Two Fender Tweed Beauties: Fender Custom 57 Twin and Fender Eric Clapton Twinolux

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by DiPa, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    I will showcase two Fender tweed amps- a Fender Custom 57 Twin and the Fender Eric Clapton Twinolux amps. The two amps are beauties and are different in a nice way and complement each other. I bought the Fender Custom 57 Twin in 2003 and the Eric Clapton Twinolux in 2013.

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    FENDER CUSTOM 57 TWIN:
    The Fender '57 Twin was played by many icons of the 1960s. Manufactured by the Fender Custom Shop with a finger-jointed solid-pine cabinet, it has two channels, one bright and one normal and individual Volume controls.

    The Tweed Twin is an all hand wired point-to-point amp on eyelet boards with high quality components and Mercury Magnetics transformers with a nice tweed covering. This 40-watt Twin is powered by 6l6GE power tubes and rectified by two 5U4s bringing back the late 50s Fender dual rectifier design. Four 12AX7 preamp tubes, 3 of which may be substituted with 12AY7s for the original '50s low-gain sound.

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    The transformers and choke are from Mercury Magnetics Company. There's also an internal bias pot that allows easy substitution of various 6L6 tube types. Control panel include Normal and Bright volumes, 4 Inputs (2 Normal, 2 Bright) which can be jumped and results in a different sound and distortion.

    Plugging in and you at once feel the harmonically rich and clean tones. A great amp for authentic rock, blues, and country playing. When cranked up, the Twin-Amp's fat distortion tone sounds great. It's a loud amp. The dynamic response and purity of tone of the 5E8A circuit are recreated in this Tweed Twin.

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    AS you play through the amp, you will note the the Fender '57 Twin combo's finger-joined solid pine cabinet resonates with a warm, woody tone. Crank it up for fat and sweet distortion. It ahs a nice touch sensitivity. I think, the 57 Twin's 5E8a sounds best with the guitar plugged straight in as you can control the amount of gain and distortion with the volume on the guitar. Crank it up to 7 and you get a nice breakup. The sweet spots are easily found using the amp’s Bass, Treble and Presence knobs. Definitely a great amp to own, play and collect.

    FENDER ERIC CLAPTON TWINOLUX:
    This is the only Fender amp in the line that's a signature amp, specifically made for Eric Clapton. The Fender EC Twinolux is the result of a collaboration between Fender and Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton wanted a modified version of the classic tweed '57 Twin amp, so Fender produced a hand wired combo voiced to Eric's preference. The EC Twinolux is based on the ’57 Twin—a reissue of the 40-watt tweed Twin described above.

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    Hand wired and all-tube circuitry in a single-channel design, you have Volume, Treble, Bass, Presence and dual Weber-designed Eminence-built 12" speakers. Four 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 6L6GE tubes in the power amp section. Includes the '50s era tremolo design which is a bias tremolo, which has a more distinct throbbing pulse than later Fender designs, sounds terrific.

    The finger-joined solid pine construction makes the amp sound warm, defined, and punchy. And the built-in switchable power attenuator resulting in 40W (full power) or 10W with both speakers on, or 10W with one speaker on, makes it ideal for bedroom, studios, smaller venues and larger venues as well.

    The circuit is based on the 5E8-A schematic that’s the foundation of the narrow-panel original. Like the original Twin, the Twinolux has dual 5U4GB rectifier tubes. The cabinet comes with two 40-watt Weber-designed alnico speakers (built by Eminence), and transformers built by Mercury Magnetics.

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    This amp has warmth, depth, and character. The tone is amazing as you can get a warm tube distortion at low volumes to a great sound at stage volumes. It's not modern sounding but very much older-style sound. The gain on this amp is amazing. Crank the treble, bass, and volume, and you have a huge sweet distorted sounds.

    These amps are a nice complement to each other in that they provide a wide suite of tones, with focus on the 60s style rock n roll and blues. If you love that sound and the blues, these amps have the goods.
    They have been well built and designed. Thank you Fender!
     
  2. Dad love mom

    Dad love mom Member

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    I have a Twinolux as well. People should know that when dialing in the amp's tone controls, one should set everything at four: volume, treble, presence, and bass. That yields the best sound overall and keeps things sounding very vintage-y and clean. To this day, I don't understand some of the sound demonstrations I've heard on YouTube showcasing the Twinolux or '57 Twin's capabilities. It seems that most users (including the beloved Andy from PGS) dial in way too much bass when demoing these amps. The 5e8-a is a naturally bright sounding amp. If users want a warmer tone, he or she should use the guitar's treble knobs or get a different amp.

    BTW - the amp sounds much more in line with earlier tweeds if players pull one of the rectifier tubes. With a rectifier tube pulled, the amp sounds much more like the Deluxes, Harvards, and other tweeds. With both rectifier tubes engaged, the amp is a bit bright and uncharacteristically (in terms of tweeds) stiff in an unnatural (compared to other tweed amps) way. YMMV. I don't hate the sound of the dual rectifiers in play; I just think it sounds best with one pulled.

