The Ultimate NEIL YOUNG 5E3!

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

  1. DocG

    DocG Tele-Holic

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    Anybody seen this paper?
    A couple of EE students lucky enough to have a prof with a 50s 5E3 built a new one from a Weber kit, then analyzed and modded the circuit. Interesting!
     
  2. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow... they made it pretty boring.

    So who can help my 5E3 sound like its voltage was cut and make it sputter and fuzz out.
     
  3. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    Lol. First sentence in the paper:

    ...Aren't those "problems" what makes the amp great?

    Yep. They go on to list (and fix) everything that makes the 5e3 special.

    I'd love the opportunity to build an amp for credit, but you can bet I'd make it more interesting if I did.

    Don't expect me to do all the math that's in there though.

    I shouldn't criticize. They obviously know quite a bit about what they're doing, and they demonstrate their knowledge well. They just happen to be using their powers for evil and not good. :twisted:
     
  4. Sterling Indigo

    Sterling Indigo Friend of Leo's

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    I saw that and laughed too. Come to find out, after fixing everything that was wrong with it, this is what was left of it...
     

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  5. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One of the keys to Neil's sound with his deluxes is a pretty tight control over the voltage going to the amp. I remember reading or hearing Larry C. say that Neil can hear a voltage fluctuation (which I can believe based on playing gigs over the years with some good and bad wiring) so, the fix in the paper to adjust for the more common higher voltage would make the amp more "neil" as he tends to drop the voltage.

    Also, distortion and distortion are not the same thing. I have a feeling that what they are doing to the amp might very well provide a better platform to do the mods you guys are talking about because you eliminate the 'modern' parts that are out of most folks control (the voltage from the wall)

    You haven't sounded like you were much interested in other 'interference' in the signal (like a variac) or Durham's "Crazy Horse" pedal which might also really help you in your quest... but given that you want it all in an amp... there are a couple of pieces of gold in those kids senior project.

    I'd also note that Leo was always (counterintuitively to us) seeking Bigger, Louder, Cleaner, Quieter. The sf twin was probably the crowing achievement of his work toward that goal...

    Anyway, that paper is cool... thanks for finding and posting it... it makes me want to build one just to see if I like how it sounds...
     
  6. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    You point me to the part that said I could make a knob on the top of my 5E3 that would choke out or control the voltage going to it, Mr Bent.

    I would love to figure out some way to have it at the flick of a switch like 3 presets. Normal and clean, kinda sputtery, full on epileptic sputtery goodness.

    I did think of the variac. But I have one for my Marshalls and it doesnt do the trick I need.

    And the Durham crazy horse sounds awesome. But in reality would introduce alot of unwanted pre-amp noise. (Plus I have a slew of fuzz pedals that do the same trick but for cheap).
     
  7. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    all great points flashback....

    I like the idea of the switch... maybe a rotary! I'd imagine you'd want a voltage regulator/line conditioner in front of the amp so that your switch would provide more reliable results....

    cool project!
     
  8. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah all my amps are ran with regulated voltage. (unless I have had to many beers before the show and forget about it)/
     
  9. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    You don't need a switch! You need a Whizzer!

    Oh, and I'd avoid a variac on any amp. Dropping the wall voltage is going to drop your filament voltage too, and that's not great for your tubes. There are a couple of different schemes for dropping the B+ seperately. I'd investigate power scaling and VVR (variable voltage reduction I believe) instead.
     
  10. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah I thought about making a 4 channel pre-amp version of the 5E3 essentially 4 sets of volume volume and tone controls. All switchable.

    Would be so badass.

    I love building my own stuff it is so liberating.

    I will check it out some of those ideas Ben. (ever told you I love you?)

    If all else fails I could make a pedal to simulate a dying battery style thing that the Durham crazy horse does.
     
  11. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Go to 18watt.com and look up "VVR."

    My 5E3 (and a few other builds) have a VVR built into them (VERY easy to do with cathode biased amps).

    Its a variable voltage regulator - its a single knob controlling how much voltage your tubes get. I forgot how low it makes my plate voltages, but you can crank the amp at MUCH lower loudnesses.

