Cheapest possible 5E3

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by Prophetsnake, Sep 27, 2019.

  1. Prophetsnake

    Prophetsnake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    A friend of mine has fallen in love with my 5E3, and I can't say I blame him. He's asked me if I could build him one, but he hasn't got a lot of money.
    Thing is, if anyone deserves one, it's him. He's a fantastic player and songwriter. He's even been recorded by Willie Nelson and Ray Charles, for which he rakes in dozens of dollars in royalties! Kinda makes me glad I was never good enough to even attempt to make a living as a musician.
    Last year I built him a Champ out of scraps, with a cheap speaker, and he makes it sound like a million bucks. He still plays out, so a Micro isn't really a solution.

    So, what I'm thinking is, single channel, (though thinking about it, single channel would probably only save pennies) tube rectifier, home-made chassis, P2P, scrounged transformers and decent small components. He's a good woodworker, so I can let him worry about the cab.

    FWIW, he's primarily country.

    Any suggestions gratefully received!
     
    IrishTeleDan and Greggorios like this.
  2. Prototype

    Prototype TDPRI Member

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    Why don't he buy a kit and you supervise him on the build?
     
  3. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    Weber kit... or, since you're in Ireland, maybe an Ampmaker Double Six for £240.00 or a WF-55 (ok, it's a Champ) for £155.00
     
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  4. Prophetsnake

    Prophetsnake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Well, a kit would be at least 500 to get a chassis together. He simply can't afford that.

    I'll have a look at the double six, but the amp would be going to the US anyhow. He has a Champ!

    - I did have a look at the double six. It's single ended as well. Also, it's in the UK. It's actually easier for me to get parts in the US, and lots cheaper. But thanks!
     
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  5. 6stringcowboy

    6stringcowboy Tele-Afflicted

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    If you feel the guy is deserving, just start collecting parts, tranny here, speaker there, you mentioned a diy chassis? Lots of stuff on CL on the cheap. Unless youre his only friend, back channel with a couple of his other friends and tell them what youre doing and I'd be surprised if it took you more than a couple weeks to get the $$ together. Hell, I've seen GoFundMe sites for WAY less noble endeavors?
     
  6. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Way to do it would be a Kickstart style deal with your TDPRI buddies,

    "From we who have so much, to those who have so little..."

    Junk, that is. I already hocked all my good stuff to buy more amp parts.

    Hassle is shipping. It costs at least $35 to ship a package to Ireland.

    The high price of philanthropy...

    Got any buddies flyin' outta Boston any time soon? We'll just hand off the contraband...

    .
     
  7. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's

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    What is a 5E3?
     
  8. Prophetsnake

    Prophetsnake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    That's a great idea! I have a load of little parts, so I was already thinking along that particular line. I have a power transformer I could use if I went SS rectification as well.
    He has a lot of friends, so I'll mull that one over. Thanks!
     
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  9. Prophetsnake

    Prophetsnake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Well, if you have junk you're looking to get rid of, you've found the right place!
    As it happens, I'll be in Boston around the middle of October. One night only, but I do have time if you're not a million miles from the Pru?
     
  10. Prophetsnake

    Prophetsnake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    It's a Fender Tweed Deluxe
     
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  11. Prototype

    Prototype TDPRI Member

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    There are kits for the amp part on ebay for $100-200. He can build the cabinet and add the speaker as he goes.
     
    Les Gear likes this.
  12. Nickfl

    Nickfl Tele-Afflicted

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    Fortunately you've got the big savings angle already covered with him building his own cabinet, that is far and away the best single cost savings you can have on a build. If you want to save a bit more, have him cover it in upholstery fabric instead of "real" tweed. I've done this on a couple of amps to good effect; it won't look exactly the same in a side by side comparison with a real tweed amp, but you easily save $20-30. I'd say just have him finish the bare wood, but if its going to be a working amp, that won't hold up well.

