Other Amps

School me on the small/mid sized tweeds

1

I'm thinking about assembling my second amp from a kit and leaning towards either another tweed or Mojotone's AC15/30 clone. I currently have a '59 Bassman LTD and a Mission Amps 5E3 I put together about 15 years ago. The 5E3 has some mods - special taper pots that move the start of breakup from 2 to 5, a VVR master volume, and switchable negative feedback. With the mods that amp is much more versatile and probably the best I've ever played. The Bassman is also an awesome amp, and with the right pedal also does the Marshall thing pretty well (I know the circuit was used by JM) so building an 18 watt or JTM45 seems redundant. I also know I'm way more partial to the tweeds I have now than I am to the Blackfaces.

Anyway, I know what a Vox clone is gonna sound like but other than the Deluxe and Bassman I have no experience with Tweeds at all. If I'm gonna build another tweed I'd want something that either sounds somewhere between the raw raunchy grit of the Deluxe and the creamy smoothness of the Bassman, or something that's like a low power Bassman that I can crank at home (it seems like low power Bassman tone is ever elusive).

I don't want to go smaller than a 10" speaker so not interested in a Champ. I believe Princetons also have an 8"? I'm leaning towards a Vibrolux (but I don't want to if it's essentially a 5E3 with tremolo) or a Super - I read somewhere that the treb/bass tone stack versus the Deluxe's/Vibro tone knob adds a different character so that may make it different enough. Even the low power Twin also interest me. I know they're all very different power wise.

I wanted to see if there any resources out there with side by side tone comparisons or a chart of songs using this or that tweed? A tweed dictionary of sorts? Or at least something that explains the differences. Like I know .... is the same as .... but with a 15" speaker and .... is the same as .... but with 3 speakers, etc, I just don't know what the blanks are.

Thanks as always

2

Well hats off to builders -- as cool as Vox is, the tweed builds seem to be easier to sell later on and in those, the smaller ones over the larger multi speaker ones. It's just my bias, but I would stick with a 12 also.

I am sure you will hear from serious builders with good advice. All depends on what sounds you like

3

...something that's like a low power Bassman that I can crank at home (it seems like low power Bassman tone is ever elusive).

No it's not, just build a Bassman with 6V6s. It sounds great.

Or try a Champ with a 12" if you really want to crank in the living room.

This is probably the closest resource to what you're looking for, compare the circuits: https://www.thetubestore.co...

4

Between the 5E3 and the Bassman you have the Super/Bandmaster/Pro series - all pretty much the same except for speakers, being 2x10, 3x10 and 1x15 respectively. My main amp is a beefed-up Super 5F4 (although you could argue it's a Pro or Bandmaster) with a single 12" Celestion Gold. I used a Mercury Magnetics Fatstack PT because it helps keep the twang in the Gretsch by allowing the low frequencies to do their thing without mushing out. These amps are quite different sounding from a Bassman - more mids and a thicker breakup sound because of the phase inverter - it's closer to a Deluxe than the Bassman. Because I have the MM Fatstack PT in mine I can run EL34s in it which really make it louder and fuller - it's a big sound and loud enough to play clean in a band.

The other little gem which I like in the tweeds is the 5F11 Vibrolux, especially if you built it with a 12" speaker. That's easily done because it uses the same size cab as a 5E3. In fact the Vibrolux is a very similar circuit to a 5E3 but is fixed bias and uses negative feedback so is a lot less mushy and I prefer the overdriven sound. It holds together beautifully and really barks - no mush at all. The tremolo is excellent too.

BTW Rob Robinette has a great deal of useful info on these amps, including some mods you could try. The negative feedback switch for the 5F6-A sounds interesting: https://robrobinette.com/5F...

5

Thanks for replies. Yeah JimmyR Robinette is where I got all my 5E3 mods except the VVR. The VVR added a filter cap that really tightened up the mush. I also have Rob’s switchable stock 0.1 and 0.022 coupling cap mod on it for the same purpose but haven’t needed it since adding the filter cap with the VVR.

I’m not knowledgeable enough to just build a Bassman with 6V6’s. Basically I’m a good at soldering and can follow directions and do the lead dress the way it’s shown. So I’m looking for a kit - it’s why I say I assembled an amp rather than I built one.

