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The Ultimate NEIL YOUNG 5E3!

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by P-Zilla, May 14, 2009.

  1. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    :eek:

    I said it!

    No blues, no country twang, no smooth jazz.

    I want that choppy nasty gritty Young style 5E3 tone.

    I know it has alot to do with turning the bad boy up. And I also know he has had his personal collection modded with 6L6s.

    I personally do not want to go the 6L6 route. This amp is going to be used on my bands upcoming record for solo tones and amp to re-amp some of the rhythm tracks with my 2203 JCM800 and a Soldano SLO-100 (Stoner / Thrash / Sludge / Speed / Heavy ass rock)

    I have always been a huge fan of the 5E3 I own a weber kit version of it. BUT I want to build a totally new one.

    So what are some mods I can do to it?

    Cascading Gain circuit? Choke a few resistors to keep those 6V6s on a short leash?

    I know Mr. Crash and a few others enjoy the same tone. So could you guys share some mods with me?
     
  2. TNO

    TNO Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe go with a smallish OT.
     
  3. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Dude, nice amp setup for recording! A 5E3, 2203, and SLO?





    I've done several mods to 5E3's. One I tried was a switch to cascade one channel into the other. The thing is so gainy anyway, that cascading was almost a waste of time... plus when cascaded you have to trim some fat, and that changes the trademark 5E3 fatness.

    The most "Neil" thing you could do without going to 6L6's is to use a ceramic speaker. I went with a Jensen reissue C12N (Neil uses an original '60s C12N). The midrange is huge and it barks like a giant pitbull. Most folks go "authentic" and use lower powered AlNiCo's - which is cool too.

    AlNiCo's will be smoother on the top, creamier on the mids, and looser on the bass. Ceramics will be tighter in the bass with big, tight mids. The right AlNiCo could add to the Neil grungy, muddiness though.

    The mids with a C12N reissue are stiff and ballsy.





    Hell yeah! 2203/2204's are my favorite amps of all time! One mod I added to my personal 5E3 is a push-pull switch in the Tone control to go either stock or JCM800-ish (changes the preamp tubes cathode from normal 5E3 to the 2203/2204 values of 2700 ohms and 0.68uF)... this makes the amp yin and yang though.

    What I mean is I sorta consider the 5E3 to be the Jekyl and Hyde of a 2203/2204. The coupling caps on a 5E3 are bigger allowing for a thick, fat sound. The 2203/2204 on the other hand, has a thinned preamp to keep all of that gain in check.

    If you want a Neil sound - you want it thick, nasty, and grungy as hell... stock with a ceramic speaker will do that at loud volumes... otherwise you'll need an original '60s Jensen C12N and 6L6's.

    PS
    Sometimes I plug my 5E3 into a 2x12" cab - one has Vintage 30s, the other AlNiCo Blues... try yours in your other cabs - who knows maybe a V30 will have that midrange hump you need :)
     
  4. OaklandA

    OaklandA Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I would think that any 5e3 with a vintage type, somewhat inefficient Alnico speaker would get you there.

    Weber 12A100, Weber Sig 12, Jensen P12R would be good candidates.

    Eminence used to make one too....I believe it was the Legend 122, a great speaker, but unfortunately Eminence discontinued them. Occasionally one will turn up on eBay for cheap. Actually that one would be my first choice if you could find one.
     
  5. doug deeper

    doug deeper TDPRI Member

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    power scale the power amp section, crank the volume and then decrease the voltage till you get the ultimate muck.
     
  6. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    I got mine of a VVR, which is a variable control on how much voltage the tube's plates get. It does help with NOT pissing off the neighbors when cranking the amp for that Neil Young sound HAHA!

    As mentioned, Neil's tweeds are modded for 6L6's and have vintage Jensen ceramic C12N speakers... which is why I went with a reissue Jensen C12N - not exactly like the original vintage Jensens, but very close to that Neil fatness :)

    Some folks mention how 5E3's get dirt at "bedroom levels", but that kind of volume is still a heckuva lot (even Champs cranked for distortion are loud as heck), so I totally agree with you - scaling back the volume helps.
     
  7. doug deeper

    doug deeper TDPRI Member

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    when just scaling the power section as well, you can actually get more drive as the pre are still running at full tilt and the headroom of the power amp gets lower and lower.
    kind like an additional sag control!
    also, i feel like the tone a lot of people are looking for is the out of the blue (i think thats the name of this song) sound, where its super blown out sounding, but a big part of that tune is that neils playing through an octave divider, but still playing chords!
    great sound!
     
  8. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    OMG... so I went poking around in my Weber 5E3... and HOLY F**K. I tried all kinds of things and where it is at right now it sounds like exactly like a


    Sperm Whale surfaced from the deep after eating a swarm of collosul squids and magically grew legs to extract vengence on the humans on land.

    HUGE
    FAT
    GNARLY
    AND PISSED OFF

    This little amp has become a MONSTER.

    I will post a detailed list of my mods but it was a combo between crash's and a friend's suggestions.

    Greenback Speaker, Plus different rectifier tube, plus 12AY7 in V1 makes this thing a beast.
     
  9. Sidney Vicious

    Sidney Vicious Friend of Leo's

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    That is the sound I am looking for! :cool:

    We need the update.
     
  10. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    Basically got some advice from a board member named "muchxs" he suggested a few tweaks. I just pm'd him back to see if he minded me posting the mods he suggested and I did.

    But in a nutshell I switched the rectifier to a 5AR4 (and the necessary mods to the filter caps to run this) changed the V1 to a 12AY7 and installed a 25 watt Greenback. I also tightened up the first pre-amp stage to more soldano'ish specs to tighten it up a bit.

