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Tweed Twin vs. Tweed Bassman Blues/Southern Rock

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by homelife88, Feb 22, 2013.

Better Blues amp

Poll closed Mar 4, 2013.
  1. Fender 57 Twin RI

    18 vote(s)
    51.4%
  2. Fender Bassman RI

    17 vote(s)
    48.6%
  1. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    Old thread, but still a relevant discussion. I had one of the RI Fender tweed twins for quite awhile. Excellent amp, very big sound. Those weber designed alnicos are sweet as hell. Ended up trading that twin, then later got a handbuilt tweed bassman. Made by a guy name Sterling in MA. Clark and Victoria level quality in every way (I've owned several of those too), with Heyboer trans, weber 10A125 speakers.

    This is personal taste: As good as the tweed twin was, the tweed bassman has been better for me. Something about those 4 x alnico 10s. It's this perfect sound, not quite as round as the 2x12 thing, but with a balance and clarity I've never heard from any other amp outside of the super reverb. My bassman got used at loud rehearsals. Both channels up halfway, jumpered, volume controlled at the guitar. Only guitars with quieter p/us ever got turned full up. No lack of volume with either amp, that is for sure.
    MD
     

  2. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
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    319
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    I just finished a 5f6a kit with a master volume and NFB switch (5f6a/JTM45) added. I also have this 5e8a cab coming from rawcabs (sorrycharly on eBay, makes really great cabs). The 5e8a chassis is exactly the same size as the Bassman so it's a easy way to make a 2x12 Bassman. I'm hoping to get the best of both this way, the 5f6a circuit should even be able to take on some high power Twin vibe in a 2x12 pine cab. I'm going to use a pair of WGS British Lead 80 speakers (their version of the Celestion Classic Lead 80) which are some of my favorite 12" guitar speakers.
    While I'm working on getting the cab/grill cloth/speakers ready I've been running it into a cab experimenting with it a bit. I've changed V1 to a 5751 which helps me get anything ranging from a 5f6a to a JTM45 tone easier. I'm thinking about trying some more output tubes, I have a set of Gold Lion kt66 I might try although I also have a set of JJ 6L6GCs I'm thinking might be a better "in between" tube to cover the 5881 and kt66 tones more to get both the Bassman and Bluesbreaker tones out of one amp.

    The way I think this amp is going to turn out I'm thinking about building a 5e3 Deluxe next with 6L6 and GZ34 tubes. The source I've been using sells a kit with big trannies for a 5e3 that I'm sure would handle 6l6s and rawcabs has a 2x10 Deluxe cab. That would make a great Deluxe/Super hybrid (with the parts I can get and what I already have I can build the Deluxe for much less money than a Super/Pro amp).

    I posted this a couple of hours ago so just a quick edit to say I tried a pair of winged =C= 6l6gc tubes I have that I'd used for a little while in another amp but still have a lot of life left. I think they're exactly what I was looking for for this amp, they sound great!
    image.jpeg

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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
    Nickfl, BobbyZ and FenderLover like this.

  3. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    TomBob: That is a cool project! I tried all sorts of different power tubes in my tweed basement. Old Sylvania STR forget the number, Old Phillips 6L6s, three different pairs of NOS 6l6wbg tubes, a NOS pair of Tung Sol 5581s, even a pair of the new issue TSl 5881. At least in my bassman, the NOS Tung Sol 5881s were the best.

    Every amp is different, and every amp taste is different, so you could have completely different results. Also, I'm guessing a 2x12 format versus 4x10 will make your bassman rather different than mine.
     

  4. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Nice work, Tom. You might take a look at the 5E5 Pro.....not the 5E5A version but the 5E5. That amp is in essence
    the 5E3 Deluxe circuit done with 6L6’s. There is no Tweed Super that is close to the 5E3 circuit, ime.
    The 5E5A Pro, 5F4 Super and the 5E7 Bandmasters are very similar to the 5E8A low power Twin, which is the Reissue amp. If you pull one of the r3ctifiers in the Twin, it is even closer to those other three amps. All of these four amps are quite different from the 5F6A and 5F8A amps, which are punchier and more articulate. like the 5E3 Deluxe is more ready to breakup in a very different manner compared to any of these amps. Cathode Biasing does that.
     

  5. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
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    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    Wally I appreciate the info, I like the Pro amp a lot but the reason I'm thinking about doing a 5e3 with 6L6s has a lot to do with different sources for parts I've found. I can build a Deluxe and mod it for half of what a 5e5 or 5f4 would cost me. I found a kit with a oversized PT and a 6k6 input imp OT (I believe it's basically a Deluxe Reverb OT) that should work well for a gz34/6l6 setup. The only thing it would really have in common with a Pro/Super other than 6l6s is that I want to use either a 1x15" or 2x10" in a bigger cab (I'm really going back and forth on which would work best, I'm starting to lean toward the 15"). I'm hoping more speaker surface area will give me more volume, I'm planning on adding a switch to add in a NFB loop when wanted for extra headroom too. I think the 5e3 Deluxe is a great little amp but the ones I've had experience with struggled to keep up with a group so I'm just trying to think of ways to give one a little help.

    Thanks mad dog! It does sound good with real NOS 5881s for that "authentic tweed" sound. I'm trying to get the most versatility I can out of it and I know I'll be able to tell more once I have it in the cab but the 6l6gc =C= seem to cover a lot of ground. I love NOS tubes but I've just started buying JJ new production tubes for the most part, the old stock stuff keeps going up and fleabay buys can be unpredictable. I've had a couple of "tested strong" NOS tubes off there die in a week or two.
     

