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Poll: What is your favorite 50s-era Fender tweed amp (or clone thereof)?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by El Tele Lobo, Nov 28, 2020.

What is your favorite 50's-era Fender tweed amp (or clone thereof)?

  1. Champ

  2. Princeton

  3. Pro

  4. Harvard

  5. Vibrolux

  6. Deluxe

  7. Tremolux

  8. Super

  9. Bandmaster

  10. Low-Power Twin

  11. High-Power Twin

  12. Bassman

  13. Other/Modern Interpretation of a Tweed Design

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    This ...

    DSCF0659.JPG

    ... is an Ampmaker WF-55. It's a Champ-a-like minus the valve rectifier. The knob is shown in the 'flight' position. Roll off the guitar volume/be gentle with the strings and it's as clean as a whistle. Dig in, and it snarls. Boost the front with a booster/EQ/overdrive and it growls its little head off. If that knob is in the 10 O'Clock position, imagine it at the 2 O'Clock. Same as before, but more so.
    Through a 1x10", a 2x10" or a 1x12", it belies its simple design and control options to give the most glorious sounds, but you have to work it at the guitar end. There's so little to it, that there's little to narf the sound up. There's also nothing to hide behind. It is the sound of rock'n'roll in a compact and bijou format.
     
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  2. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    Nah.

    I've got a Mojo 5E3 winging, or should I say winding, it's way to me now. I've got a Bassman LTD and I love that thing but it's really loud by the time it's singing. Needed the same wrangly sound at a lower volume so hoping to build this kit and record with it.

    Axis29, you have/had a Bassman, how does the Twin compare?
     
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  3. jmp81sc

    jmp81sc Tele-Meister

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    I've built 4 tweeds so far.

    5G9 Tremolux is my favorite. 20 watts bias vary trem. The fixed bias and LTP tighten it up.

    5F2A is my second favorite. Better for home use and just sweet overtones. I used to use it for practice with a tame drummer and it is fantastic with a Cannabis Rex speaker.

    5F6A is also fantastic but at 50 watts I never really get a chance to open it up. I played some shows with it with my old Dad band and I think the volume was on 2 1/2 or 3, through a 2 x10 cab.

    My 5E3 is a little too loose and much harder to dial in. I can get it to sound good but I need to tweek the guitar volume and tone controls more and the amp controls. To be fare the build is from salvaged organ parts and may not be a good example of what a vintage spec 5E3 sounds like.
     
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  4. Blues Twanger

    Blues Twanger Tele-Afflicted

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    Harvard
     
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  5. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I still have my Bassman. Still love it!

    The story goes like this... I scored the Bassman on Craigslist for a really good price. It's a regular Reissue, but came with Jensen P10Rs (I think it was one of the last 'pre-LTD' ones, but the date code tag is worthless on mine). First time I plugged into it at home my brain screamed at me, "THAT'S THE TONE!!!" LOL. It really was the sound in my head all those years. I loved it, used it for everything, practice, gigs, etc.

    Then, I lucked into a deal on my '58 Twin. First time I plugged into it, even in the condition it was in, I knew I had to have it. I did all the repair work myself... Had to do everything, re-wire it, build a new cab, etc (Of course, this is the only way I would have been able to afford a real no-S*** 1958 Twin).

    I got the Twin kicking and one day I got up the nerve to plug both in, turn both on and A/B them. I was truly afraid I would be so disappointed in the Bassman it would make me sick. But, the truth it's not that way at all! Fender did a great job with the Bassman Reissues! I still love my Bassman!

    There are some differences, but you can definitely tell they have the same DNA.

    The Bassman is sparkly, punchy and tight. It fills a room with instant sparkly Fendery goodness! The 4 x10 set up is fantastic and the sound spreads super fast... It feels like every corner of a room is suddenly filled with sound. It breaks up in a really fun, crunchy bite that cuts through a mix beautifully. It can be loud and punchy, but it can also have a really nice, warm clean.

    The Twin is authoritative. There is a bass response that hits you in the chest. It lets you know there is a King Kong hiding in the room somewhere. It fills a room in a different manner than the Twin. It is overall warmer, a little sweeter maybe. The bass response is cleaner, thicker, clearer... It just pushes into you. It feels more forceful. Lower volume playing is actually a little easier with the Twin, weirdly enough.

    Both amps have a little dirt in all their cleans and a little clean in all their dirts. The cleans are really, really complex with lots of overtones, but they sound clear. I think of it as that early Jazz guitar tone... The Charlie Christian kinda thing. The overdriven tone of both amps always has a good bit of note separation and almost a mix of clean notes giving a clarity(?) to the sound. But,t he differences are enough I can easily justify both amps. The Bassman is sparklier... The Twin is more forceful. The Twin can also be creamier... Play the fat strings higher up the neck and you get it. It's 'rounder' (I know ridiculous descriptor, but it's the best word I can think of), the Bassman is zingier.

