Mojo 5E3 Kit Workshop This Past Weekend

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by BCblues55, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    Hi there. I spent the past Friday and Saturday at a workshop hosted by Mojotone in Burgaw, NC, and I thought I would let you all know how great it was.

    Last Monday, I saw an ad on Facebook promoting the workshop. The premise? Pay $995 and build your own 5E3 Tweed Deluxe amp. Mojotone's kit costs $750 (the assembled one retails for over $1,100), but I don't have any experience building amps, so I thought it might be a great way to learn a few things and to come away with a great amp. I signed up right away.

    I drove down on Thursday and showed up at Mojotone first thing Friday. There were seven of us in the class. (They can take up to 20 people in a class.) The workshop was led by Andy Johnson (Manufacturing and Tech Support Manager) and John Manning (Amp Products Manager and designer of Mojotone's new BlackOut Tweed Select amp). They gave us a tour of the facility and then we started working on our amps.

    Mojotone provided all of the parts and tools we needed, as well as a booklet that included step-by-step directions, a visual image of all the connections we would be making between the various components, and a schematic diagram (which I don't know how to read and never had to use). Here's a link to the 5E3 page on Mojotone's website which has links to the workshop materials:
    https://www.mojotone.com/kits/TweedAmpKits_x/Tweed-Deluxe-Amp-Kit

    John and AJ took us through the steps, starting with installing components to the chassis: the power transformer, output transformer, tube sockets, input jacks, etc. They told us what to do, and it was easy to follow their direction.

    After that, we started working on the eyelet boards holding various capacitors, resistors and wires to connect to the chassis components. We wired them in place and got them ready for soldering. AJ and John checked all of our work before we began soldering. Then we broke for lunch.

    I have some experience with soldering pickups and pots in guitars but nothing like this. It seemed like a lot of others were in the same boat. After lunch we began soldering the wires connecting the power transformer to the power tubes and the eyelet board to the power and preamp tubes. We finished for the day at about 5:00 on Friday.

    Burgaw is in a very rural part of North Carolina. After dinner, I just hung out in my hotel room and went to bed. Just as well; I was exhausted after so much concentration on getting things just right with my build.

    We started back up on Saturday at 9:00, and it was much more of the same. LOTS of soldering. I finished getting everything connected around 1:00. John did a visual inspection of my work, and Andy did a voltage test to make sure everything checked out. Most of it did, but I had mistakenly switched two connections, so I had to change that. But overall, a pretty good job.

    I then mounted the chassis to the cabinet and hooked it up. It worked AND it sounded/sounds awesome! Here are a few photos, an up close shot of the chassis after final testing and the other with the chassis mounted in the cabinet before I put on the tube protectors and the back panel.


    upload_2019-9-22_15-11-19.png

    upload_2019-9-22_15-11-51.png


    I finished up around 3:00 on Saturday. A couple of guys finished before I did and a couple were still working when I left.

    Needless to say, I'm thrilled with the amp and proud of having built it. I gained a lot of knowledge and got a lot of confidence for doing other kits in the future.

    The ONLY (slight) quibble I had with the experience is that I don't think I gained a whole lot of basic information about how amps work and the various functions of the different parts. The focus was on how to build an amp, and that's fine. There was only a little bit of info about the amp's signal path and how each component affect's the amp's performance and tone. I wish we had had a little more of that.

    If you're like me and want to try building a kit but want to be sure it's built right, you might want to contact Mojotone to get on their website for upcoming classes.

    Finally, in case you're wondering, I am not an employee of Mojotone, nor was I compensated for writing this review. I'm just a VERY happy customer!
     
  2. DrPepper

    DrPepper Tele-Afflicted

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    Cool, what kind of transformers were provided?
     
  3. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    It’s a Mojotone transformer that’s made by someone else (Heyer?). The link above goes to the kit page which has component product info.
     
  4. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I called Mojotone and offered my services (hired gun) as soon as I heard this was happening.

    And...

    I was a seven hundred miles from Burgaw, NC over the weekend.
     
  5. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    Cool.

    May I suggest you read Rob Robinette's site here: https://robrobinette.com/Amp_Stuff.htm



    If you prefer visual, Uncle Doug clearly explains the operation of a tube amp in 2 videos:



    and



    It is a big help to understand what is going on in there!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  6. Snfoilhat

    Snfoilhat Tele-Afflicted

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    I think you got the better part of the deal. Some here build more amps than I do, some build fewer, but I've been teaching professionally for years and can speak to that. Having a dedicated set (two even) of eyes on your work was a good use of instructor time and the payoff is in your successful weekend and a working amp. Having two dudes, whatever their qualifications, share their opinions about tone would at best have been a limited window into a large subject and at worse been arbitrary or even contradictory.

    Read threads from a number of people here and you'll see that while concepts like the corner frequency of a first-order high-pass filter can be discussed by diverse TDPRIers and the calculation is simple enough to do on a napkin, almost every question spirals out into complexities and conjectures. Even stuff like what will happen if I substitute this 0.01 microfarad coupling cap for the stock 0.02 microfarad coupling cap in my 5E3.

