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Tweed Deluxe Volume/Tone control mod

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by BrianF, May 13, 2009.

  1. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

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    This may have been discussed before but here's my experience with it...

    5E3 Tweed Deluxes are famous for interactive volume and tone controls. Some (maybe most?) users of the amp find this as part of the charm of this old circuit, but I find it really annoying. A side effect of the interactive behavior is a LARGE abrupt volume increase when you are trying to increase volume (from boths channels at 0) slowly to some ususable-at-home volume.

    I did a little looking into this and found that the problem was solved simply and effectively on the subsequent version of the Deluxe...namely Leo Fender cured this when he designed the Brown Deluxe amp. The input circuits are almost identical accept for the mods that cure all this weird behavior.

    So now I have a Tweed Deluxe that has NO volume and tone control interaction and each channel volume increases slowly and predictably from 0 all the way up to 12. All of the tone of the Tweed Deluxe and none of the quirks!

    What's also cool about it now is that since each input channel's volume can be independently controlled you can still bridge the input channels and/or you can use one of the channels to mix in an effect and control the mix of dry and effect with the individual volume controls.

    Has anyone else done this?
     
  2. jh45gun

    jh45gun Banned

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    No but I might when I rebuild my 5e3.
     
  3. SEK_Hakuna

    SEK_Hakuna Tele-Meister

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  4. sjhusting

    sjhusting Tele-Afflicted

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    I did it to mine a few years ago.

    I used two tone controls instead of a dual stacked.

    I've been thinking about putting in a rotary to switch between the standard and the independent config, but just haven't gotten around to tracing it out.

    steven
     
  5. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

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    I really like the mod since now I can dial in a low volume and use it for getting a great pure clean tone for recording in my home office.. I don't notice any negative attributes to making this change..

    BTW the mod I made required no extra parts except for two 220K resistors. It just requires slight rewiring of the Volume pots and addition of the 220K resistors.
     
  6. SEK_Hakuna

    SEK_Hakuna Tele-Meister

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    I enjoy my amp more since doing the volume mod. Before the mod volume levels were just too loud for home use, for me. I tried using the amp in a band setting and found it to be too dirty at the required volume levels. Of course the band was not a blues band.:D

    I use a Bad Monkey for overdrive and it works very well for me. My amp now stays clean, has more headroom since the mod. I turn the volume up to nearly full before getting any grind, depending on the guitar/pickups.

    Someday, when the economy turns around, I'll build another 5E3 and keep it stock. A man just can't have too many Tweed Deluxes now can he....:twisted:
     
  7. FiddlinJim

    FiddlinJim Tele-Holic

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    I did it with stacked pots for the tone control. Then I un-did it. I wasn't a tweed deluxe to me anymore.

    I solved the "abrupt volume" issue by trying different pots that ended up having a taper that I like better. I used these: Allesandro (the $14.95 ones). Yep, they're way expensive, but $30 to solve that annoyance wasn't too bad in my book. If you dig, you might be able to find less expensive pots that have a similar taper, but these work for me where the original Alpha pots I had in there didn't.

    The amp was a little too midrangey and boomy for me, so I changed the pre-tonestack coupling caps from .1 to .022 and that seems better for me.

    Choice... that's what DIY's all about, ain't it?
     
  8. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

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    I'm curious as what about it "wasn't a tweed deluxe anymore"? Was it that you couldn't get the same tones from it? Or just that the settings of the controls weren't familiar to you any more?

    The way that I did the mod did not alter the tone circuits at all. In other words I did not make the input circuit tone component values the same as the Brown Deluxe and I did not add tone controls to the 5E3 channel that had no tone controls. Merely re-wiring the Volume pots and adding the two 220K summing resistors leaves all of the amps tone the same and just eliminates the abrupt Volume increase and the interaction bewtween the controls. If I do want the channels to interract...all I have to do is add the jumper bridging cable from input2 to input1 of the unused channel. Maximal flexibility and no change in amp tone or flexibility...and a 25 cent mod.
     
  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Hmmmm.....I have never had a problem with 'abrupt' volume increases on a 5E3. OF course, I rarely find a need to have that volume at less than 4...usually it is on up the dial past that. I love the interaction of the channels. I am probably in the same camp as Fiddlin' Jim on this one. I am used to a 5E3 that is 'dirty' at any volume if I hit it with the appropriate pick attack. I have heard one really 'clean' 5E3. It was perfect for the owner and useless for my personal taste.
    OBviously, each to his own.
     
  10. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

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    There really is no downside to the mod that I did, other than if you want interaction between the channels all I need to do as jumper the inputs. All the tone is still there ...just with different dial settings.
     
  11. FiddlinJim

    FiddlinJim Tele-Holic

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    Brian, looks like you have a good solution. I don't think I was particularly dissatisfied with the tones I was getting, just that the control setup wasn't as original. Not that big of a deal, but this is my mess-around-with-it amp, so I keep picking at it.

    Say Hi to my good pal Chris C. at Buff Brothers when you're in there next.

    Jim
     
  12. JohnnyCrash

    JohnnyCrash Doctor of Teleocity

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    Mine is stock, but when I first built it, I tried several mods - this was one of them.

    It is very useful to have truly seperate volumes. It can also be useful to have them interactive... I guess it just depends on your taste.