  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Tom, reread my post. The 5E5 Pro is NOT like the 5E5A Pro. The 5E5 Pro is exactly the amp that you are saying you want to build but for the fact that the 5E5 Pro runs a 5U4 rectifier rather than a GZ34.
    Check out the schematics.....
    https://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/deluxe_5e3_schem.pdf

    https://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/pro_5e5_schem.pdf

    https://schematicheaven.net/fenderamps/pro_5e5a_schem.pdf

    If you are looking for a bigger 5E3,Leo did it in 1955 with the 5E5 Pro. The 5E5A Pro from later that year is a different amp...bigger sounding and more sophisticated.
     

  7. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
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    319
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    I looked at the schematic and I see what you're talking about now. I wasn't familiar with the older 5e5 pro. I know the later one is a fixed bias and just the same amp as a Super but with a 15". Even if I build on the deluxe chassis (I'm not sure but I'm assuming the 5e5 still used the larger chassis like later 5e5a/5f4 amps) the values on the schematic you posted will be a great help. The PT on the 5e3 kit I was thinking of using as a base will handle a 3 amp load on the 5v tap fine so a 5U4 would be good. Thanks Wally, it makes me feel better to have a tried and proven design to work from. I'm going to look for the specs for the trannies on the 5e5 too, the kit I'm looking at has bigger than standard 5e3 iron but not as big as 5e5a. I feel confident they'll handle that 5e5 circuit fine.
     
    Wally likes this.

  8. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Tomboy, for my purposes I prefer to have vintage correct voltages. There are sources that build such PT’s....Mercury Magnetics for one. Yes, MM trannies are not the least expensive; but I trust their expertise. I also like their willingness to provide good customer service/relationships.
    Fwiw, I have never seen a vintage 5E5 even though I have owned 5B5, 5C5 and 5E5A Pros. The 5E5 had a short production life, I suppose.
     

  9. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    319
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    The 5e5 is a bit of a odd beast isn't it... It looks like each input is actually on its own triode, even though it only has two volumes it has four "channels" so it has two 12ay7s. That's unnecessary for me, two channels and a single 12ay7 works just as well for me. I see the 5e5 has a bit more filtering but you probably wouldn't notice much difference but it's easy enough to swap out the 16uf filter cap closest to the end of the turret board with a 33uf. I still haven't found a lot about specs for the transformers that came on the 1955 5e5 but I'm still looking around, I'm sure it's out there.
     

  10. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Holic

    681
    May 24, 2016
    Florida
    In my mind (based on no practical experience) this is the ideal combination of attributes from the tweed twin/bassman family. I think the HP twin is the best sounding of those amps and a 5f6a in a 2x12 should sound much the same but with lower output (but still pretty damn loud). Theoretically the best of all possible worlds.
     

  11. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    But, the 5fd6-a through two 12s won't sound like a 5f8-a. The iron on the Twin is sooooo much bigger, the bass response is just different. They sound similar. I'm sure with a 2x12 setup they would sound more similar. But, I think the the Twin will always sound bigger. Not necessarily better, but bigger.

    At heavier overdrive settings, it will sound different as well. The bass coming through will be cleaner, keeping the clipping a little different.
     

  12. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    319
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    There's no real substitute for the bigger iron in a hi power twin, they're really great sounding amps but truthfully I'd never have the opportunity to run a 80 watt amp loud enough to get to its sweet spot, it's hard enough to get 40 watts there indoors (what I think of as the "sweet spot" is on the verge of break-up with good compression and sag). The 5f6a with 2-12" speakers and 6L6GCs does do a pretty good job of getting in the ballpark though but at a little more manageable volume. (Yeah, it's still a loud amp but not unbearable)
     
    Axis29 likes this.

  13. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    Funny thing, I find I get a little bit of clipping, and that nice compression early on from both of these amps. But, yeah, for the real overdrive sounds, the Twin is not very practical for many of the gigs most of us do.

    I have used my Twin on the same gig I've used a 5e3! LOL Different sounds for sure, there!
     

  14. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    319
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    I've read about what SRVs tech used to do with his Vibroverbs to beef up the bottom end, he put a Twin Reverb OT in them. With one pair of output tubes made a 8-ohm load (that's easy enough to make about any speaker configuration work with). That should work to beef up the sound of a 5f6a making it closer to a 5f8a hi power twin too. I don't really think I'd bother with it unless the OT was bad and needed replacing but if I ever end up with a Bassman with a burnt/bad OT I'd consider giving it a try. It'd be interesting to see what it does since replacement OTs for 5f6a and TRs are about the same price.
     

  15. Viejo

    Viejo Tele-Holic

    694
    Feb 12, 2011
    Southern IL
    Since you mentioned Southern Rock in your title, I think it is worth mentioning that when Kurt Linhof said when delivered the Darkburst Les Paul to Duane Allman he also delivered 10 Tweed Bassman amps the Brothers had ordered.
     

  16. tombob

    tombob Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    319
    Jun 25, 2010
    Sonora, TX
    I've got a simple question for anyone with experience with the 5e8a low power Twin. From what I remember of ones I've seen the handle looked to be centered front to back on the top of the amp. My cab hasn't been drilled for the handle and the one I ordered should be getting to me any time (finally, I think they've been bringing it by donkey). I went with the older style with the nail, I like the look better than the dogbone.
    Btw, am I the only one who has had horrible luck with the rubber dogbone handles Fender started using? Every one I've had has broken and I've ended up replacing them with leather ones.
     

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