5E3 Deluxe Build...Initiated

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by Pappy58, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    The weather outside is frightful, and I finally got all the junk off my work bench, so time to build a Amp! Going to start today by drilling the chassis holes in the box. I'm going to then set it aside until I get a warmer day or two to lacquer it.

    Next I'll stuff the chassis and then begin work on the board. Not going to rush I anticipate a 2-3 week build. Ahhh the solitude of a project like is a wonderful thing! :)

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    :cheers2:
     
  2. bulletproof

    bulletproof aka tarddoggy Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Excellent!! I love the build threads!!
     
  3. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Senior Member

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    What speaker are you going to put in? Also, I recommend this Robinette mod to smooth out the overdrive and increase headroom.

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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  4. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    Looks like reissue C12Q ?
     
  5. Wrench66

    Wrench66 Senior Member

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    I'm curious about how you lacquer the cabinet. Can you post some info about your process? I have a 5F1 clone with a tweed cab that I've been wanting to lacquer for years, but haven't gotten around to it.
     
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  6. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    Thanks, I'll have a look. I'm going to start with a stock build and then maybe try some mods. :thumb:

    P12R. :applause:

    Using Zinsser Amber Shellac (3-4 coats cut @ 30% brushed on). Followed by a few coats on rattle can clear lacquer. Light sanding between each coat. I'll include a few pics in the thread. :cheers:
     
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  7. bufbills

    bufbills Senior Member

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    Have fun!!
     
  8. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Senior Member

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    If it were me I'd consider the lower voltage mercury magnetics transformers. The main problem with the new 5E3 kits is the voltage is too high. I wouldn't do any mods at first. Keep the stock 5E3 circuit.
     
  9. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    A little progress today. Got the chassis fitted and mounted in the box, and stuffed the lightweight things in. First MIA parts - speaker jacks. I scored some NOS ceramic 9-pin sockets so thats a bonus. But for now the chassis goes on the shelf and the box moves to the paint booth....on to the circuit board. :beer:

    IMG_8446.JPG IMG_8448.JPG
     
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  10. Cjsinla

    Cjsinla Senior Member

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    Yeah, I went stock, it was my first build ever. Mine was the Tube Depot kit and it came with PCB and a Jenson MOD ceramic speaker. I struggled with the amp’s tone and decided that I really wanted an old-school eyelet board setup. At that point MLP’ers told me how the amp controls really work. I thought the PCB was wired wrong because both volume controls were interactive.

    After that I started looking into some mods to correct my biggest complaints; farty sounding bass and a raspy high end. The V2 mod smoothed out the high end and a Weber alnico speaker tightened up the bottom end. It’s really a great amp now. I’m still running Tube Depot’s iron. Oh yeah, I also put a 12ay7 in V1 for less gain as the amp gets plenty dirty when you push it.

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  11. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Senior Member

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    Farty sounding bass and raspy highs? I experienced the exact same thing with my Mojotone 5E3 kit. I bought it off of some guy on Ebay and he actually did a really good job in building it. Very clean. And the charm the amp had was great. But after awhile I grew tired with the farty almost uncontrollable bass and highs that seemed fizzy IMO. Raspy is a good word to describe it too. Also the range of the amp was limited because it became hard to use, especially in the middle ranges of the controls.

    Lowering some of the coupling cap values is common way of removing bass from the amp, so I did that (actually my amp tech did it based the values I chose) and lower the bass it did but it also destroyed all the charm and special qualities the amp had. I was crushed. And I knew the "stock" circuit still wasn't going to satisfy me had I gone back.

    From a lot of internet research I've done over the years, most people I read about who end up modding their 5E3s - end up unhappy or feel it has changed the voice of the amp. So that ended up being a bad choice for me, however, it led me to another place where I did get it right.

    With my amp now/ the farty bass is gone and the highs are sweet and sing and sustain. Even at very high volumes the highs do not become raspy and they sing with ungodly amount of sustain. The notes sing at any volume level. And most importantly, the "voice" and "character" of the amp is not impaired in any way! In fact it was enhanced! And I've talked about this before so I'll shut up about that but I'm just saying that I think retaining the character and voice of the amp is critical.

    Some people who buy this kind of amp- they buy it because they hear they can get awesome overdrive and they can just crank it up and basically play anything with it. Then they quickly realize that the loose attack and lack of tight bass doesn't allow them to play their favorite rock songs or whatever. This amp is not for this kind of person. It can approximate a lot of tracks and is very very versatile but you have to realize what it is and what it isn't.

    And some of the quirks of the 5E3 isn't for everyone. The farty bass and harsh trebles are a product of the stock circuit, especially in the newer 5E3 clones today, if you're building a 100% stock circuit. The loose attack and the sag, the interactive volume and tone controls..etc. it's all a part of the 5E3 and it's not for everyone.

    But when you learn how the amp works and use it to your advantage, it can really be an inspiring amp. A lot of amps out there sound great or fantastic but aren't necessarily inspiring. They don't make you want to play different things and create because you're thinking about getting the right sound instead of just playing the amp and do what you think it wants you to do.

    I don't know what mods you've done to it. There a lot of ways to mod this amp so that's cool. I'm glad the mods worked and that you're enjoying it dude!
     
