Tweed guys! Tungsten Cortez vs Crema Wheat vs (insert tweed here...)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by big jilm, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,040
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Hi everybody.

    I think I am about to take the plunge into Tweed territory. I have pretty much always been a humbucker into Marshall higher gain guy, but the last year I have moved away from that. The music I write no longer fits that sound at all. My Splawn sits unused as I play at home through a tweed 2x8" harp amp with a fuzz in front.

    I am looking at a couple of amps - The Tungsten Cortez and the Tungsten Crema Wheat. Greg V makes the Crema sound so good (like he does everything he plays through!) I am leaning that way, but the band I am in now plays pretty quietly (small rooms) and I am afraid I would not be able to drive the Crema because it would be too loud at that point. I would like the base tone to be a little gritty (not full out dimed Neil Young tone) then use a drive for dirty rhythm, and a fuzz for leads.

    How loud does the Crema have to be before I would get low gain but gritty tone with a Tele? Would the Cortez be a better option, or would that break up too soon?

    I also like the fact that I hear the Crema has tighter bass than a normal Tweed Deluxe - does the Cortez have this as well?

    To make matters more difficult, I have a line on a Clark Beaufort too. Any thoughts on this one as opposed to the Tungstens?

    I am new to tweeds, so any info I can get to help me make a decision would be really helpful. I have read a lot of stuff here using the search function, but I am hoping to add to the knowledge I have already gained.

    Thanks!
     
  2. melodiusthunk

    melodiusthunk Bronzd & Supported Member Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,641
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Location:
    Massachusetts USA
  3. jpervin

    jpervin Member

    Messages:
    6,823
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Frazer, PA
    When I had my Crema Wheat and played it in church, I generally had the volume between 5 and 7 with a Sennheiser e609 mic laying on the grille. Any higher and I would start hearing requests to turn it down. It did not break up at that volume, even when using my LP (I typically used a Tele). Hence, I used pedals for dirt. The CW loves pedals though!
    Never played through a Cortez so I can't help you there. Sorry.
     
  4. elicxirmixer

    elicxirmixer Member

    Messages:
    178
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Location:
    Milford, CT
    I practice regularly with a guy that plays a Cortez along with a laundry list of nice guitars. It might be the best tweed I've heard and it makes me want to sell all of my gear and get on board.
    You can swap the tubes out to adjust the wattage and he uses it for both practice and gigs without any volume sweet spot issues. Can't speak for the Crema, but that's my two cents.
     
  5. Robert Sands

    Robert Sands Member

    Messages:
    203
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    I have a Crema Wheat and love it. But if I could change one thing it would be that it would break up sooner. You need to play it very loud before you get there. 20 watts is both a good thing and a not so good thing. Your concerns are warranted.
     
  6. zguitar71

    zguitar71 Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Location:
    Missoula MT
    I use a p90 les Paul in my CW and get plenty of breakup on bright channel one with v1 on 6 v2 on 6 and tone on 6. At that setting the clear come through but the breakup is very much there too. If I go to v1 on 8 and the other knobs the same as before it is very broken up and all rock and roll. The amp is loud too. I can only use the amp in medium size clubs unless I only want clean tones. I do not use pedals so for nasty tones it is loud. For smaller clubs I use a mid 70s champ. I would love to have the Cortez for the earlier break up at a more usable volume but I will never get rid of the CW because it is such a great amp. I just need the slot between the champ and CW. So if you are in a smaller club the Cortez might be the right choice. If you need more clean tones the CW is the way to go. I use the Schumback speaker which is a little quieter too. The ultimate would be a CW with a power setting switch for half power of 10 watts or even 5,10,20 watt settings. Possible that could be a mod Adam could build in. The CW has a tighter bottom end that I like more than a pure tweed like the Cortez and having that at lower volume would be great.
     
  7. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,040
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Good stuff so far - lets keep this going!

    I am leaning towards the Cortez at the moment, so I could get some break up at small gig levels - but I hear that the Crema has tighter bass response (and I am not against pedals to drive it) which is something I like... so, still on the fence for sure.

    Greg V makes the Crema sound so good that I have to be careful - I don't play as well as him, so I know I can't make it sound that good!
     
  8. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,855
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    InSaneDiego
    You must play in a BIG church to a young crowd. They'd rush the platform at my church if I played that loud!
     
  9. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,855
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    InSaneDiego
    Can't comment on the Cortez, but the Crema Wheat is one fine, fine amp. However, if lower volume break up is what you are looking for, the Cortez might be a better choice. I'd contact Adam at Tungsten and consult with him. He'll steer you in the right direction.
     
