!. The 8087 is seen more frequently in the 6L6 version of this amp. If possible, keep as many of the Astron coupling caps (if they are not too leaky) as possible. Great Amps!
     
  13. hogy

    hogy Member

    Messages:
    11,461
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    That's the same OT as the regular 6L6 Super, and the Tweed Bandmaster as well.
     
  14. tuubes

    tuubes Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Got one in a trade, it is AWESOME!!!!!!! Has phillip 5881`s, 5AR4 rect, big trannies! BIG sound, yet tweed!

    jim
     

Share This Page