    I did rewire the Bassman later, and followed the 5f6-a specs. I re-used the iron, and as much hardware as I could. It change the sound slightly, but really it was pretty subtle. Nuanced, if you will. I always tell people who ask about it that it was an exercise in learning, and for my pure enjoyment of wiring an amp. It really didn't gain me anything that I would pay for, purely on the result. It was about the journey.

    I have also replaced two of the Jensens in the Bassman with two Eminence 1028ALKs. The speakers in the Twin are currently a Jensen 12-100 and a Celestion Neo Creamback.
     
  6. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's a pity you should it. You could have likely remedied the weight issue with a solid pine replacement cabinet. I used to have a Blues Jr. and replaced its plywood cabinet with solid pine and it was a night and day difference in weight.
     
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  7. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tell us more! This is the thread to expound its virtues at length! Pictures, schematics, tech talk and fanboy raving all welcome!
     
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  8. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's often the small, modest-looking ones you have to watch out for. Think Bruce Lee...
     
  9. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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  10. John E

    John E Friend of Leo's

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    For sure. But it's a pattern with me. Or at least it used to be in my young and stoopid days. G.A.S. used to make me do a lot of stupid things... If I had a dollar for every great piece of gear I sold... lol
     
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  11. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Great story, @Axis29! Sounds like you have some real history with both of those amps. Thanks for sharing!
     
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  12. High Head Brad

    High Head Brad Tele-Meister

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    I voted for the Princeton, Super and HPTT based on my experience with the real thing and / or clones. I also voted for the Tremolux based on lust and demo's I have listened to.

    I own an original Princeton and its a wonderful amp and significant upgrade from the more 'popular' champ with the bigger cab and tone control.

    I have a Super clone (made by Headstrong) that is just a wonderful amp at all volumes and one of the best sounding amps I have played.

    I previously owned a HPTT clone (Aussie made Lucas Miles) that was also incredibly sounding but it was just too big for me to justify owning and it weighed a ton.... even though it does sound great at low volumes as @Axis29 has articulated numerous time.

    I also own a Vibrolux clone but to me it doesnt capture the tweed magic like my other amps...... its just too clean for my taste and a bit harsh in the top end. I contemplated going down the speaker rabbit hole as I suspect a different speaker may resolve the issues for me. But instead its currently for sale and I have a Louis Electric HD12 on order.

    I'd love to add some more vintage tweeds to my collection over time. Leo got it right the first time with this line of amps IMO
     
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  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    5E7 Bandmaster....from a long list of tweeds I have owned or worked on. The 5B5 Pro might be a close second.
    list of owned and/or worked on....
    1949 Deluxe..restored
    5B5 Pro..owned and restored
    5C5 Pro..owned, restored
    5E5A Pro...owned.
    5D6 Bassman..worked on...one of the first 4x10 Bassman amps.
    5F6A Bassman..owned and restored
    5E7 Bandmasters...owned two at the same time
    5E8A Twin..owned and restored
    5F1 Champs...owned a few, worked on a few others
    5E3 Deluxes...owned and worked on
    5D3 Deluxe..work
    tremolux...work
    5F11 Vibrolux...work

    Ime, there is not just one tweed sound. From 55-60, there are imho five sonic classes. prior to that, there are fewer varieties, imho. This variety makes this poll interesting.
     
  14. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wow. Jealous. I would love to have a chance to play all those tweeds. I sense an amp addiction in my future...
     
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  15. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Indeed, it is advantageous to have had all of those amps to experience.
     
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  16. scook

    scook Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    For those that have experience with multiple tweed amps, how much do you think speaker size, speaker number, and speaker configuration, blurs the lines between the various circuits?
     
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  17. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    The only Tweed I've ever owned is the EC Custom vibro Champ. Love it. it's great for at home and for low volume gigs.

    I would love a Vibrolux or a Tremolux. Or a newer amp based on a bigger Tweed but with Trem and Reverb.

    My current style and tone preferences seem to include both trem and a touch of reverb on at least almost all the time. Maybe with some subtle vibe added for even more shimmery depth.

    So I can't imagine buying another amp that doesn't have reverb and trem.
     
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  18. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    I have a 57 deluxe reissue, the OD that comes out of it is better than any of the OD pedals I have, there's something "alive" about it.
    I had a Princeton, but I like the 5E3 better, and I think one of these days I'm going to buy a kit and build another one.
     
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  19. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I found more difference in the circuit differences, but the speaker configuration cannot be discounted. The best comparisons of that would be with the 5E7 Bandmaster, 5F4 Super, 5E5A Pro, and the 5E8A Twin. Their circuits are very similar...especially if you pull one of the rectifiers out of the Twin...but they all have different speaker configurations. I prefer the Bandmaster out of these amps, and I feel that it is because of what goes on in the local feedback circuit.
     
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  20. High Head Brad

    High Head Brad Tele-Meister

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    I'm curious to hear about your theory on the five sonic classes of tweed amps from 55-60
     
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