    Either way, you'll have that 5E3 sound there in spades... still looser and dirtier than a brown and raunchy as all get-out.
     
  13. cminor9

    cminor9 TDPRI Member

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    I played with several mods on my 5E3 until I found what I wanted.

    I felt like you and never had much use for the second volume control. I also wanted to use that second triode that was just sitting there. After much experimentation, I dropped two input jacks and tied the single set of jacks to both first stage triodes. That knocks out the interactivity right there. Then I tuned the former 'mic' channel's triode to be nice and fat sounding (.03 coupling cap, and a 1.5k/22uf on the cathode). The normal channel uses a .022 coupling cap and a .68uf/1.5k on the cathode.

    The result? I have a stock-ish (w/o the channel interactivity, of course) instrument channel with a vol and tone, as normal. But I get what amounts to a bass control with the other "volume" knob. Of course, turning up either boosts the volume so they are technically both volume controls. The secret is in the tuning. I can play a fairly normal 5E3 and can really fatten the tone up nicely.

    I sort of discovered this after playing around with ideas other people gave me. It's one of the more minimal mods I have tried, and gives me the best effect. I'd highly recommend it. It doesn't (IMO) detract from the character of a 5E3; it sounds and responds the same as far as I can tell. You just get some extra mileage out of actually using that extra triode.

    If you are interested, I can share more details and/or include pics.
     
  14. EW57

    EW57 Tele-Meister

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    Yes please!
     
  15. cminor9

    cminor9 TDPRI Member

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    Disclaimers: One of the first mods I did to the 5E3 was lose the silly .1 coupling caps throughout, by the way. But I think most people do that anyhow. And, I took the pics on my cell phone camera. Forgive the bad quality.

    Now, for this mod:

    Step 1: inputs from single set of jacks come into pin 2 of V1. Since I put the stopper resistors right at the tube socket I just run the leads across to pin 7. See picture 1. I also use smaller value than 68, 47k IIRC, drops some power supply hum and at least to me, makes the amp a bit more sensitive.

    Step 2: From V1, the plates go to the B+ (stock 100k resistors) and the coupling caps (.022 on the normal channel and .03 on the "fat" volume.) This is stock, save for the coupling cap values. See picture 1.

    Step 3: Run the wire from the "fat" coupling cap (the .03) to the first volume control. The other coupling cap should go to the volume control attached to the tone control. This is stock, save for the coupling cap values.. See picture 2.

    Step 4: Separate the first tube's cathodes. Stock uses an 820 ohm resistor and a 25mf bypass cap. I have the normal channel tuned with a 1.5k resistor and .68 bypass cap. The "fat" channel's cathode has a 1.5k resistor and a more stock 22mf bypass cap. This affects the frequency response and of the normal channel, giving the higher frequencies more gain. See picture 3.

    SO for all those steps, the only real change was to remove the second set of input jacks, and change some cap values. I love it! Like I said, still sounds like a 5E3 to me, but with some extra tonal flexibility and no more wasted half of a 12at7. Since I still haven't made a faceplate yet (after a year already!) I don't have to deal with two extra holes in the chassis. But you will. Nice part is that since both volume controls are still technically volume controls, you don't have to worry about mislabeled controls if you have a nice silkscreened chassis.

    Oh, and don't laugh at my less-than-straight ground buss wire. It works, and it's quiet! I had it soldered to the back of the pots, then removed it. Made no diff so I left it off.
     

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  16. dinkotom

    dinkotom TDPRI Member

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    I'd love to try this mod, but I don't quite understand this part, could you please draw a schematic.
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  17. cminor9

    cminor9 TDPRI Member

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    "I'd love to try this mod, but I don't quite understand this part, could you please draw a schematic.
    Thanks!"

    Haven't checked this for a while, so I just saw your reply.

    There are no changes to the circuit other than around the first triode as you see in the drawing, apart from the fact that you no longer need the second set of input jacks.

    You are changing some cap values, splitting the grounds on v1, and consolidating the inputs down to a single set of input jacks. It's a deceptively simple mod.

    The cathode resistors values and bypass caps and coupling cap values are just what I used. You should experiment. If you keep one side close to stock, you can always dial in a classic 5E3 tone. If you get crazy with the other channel, you can stray pretty far from a traditional 5E3 front end. Since each triode is tied to a volume control, you can blend the two as you see fit via the two volume controls. To me, that was worth way more than the classic 5E3 channel interaction you get on a stock model.

    Hope that helps. Let me know how it works for you!
     

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  18. swaptronics

    swaptronics TDPRI Member

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    I just built a tweed deluxe from parts sourced on e-bay and the internet. I wasn't happy with the interactive tone controls and the overall tone of the amp.

    I purchased a turret board from tube audio supply and re did the entire project--this time adding dual gang tone pot and other components as outlined on the 5E3 S2 mod weber forum.

    Now the volume pots work like they are supposed to and I can get a good bedroom level sound on low to a distorted sound between 5 and 12.

    The amp works great, has better tone, and is quiet at idle or when volume is up to 12 and no input cable is inserted.

    I'm loving the 6G3 brown deluxe type circuit in the "bright" channel input. Even the low level inputs of each channel (inputs without 1M input resistor) sound great.

    The amp is a keeper now--stock I wanted to sell the "one trick pony" circuit version.

    -Dave Adams

    (Tube Geezer)
     
  19. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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