What kit to build?

destroyerrock

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Hey yall! Im looking to build an amp kit, and i wanted to get some opinions. I want an amp that brings something new to the table. I own a ceriatone trainwreck express, a univox 1011 lead, maestro m-2rvt, and a magnatone starlet. Would a mojotone 5e3, ac15, or jtm45 be the most unique in my collection. Im leaning towards ac15, but ive never played through a tweed amp.
 

loopfinding

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the ac15 is kind of a weird bird, and might be difficult depending on your skill level.

i think the 5E3 in terms of simplicity is the best to learn everything about how an amp works, and then make necessary changes as far as voicing, it's the most barebones push-pull amp. if it's not for you, you can turn it into a brown princeton. going further out of the way you can turn it into a princeton reverb (sans trem and reverb). going really far out of the way, you can turn it into an orange/matamp style amp or a brown deluxe (sans trem).

the jtm45 style (regardless of wattage) is not much more complicated, and has the advantage that you have 3 preamp tubes to play with, and panel space for a tone stack + some extras. so you can really rebuild it into almost anything you'd ever want if you get tired of it.
 
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destroyerrock

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the ac15 is kind of a weird bird, and might be difficult depending on your skill level.

i think the 5E3 in terms of simplicity is the best to learn everything about how an amp works, and then make necessary changes as far as voicing, it's the most barebones push-pull amp. if it's not for you, you can turn it into a brown princeton. going further out of the way you can turn it into a princeton reverb (sans trem and reverb). going really far out of the way, you can turn it into an orange/matamp style amp or a brown deluxe (sans trem).

the jtm45 style (regardless of wattage) is not much more complicated, and has the advantage that you have 3 preamp tubes to play with, and panel space for a tone stack + some extras. so you can really rebuild it into almost anything you'd ever want if you get tired of it.
So youre saying 5e3 or jtm45? I dont intend on doing much modding, but ill see, you know how it goes.
 

loopfinding

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So youre saying 5e3 or jtm45? I dont intend on doing much modding, but ill see, you know how it goes.

yeah, depending on how much work you want to put in if you end up not liking it.

the 5E3 in its original form is love or hate for a lot of people. feel like most people want to dial them in (add more tone shaping, change coupling caps, convert to single channel, etc.). so if you end up not liking it, it's potentially some work from the ground up to fix your remorse. but there's so little going on that at baseline it's easy to get set up, room for lots of tweaking later, and tons of mods posted online.

the jtm45 is kind of minimal effort to get it to do other things once you've built it, since you're probably subtracting from it rather than adding. and the vast majority of amps follow a gain stage > gain stage > long tail pair phase inverter setup.
 
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JPKmusicman

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I just built a 5E3 and will say two things. Clean sound is fantastic. Overdrive has kind of a flubby bass when you crank it up. Has to be full tilt to get it to break up. Building is very cramped space. I did not enjoy all the stuffing things in cramped spaces. I'd lean towards 45 watt just to avoid the space restraints. Also I prefer heads. The problem I'd have with 45 watts is it loud (I had an 18 watt plexi head that was really loud). Does it have a master volume? Not familiar with it. Might want an attenuator. I did also just build a Mojotone Studio One. Really good tone on lead channel. Also clean channel sounds great. But only 1 watt. In the living room this things just rocks with the 2 x 12 (Celestion Creambacks, 65 and 75). Much louder than you would think. I can get any kind of overdrive I need. Copies all my favorite rock music. Enjoyed the build except I needed to add a grid stop resistor on the power tube. Their tech support was zero help with this. A local amp tech figured it out ($75 but solved the issue 100%, he found blocking distortion on clean channel over 1/2 volume). Their sales support guy was fantastic. He offered to knock off some money on a future purchase. I had a damaged grommet on the channel switching foot switch and he sent it out immediately. Their kit quality is top notch. Is it worth the high prices they charge? Eh.
 

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Powdog

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I think the 5E3 is tonally least like any of the amps you already own. The Mojotone kits are fine, though I think you could save some $$ putting your own parts list together. The space constraints of a 5E3 chassis will teach you patience and economy, which is a good thing if you plan on building more amps. If you go down this path, the Rob Robinette 5E3 page is a great resource. Lots of descriptions, tweaks and mods you can build into the amp on the first swipe. The gain and flub characteristics of a 5E3 are malleable and can be shaped to your taste. Plus, there is a wealth of knowledge and talent on this forum. Lots of great amp builders with 5E3 experience.

Good luck!
 

Ricky D.