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  12. sonar

    sonar Senior Member

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    I did many of the mods on my 5E3 build. It sounds best (imo) in a stock configuration. One of the best plug and play overdrives out there, in all its 12 watts of glory.

    Two concessions for me were a voltage corrected power transformer and a NOS 5Y3. Tweeds really like to see low voltages. Too much juice on the plates a 5E3 can get that buzzy/sizzle thing in the top end, which some people like, just not for me. The raspiness seems to vary from 5E3 to 5E3, but a lot of it can be addressed with a power corrected PT. A NOS 5Y3 will also keep voltage low. If you don't like all that gain and you think it adds to the rasp, a 5751 preamp tube in V1 will tame it up a bit... although I personally kind of like running both pre's with 12AX7's.

    As great as a good Deluxe can be, it does have its idiosyncrasies. Any 12 watt tube amp is going to struggle with bass. There's just not enough wattage to support the low frequencies, especially when you're only seeing 350V (or less) on the plates. People try to filter it out, ala Marshall, which just neuters a 5E3. I'm very much in the "Leo knew best" camp with the 5E3 and keep the caps at stock value. Basically I live with it, dime the amps tone control when using PAF style humbuckers. A little more variety can be had with the tone control using a Strat or Tele (which makes sense since these are the guitars Leo would have used as benchmarks) but an LP sounds pretty f'in cool with the tone cranked and the two volumes in their respective sweet spots.

    My favorite speaker currently made to put in a 5E3 is, hands down, a Celestion Blue. The Blue might be a little too mid-centric for some, but I've been using Brit voiced speakers in smaller Fender amps for years with great results. The chime and mid-grunt really works well with the 5E3. Anyway, I've yet to hear any modern day speaker come close to the old Jensens. A lot of them (Weber, WGS, etc) sound pretty good, but not quite right. That said, the 5E3 is very speaker tolerant. Even the cheap, ceramic Italian Jensen sounds pretty good in a 5E3.

    I went Clark PT (voltage corrected) and iirc a Classictone output transformer. Small resistors were mostly NOS AB's. Sprague and F&T caps (with the infamous NOS "Domino" mica for the extremely complicated tone design ;)), cheap pots, decent jacks... and other stuff I'm forgetting.

    It's a great, simple amp that's hard to beat. Lets see some more build pics!
     
  13. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the comments gents. I've been around some of these and my partner and I have done and few and some Champs. The mojo PT's so far have been in spec and haven't given any problems. I am using a Mercury Tone-Clone OT. I find the P12R to be a good fit for this amp. Much tighter than the ceramic's. I do have a 1962 Jensen P12. Once it's dialed in I might put it in there for comparison.

    For the moment I blocked as the turret board is the wrong one for this amp. :squint: So in the mean time it's back to the chassis to wire up the power section. :cheers:
     
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  14. Wrench66

    Wrench66 Senior Member

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    My 5F1 Tube Depot kit came with a Sovtek 5Y3 that put out way to much voltage. The JJ 5Y3 is much lower.

    Also, a 12ay7 might do the trick for those complaining about flabby bass and raspy highs. It has a lot less drive than a 12ax7, but it really smooths out the distortion on my 5F1 and makes it much more usable.

    I've heard nothing but good things about Classic Tone transformers. I accidentally ran my Champ without a speaker connected for a few seconds... :Ohno: And the OT still survived!
     
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  15. Wrench66

    Wrench66 Senior Member

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    Cool! Thanks for the info!
     
  16. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Senior Member

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    A 12AY7 alone won't get rid of the farty bass and raspy high end. Sonar is right that a voltage corrected PT will make a big difference. The new 5E3s won't sound like the old ones for several reasons. The voltage being one of them.
     
  17. Wrench66

    Wrench66 Senior Member

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    I don't have a 5E3, so maybe it won't work. I was simply trying to suggest something that worked in my amp to smooth it out and tighten it up a bit
     
  18. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Senior Member

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    IMO the 12AY7 is critical to getting the 5E3 sound right. You will get more gain out of the 12AX7 in V1, but it also changes the tone IMO. And in the end you will reduce the useable range in the amplifier.

    On my 5E3 with a 12AY7 in V1, I'm already getting decent overdrive with the amp on 3. With the amp on 2.5, that's about as clean a sound as you're going to get, with a HB or P90 guitar with the guitar at full volume. You can also get the same sound but a different response by putting the volume on 6-8 and putting the unused channel volume up all the way to 12, because the unused channel loads down the signal and cleans it up.

    The amp has plenty of gain in the original tube configuration with the 12AY7 in V1. If I turn all the controls to 10 or 11, I get a ripping tone, with more gain than I would ever need. All the controls at 10 is very Marshally. Basically a Marshall but on steroids. About to explode type of tone.

    Also I think the 12AY7 gives off a woodier, fuller tone, not to mention better cleans and range, which is why I will never switch it out for a 12AX7. This amp is already a monster. An RCA 6072 was definitely an improvement over the EH 12AY7. I think the new EH's actually have too much gain and the older 12AY7/6072s have less. I could be wrong, if someone please correct me. But the EH sounded hotter and muddier.

    The tubes really make a difference in this amp more than most others because it's a primitive, simple design.
     
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  19. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Senior Member

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    You're right though it will smooth it out and not flub the low end AS much- compared to a 12AX7.
     
  20. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    You can always convert to grid bias..... Low end gets very solid that way.
     
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