50's era Fender Deluxe - what would you prefer?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Telekarster, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    So.... I've been thinking on getting an original. Wanted one for a long time, figured I ain't getting any younger ;) But I'm having a hard time deciding on what to get i.e. Completely restored to like new, partial restored, reconed speaker vs. original vs. brand new XYZ, etc. I fully intend to play this amp of course and possibly even gig with it. I'm not buying it to collect per say, just want it to be original period amp.

    I'm sure by now most of them have had pots, caps, speakers, tweed, transformers etc. replaced. I'm just wondering what ya'll like to see in an old amp and, if you have one, what you like about yours and what's been done to it?

    Thanks all!
     
  2. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire

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    The answer lies with you. You want to play the amp and maybe gig with it? OK, take an example: A (good) vintage speaker may sound 'best' in the sense of most authentic -- but that may be a softer tone, more prone to bass flub, and both less capable of loud and more prone to self-destruct if asked to do loud.

    TLDR summary: If you get a truly all-original amp, don't play it, store it in a fireproof environment.

    For a *player*:
    • A 3-prong cord, wired right, and deleted death cap are musts.
    • It's nice to get the original speaker if available -- adds a lot to your resale value -- but try it out once, swap in a new one, then store the original safely in a box.
    • Original transformers add a lot to the value and can't hurt the tone. If the amp can't keep up on your gigs, you might wish you'd got bigger ones.
    • An amp that old is crazy to use without new e-caps -- not only do they risk your vintage PT, they will almost certainly harm your sound.
    • Most 50s non-e caps are also prone to DC leakage -- see below.
    • Resistors are a tough area. A really smart tech could probably tell you where some drift was OK, or even good, and what drift where was too much. Good luck finding a tech that smart. For sure, the bias resistor gets cooked over time (and you can still buy 'brown devil' resistors that look perfectly authentic).
    • Some '50s pots last forever. So it depends.
    • Tweed is entirely up to you. Pretty will cost you a lot but may look better to some people. Worn almost off looks just as good to people who see amps with their ears.
    If you spend enough to get the original caps, it is pretty easy to core out the cardboard electrolytics and re-stuff them with new caps. Adds a lot to the looks and function. Sadly, the pretty yellow Astrons are not re-stuffable -- and are kinda notorious for DC leakage. Bright spot: The 'domino' bright cap in these is regarded as pretty darn reliable.

    50s_5e3_deluxe.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  3. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    I guess I'll be the first to say it. Other than the idea of it starting out as an original Fender, what you're describing is a brand new 5E3 clone amp.

    If the original speaker and iron are replaced, it will sound fine, but won't sound the same as when Fender made it.

    It you replace the handle, and replace the head, it's not the same axe.
     
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  4. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Leave the original 5E3s for the Blues Lawyers. They're crazy overpriced.

    Let the clones do the dirty work!


     
  5. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Yeah.... I hear you. I've been struggling with that notion as well. I really like the idea of owning an "original" but when everything is basically replaced, is it? Hmmm..... thanks for the reply! Much appreciated. Further thought on my part I guess.... delima's...
     
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  6. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Thanks man, really appreciate the details! Ok, so... ya'll got me to thinking this over a bit more. Maybe what I should do is go with a clone. Actually, now that I think about it... probably makes more sense after what ya'll have commented about. Really appreciate the responses!
     
  7. PooTwang

    PooTwang Tele-Meister

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    The old yellow astrons are not testing well these days.
     
  8. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve compared original 5E3s to new/recent amateur and pro-built clones several times over the years, and I prefer clones.

    A 5E3 that’s built with proper workmanship and good components (not necessarily the priciest) coupled with a speaker that suits the player’s ear will sound great - provided that the player takes the time and effort to learn to coax the best out of it.
     
  9. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

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    Sorry for my ignorance here but, can you explain what this means? Are you saying that many of the originals still have these Astron's in them, but now they're going out? I would've thought most of that stuff would've been replaced by now, but I have seen "Astron" on some components - looking at pics online etc. but figured they were copied labels or something...
     
