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Am I In Over My Head? - Buying a Vintage 5B3 Wide Panel Deluxe

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by BloozeGtr, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. BloozeGtr

    BloozeGtr TDPRI Member

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    Hello,

    This is my first post on the forum, but I've been lurking for a long time now. I've loved reading these threads over the years, so thank you all.

    I'm seriously considering buying a vintage 5B3 Fender Deluxe for around $2K. It appears as though the circuit is unchanged and has the Jenson P12 speaker. What has been changed is the tolex, grill cloth, badge, handle and transformer.

    It is not the price that scares me but the maintenance. I've never owned a vintage amp before. I see that the cord has been upgraded to a 3-prong plug but I am unaware if the "death cap" was ever in this circuit. I also am not really able to tell whether or when tubes or capacitors need changing. I'm open to learning, but am unsure what resources out there are reliable.

    Something tells me that it would make more monetary sense to buy a brand tweed Deluxe clone as there will likely be none of these worries involved. At the same time, I want to start a collection of vintage gear and I'm sure the thing will sound great (internet purchase). And it would be real cool to own a piece of history

    Do you guys have any advice? Is there a strong chance I'll have to take the thing to a tech immediately after purchase. The shop says that it has been receiving play.

    Here is a pic of the guts:

    [​IMG]

    Thank you!
     
    RoscoeElegante and hotrodkid like this.
  2. homesick345

    homesick345 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wait. WHAT transformer was changed? if the OPT; I would reconsider
     
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  3. BloozeGtr

    BloozeGtr TDPRI Member

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    The output transformer.
    You think I'd be overpaying in that case?
     
  4. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Afflicted

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    Filter caps, bias resistor and cap have been changed, along with the dropping resistors.

    If the OT is a replacement, the price should reflect this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
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  5. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    I have a period correct Mohawk OT in my 5C3...sounds fine. I would use it as a bargaining chip to knock the price down. And get rid of those JJs.
     
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  6. BloozeGtr

    BloozeGtr TDPRI Member

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    Here is the OT

    [​IMG]
     
  7. BloozeGtr

    BloozeGtr TDPRI Member

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    If I were to buy this, would you say that it, even with replaced parts, its ready to plugged and played? Or is it advised to take an amp this old to a tech first before even taking it for a spin?
     
  8. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    As mentioned above, the filter caps and bias circuit has been replaced. If all else works as advertised, play it and see. If those Astrons are a problem, there are decent modern replacements available. (PS---don't let the tech keep them).
     
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  9. BloozeGtr

    BloozeGtr TDPRI Member

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    Thank you. Real quick...do you know if the "death cap" plays a role in these amps? If it has the three prong cord...is it "safe" (haha) to say that I don't need to worry about bad shocks or poor electrical grounding?

    Thank you again
     
  10. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    I don't see a death cap lurking in there.

    Some will complain that the AC cord is connected the wrong way - you've got the neutral wired to the switch, and the hot to the fuse. It is now preferred practice to put both the switch and fuse on the hot side. This is an easy situation to remedy.

    Mostly, from the looks of it, the amp appears ready to play. Not that you can tell much from looks...
     
  11. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    It appears the parts that lead to the most serious failures have been replaced. As long as the amp seems to function properly, I think you could use it as is. I doubt you would have a catastrophic failure.
    You may experience some crackle, hum, or hiss, which may be annoying but will not lead to losing a transformer.
    If the speaker has not been re-coned it may fart out easy due to wear and tear.

    You may want to consider having a tech install some protection fuses on the power transformer just to give some peace of mind.

    As others have hinted, this is not a pristine high dollar example. Only you can determine the value you are willing to pay.
     
  12. Nickfl

    Nickfl Friend of Leo's

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    I'd pass on that and get a clone made at that price point. Your profile says you're 24 so you can wait out the baby boomers and buy a player grade amp like that for player grade prices 20 years from now...
     
  13. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Is it me or is it nothing? I see the output transformer with that black insulating sort of round plastic tube? It confuses me. Also is that black electrical tape wrapped around it, even around the core?
     
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  14. BloozeGtr

    BloozeGtr TDPRI Member

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    Hmmm. I didn't notice but it does look like electrical tape
     
  15. BloozeGtr

    BloozeGtr TDPRI Member

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  16. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    Not very comforting.
     
  17. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I am guessing the idea is to stop the wires from moving around and getting stressed. The thing is the way it has been done does not seem to be able to do the job. And anyone with some integrity would have done a better job than using electrical tape. Put in a cable tie or something if it is a concern.
     
  18. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I personally think that's too much for an amp with replaced tweed (not tolex ;) ), grill cloth, badge, handle and transformer. At that point, the only original stuff is some resistors, caps, chassis, and speaker, and wood. I'd pass.
     
  19. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    That amp should be considerably less than half the price of a correct one.
    Seems steep to me.
    Don't know if the OT is original, but it sure looks period...fish paper and whatnot.
    Looks like a conscientious service was done.
    If you're only 24 and have that kind of cake saved up, how long will it take you to get another 2k for a real good one?
     
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  20. blues

    blues Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I had a 5B3. The preamp tubes can be a headache. The metal 6SC7 can get microphonic fairly quick.

    I don't know how the glass versions are. I see two different preamp tubes.

    Personal l had one of those amp I would pass at that price.

    Plus you don't know how tired that speaker could be.
     
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