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What makes a Tweed Amp so special?

Messages
318
I recently bought a Fender Champ (silverface). I read that Clapton recorded the Layla record with a Tweed Fender Champ. What makes a tweed amp stand out? Are they wired differently?
 

hammersig

Member
Messages
1,419
Yes the circuitry is different. Fender connosseurs will be along in a minute to tell you the real difference, but to my ears, tweeds had more cream to the sound. no pun intended.
 

Trout

Member
Messages
7,549
Simplicity, extremely low tone robbing parts count and great tubes pushed to the edge of implosion !!
Tweed Champ= a surprise tone in a budget student box!
 

RyanFromQA

Member
Messages
447
It would take quite a few component swaps and rewiring to put a sf champ to tweed specs but it's very very easy to get tweed tone out of a sf champ. In short you bypass the tone stack, change the feedback loop, and you lower the voltage a tad. I will post a link plus a few diagrams when I get home in about an hour.

The result is breathtaking. It's clean until about four, and the cleans are open, creamy, and rich. Then the drive comes. it's awesome. So many sweet spots ....
 

RyanFromQA

Member
Messages
447
Okay, so here's what you need to read. Two 22k resistors and one 0.022µf capacitor.
www.schematicheaven.com/mods/champ_tweedifying_mod.pdf

The major part of the mod involves changing the wiring on the volume and treble pot. This is how the relevant wires are connected now:

Along with moving two resistors and replacing a capacitor, you change the wires to this:

For tweed. You could do what I did and switch it like so:

I replaced one of my input jacks with a heavy-duty dpdt switch, which you could flip while playing to go between (Blackish) Silverface and tweed.
 

Blues Rocker

Member
Messages
167
I can only speak on limited tweed experience with my tweed '59 Bassman. As a player/performer I feel like the tweed cabinet is like an instrument unto itself. It is an organic, "living," breathing part of the whole tone equation. With my tweed I notice that I can work with the amp to create tones that I just don't quite get with my MusicMan 112 Sixty Five blackface. I've owned browns (early '60's Brown Tolex Super) and blackfaces. When I discovered my tweed Bassman, I knew it was my main amp for the rest of my life.
 

PeeCee

Member
Messages
804
I've got several narrow panel tweeds: Pro, Tremolux, and Bassman.

Of course the circuits are different, but a big part of the sound has to be the box and speakers. A Marshall JTM45 and a 5F6A Bassman have very similar circuits, but they sound completely different. Open back pine cabs with old Jensen alnico speakers sound a lot different than a closed cab with 4 G12Ms. They are both great amps, but the Bassman sounds airier, more 3D, less focused and with a bit more sparkle on the highs. The bottom end of the JTM is tighter.

I've never played a Bassman clone, but I've played the reissues. They may be OK in their own right, but they sound nothing like a real one.

I did a comparison between a 61 Concert amp and a Bassman (They both use the same OT and 4x10 speakers). They both sound very nice, but the Bassman sounded much more 3D--like the entire box was producing the sound, not just coming out the front.

I don't own a 5E3, so I can't help you with that.

Some may dismiss comparisons of this sort as corksniffery. But, I would argue that someone who doesn't know a thing about music would notice the difference and probably describe the sound in a similar way. That said, the difference may not be that noticeable with a loud band thirty feet away from the amp.
 

mountain blues

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,318
I can only speak on limited tweed experience with my tweed '59 Bassman. As a player/performer I feel like the tweed cabinet is like an instrument unto itself. It is an organic, "living," breathing part of the whole tone equation. With my tweed I notice that I can work with the amp to create tones that I just don't quite get with my MusicMan 112 Sixty Five blackface. I've owned browns (early '60's Brown Tolex Super) and blackfaces. When I discovered my tweed Bassman, I knew it was my main amp for the rest of my life.

From my deep love affair with my Vicky Bandmaster, I can only agree wholeheartedly. An organic, living breathing instrument unto itself. That is tweed.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,409
Tweed amps just sound like they are always on the edge of breaking up even if they aren't being pushed. Their tone just has a little hair that's always present that makes me want to dig in and play. My homebrew 12/10 amp is tweed based but I built it to have a tighter bottom than classic tweed but to still preserve the classic tweed hairy edge...and I think I came pretty close. Tweed is tone ;).
 

PeeCee

Member
Messages
804
Hmm...

The more powerful tweeds (Pros, Bandmasters, Bassmans) have very nice clean tones. The edge of breaking up issue can usually be resolved with a good NOS 12AY7 in V1 instead of a 12AX7. Up past 5 or so, however, they start to break up very nicely.

I've found that loose bottom end issues are more due to speaker problems than the circuits themselves. Case in point, run a Bassman through a 4x12 (using a z-matcher to correct the impedance) and you will get a nice, tight bottom end. The P12N in the Pro gives it a solid tight bottom end--arguably one of the nicest tweed bottoms ;-)

I think the hair is partially a Champ/Deluxe thing. Little tweeds get hairy pretty quickly when pushed. But, I think it's a mistake to overlook the cleans.

The role of a tweed in a two amp setting is often a clean amp plus a dirty tweed. But, a clean tweed (Twin/Pro/Bassman) and an overdriven AC15 or AC10 is also very nice.
 

mountain blues

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,318
I've found that loose bottom end issues are more due to speaker problems than the circuits themselves.
Totally agree. I took out two of the three P10R's in my Bandmaster and put in Weber P10Q's, and it cured the flabby bass as well as improved headroom, definition and tonal range.
 

wingwalker

Fuzzy Guitars
Messages
6,783
Go to ANY store you can and play a tweed Fender...there are lots of them still out there, once you plug into a real tweed you'll know w2hat all teh fuss is about.

My first tweed experience was a 58 Deluxe...I've never been the same since!
 

Curly

Member
Messages
1,400
tweed amps are loose - in a good way -- and especially suited for touch sensitive playing. IOW, going from clean to mean with your pick attack and/ or guitar volume
 

Dale

Member
Messages
10,314
I love the tweed tones. Clean and dirty. The speakers are critical as the the 5e3 really does push a speaker in the bass range.

The responsiveness is also what makes them special to me (5e3 especially). Your pick attack really becomes important with these amps.
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,040
It's the rich cleans that get me, that and the bouncy feel. That type of tone and feel is not unique to tweeds, but it's pretty easy to find in most of the tweeds I've tried.
 

morgan918

Member
Messages
3,515
I had a '53 tweed pro that I bought at GC. It didn't work in the store so I got it for a song. I took it home, reseated the tubes and it came alive. It was the butteriest, most alive tone I've ever heard. One day about six months later, I smelled something while playing. I took it to my tech and fixed it up (can't remember the exact issue). But it never sounded the same (good, but the same). I suspect it sounded great because it was about to go, and that tone is stuck in my head. It just sang...
 




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