  10. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

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    ^^^^^^^ Those be some wise words, right there! ^^^^^^^

    @Telekarster

    There was a recent thread about "VINTAGETONE"/Sound of The Shoals (not to be confused with "Vintage Sound" that also seems to have a good reputation) that pretty well visually dissected build quality and component choices and determined these to be fairly authentic and very fairly priced. these are not modded, but simply built to modern safety specs with modern components. Here's a link that will show most of their choices. They seem to sell exclusively through Reverb. I would not drop down to the "Economy" version though, as it is my opinion that the Weber transformers don't sound quite as nice as the ClassicTone and Heyboer units.

    https://reverb.com/shop/sound-of-the-shoals-guitar-amplifiers

    The previously mentioned "Vintage Sound Amps" while quality products, appear a bit pricey, as well as somewhat modded versions of the original design.

    I implore you, if you want a 5E3, get a bone stock circuit and become "ONE" with it, and then look into mods, if you feel it necessary! Many folks start off with a modded version and then piss & moan that a "Tweed Deluxe ain't all that!" They simply don't know/understand the magic they're missing!

    Just My $.02 & Likely Worth Even Less,
    Gene
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
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  11. t-luxe

    t-luxe Tele-Afflicted

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    Look for a late '50s Tweed Gibson GA18T. Basically a 5E3 with a bit more headroom and beautiful Tremolo.
    And a lot less money.
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Been there. Done that. I know what I'm missing.

    I'm missing farty loose bottom end. I'm missing an aggressive overdrive tone that sounds like it should sustain for weeks but it doesn't. I'm missing volume controls that can't be cranked without weirdness.

    I fixed all that. It's loud enough to drown out cries of,

    "But... it's modified!!"





    It's a 5E3 with tiny transformers!

    :cool: :cool: :cool:
     
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  13. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

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    Please understand that I was not slamming on or dissing you and your efforts/skills in any way! More correctly, I was praising you for having experienced the stock version first and then fixing what you felt needed fixing, rather than depending on some guy on the innernest to decide for you what you like/prefer and/or don't like/prefer. There are actually some folks who embrace that "farty loose bottom end, etc." and incorporate or develop it into their own signature sound and playing style. You decided for yourself, by what YOU heard and that was the main point I was making.

    You bring a massive amount of experience and knowledge to this table and I never have any desire or intention to get into any sort of piddling match with you! I'm simply here to share experiences and observations, gain knowledge and even humbly accept corrections and criticisms.

    Thank You,
    Gene
     
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  14. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Neil Young for example. But... it's been an uphill battle for him. It's good he has resources to adapt to his tweed Deluxe quirks, resources like his "Whizzer" or his onstage P.A. that adapts his Deluxe to Crazy Horse sized venues.

    What a great opportunity for a Sic Vicious retrospective.

    :cool: :cool: :cool:

    I partly agree with the "don't modify it" stance. Many of the modified versions are unsuccessful at achieving a broad range of improvement or more flexibility.

    I'll go toe to toe with anyone's Prolux or 5E3X2. Mine has 2x 6V6s and doesn't look like much at a glance. I'm betting mine is louder and has more clean headroom.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  15. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Princeton Reverb.....
     
  16. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah,
    I wasn't necessarily referring to Neil Young, but actually myself and possibly others! And louder is not a need for me, as I already need to "lightly" attenuate for my normal usages!

    I did however, make a small mod that made a huge difference for me. I installed a simple make/break, passive loop, just before V2A. While it's not a great loop for pedal/stomp/foot/thingies, it allows me the use of a fairly professional level Lexicon MX300 with adjustable ins/outs and choice between +4db & -10Db output. I'm a "tap tempo" delay junkie and the Lexicon reverb is at least a step or two nicer and more lush that most onboard digital reverbs on modern amps. So now, my 5E3 has reverb and delay! Not for everyone, but it works just right for me. Any overdrive, chorus, wah, etc. would be used out in front of the amp. On top of that, once the cables are unplugged, the mod is gone, all except for the two jacks with their holes drilled into the chassis, in between V1 & V2.

    Keep On Rockin' In The Free World!
    Gene
     
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  17. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    And, build your own... Very satisfying, it's not rocket science...
     
  18. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'd like to see Neil Young stack his 5E3s like Brian May stacked old AC30s. Neil supposedly owns 200 of them.

    :cool: :cool:
     
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  19. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Who has more, Billy G or Neil?
     
  20. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

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    I think they're both nutzz! That's why so many folks love their music!

    Just Sayin'
    Gene
     
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