5e3 Amps - for beginners???

engineer

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Yay a newb, like me!

I think you are in the right place, but maybe you need to ask yourself other questions?

So you want an all-tube amp? Or a solid state?
Do you want mostly clean sounds or do you want the dirt?
Are you living with anyone else? House or apartment? Recluse in the woods?
Will you be playing exclusively at home or will you take the amp on the road?

I love tube amps.

But man, are they LOUD!
Well, a Deluxe certainly can be.

So you need to consider those things.
I also really like The Angle's suggestion on making your current amp a single tone amp. At least to try it out.
For instance, I got a pedal that could be remodeled into anything (due to versatility) but I only use it for reverbs. What does that tell us?

I started my journey into tube amps with a Fender Greta. Small 1-watt tube amp with a built in speaker. Super cute, low volumes for the apartment, I could add external speakers for more volume.
Now, I live in a house. So the Greta does not get that much attention anymore. Plus, when you start down a path you learn more. And more. Especially if you hang around here. Today I have 6 tube amps but I am looking for more.
(Does that tell you I should've gone the modeller route?) ;)
 

Ess Eff

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Hey All, hope everyone is building calluses and staying safe/sane. Here’s my situation: relatively new to electric guitar but have been playin acoustic for 30 yrs. I have a Fender Thinline modern player retrofit with Fahlin P90’s. My amp is a Mustang 3 but I see now that Fender is no longer supporting their Fuse software and honestly, this amp is too much for me. Too many options and I don’t know amps very well so all the choices and pedals are overwhelming. Got some good tones but have always felt overwhelmed.

My jamming buddy plays a Deluxe Reverb silverface and just plugs in and goes. Superior tone and simplicity. I want that in a smallish tubeamp of some kind.

Because I’ve haven’t played or heard too many amps, hard to say what I like but what I hear and love from the Net is deluxe type 5e3 circuit type amps. Having never played one, I’m concerned that many say that they’re very touch sensitive and responsive to a players touch. Yeah, I’m no player with any kind of touch on electric. Half the time I’m playing sharp cause I can’t seem to get that light tough needed to not bend the strings. Lol.

But the tone and simplicity is killer and I’ve watched a ton of videos and that’s what I keep gravitating to.

I understand they are pricey but I just want something for the house and small party’s/gigs that doesn’t get me frustrated every time I play.

thanks all, stay safe!!

They sound great for certain things but are not very versatile. One trick pony.

Oh, the last time I said that I was hounded out of that particular forum.

There are some pretty aggressive fans out there, but anyone with a little common sense will agree.

...and yes I own one, along with 10 other amps, inc 4 vintage style.
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jimytheassassin

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I can appreciate the notion; less is more. The 5e3 has a different thing going vs a deluxe reverb. You’ll eventually appreciate the complex interaction of the volume and tone knobs as they aren’t as straight forward as you would assume. It will hopefully reveal to you that the true versatility of this amp lays within your guitars volume/tone controls, pickups, strings and playing. As much as it’s billed as a one trick pony, it’s definitely not one dimensional or boring. Besides, if you found yourself needing a change then there are copious amounts of info on ways to modify them.


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Musekatcher

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Going from a Mustang to a 5e3 will present a few challenges. It will be louder before breakup, it will not have onboard effects, it will have the tweed tone which might be a bit honky and mid-y compared to a Mustang, the volume and tone controls interact in an unintuitive manner, it will cost more, and it will be louder. In my book, most of those are a good thing. I see a few used under $800 right now.

HRD's would be even louder. Maybe a Blues Jr, just to stay within the Fender tone palette? I still think a Super Champ is about the perfect house amp. One big advantage of a Super Champ, is its scalable for lower volumes at the house - which can be the most important factor of all, if volume keeps you from playing. AND, the effects are on a dial, so its intuitive. Much better than the menus of a Mustang. PS - Super Champs are easily had under $300, and pretty good swap for a Mustang.
 
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dunehunter

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Just curious. Do you like the sound of your buddy's Silver Face Deluxe Reverb? Very nice amp--I have one. BUT, it's NOT a 5*3 Deluxe circuit. It's a pretty clean amp that sounds great but is not nearly as touch-sensitive or dirty as a 5*3 Deluxe. The AB763 circuit of the Deluxe Reverb is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Leo's amp designs. The Silver face amps are not AB763 but they're pretty darn close.