  10. Gallery

    Gallery Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,825
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Location:
    Red Bank, NJ
    I have a Cortez. It's loud and it has no clean headroom... well... no usable clean headroom with a drummer. It's not practical for home practice if anyone else is in the house who might not enjoy hearing you play. It goes from quiet and clean to loud and dirty, with nothing in between.

    It's very thick and dark with a Les Paul. I like it better with my 335, but even with the tone dial dimed it doesn't get bright with humbuckers. It's a typical 5e3, thick, dark, raunchy, dirty and flubby when cranked. But if you like that sorta thing, it's got glorious tone.

    I don't use it much, but when I do, I'm reminded of why I love all of the imperfections of a tweed deluxe.

    I would not suggest buying Cortez over the CW if you think you are going to get break up at more manageable volumes. The Cortez will still be too loud. For normal gig volume, it's great. For volume sensitive gigs, it's going to be a bit problematic as there is not much adjust-ability in the volume dial. It hits a certain volume and then all that changes is the character of the break-up, not the volume.

    If you use mostly Humbuckers I would suggest the CW which is voiced a little brighter and less flubby on the bottom end.

    I got my Cortez at a price I couldn't pass up, but if I were buying new I would have bought the Crema Wheat since it plays better with humbuckers an has more usable headroom.
     
  11. jpervin

    jpervin Member

    Messages:
    6,823
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    Frazer, PA
    Nope. Small church of about 150 max. Quite a few young people, but a nice mix of young and old(er).
    We were just trying to hear ourselves above the drummer.
     
  12. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,040
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Kenoflife - pretty much my thoughts exactly. Crema with a Brakelite or similar. I think the Crema has the edge with me - the tighter bass is a want on my end.
     
  13. Robert Sands

    Robert Sands Member

    Messages:
    203
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    Yep, an attenuator might be the way to go. I've thought about getting one for my CW also. But I also like the idea of that half power switch. I wonder what Adam thinks about that and if he would do it for people who own a CW. What would sound better - attenuator or half power switch? Anybody have any thoughts?
     
  14. _sjm_

    _sjm_ Supporting Member

    Messages:
    260
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    OP you sound like my twin. I prefer humbuckers (and P90's) into gainy Marshall-esque amps. I picked up a Crema Wheat a while back and haven't touched a Marshall since.

    If I'm home alone I have no problem playing the Crema cranked with a LP. One man's "too loud" is another man's "just getting started". It's really tough to tell what will be too loud for someone else playing in a different room with different requirements.

    I can tell you that the Crema cranked up will definitely leave your ears ringing. I don't even bother with any kind of dirt pedals when running it that way.
     
  15. Robert Sands

    Robert Sands Member

    Messages:
    203
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2012
    I'm playing mostly a Tele thru my CW and I have the Celestion G12 H30 speaker. So I am pretty darn loud to get into breakup territory. And I like LOUD so when I tell you the CW is loud I'm sure you guys would all agree. But a glorious amp. Cleans are awesome too. Bottom end - nice and tight. Hard to find a fault.
     
  16. Clyde Bisbee

    Clyde Bisbee Supporting Member

    Messages:
    400
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    What about Victoria or Muleskinner offerings?
     
  17. big jilm

    big jilm Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,040
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston TX
    good question - does the Crema still sound 'big' at small gig levels (even if it's still clean)?
     
  18. Figaro

    Figaro Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,667
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    Location:
    Sweet Carolina
    The Cortez and other 5E3 amps have a great clean sound, but many players don't know how to get it. Here are three things that work:

    Adjusting your guitar's volume control down.
    Adjusting the unused volume control on the 5E3.
    Replace the first 12AX7 with a 12AY7.
     
  19. majorminor

    majorminor Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,113
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Location:
    Montana
    Crema Wheat owner. First the cleans are wonderful - rich and complex. With single coils and either input with volume at 3 1/2 - 4 you are at loud home playing volume, slightly gritty cleans, but IMO maybe still not hanging with most drummers. 4-6 on the volume the cleans are dirty-ish but still manageable with attack and some volume knob work and you are probably at a smaller gig volume un mic'd. Over 6 you are crunched up pretty good and damn loud :)

    Talk to Adam at Tungsten but with the Crema you can bring earlier lower volume dirt and sag on by changing to a different rectifier as well(and maybe a different AX7 in V1). The stock rectifier is suited for max volume and headroom. IMO I'd go Crema for the tighter bass and more clean headroom then use rectifier or speaker swap, or a boost pedal to get grit at lower volumes if that's what I needed.
     
  20. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,203
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Location:
    Motown
    The Creme is the perfect volume. I gig mine often in small clubs. It breaks up at 5 with a humbucker-6 or 7 with single coils. I don't think you would need an attenuator.
     

Share This Page