    Now you're set up to take anything you read with a grain of salt and see what you can get out of a sort of wisdom of the crowd without committing to anyone's school of thought, and can always compare to your own amp and your own experiences. Cheers
     
    Hatfield92, NewKid, BCblues55 and 2 others like this.
  7. LudwigvonBirk

    LudwigvonBirk Tele-Holic

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    I heard Noam Chomsky also never got a response from Mojotone, oh well.

    Maybe you 2 guys could pair up and do a multi-day amp/anarchy symposium somewhere awesome? I’d pony up for that.
     
    muchxs likes this.
  8. akuster777

    akuster777 TDPRI Member

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    Congrats! Looks great.
     
    BCblues55 likes this.
  9. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    Awesome! Thank you!!!
     
    Paul G. likes this.
  10. DrPepper

    DrPepper Tele-Afflicted

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    Oh yeah, Heyboer, good stuff...
     
  11. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    My buddy did the 18watt TMB build at Sweetwater last year. Amp came out great. He had no real experience on amps before taking the course.

    The amp blew a fuse last week. He brought it to my house this weekend cuz I have some fuses, iron, limiter, etc... Neither of us thought to check the size of the fuse, though. Oops. Mine were US/Fender size.

    Sidenote: the fuse that blew was 3A, but the circuit calls for 1A. NOT A GOOD SIGN. He's hoping it's just a bad power tube or rectifier. Keeping fingers crossed.

    But man the amp sounds goooooood.
     
  12. t-luxe

    t-luxe Tele-Afflicted

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    http://www.geofex.com/ampdbug/ampdebug.htm
     
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  13. Tele Slacker

    Tele Slacker TDPRI Member

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    Hey BC! Congratulations on your new amp. They are really awesome amps!

    I participated in the same workshop in late July this year. Fastest 2 days of my life. We had about 16 or 17 I guess in that sessions. I was surprised that they offered another local workshop so soon. Like you, I had been jonesing for a looooong time to build a tweed amp, but I could not muster the courage to outlay money, without over the-shoulder help. When I first saw this mentioned on a Rhett Shull’s YouTube channel, I couldn’t wait to sign up.
    Andy and John did a really good job of helping, or getting out of the way of those with more experience than I.

    I had some issues that I missed in the class, and John caught before I left. I would have been stumped if I had tried to go it alone. I walked a way with a lot of inspiration and confidence to do more, as soon as funds allow.

    I can not recommend these workshops enough to anyone in a similar state of mind.

    Enjoy that TWEED!
     
    BCblues55 likes this.
  14. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    What a cool idea - building an amp has always been a bucket-list thing for me - but I wouldn’t try it without adult supervision.

    Burgaw NC is 19 hours from me, but it might be worth a drive!

    Thanks for sharing - I’m impressed!!
     
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  15. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    They do classes in Phoenix too, I think, andthey’ve Also done one at Sweetwaterin the Midwest. You might want to get on their mailing list and let them knowyou’re Interested if the location works out. Chicago might be a good market for them.

    Of course, Andy and John have “real” jobs at Mojotone, so I’m not sure how many workshops they can do in a year...
     
  16. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    I am loving this amp, and the fact that I built it makes it even better!! I know you’re loving yours, too!
     
  17. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    BC - great build, congrats. You're so lucky to be able to do that with the guys at Mojotone.
    That same amp would come in at around$1467.75 AUD!!! Not including postage or help and ongoing inspection.
    My best mate and fellow guitar player,is/was an aeronautics technician, and we were going to build a 5F1.
    But we decided to go for it and will be ordering something substantially bigger as we are forming a band ( he has a nice voice).
    Great result, now ENJOY!!;)
     
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  18. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Soooo...

    A rookie builds a 5E3 in a day and a half.

    Which means that a pro could build one in what ?

    3/4 of a day ? Less ?

    Wait - how long did it take Lupe, Lily, Maria, etc , to completely build/wire up a Deluxe chassis in 1958 ?
     
  19. BCblues55

    BCblues55 Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    Andy and John had an amp that John built in an afternoon at the Summer NAMM show. And it looked awesome!
     
  20. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Which is why I reached out. I think I talked to Andy.

    They know how many of these I've built.

    Takes me more.

    The cabinet starts out as a 1"x12" board...

    I fabricate my own tag board.

    A stock 5E3 board has around three dozen eyelets. Mine have over fifty.

    I spend a lot of time on trick little details. The bean counters prefer "tricks" to be cost cutting measures. I like my tricks to be more like jewelry, like a Fabergé egg or a Cornell box.

    It's like playing a Telecaster. You can play blindingly fast if you don't have to think about it.

    My cabinet starts out as a 1x12" board...

    I'm not going for any speed records. I like to be able to count to ten on my fingers.
     
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