    Also - I did the 12ay7 thing. It sounds good, but I preferred the 12ax7s. Users should note though that the last preamp tube spot (phase inverter) must still utilize a 12ax7 for the amp to work properly.
     
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  3. JiMB

    JiMB Member

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    I've played the Twin, what a great sounding amp!
     
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  4. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

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    Would you suggest a tweed bassman in that case (more warmth) since they are approx. the same power?

    I have a ED Tremolux, which is basically a Deluxe with Trem. Very nice amp but the trem seems too present/forward and fast. I sent the amp to Bill Krinard who is installing vintage '50s Schumacher trannies, and is rewiring to spec. with a stash of real vintage caps and resistors. He's removing the hi/lo output switch since I don't use it and is installing a Level control for the trem so the amp will now have a level and speed control for the bias trem. I can't wait to try the amp after Bill gets done with it.
     
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  5. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Nice feedback, I will also try out your settings.
    Agree, some of the YouTube video clips were not dialed in properly and some sound pretty awful, this amp is huge and can do a lot.
     
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  6. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    The amp is warm, of course you have to dial the EQ appropriately on the amp and guitar to get the warmth one needs. Tweed baseman is a different animal entirely.
     
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  7. DV52

    DV52 Member

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    DiPa,

    I always like your reviews. I have a 57 Bandmaster RI. Got it by accident really ,but it is very nice , and my Girl got it for me.
     
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  8. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Those Bandmaster 57 RI are some real sweet Amps, have a nice chime and breakups quickly, excellent amp to play some Keef on them.
    Thanks!
     
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  9. Figaro

    Figaro Supporting Member

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    it seems the EC would be preferred because it's more versatile?

    Do they sound the same if played through the same speakers?
     
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  10. Dad love mom

    Dad love mom Member

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    I would suspect the '57 Twin and the Twinolux to sound very close. The Twinolux is much more versatile though; it has an attenuator, as you mentioned, and output tube tremolo.

    BTW, if my understanding is correct, the stock speakers on the two amps should be the same as well.
     
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  11. Dad love mom

    Dad love mom Member

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    I don't have a lot of experience with the Bassman, so I couldn't speak to comparing it to the Twinolux. I know DiPa and I disagree on this point, but to my ears, the Twinolux and the '57 Twin are truly bright sounding amps. I don't use "bright" as a dirty word either. The amps just sound nice and crisp. Take a blackface'd Fender for example: Where some blackface'd Fender circuits can sound "bright" as well, a lot of that brightness is tamed with the amp's onboard reverb.

    To be honest, I've never really been into the larger tweed amps or the late '50s tweed circuits. Nothing against them; I just like the grit and feel of the lower wattage circuits of that era. To my ears, the lower wattage tweeds all have a very similar feel and sound. The 5e8-a (like the full-powered Twinolux) is basically the exception and feels more like a departure (again, this is probably due to Leo's insistence at creating a cleaner sounding amplifier). With a simple pull of a rectifier tube, players can more or less get the 5e8-a (Twinolux included) to behave more inline with the lower wattage tweed circuits that preceded it. Again, YMMV.

    BTW - I'm jealous of you EC Tremolux. That's the only EC amp I'm missing. If you ever think about trading it out, let me know! :)
     
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  12. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes correct, similar in some ways, and Twinolux offers more drive and dirt, and sound Marshally depending on the settings.
     
  13. Dad love mom

    Dad love mom Member

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    True. Actually, one could argue the '57 is a bit more versatile as well, considering the bright channel it comes with. Are the bright and clean channels able to be jumped on the '57 Twin?
     
  14. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes, you can jump and thid opens up more tones, so agree with you, that the 57 has a lot to offer as well and versatile.
     
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  15. Figaro

    Figaro Supporting Member

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    I didn't know they come with the same speakers. I think I would rather have the EC because of its low power setting and with 1x12 speaker for playing at home.
     
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  16. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Fender built these Amps about 11 or 12 years apart, but I would say the Weber alnico Eminence speakers are close if not the same.
     
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  17. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    I heard through TGP postings that the EC Twinolux was discontinued this year by Fender, am not 100% sure, but there was a lot of discussion on that topic here a few months ago. You can find a used one, and should be in good shape as they are fairly new amps built some 2 years ago.
     
  18. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Dad love mom, I probably will not part with the EC Twinolux, my estimates say it will be a collector item in the future as this is the only signature amp Fender has put out, and it is for EC. Plus the amp sounds amazing.
     
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  19. Dunzie

    Dunzie Member

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    Love the combo and the great in depth review of both amps. I have a similar tweed trio... with a Twinolux, 57 Bandmaster and 59 Bassman RI. Unfortunately my basement is being renovated at the moment so all three are under wraps in storage for a month or two.

    All great amps and have their own unique character... would love to add the 57 Twin to it someday...

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  20. DiPa

    DiPa Constant GAS Silver Supporting Member

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    Very cool, nice trio indeed. Love all three. You have great taste.
    I was going to add a few more to my post like the bandmaster 57 RI and the Bassman and go with four in my thread, but decided to do two and the others later as there is too much to write and discuss.
     
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