Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Been loosing my mind with my 2017 Deluxe 5e3 HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Lawrence McCoy, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. Lawrence McCoy

    Lawrence McCoy TDPRI Member

    Jul 19, 2017
    Winters, Texas
    First of all, hello folks. This is my first post here.

    I bought a brand new 2017 Fender Tweed Deluxe 5e3, the one that came out last 2016 winter NAMM. I never had any experience with tweed amps and/or handwired amps prior to this purchase.
    I was blown away! Definitely it was the tone (out of many) I was trying to have on my record studio.
    I've recorded many guitar tracks with it and even harmonica, which brought many MANY complients about the tone. However, since day one, I've setted it as a recording amp, as I thought it wouldn't be as loud to rehearsal with my country/blues band. Well, someday the bass player (which is a massive Neil Young fan) said for me to try it out rehearsing and *******, it performed great volume wise and hands down tone wise..

    Well, it wasn't until last week that I was playing with my friends for the second time with the Deluxe Tweed and after a break, I noticed the sound wasn't too loud. The tone was there but had lost about 25-30% of the overall volume. Then it came back (the volume) for a short period of time and gone away again (Initially I thought it was a bad connection with the pedals or something related to pedals/cables).
    I've turned it off.

    The next day I was on the studio and turned the amp on again. Tone was there. But I sorta started to think that the amp wasn't giving all it's potential so I opened it up looking for bad solder joints or a bad tube. I've looked the tube chart and since I own a 2015 Fender DRRi, I've replaced the 5e3 power tubes with the DRRi ones and nothing happened (volume wise). Then I replaced the preamp tubes with spare tubes and again, nothing happened.
    I had a rehearsal that night, so I've set a smart position for the amp in the room and turned it on so it could warm at least 30 minutes before playing. I've had it on the maximum possible volume for a clean/crunch tone and I've had to set everything else down (mics and bass) so the amp could blend in the songs.
    I wasn't very pleased with that because last time the volume was great (not too loud not too quiet)! So I went to an electronics tech just in case. He told me everything was fine with the amp. So I'm assuming it is on my head, since the amp read peaks of 119 dB at full volume, not full sounding though.

    Long story short:
    I have also other Fender amps. My HRDIII would SMOKE that tweed in volume, and my DRRi only have to be turned on at 4 to match the full volume potential of the Deluxe Tweed. It isn't lound but it isn't thaaaat quiet too. I will test my Marshall Class 5 side by side with it tomorrow too. A lot of people say that the Deluxe Tweeds have small speakers and upgrading it to a bigger wattage one would make a big difference.

    Can I try my stock DRRi Jensen speaker in the Tweed Deluxe? (Just for volume testing)
    Do you folks think the 5e3 amp is not that big in headroom and volume?

    Thanks a lot in advance.

  2. corliss1

    corliss1 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Sep 13, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    HRD will smoke most amps in volume.

    The Tweed Deluxes are not a high headroom amp, no matter the vintage or variation you get.

    Now, if you think the sound has changed since you originally played it I get it returned or looked at under warranty.
    JustABluesGuy likes this.

  3. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Holic

    Aug 19, 2015
    Richmond Va
    Most 5e3's don't get much louder once you get to 3 or 4 on the volume dial. They just compress more and get a bit hairier. It's definitely the type of amp that you control with your guitar's volume, in my experience. Trying a different speaker will be safe as long as you match the ohms properly. Going with a higher sensitivity speaker like a Blue will also give you a volume boost.

  4. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    The situation you describe wherein the volume went away and came back is the best clue you have that something is not correct in that amp. I would enforce the warranty.....or if you have a good tech you might choose to opt out of the warranty and let that tech find out what is going on. The problem will not be the easiest thing to find since it comes and goes, right?

  5. markeyd123

    markeyd123 Tele-Meister

    Jun 27, 2017
    Sounds like the problem I was having when my input jacks started to wear. If it is not the tubes then maybe thats it. Can you wiggle the cable in the input jack at all and affect the sound? If so you can have them replaced under warranty for no charge. Find an authorized Fender tech in your area. Either way, even if you can't diagnose you can bring it to the tech and have them figure it out. That's what Fender will pay them to do.

