L'il Dawg 5E3 Build

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by graybeard65, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    After lurking on his page for longer than I'd care to admit, I finally gave in to the temptation to have Jim at L'il Dawg build me an amp.

    We exchanged several emails about what I was looking for, and addressing the particulars of my amp - and once I pulled the trigger, he went to work - much faster than I would have guessed.

    He sent the first "baby pics" yesterday - the first one was simply the components laid out in preparation

    ampa.jpg

    Then he sent pics of the board being laid out, and then all of the eyelets in place for the board - and then it really started to get moving -

    amp1.jpg

    Today he sent even more, and has wired in the power supply etc...and I think that he's completed the wiring -

    amp4.jpg

    amp3.jpg

    My sneaking suspicion is that the next pics that I see will be the completed chassis installed into the tweed Mather cabinet along with the speaker, preparatory to shipping.

    Friends, this has to date been one of the easiest transactions ever, and the knowledge and kindness that he's shared along the way are only bested by his professionalism and sincerity.

    This will be the first amplifier that I've ever had made "just for me" - and I can't wait to hear the D-Lux magic!

    Yes...I've been reading everything that I can about the 5E3! Sage advice from many here has guided my choices - I hope that this will be one of the best amp experiences ever!

    Huge kudos to Jim Nickelson at L'il Dawg Amplifiers - this has been an amazing experience.
     
    gkterry, King Fan, rjtwangs and 8 others like this.
  2. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

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    congrats! i expect nothing but continued happiness!
     
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  3. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Jim is great, and I think you'll really enjoy the amp. Congratulations!
     
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  4. Whoa Tele

    Whoa Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I've got I've got the same amp in 25 watts. Jims the best.
     
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  5. boogaloo

    boogaloo Tele-Afflicted

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    Jim is the best! Super knowledgeable; patient with all my questions and a humble guy to boot!

    In October I took delivery of one of his 5e3 with the 25 watt transformers and it almost instantly became my #1 amp. SO glad I have it and got to know Jim in the interim.

    (and yes, I KNOW the higher output transformers change the characteristics from the original- still a GREAT amp and I love it!)

    BEST wishes with yours @graybeard65 !

    Brian
     
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  6. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been gigging with my 12 watt lil dawg deluxe for a few years now after about 15 years of using my DRRI. When I first got it I would also take my old DRRI and switch between them for different songs. It was fun doing comparisons in gig settings. I started preferring the tweed over the DRRI and eventually started leaving the DRRI at home.
    The tweed deluxe doesn't get enough credit for it's clean sound if you ask me. It's more rich in mids and more compressed than a DRRI which is nice in gigging situations. It is loud. I enjoy the slight break up so I'm always happy when I am able to crank it up around 5 or 6 on the dial. I usually have to keep it around 3 1/2 which is mostly clean.
    It compresses a lot but not always the way you'd expect an amp to compress. Mine has a weber 12a125a speaker which handles the low end very well so it compresses way before fart out but that ultra low end causes the amp to compress in an unnatural feeling way until you get used to it. Like, too much compression in the wrong places, not enough sustain in the right places, but that's the character of the amp and I appreciate it for what it is. It's not a do all amp unless you understand what it can and cannot do and embrace the true nature of the amp.
    The channel interaction was disappointing to me. I can't hear what the rave is all about. It gets quieter when you crank the unused channel but it also gets quiter when you just turn down the channel you're using. I've played with it a lot and I still can't hear a difference. There's less hiss if you just turn your channel down. They say you can play with the EQ by adjusting the two channels. I can't hear it and I've got good ears. Nothing happend until you crank up the other channel near max, then your signal gets quieter.
    So, I don't bother with "dialing in" my tone. I just use it as you would any other amp and it sounds great.
     
    graybeard65 likes this.
  7. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Here are some demos that might help you out. In some cases, it depends which input you plug into and which knobs you adjust. In others, there's a jumper cable involved. Witness:



     
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  8. Lord_Ingipz

    Lord_Ingipz Tele-Meister

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    Boy I'd love a 5e3..
     
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  9. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the links! I really appreciate it! Very good stuff!
     
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  10. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

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    You will not be disappointed. Jim builds excellent amps.
     
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  11. 6stringcowboy

    6stringcowboy Tele-Afflicted

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    Been playing my Li'l Dawg D-Luxe for more than 10 years. I got the 25 watt version but always play it with the 6v6s as they are so much sweeter than the 6l6s. I got pics of mine forming the caps on the bench!

    Best customer service experience ever, hands down. A lot of "builders" could learn a lot from Jim!
     
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  12. vashondan

    vashondan Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'll never forgive myself for selling my Lil Dawg 5e3. Jim was great and the amp was great. Me? Not so much!
     
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  13. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

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    Jim is great. I'll tell you why. I bought a used Lil Dawg WonderDawg via reverb.com. I had some questions about swapping tubes and biasing, so I thought, what the heck, I'll just email Jim. He can only say no, given this is a used amp. NO! Instead, he answered my specific questions. He put information regarding the specific build, which I found on the tube chart and sent to him. He emailed me detailed instructions on how to bias his amp, which I've never done before, but I was able to accomplish with his guide that included written directions and several photos. Amazing! I mean, who does that for the owner of a used amp? JIM DOES!!! Since then, anytime this topic comes up, I am sure to post regarding Jim and how great and helpful he really is. And BTW, the WonderDawg? One of the best amps I've ever played.
     
  14. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Jim's about 20 minutes from been from me. I took one of my first 5E3 builds out to him when I was having a weird voltage problem. He had the best solution just build a new board, yes it solved the problem:twisted: I spent over an hour talking to him about building Amps mostl, he let make a drawing of how he grounds a 5E3 which I follow. Jim is a great guy and there's reason everyone raves about his amp's.
     
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  15. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Holic

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    Yes, mucho congrats! Love my Lil Dawg 5e3. One of the best gear purchases I've ever made. These amps are just a blast to play.
     
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  16. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    I know a great place to get one...
     
  17. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    An email from Jim today - and as I suspected, the amp is done much sooner than his initial estimate, and has shipped out. The finished amp looks exactly as I had imagined it would - and it will be in my hands this Friday -

    Here are a few pics -

    5e31.jpg

    5e32.jpg

    5333.jpg
     
    gobi_grey, Alter and chipwich like this.
  18. John Owen

    John Owen Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Sweet! May you make many joyful noises with it. Play it in good health.
     
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  19. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

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    How beautiful! Look at that hand wiring! Congrats!
     
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  20. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    The L’il Dawg is home and unpacked - it was wonderfully bundled up and arrived safe and sound.

    my dining room smells like freshly cut pine, and nitrocellulose lacquer - that’s the first thing that hit me as I opened the package -

    amp unpacked, tubes unboxed and plugged in, and all was set...

    absolutely glorious tone - oh MY. Played for an hour to get to know it a little bit, and nothing I tried was even remotely unpleasant. It’s touch sensitive, and almost seems 3-D.

    it’s going to be a long honeymoon!
     
    gkterry, Dukex, King Fan and 5 others like this.
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