    The other big area to save money (other than making your own chassis, which you already identified) would be transformers. I don't know how viable it would be in Ireland, but I've pulled quite a few transformer sets out of old radios, record players, stereos and the like. They tend to have nice, heavy power transformers and while single ended OTs are more common, you occasionally run across good push pull output transformers as well. Over here the radios built after WW2 have little to no collector value and they can be had cheap if you watch craigslist, usually less than $40, which isn't bad for a transformer set and a couple of usable tubes. I don't know if this is a good option where you are, but its worth looking into.
     
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  13. Prototype

    Prototype TDPRI Member

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    Also, by a few parts every week or month. You can get a premium build this way.
     
  14. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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  15. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sounds like guys who used to come around my place tryin' to buy motorcycles.

    Step One: Park your rusty Buick Electra on my lawn completely ignoring my small driveway and the large I mean really large parking area across the street.

    Get off my lawn!

    Step Two: Flick a cigarette butt on my lawn while getting out of your car.

    Step Three: I emerge after you've pounded on my door for a few minutes, usually after the second or third pounding session when it becomes clear you're not going to go away and after you've made a fearless and searching inventory of all my good (excrement).

    Ask, "Do you have a motorcycle you want to get rid of?"

    I'm kidding of course. I offered first. Point is I wouldn't still have it if I wanted to get rid of it.


    I have an old VHT or THD or whatever aluminum 5E3 chassis with plexi faceplate NOS, gifted to me by @bparnell57 so I might as well pay it forwards.

    It costs me about $2.00 for a chunk of Forbon to make a stock 5E3 tag board plus another $2.00 worth of eyelets. That's chump change.

    I just parted a 1960 Baldwin organ that's chock full of old tube amp parts and miles of wire. Got a second one scheduled for demolition soon. If you're going to check a bag before you fly back I can select a few choice modules. Our TSA is nervous enough without having to deal with unidentified electronics, lotsa oddball parts and lotsa wire...

    Visions of misadventure culled from the old "Die Hard" movies flash through their heads...

    PM me with scheduling information.



    Sounds like a good way to rack up big dough in shipping charges.
     
  16. Prophetsnake

    Prophetsnake Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, I think just a plain old pine box would be good for him. Or covered with a bit of upholstery vinyl, as you say. A transformer from over here wouldn't be much use. The amp will be 115 V and we're 230-ish, so even if I could find one round here, it would be a PITA to adapt it for US voltage. Would the transformers you're talking about have a 5V winding, though? I can find a PT that would suit without pretty easily if I wanted to use a SS rectifier. Finding an inexpensive tranny suitable for a 5Y3 - not so much.
     
  17. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't know about "home made chassis".... there are often 5E3 chassis on Ebay for like $39-$49. Hard to beat that.
    Amp parts costs add up for sure. It's not uncommon to have $550 in parts for even a small amp.

    The cheapest you will likely find is some hobby builder's 5E3 build that has issues or just sells cheap but is all there. Maybe it's not complete, or a mess and you have to go through it.

    Or get part way there buying a cab with speaker and maybe more. Like a reissue cab that sells cheap.
    Another thought is buy a Monoprice 15w or similar amp used and redo it into a 5E3. You could get the whole thing for maybe $150

    Typically:
    Cab=$225
    Speaker= $90
    Tubes =$75
    Transformers = $120

    That's already $510 without the small parts or chassis.
     
  18. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Check the shipping cost on an imported 5E3 chassis. It's usually set up so price plus shipping costs about as much as a Mojotone chassis.

    A Mojotone chassis costs $80.

    Bill_the_Cat-jpg.png
    I have half a dozen Crap- Ola imported "Champs". Chassis is useless. Speaker is useless. When I cull all the crappy parts, I'm left with the handle.

    I have a dead Line 6 almost complete less its speaker. I'll leave it out by the curb if you want it.
     
  19. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I suppose, the one I bought was from Elderly Instruments in the US.
     
  20. Les Gear

    Les Gear TDPRI Member

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    Chinese 5E3 kit on EBay from Super-Market8, $295 shipped. Soup to nuts: Chassis, iron, bits, glass . . . everything except the cab and the speaker.

    I built one. I wanted a beater for beating, not a prize for prizing, and this one has worked every day.
     
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