  6. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Be careful what tube you use for the phase inverter (closer to power tubes) as it's a cathodyne phase inverter which can be hard on tubes. Mostly it's recommended you use a Chinese Shuangang like a Ruby. This doesn't actually ramp up gain but there's a big grid to plate voltage difference that can heat that triode. You may notice volume drops and also cutouts if you use a longplate Russian or Yugo tube.

    Also be aware - the input controls on a 5E3 are interactive. Raising the volume of the channel unplugged can increase headroom

    Also also be aware - the first preamp tube was intended to be 12AY7 in the original 5E3 which is lower gain but increases headroom slightly without reducing volume. Also tends to sweeten things up.

    As others have noted - the 5E3 as a cathode biased amp is not so efficient and starts to break up at low volumes. You have to learn volume interplay between amp and guitar to maximise heasroom. 119db is permanent hearing damage loud if in close proximity.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017

  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    A 5751 in V1 would be an in-between option....gain of 70 versus the 12AX7's 100 and the 12AY7's gain of 40.
    +1 wi H Dacious' observation of the interaction of those channels. I like things with the 'off' channel set at 6 or bore on the dial. I run these amps with h the volume and tone up.....big cleans and overdrive at the same level.
    But....that variation in output needs to be dealt with, imho.

  8. misterdontmove

    misterdontmove Tele-Meister

    Mar 25, 2011
    I did a switchable cathode bypass lift modification on mine and live with it in that position. I believe that's how the later tweed amps were wired? It gives a little more clean headroom and clarity, and also allows for the use of a 12ax7 in position one of desired. It's a pretty simple mod and easily reversible.

  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Misterdontmove, which cathode bypass cap did you lift? V1??

  10. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    +1 that something is not right in there. I had one amp I worked on that would cut in and out like this, it was older and the heavy power resistor set up on high leads for heat dissipation only aggravated the vibrating mass torque, had cracked the solder at the traces. Reflowing the solder fixed that one. A cracked board, damaged trace, cold solder, or bad part could be the cause in yours. Sometimes you can find this with a wood or plastic stick to wiggle parts a little while the amp is on.

    Take it to a tech unless you know how to work around the high voltages are in there and how capacitors store energy even when unplugged.


  11. Lawrence McCoy

    Lawrence McCoy TDPRI Member

    Jul 19, 2017
    Winters, Texas
    Well guys, thanks a lot for all the comments and advices. I really appreciate that!

    Today I spent about 2:30 hours working with the little tweed box, I've opened it up while working and inspected every single joint by eye, with a flashlight and careful eye to detail. Nothing really was wrong with it. I removed a couple pieces of paper (that prevent dust to get into the amp by the input jacks) and it solved a buzzing problem while I was playing 'bassey' notes (F, F#, E) in the neck pickup of a strat. Volume wise, it isn't that loud anyway. I've turned it on using the speaker from the Deluxe Reverb Ri that I have, and the volume/headroom increased a tad bit. Not really that much. Not really what I was expecting after reading for weeks about speakers change in a 5e3.

    HOWEVER. After I spent about an hour working in the amp, I've noticed that the power tubes that Fender shipped the amp are the Russian ones that Dacious said, and one of them wasn't lighting up as much (I'd say 55% as much) as the other. But since vacuum tubes main function aren't the same as a light bulb, I think this isn't much of a problem. I might get a new matched pair of 6V6s from Shuangang to run a test.
    I know about the volume interaction between channels, I used to use the UAD '59 Deluxe Tweed plugin for recording a few guitars in my studio. I actually pulled the trigger on the real deal because of this plugin.