    It grinds and snarls with the best of them.

    as soon as I hear back from him I will post exact details. But I followed what he said verbatim.
     
  11. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm flattered. :oops:
     
  12. Mik

    Mik Tele-Afflicted

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    HUGE
    FAT
    GNARLY
    AND PISSED OFF

    Gee I thought that's what a healthy stock 5E3 sounds like.

    I'd better get outta DIY land...

    Solder on dude.
     
  13. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Bigger rectifier and a greenback? I woulda never thought of going with a Greenback - I bet that sounds killer!

    The rectifier will kill some sag (tightening up the bass). My 5E3 has a switch to go full-on solid state rectifier with a bigger #1 filter cap (or back to stock), and I notice a difference.

    The original stock 5E3's had a 12AY7 in V1... unfortunately, some kit sellers only give you 12AX7's. 12AY7's in V1 sound best, but when you want gain overkill, a 12AX7 can be intense.
     
  14. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah I tested both and the AX7 mushed WAY to much in higher volumes. I am lucky enough to be able to crank it.

    And this morning I carted it over to the practice space and hooked up my G-Backed out 1960B 4x12 and it slayed. It can compete with any good marshall IMO now.

    Very tight, but you throw some hammer fisted riffs at the strings and it grinds out.

    I actually enjoy this 5E3 alot more because I can still get most of the other tones I got with a stock one.

    Sounds phenomenal when I had my MXR blue box running in front of it.

    I also did the volume mod to make the volume controls a bit more useable.

    I figure this Weber 5E3 will be my frankenstein one. I will tweak a bit more but as of right now. Its killer.

    I need to find some better quality tubes and such and would dig some NOS rectifier. Better jacks and switches too. But overall it sounds like a killing machine with my direct to the jack esquire a EB VPjr and my bad bob.
     
  15. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Man, you're making me wish I had a 4x12" again :(

    Sometimes I plug mine into a 2x12" with Celestion Blues - but a monster 4x12"ed Deluxe would kill!
     
  16. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    well it was technically a 5x12 Greenback assault. I built my 5E3 cab to a 1x12 not a 1x10.

    It was glorious. I want to rig a head version up that can run both my 4x12s.

    Or maybe a dual running amp.

    Basically two 5E3 preamps and a stereo output. and make it capable of running 4 4x12s! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sort of like the dual channel stereo Matamps. The land would be leveled from South Carolina all the way to the mud of the mississippi!

    I love the 5E3s gain structure with my mods. Just alot of bark and super tight all the way through. But very very reactive. its the perfect primitive sounding marshall-esque tone for my three amps.

    5E3 = Caveman Rough or Stone Age
    2203 = Roman Centurian or Bronze Age
    Soldano = Modern Day Brutal Assassin

    :lol:

    Thanks so much guys!
     
  17. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Hey, there's a thought. Two 5E3x2s on one chassis. Sort of a caveman Mode 4. The PT would have to be enormous...

    (thinking out loud) Oh, wait. I have that old Conn amp that used 8xEL84s. There's our PT...
     
  18. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    I'm sure a good 5e3 could run a quad of 4x12s anyway, you'd just have to wire them up in series/parallel to match the impedance.

    If I were to do it, I'd just use two seperate 5e3s. Set 'em a little differently for a huge sound!

    ...Of course you'd get a huge sound with just two 1x12 combos anyway, but where's the needless excess in that? :twisted:

    Either way, this thread with all its Neil Young talk is making me drool. I'll +1 Johnny's observation that the 5e3 with those two high-gain heads will really make for an uberthick sound.
     
  19. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    We are pre-production right now. And my recorded tone is as follows. (oh and keep in mind we are a three piece with me and the bass player on vox)

    x 2 JCm800 2203 panned both right and left (front end boosted with a BOSS SD-1 for some mind hum snarl). Both into an EV12L 4x12 w/ a SM57 on axis.

    1 track of the Soldano panned to the right. Its all SLO100 no pedals or boost. Sennheiser E906 on a Vintage 30 4x12.

    1 track of the MOnster 5E3 with a Bad Bob Boost on the front end. Every control (tone is at 12 oclock actually) dimed and the channels jumped. SM57 on the Greenback.

    I basically ran my no controls Esquire w/ a BKP Painkiller intro a Bluebeard Fuzz into the DI box.

    And for some parts and heavier riffage those 4 reamped tracks have the fuzz ontop. And it just slays.

    Any of you guys go into a a studio DI your tracks and re-amp them later.

    The bass is a Qaurterpound P-Bass w/ Rotosound flatwounds into a Bluebeard Fuzz -> a Sunn Beta Lead Pre and slaved out to a Sansamp Bass DI. For his distorted tone.

    And the sansamp for his clean tight lowend tone.

    Its sickening how great the tones are. Lets just hope our drum tracks sound as good. Not to mention the vocals.

    EDIT: I am thinking all my harmony and solo tracks will be a mix of 5E3 w/ the boost and 5E3 with my bluebeard raping the pre-amp of the 5E3.

    You know with phaser and delay for all the leads and such.

    But that comes later. Right now we are getting all our rhythm, bass, and drum tracks down solid and a month from now heading over to a studio for vocals and overdubs and additional tracks. And then sending it off to ANOTHER place for mix and master.
     
  20. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok... so I dig the amp. But I was wondering. Can I choke out some of the voltage and get some sputtery spitting nasty gated tones?

    Maybe wire up a knob for such a thing?
     
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