    Small circuit, few parts (1M pot, two resistors, one 5/10w resistor, and a MOSFET). It'll take 5 minutes to solder (right after the rectifier, you simply put the B+ voltage through the VVR circuit). The MOSFET needs to be mounted to the chassis (with the included clear insulator between it and the chassis) since it'll disipate the voltage via heat and needs to diffuse the heat onto the chassis.

    You can see mine on the far left (where the old Ground switch is supposed to go):

    [​IMG]


    In the YouTube clips I made of my 5E3 with VVR you can hear how loud my speaking is, then how loud the amp is with the VVR turned down for comparison.

    I've seen that 5E3 paper before. I scoffed at it too... this time though, as I scanned through it I found I might utilize their idea of throwing in a Brown Fender Princeton style Negative Feedback Loop (56k from the OT to the cathode). Of course I'll be using a switch so I can always go back to stock 5E3... but last week I tried ALL of my amps for a project and the 5E3 was the only amp for the job, unfortunately, I couldn't get enough treble out of it.

    I'll use a DPDT switch so I can see how the NF sounds without the 25uF bypass on V2's 1st triode. Switch: NF w/out cap - or stock no-NF w/ cap.
     
  12. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    So whats the amount of heat it will produce? I mean as cool as it sounds for my Cab to set on fire as its giving up the sputtery nasty overdrive goodness.

    I dont think the clubs I play in will appreciate the fire hazard!

    and on the subject of the negative feedback loop. I have a switch on mine for such a thing as well. Really turns my 5E3 into a recording monster too!
     
  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    INteresting changes to the 5Y3 in this thread. I am with Mik and Oakland A....if I plug a Gibson humbucker into a healthy stock 5Y3 turned up, I can get those NEil Young tones. THe distortion will get that 'bubbling' loose thing going on and feedback just the right amount to sing those overdriven tones as long as you want. I have never heard another amp do quite what the 5y3 does, although there are some little Gibson's that get close to that Young sound.
    Voltages? IF I were building one, I would opt for MErcury Mag's power transformer that yields vintage-type B+ levels. These tweeds like to see 100VAC....they lose soem 'brown' sound with higher voltages.
     
  14. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Its completely safe. I'd guess its about the same heat as a typical 6V6 when warmed up. Maybe too hot to touch, but completely safe for gigs, recording, and all other normal use.

    The heat is only a concern for the MOSFET itself. If it can't transfer the heat to the chassis it takes the full brunt and will end up dying. I believe I spent $8 on my MOSFET so not too big a loss if it were to happen, though being in the B+ rail it could cause bigger problems if it were to fail for some reason.

    None of which are my concerns since I chassis mounted the MOSFET and have been using it for months without any problems!

    Commercially available amps have this sort of power scaling as well and they're completely safe.





    The cool thing with the VVR is you can dial in how much voltage you want... and unlike Variacs, the tube heater voltage stays the same old 6.3 volts, since its out of the VVR's circuit entirely.

    My 5E3 build has a switch for SS diode rectifiers or the stock 5Y3 tube rectifier (a proper "real" 5Y3 since its NOS) and this gives me even more voltage ranges to fool with... from very low plates to "proper vintage" voltages to very high voltages modern 6V6's can handle (with the SS rectification).

    --

    As far as the NF loop, I've just put one on a switch in my 5E3 (in the "extra" speaker/out jack hole)... not night and day, but it does add a bit of top end sheen for some things I might need a brighter 5E3 for (coulda used it last week for a few tracks).

    I'm having a slight issue with my NF switch though... but that's for a different thread.

    --

    As far as getting maximum Neil Young sounds, other than the 6L6's and ceramic Jensen in his #1 - a Les Paul with a P-90 pickup is absolutely required equipment :)
     
  15. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    Meh. My tone is not all neil fanboyizm. I just want it to get real ****ing nasty when I dime it! Which a stock 5E3 already gives the goods dimed.