I'm starting to play jazz on mine and it sounds great. Rock and blues work well, too, but really needs pedals to get crunchy. And the amp takes pedals nicely.

I also have a 5E3 that I built and I love it although I'm not particularly fussy about playing with the settings. I heard (and read) somewhere that with Fender Tweeds, just put the volume(s) on between 3 and 4 and you have a full range of touch sensitivity and you don't push the amp too hard. I've now tried this with my Champ and Bassman (both also home built) and it seems to work REALLY well. Great tone and no fuss with super touch-sensitivity.

I agree with other posters, btw: the 5E3 circuit can be VERY loud.

I also agree with other posters on the Champ (5*1) circuit. If you're just a beginner, this amp is loud (although without micing, has difficulty cutting through the mix with, say, a drummer), has great tone, is highly portable, and shows the full range of what the Fender Tweeds generally do. Plays clean AND plays very dirty. Great bedroom/practice amp.

Guess, in the end, it depends on the sound you're looking for...;)
 

capt pearl

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My #2 amp right now is a VHT Special 6, which is a Champ with tone control. When I use that amp, I find myself focusing on playing better instead of on fiddling with the controls. That's a win.
Am big fan of this statement. To quote my friend Tim Lee (Windbreakers, Tim Lee 3, Bark) "Stop twiddling knobs and PLAY!"
 

Spexicola

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Okay....You love your buddy's Deluxe Reverb but want smallish and simplicity...done Princeton Reverb..older or newer your call..
Yeah. Having had both, the 5E3 Deluxe and the PRRI are very comparable in price and features. As I'm sure you know, if you want a lot of variation in your clean tone and a great reverb/trem unit, go PRRI. If you want a lot of variation in your overdrive, with the caveat that you may need an EQ pedal to roll off the bass response, go 5E3. Both amps would make a solid investment for a beginner if bought used. Good with pedals. Good at bedroom volume with an OD pedal. If you stick with it, you'll never grow out of them. If you quit, they'll give you your money back if you're patient when buying and selling.

Does the Mojotone Blackout come with a NFB circuit? That would make it a strong choice for those wanting something prebuilt in the USA, for PRRI-ish price, with more overdrive flexibility and EQ control.
 
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cousinpaul

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There are online tutorials on getting different sounds from a 5E3, including taming the volume. You also have the guitar's controls to work with. Regarding touch sensitivity, you might be more comfortable with a heavier set of strings than what you're using. Lowering the pickups a bit can also help.
 

archetype

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I suggest you switch your Mustang to the tweed Deluxe model, turn off all the effects, and store that setting. Then leave it there. Use only the knobs on the amp to control tone and volume and pretend there's nothing else. Effectively you'll be using your Mustang like a single-voiced amp instead of a modeler. See how you like it.

I'm a big fan of modeling amps but there's a lot to be said for simplicity. With an amp that offers dozens of sound envelopes, when I'm dissatisfied with my playing, it's easy to look to the amp for a solution to a problem it's not causing. My #2 amp right now is a VHT Special 6, which is a Champ with tone control. When I use that amp, I find myself focusing on playing better instead of on fiddling with the controls. That's a win.
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This is a great suggestion for test driving this method with your Mustang III. Set the gain to just at the edge of breakup, where the tone is a warm clean that fattens up when you hit the strings harder. Set the treble, middle, and bass controls where the tone is where you want it, then turn the bass control up at least another half notch to attempt replication of the looser 5E3 low end.

Play this way for a couple of weeks, as @The Angle said, use volume and tone on the guitar, then decide if this is what you want.
 

Silverface

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Uhhh...

You said your buddy played a Deluxe Reverb and it was THE sound - right?

Then you said a 5E3 Deluxe is THE sound - right?

Do you understand that thew only things those amps have in common are PART of the name - "Deluxe" - two 6V6 power tubes; and one 12" speaker.

But the "reverb" is a 20-22 watt amp, the "5E3" around 12-15. The preamps, output stages - virtually everything about the circuits - are different.

They are as similar as cauliflower and carrots.