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I suggest a 5E3. Build the original version, leave all the modified versions for later, when and if. It is truly an iconic design since 1959.

Gorgeous fat cleans, vicious overdrive, and a mile wide touch sensitive sweet spot in between.

I built mine in 2007, and it has been my only amp ever since.
 

ce24

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I built the Weber 5e3 kit and over the years modded NFB switchable and other EZ things but always brought it back to original….the mods were minimal in the tone difference to me….love this thing….great cleans great OD…..theres a reason the big guys use this amp. Takes pedals well…
 

Snfoilhat

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You could probably play examples of all three in the same trip to guitar center. Knowing what they sound like and how the controls behave could help you determine how well your own build is progressing. Seeing clearly what the out the door price of a complete amp could help put in perspective how much value is in the kit, the completed amp, and how much to expect to take from the experience of building one’s own
 

WalATX

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2nd for the Weber kit. You also get a nice Weber speaker (and they will substitute or customize the speaker if you ask).
 

JPKmusicman

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I considered Weber but read many comments about poor kit quality, so they were out. I did compare Boothill to Mojotone and ended up going to Boothill. Mojotone's prices are a little too high in my opinion. Even with all the things I had to order to get the Boothill up to my preference it was still cheaper. He substituted some cap values I didn't like, his grid resistors were a big and clunky 5 watt cement package. His 56k resistors measured like 67k. Waaaay out of spec so I just bought ones that were closer to spec. He didn't have the 100ohm resistors to ground on the filament supply wires (creates a pseudo center tap). I do prefer Boothill's design but he only supplies a hard copy layout and no schematic. I requested electronic version of his layout and he told me to just Google other layouts, that they were the same. They are not. The Mojotone has some things I don't like in their design (ground switch/deathcap and no standby). The Mojotone layout is awesome. Full color, almost looks 3D. Probably the best I've seen. Just didn't like their design (even though they followed the original Fender design).

Note the previous parts list I posted had the 100 ohm resistors listed twice. Now fixed.
 

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Snfoilhat

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More food for thought:
The mojotone AC15, like the AC15-derivied designs by some boutique builders, some other kit makers, and even Thomas Organ, Korg, Vox -- isn't exactly an AC15, depending on which year and model you think of as the real AC15. That may be a plus or a minus depending on what the user wants.
NC3015_SCH.png


Just a quick estimate looking at the high-pass filter made by the combination of cap and volume pot:
Matchless Lightning 1200 pF : 1M = 133 Hz
Mojo NC3015 500 pf : 500k = 637 Hz
That may be pretty 'brilliant' :D
 
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JPKmusicman

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More food for thought:
The mojotone AC15, like the AC15-derivied designs by some boutique builders, some other kit makers, and even Thomas Organ, Korg, Vox -- isn't exactly an AC15, depending on which year and model you think of as the real AC15. That may be a plus or a minus depending on what the user wants.
View attachment 1058538

Just a quick estimate looking at the high-pass filter made by the combination of cap and volume pot:
Matchless Lightning 1200 pF : 1M = 133 Hz
Mojo NC3015 500 pf : 500k = 637 Hz
That may be pretty 'brilliant' :D

My experience with the 5E3 was that each vendor seemed to have their own version. Especially Modulus with his Euro version.
 

SanoTele

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Hey yall! Im looking to build an amp kit, and i wanted to get some opinions. I want an amp that brings something new to the table. I own a ceriatone trainwreck express, a univox 1011 lead, maestro m-2rvt, and a magnatone starlet. Would a mojotone 5e3, ac15, or jtm45 be the most unique in my collection. Im leaning towards ac15, but ive never played through a tweed amp.
Sorry for going outside your list. I don't know what your skill level is, but my first build was a 5F1 tweed Champ amp. I learned a lot and eventually modded it. It is surprisingly loud for a single-ended 5 Watt amp.
 

Ciro

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Bruce Collins, Mission Amps in or near Denver, Colorado might still offer a 5e3 kit that has always gotten raves. Only top notch components and his knowledge is vast should you need some help.
 

destroyerrock

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Sorry for going outside your list. I don't know what your skill level is, but my first build was a 5F1 tweed Champ amp. I learned a lot and eventually modded it. It is surprisingly loud for a single-ended 5 Watt amp.
Youre all good, i just find im never happy with the tone from 5 watters, even through bigger cabs.
 

destroyerrock

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It seems like the general consensus is 5e3. Ill post a thread when i start building it. Thanks for all the feedback, much appriciated :)
 




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