    I have tried a 6L6 5E3 and it was lackluster compared to the 6V6s now maybe FOUR 6v6s would do it power wise. But this little bastard is loud already!

    I think after the VVR I will calm down for awhile. I dont want it to turn into a one trick pony. Which the 12AX7 in V1 kind of does to it now. But in the flick of a switch I can go back to stock 5E3 in a FLASH!

    But anyway my other gear is pretty NONE NEILish.

    Tapped Esquire one or two fuzz pedals my bad bob and a phaser.

    Thats about it.

    I really want to build a sunlion-esque pedal to shove in front of it with a phaser or flanger for weird noises!

    :twisted:

    Man I love building ****!
     
  16. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    flashback, I may have a pedal you may want to borrow...

    Brian Friend (brianf) here makes them... it is an lpbx1... kind of two pedals in one and kind of the sound clarence white gets on the live at the fillmore record...

    it can get the raspiest, neil young territory sounds ever... I'm kind of afraid to use it on a gig because it is hard to tame....

    if you are interested, I'll send it to you... keep it a couple of months and send it back...

    it is very well made...
     
  17. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    I hear that. Sometimes I'll be laying down a track and certain songs/albums/artists pop into my head that would be perfect (even some bands I'm not a fan of!).

    As far as getting that nasty, belching, Neil STYLE sound - a stock 5E3 with a P-90 is awesome. P-90s are so raw, fat, and not quite humbucker-dark that they can get a primitive or raw sound (I guess what we'd probably describe as "Neil") in a variety of amps.

    For stuff like this I avoid ODs or Dist pedals and go straight for ugly old Fuzz boxes.

    A P-90 makes it raw, a 5E3 makes it primitive, and a ceramic Jensen makes it rude... Fuzz is just icing on the cake at that point :)
     
  18. P-Zilla

    P-Zilla Tele-Afflicted

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    You dont have to sell me on p90s. Between Gretsch Powertrons, Bridge P90s, and Bridge Tele Pickups I usually like to have all three at my disposal.

    But for this band I stick with my Esquire 90% of the time and the other 10% is my Flying V with a Pigtail Wraparound and Single Ceramic P90 in the bridge.

    I will have to snag a Jensen and try it. I love the Greenback though. If my 2203 is raging grizzly, then the 5E3 is definitely a little pissed wolverine with it.

    To be honest we rehearsed alot last night and just my stock 5E3 (no crazy mods switched in) with the greenback and slamming the frontend with my modded Fuzzface in front and a bit of flanger for weird leads. I was also letting the 5E3 run a 75watt celestion straight Marshall 4x12. It really kept up with the drummer and 2 ampeg 8x10s but the one thing I noticed it sounded VERY VERY JTM / JCM hybridish kind of thing going on.

    Anyway!

    enough blabbing!

    Thank you guys so much for all the help and reading my super long post!
     
  19. Bluessoldier

    Bluessoldier Tele-Meister

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    Sorry for resurrecting the thread, but maybe you know what specific MOSFET to use for the VVR mod? I typed mosfet into ebay search and there's like a hundred different types so I'm kind of lost.
     
  20. KCStratMan

    KCStratMan Tele-Afflicted

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    What are the "Soldano-ish mods" for the preamp section?
    I can't find my photos now but I recall Neil has a Wet/Dry/Wet rig of deluxes and other amps with custom doghouse covers on solenoid driven remote controls...wild!
    My max rig is Effectrode Blackbird > Eventide H9 > Eventide SPACE > 2) 5E3 heads > 2) 1x12 '61 Jensen P12Q Alnicos.
    [​IMG]
    My favorite small rig is ET SPACE > 5E3. The SPACE has an absolutely killer Tremolo/Spring Reverb combo algorithm that sounds better than real Fender amp reverb and trem - if that is possible - sorry, Leo - at least its infinitely more controllable.
    [​IMG]
    I run dry into the Bright Channel and effects into the Normal Channel to mix like an effects loop. My only 5E3 mod is to remove tone control from normal channel so no interactivity there. It is great with tone control on the dry sound bright channel and effects blended through the warmer, milder normal channel.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
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