Lil' Dawg D-Lux 5e3 (57' Tweed Deluxe)

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by xmusic123, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. xmusic123

    xmusic123 TDPRI Member

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    I'm writing this, because I used this forum a lot when deciding on a new amp and would like to contribute back. There also is not a lot of info on Lil' Dawg Amps, and Jim is clearly one of the best (and kindest) builders out there. I've played most boutique amp companies (I live in Chicago, so many music stores), and Jim's work beats them, for half the price, with 1000x the customer service.

    A quick word about Lil' Dawg and Jim Nickelson. Not only is my D-Lux the best sounding and looking amp I've ever come across, the process of buying it was easily a favorite experience of mine. I like amps, and know basic stuff about tubes and watts and tone, but when it comes to detail and the guts of amps: caps, pots, speakers, tubes, I'm clueless. I gave Jim my vision of the amp, and he worked with me to create that vision. We went back and forth over 45+ times in a week and a half, he always responded to my emails within 2 hours of sending them, if not instantly. I actually apologized at one point, because I felt so bad, to which he said, "It's fine, I enjoy talking about this stuff and we both learn." After the details were set, I placed my down payment, and off to work he went. It was only a 2 week process, from initial email to initial strum.

    If you're in the market for a new amp, look at Lil' Dawg. Again, by far the best sounding amp I've played and own.

    Now, to the amp...

    I recently received a Lil' Dawg D-Lux (57' Tweed Deluxe), and I cannot stop playing it. The reason isn't just because it makes my tone better, but because I just want to hear the amp as much as possible. I've never had that experience with any instrument, I'm just as interested in hearing the amp sing vs me playing through the amp. This is possibly due to the upgrades, Paul C Mod and NOS tubes I put into my amp, but no matter, getting the D-Lux the best decision I've ever made as a guitar player.

    I am of the rare breed who bought the D-Lux specifically for it's clean tone...

    And my what a clean tone. There's a lot of focus on the break up of the Deluxe, and that it's really what the amp is all about. I don't disagree that the overdriven sound isn't great, but there is something about the way this amp respond's to your playing, where it seems like rather than being an extension of
    your guitar and playing, it's working with you, and altering it's own sound to suit your playing. When you bring clean tones into the mix, you get a lush and velvety tone that is, for lack of a better word, moving.

    It's a highly regarded amp. In fact, after my thorough research, I've come to realize a lot of people consider it the guitar amp. It's an opinion I'm jumping on board with. Leo Fender for some reason just knew what he was doing, and this creation is a testament to how legendary he was as an innovator. The 5e3 Tweed Deluxe is a necessary amp in any player/collectors arsenal, and is probably that tone you've been searching for.


    Here are some sound clips using a Eastman Semi-Hollow T184 (Lollar Imperial Low Wind Neck)

    https://soundcloud.com/muiscmasterdudedude/042a

    and with a G&L Legacy Strat (Paul C Mod engaged on the amp)

    https://soundcloud.com/muiscmasterdudedude/038a

    (I know, I know, I wasn't able to get a tele recording in at that point, I get one done and add it if people want me to.)
     

    Attached Files:

    vashondan likes this.
  2. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Tele-Afflicted

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    Yup...I have 5 Lil Dawgs....obviously I am a VERY happy repeat customer! I love the D-Lux Jim built! A perfect blues amp.
     
  3. Whoa Tele

    Whoa Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I have a new D Luxe as well and I opted for the 25 watt mod as I was also more interested in the clean tweed tones. Mine has the Paul C mod and I am very happy. Jim is the real deal and his customer service is 2nd to none. Keep on Pickin'
     
  4. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Tele-Afflicted

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    Forgot to mention.....I LOVE the OD on the 5e3, but the cleans are also wonderful...fat and spanky ...and using the interactive vol controls, you can get a scooped mids clean that is gorgeous as well.
     
  5. nasonm

    nasonm Friend of Leo's

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    I have a D-Lux and I love it! Congrats! I can't recommend Jim's work enough!
     
  6. andrew

    andrew Tele-Holic

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    He built me a 5f4 last year that was tweaked to be a little different because I am one of "those" guys. His willingness to work with me and truly make it a custom amp exactly like I wanted was unprecedented.

    When I got the amp, I was blown away by the quality and workmanship. The sound was also simply top notch. Tone for days on this thing.

    Jim's work is among the best out there. Period.
     
  7. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Looks really nice. The back gut shot is amazing. Nice! Congratulations.
     
  8. chabby

    chabby Friend of Leo's

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    Agree on all of this thread's starter on Jim and his amps.
    I bought a 25 watt D-luxe with the GZ34 Rect and it's heaven too.

    What tubes you feed it, means much to the sound, all else equal.
    But speakers are so underrated as well, you run that amp through a highly efficient ceramic speaker and it gets loud and clean. You can diversify by having as many cabs as amps, once you own a Great clean amp like Jim's D-luxes. That's why I went with the 25 watt versus usual 12, because it's so easy to get different tones with different cabs and pedals.

    It's all a guy would ever need, in almost any studio situation. Only thing you might need that it can't do great (and that's debatable) is that EF87 thing with, but with the right pedal, I'm prolly wrong. I have a speaker I can't OD without a pedal up to 10 on the Dluxe, especially if you put a 12AT7 in there.
    Jim is a great person, with a great little amp company, all around.