My points -

1. if you don't understand how different these amps are you need to do a LOT more reading and research before buying a new amp.

2. DO NOT let anyone talk you into building a kit amp of any kind until A) you CLEARLY understand the technical differences between a 5E3 Deluxe and a Deluxe Reverb B) you understand ALL the safety rules involved with kit building, and C) have at least a rudimentary understanding of basic tube electronics.

Kits are NOT like plastic models. Except for a couple of VERY expensive kit suppliers, they all expect you to understand and have some education in basic electronics. They don't TEACH anything - they simply tell you what to solder where, and in a few cases what to "test" (meaning you must own test equipment).

Unless you know what you are doing you will end up with a sloppy kit with WAY too much wire looped all over the place - and NO idea what to do when you turn it on and it doesn't work, or makes a loud "buzzing" sound. Asking "what's wrong with my amp?" and posting pictures rarely helps. Instead, you have to take it to a tech and pay him or her to repair it - which will NOT be done with you watching, because you are NOT paying them to teach you electronics.

This isn't meant to be demeaning, so PLEASE don't take it that way. It's meant to explain the hole a beginner is in when they have no understanding of basic electronics - and the much deeper hole he's in when he doesn't comprehend the difference between two VERY different amplifiers.

Good luck!
 

Tim S

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If you want the blackface & tweed tones in one amp, I urge you to try the Tone Kings amps — that’s what they specialize in.
 

Taylornut777

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If you want the blackface & tweed tones in one amp, I urge you to try the Tone Kings amps — that’s what they specialize in.

i think I am going to dig into this line a bit more. I just watched a video of the Imperial demoing the tweed “fat” tone and it was glorious. I know they all have attenuators but would the gremlin be power enough for a small indoor gig with 50-100 people with a drummer? My local shop have both the Gremlin and Imperial (20th Anniv)
I feel I’m getting closer
 

Tim S

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i think I am going to dig into this line a bit more. I just watched a video of the Imperial demoing the tweed “fat” tone and it was glorious. I know they all have attenuators but would the gremlin be power enough for a small indoor gig with 50-100 people with a drummer? My local shop have both the Gremlin and Imperial (20th Anniv)
I feel I’m getting closer
I don’t have a Gremlin. I have a Sky King. So I can’t say definitely, but I’m guessing a single-ended, single octal tube amp with one 12” speaker probably won’t compete with a heavy-handed drummer if you’re playing clean. Maybe if you used an external cabinet?
The Imperial would be a better fit, but try them both out and report your findings.
 

Taylornut777

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I don’t have a Gremlin. I have a Sky King. So I can’t say definitely, but I’m guessing a single-ended, single octal tube amp with one 12” speaker probably won’t compete with a heavy-handed drummer if you’re playing clean. Maybe if you used an external cabinet?
The Imperial would be a better fit, but try them both out and report your findings.

will do Tim. Going to demo both as soon as I can get the #$&k out of this house
 

Alex W

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In my tube amp coccoon.
Here's an example of a good price on a great used boutique amp:
https://reverb.com/item/21335327-emery-sound-spotlight-superbaby-2001-wood-plexi

I have an Emery Sound Microbaby and it is a great amp. He doesn't make the ones that look like a vintage radio anymore, which is a shame because they look really cool.

Reverb.com also has some great deals on used 5F1 tweed Champ clones and 5E3 tweed Deluxe clones. Lil Dawg amps get great reviews and here is a 5E3 head you could pair with a speaker cab: https://reverb.com/item/31162792-lil-dawg-d-lux-5e3-tweed-deluxe-lunchbox-head


For a a bigger upfront investment, this Clark Beaufort looks like a lifetime keeper to me:
https://reverb.com/item/32881466-clark-amplification-beaufort-5e3-tweed-deluxe

Happy hunting.
 

jimgchord

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5e3 is a simple, fun amp to play
IMG_20200329_122148365.jpg
 

Cali Dude

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i think I am going to dig into this line a bit more. I just watched a video of the Imperial demoing the tweed “fat” tone and it was glorious. I know they all have attenuators but would the gremlin be power enough for a small indoor gig with 50-100 people with a drummer? My local shop have both the Gremlin and Imperial (20th Anniv)
I feel I’m getting closer
 




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