Is this 5E3 clone in poor condition?

Discussion in 'Amp Tech Center' started by itsGiusto, May 17, 2019 at 3:11 PM.

  1. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Meister

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    I went to see a used 5E3 clone for sale yesterday. I'm interested in having an amp I can try out some of RobRob's 5E3 mods on.

    When inspecting the board, I don't really think it's in great condition, but I wanted to see what people here think. In particular, the runs of wires and layout of components don't seem neatly organized, and I'm worried about the number of floating components, including an entire ground-bus.

    Does anyone who has more experience inspecting amps have any opinion?

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  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, as you say it's not real neatly done, so you can give it two demerits for that. But how it sounds is what counts. The electrons dont seem to know if things are neat!
    Watch for humming due to ground loops. Especially in those 5E3's.

    One of my best amps was a mess when I got it (heavily modded by someone who was not neat!) I got it running thinking I would tidy everything up after I tried it for a while. That was probably 8 years ago. it's dead quiet and tone king.... modded princeton chassis.
     
  3. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Meister

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    What you say is definitely true, but I worry about the long-term maintainability and fungibility of the amp. Neatness is valued at least somewhat for a reason - because well-organized circuits are less likely to have cross-talk and certain failures over time. And for me, it'd be easier to mod if I didn't have to worry about routing around existing wires and causing failure in tenuous existing components.

    The amp sounds fine. I'm not in any rush to get a 5E3. It sounds quite a bit like my 5F1 clone, so I don't really need it. I'm mostly waiting for a good deal to come along.
     
  4. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    OK first off the set up of that amp is a little different than I am used to seeing. That said, there is not an issue with changing the layout if it is for the best. Check out our very own @robrob site for amp schematics. Reducing noise is the name of the game with 5E3s. I just finished rewiring my input jacks as I felt I created a ground loop of my own doing. Sure enough I had and now it is quieter than my stock AC15.

    So I did a little reseach on John Pippy who apparently signed your amp.
    He could be a politician from PA
    or
    he could be the guy mentioned in this post.
    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/any-love-for-brown-fenders.344043/page-2

    That would be my guess. Sounds like there are some on this forum who have his amps who can speak of their reliability.
     
  5. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Meister

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    Agreed. The amp is a Sootboots amp. But I haven't really found any information about John Pippy at all other than that thread and one other post on a forum. And his Linkedin profile.
     
  6. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Afflicted

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    Not exactly... "Neatness" and proper lead dress are not the same thing, though they usually go together. You can route all your leads in straight lines and bundle them together and it'll encourage oscillation while looking "clean", or you can have a rats nest of true point to point wiring were the wire runs are short and everything crosses at right angles, which would cause much less electrical interference.

    When you say that an entire ground bus is floating, do you mean those components on tag strips? There is nothing inherently wrong with that.

    That amp is sloppy looking, but if it sounds good, there is probably nothing wrong with it that would cause premature failure. You should certainly be able to get it for a lower cost than a pristine looking build.
     
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  7. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Meister

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    No, not the tag strips, the bare wire coming off the red board.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 9:27 PM
  8. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm a firm believer in the ability of my subconscious to assess situations, of course without the ability to articulate at the rational level. In other words, I've never gone wrong going with my gut feel, and I've often gone wrong pressing ahead in spite of it.

    The appearance bothers you, and you are not in a rush. Why not just move on and wait for something you feel better about?
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Exactly, sometimes neatness and less cross talk do NOT go hand in hand! Running neat parallel wires can CAUSE crosstalk!
    But I agree that buying a mess should be done at a bargain!
     
  10. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Meister

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    I agree. But I like to get people who know more than me to weigh in so I can learn faster.
     
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  11. ocduff

    ocduff TDPRI Member

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    I've seen FAR worse and in fact I think there is a lot of effort involved in that build but the logic of some of it seems a bit different. If the quality of the parts and chassis are high quality, you can always re Route a few wires if need be.
     
  12. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Meister

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    What do you mean by that?

    Do you have advice on how I can tell?
     
  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Did i pt hum? I ask because those two transformers are both lay down types, and the orientation may not be conducive to having a quiet amp.....but it is hard to tell from here with these pics. I would think that whoever put this amp together may have quite a bit of experience. They definitely did not follow a paint by numbers approach, did they?
     
  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Duplicate...edited.
     
  15. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

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    It's a sloppily made amateur job. However, if the price is right and you're looking to work and put in some time, you could revamp this into a much better amp. The Nichicon caps and transformers alone are worthy as a starting point.
     
  16. Wyatt

    Wyatt Tele-Afflicted

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    That's how I do it. Just about every Ground bus I've seen is held in place by its connections, there just usually isn't that much real estate.

    I wonder how it sounds? I have some of those Russian-surplus PIO caps sitting around I have never used.
     
  17. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Meister

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    Honestly, I have no clue what something like this is worth. He said "$675, but negotiable". It also has a custom-made cab that looks like a Gretsch cowboy amp. It's pretty, but I don't care too much about the cab enough for it to be worth something to me.

    I know I don't want to go anywhere near as high as $675. Given the state of this amp, what would it be worth?
     
  18. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

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    IMO, it is worth the cost of parts only. Maybe $250 for the trannies, caps, pots, etc. It sounds like the seller won't go for that, but honestly, there are a least a dozen different posts on this forum of first-time builders whose amps look better than that.

    I agree with the comments above that pretty wiring does not necessarily equal good sound and tone, but what I see above is mere sloppiness and there's a good chance of cold solder joints or any manner of other problems developing, because the builder simply does not know the basics of clean soldering, component layout, or bus wiring.
     
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  19. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    $675 for a 5E3? That is in the ballpark.

    But then you may ask, what ballpark?

    I just finished my 5E3 a while back. I am a penny pincher so I sometimes go too cheap.
    I bought the chassis on a deal, got the components from Dave at Boot Hill, bought some nice PT and OT to drive and a set of tubes I got off ebay. I built my own cabinet and sourced a Weber Signature speaker again on a deal through the "bay".

    Components alone with the trannys, the tubes and the board pieces can run around the number @flyswatter mentioned. Add in a speaker and a cabinet it can get up to Three Bills cost. Then you have the time and the labor to put it together.

    So its in the ballpark, but when you consider that you can buy a whole kit at $750 from StewMac (that looks like a classic tweed '59) and even cheaper at other places it is not in the small ballpark. More like Citi Field... but to each his own.

    Realistically a nice 5E3 for less than $800 is a pretty good deal. I know I would not let mine go for less than a grand (I was offered that much for it).

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  20. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Nice amp, Preacher. Just a note, but the intonation on that Tele is not correct. (;^)
     
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