    He's not capable of building anything but quality.
     
  9. Monkey Man

    Monkey Man Tele-Meister

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    OP, congrats on your new amp. What speaker did you go with? What does the Paul C mod do?
    I'm hoping to have a Lil Dawg built soon too. Unsure about a 5e3, a 5f1, or a Mutt.
    For those with multiple Dawgs, does anyone have a Mutt? Sounds like an interesting compromise between the Deluxe and a Champ.
     
  10. xmusic123

    xmusic123 TDPRI Member

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    I went with the Weber 12A125A (original Jensen replica) to keep things classic. The Paul C mod is interesting, and is one of those things that can be described, but can't fully be understood until your in person, in front of the amp. To my ears, it sounds like the amp brightens up a little bit, the grit is taken away, compresses just a tad more, and there's a little more sparkle (but not in a blackface way). But, at the same time, there are other qualities about it that you need to actually play through it to understand. It is a fantastic mod, and I am so happy I have it. I think it makes me like the amp a little more.

    I got it as a switchable mod, which was a good choice, because my telecaster takes to the original circuit better than the paul-c. Telecasters are just weird like that sometimes.

    If I were you, I'd shoot Jim an email and just talk to him about your dilemma. Like I said, Jim and I went back and froth 45+ times, over stupid stuff sometimes too, like how I didn't know what the difference between a NOS and ANOS tube was... He'll be able to talk you through your desires. And since the mutt is his own creation, I bet he'll be able to really give you the nitty gritty stuff not even owners could tell you.

    Here's two sound clips of the D-Lux with Paul C engaged and Paul C off. Strat, same settings, straight into the amp, same channel. 38 is paul c on, 40 is off (I know the tag on 40 says Paul C, it was just to remind my friend why I did a second clip). I did these hastily because my buddy was like, "Dude, send me sound files the second you get it!" Recorded on a zoom H2 handheld recorder.

    https://soundcloud.com/muiscmasterdudedude/038a

    https://soundcloud.com/muiscmasterdudedude/040a
     
  11. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't have a Mutt.....I have a Champster with an Emi Texas Heat, a D-Lux with a Weber 12a125a, a Pug with a Weber Legacy, a 6g3 ChocoDawg head and a brand new Ol Yellar 6g6-b blone bassman clone head. The heads like lots of cabinets.....Jim is simply a great person and builder.
     
  12. xmusic123

    xmusic123 TDPRI Member

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    You know, I've been playing with the volume control's to figure out that whole deal and I'm not really seeing a big difference. Does the Paul C Mod affect that whole deal? I mean, I am obviously very happy with the amp, and haven't found a sweet spot, because every setting is a sweet spot! But, it would be nice to fully understand the whole deal there. I've done my research, but still am not noticing a difference, other than when the opposing channel's volume is at 12, there's a huge cut in the high end.
     
  13. oaeoeao

    oaeoeao NEW MEMBER!

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    Another happy Lil Dawg owner here. After years of too many overdrive pedals and amps that were too loud (Super Reverb and Peavey Delta Blues and Vibroverb reissue) I finally realized the power and simplicity of tweed tone. 12 watts.

    My D-Lux has a Jensen special design blue made in Italy speaker.

    I run it with a Weber minimass 50 and with the volume on 5 and the attenuator quietening the overall volume, I get rich tube tone.

    Back off the tele volume and it cleans up. Snappy stuff. The 5e3 is the essence of tone.
     
  14. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    My favorite clean tone on a 5E3 is plugged into the instrument channel with the mic channel on 12.
    Incredible cleans on the inst channel up to about 10.
    Then, just for kicks, plug into that cranked mic channel for the most singing, amazing cranked tone!
     
  15. GeorgiaHonk

    GeorgiaHonk Tele-Holic

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    Another owner/fan of Jim's D-Lux here. Best amp I've ever owned.
     
    vashondan likes this.
  16. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I was following this tread I've looked at Lil Dawg amps before on Jim's page. Never have been able to try one. Also I've built a couple amps my first Amp a 5E3 that is having a voltages problem (spikes) I can't figure it out. So after reading this thread I e-mailed Jim and he said would be willing to check it out. So hopefully monday I I'll take the long 15 minute drive to his shop. Reading all the reviews on his Amps and from what i've read sounds like a really nice guy looking forward to meeting him. I'll post something afterwards.
     
  17. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Tele-Afflicted

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    You will love him! Tell him Mark in Missouri says hi!
     
  18. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Took my amp to him today he say's Hi Mark. I was at his shop for at least 3 hours, he showed and explained more about amp building that I imagined. All I know is I have a lot of redo stuff to do on my 3 5E3's. He has that common sense approach and knows what works. Your right great guy loves to help. He’ll see me again. And if I want an amp I know were to by it.
     
  19. Somewhat

    Somewhat TDPRI Member

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    xmusic123: I visit Chicago. "So many music stores." What should I visit? I know CME and RnR Vintage. What else? It will keep me off the streets. Thanks.
     
  20. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Afflicted

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    Jim recently built me a 6G2 in a mojo princeton reverb chassis. He was amazing to deal with (super helpful and answering any odd question in detail that I could understand), and most importantly the amp sounds wonderful. To top it off from the time I said yes to the amp being in my hands was about a month, (which might be atypical but a nice surprise for me.)
     
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