    Well, I keep asking myself if all of this 5e3 volume thing is in my head. I kinda don't think so but not quite (exactly like this). This is definitely the best sounding amp I've ever had the pleasure to plug in to, but I can't deal with the fact that I wouldn't be able to gig with it without micing. I had a Blues Jr version 2 back in 2014 that would sound way louder than this Deluxe and it is just 3w louder, in theory.

    Thanks guys

  12. corliss1

    corliss1 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Sep 13, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    Watts doesn't have much to do with loudness (without getting into all the actual science and whatnot, which isn't what this thread is about). Speaker efficiency has way more to do with it, and Blues Juniors are a different beast entirely. You can't hear a difference of 3 watts in volume.

    If the volume isn't what you expect, that's probably just the amp being a Deluxe. That's part of it's charm.

    If the volume is fluctuating under use at all, that's something that needs to be addressed as a defect.
    Nickfl likes this.

  13. Lawrence McCoy

    Lawrence McCoy TDPRI Member

    Jul 19, 2017
    Winters, Texas
    Quick update for any member that may experience this problem:

    As I’ve told in the posts before, I replaced all tubes to find the problem BUT the rectifier. Today I had the chance to install a new rectifier on it and voilà, the volume came back!!!
    I think the tube that came with the amp (a Ruby 5y3gt) had a defect or something, ‘cause when I swaped it out for a JJ Tesla 5y3s the volume I noticed lost immediately came back!
    I’m happy that I can rest my ears been right, I DID lost volume fcs heh
    Turns out Fender ship their amps with crappy tubes nowadays, maybe?

    Anyway, the amp is back on track, finally!
    Thanks guys
    homesick345 and Mike_LA like this.

  14. Andy B

    Andy B Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    Personally I will not use a Chinese rectifier tube in an amp. I find the Russian tubes more reliable. I have seen rectifiers do strange things in the past and I’m not surprised that replacing it cured your problem.

  15. corliss1

    corliss1 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Sep 13, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    I really like NOS rectifiers. They are still cheap enough to get and pretty much last forever.

  16. tweedman2001

    tweedman2001 Tele-Holic

    Aug 3, 2014
    North of There, NY
    This^^^^^^^^. Even if you stay with new production pre and power tubes, NOS rectifier tubes are better at keeping the smoke in.

  17. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Lawrence - when you were [poking around inside the amp did you 1) unplug it, and 2) discharge the filter caps?

    FWIW poking around in some amps - even unplugged - can kill you. There are very specific safety procedures to follow. IF you're not experienced with amp electronics tube swapping is fine, but touching anything inside is a bad idea and should be done by a tech.

    As far as tubes go, I agree with comments above - Stay away from Chinese rectifiers.

    ALL larger manufacturers ship most tube amps with cheap tubes. In Fender's case they ship with Groove tubes because they OWN Groove tubes.

    you'd be better served by spending the money on NOS tubes for that amp. Many Chinese tubes last for a year or two; eastern European and Russian tubes maybe 3-5 years is the amp is used a mid volume levels for the most part. Good NOS tubes purchased from a reputable seller (that fully tests them), though, often last for decades and usually provide better overall sound.
    Wally and Andy B like this.

  18. Lawrence McCoy

    Lawrence McCoy TDPRI Member

    Jul 19, 2017
    Winters, Texas
    I’m well aware about the tube amplifier dangerous voltages, I’d never touch anything inside other than the tubes. I’m very glad and happy I was able to solve my situation with just a tube swap. Can you believe I went through MONTHS trying to nail down into my head that my amp never lost volume and I was THINKING it sounded louder somehow, sometime!? When I installed the new rectifier and fired it up, by the time all the volume and tone came back (about 30% louder) I couldn’t help but say it out loud I knew it! Haha

  19. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

    Sep 15, 2016
    Bro, the tweed deluxe is a 12 watter.... ya gotta mic it if ya wanna gig it. Simple as that.

  20. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

    Aug 7, 2016
    Champaign illinois
    Glad to find out it was the recto-I was going to suggest that as mine went south as well-with same symptoms. it was a electro harmonex-I used a JJ replacement.

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