6

I’m not knowledgeable enough to just build a Bassman with 6V6’s

If you use JJ 6V6S (JJs have a higher plate voltage rating), it's a straight swap. You can try this in your existing Bassman. Disconnect two of the speakers to balance the OT impedance mismatch.

7

I’m not knowledgeable enough to just build a Bassman with 6V6’s

If you use JJ 6V6S (JJs have a higher plate voltage rating), it's a straight swap. You can try this in your existing Bassman. Disconnect two of the speakers to balance the OT impedance mismatch.

– Otter

Thanks I'm gonna try that. I also considered getting just the Bassman chassis and parts and using my current cab, then replacing cab and speakers when I could - basically replacing it a bit at a time and then selling the LTD , but it'd be more fun to make something I don't already have. BTW that link you provided with the schems looks like an excellent resource for someone who knows what they're doing, but that's all way above my head.

Does the Vibrolux sound different enough from the Deluxe to make it worthwhile? The Mojotone writeup describes it as "chimey" which is something I don't associate with tweeds. If that's accurate then it seems like a different enough flavor. If it's just tighter and has negative feedback then that's something I can already achieve with my modded 5E3.

8

excellent resource for someone who knows what they're doing, but that's all way above my head

Perhaps take the opportunity to learn? Robinette (already mentioned) has articles on reading schematics, how amps work, the tweed deluxe, and the tweed bassman.

Then you'll be able to compare those schematics, note the differences, and you'll know the right terms to find the answers that you need.

I hope that doesn't sound condescending, I don't mean it to, I think some of the questions you're asking are a great opportunity to learn. For example take it as a personal mission to fill in those blanks in your first post.

9

I built a 5E7 Tweed Bandmaster for Mike Williams from a Mojo kit he sent me. That’s a pretty cool amp with its own thing going on. Lots of mods to do, plus you can exactly match or traditionally match the OT to change the character of the amp. I built one for Dave Creamer and he loves it.

10

You might check out a tweed Tremolux. Similar to a 5E3 Deluxe except it has tremolo and is reported to have more headroom. I've never seen or played one so this is strictly hearsay. The Vibrolux uses a 10" speaker. That was what John Lennon was using in Hamburg.

11

Our own Shuggie once did this for guitar.com. You might find it useful.

12

You might check out a tweed Tremolux. Similar to a 5E3 Deluxe except it has tremolo and is reported to have more headroom. I've never seen or played one so this is strictly hearsay. The Vibrolux uses a 10" speaker. That was what John Lennon was using in Hamburg.

– Don Birchett

There were a few versions of the Tweed Tremolux including a 6BQ5 powered version. A friend of mine owns the 1959 5G9 pictured in the Aspen Pittman book and he assured me it sounds as good as it looks.

13

These amps are quite different sounding from a Bassman - more mids and a thicker breakup sound because of the phase inverter - it's closer to a Deluxe than the Bassman. (JimmyR)

Interestingly my Tweed Bandmaster and Tweed Deluxe are quite apart from each other in character. I thought it was because of the different tone stack. I wouldn't call the 5e7 thick in comparison. It feels quicker than the 5e3 and the bass response is much tighter. Could be several other things like speakers etc, though.

14

Thanks all. That Shuggie vid is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. Watched on my phone but obviously the phone speaker isn't ideal, I'll have to rewatch with some good head phones.

Otter - I didn't take it as condescending at all, I asked the question so I could learn, although I don't think I have the motivation to be able to look at a schematic and know what it's gonna sound like . I've already learned early in the thread that the blanks I was thinking of are the Super/Pro/Bandmaster. I too hope that doesn't come across in a wise-ass way. I think I get what you were trying say about learning from the schems - cathode bias has this characteristic, long tail pair PI has that characteristic, etc.

I used to understand this stuff a lot better after I put together the Mission kit but that was 15 years ago and after not using that knowledge for so long its mostly all gone. And until recently I didn't even know things like tweed Princetons and Harvards existed.

Sascha - Thanks for that info about the Bandmaster/Deluxe comparison, that's also the kind of info I'm looking for. I don't mean to speak for JimmyR but I don't think he was trying to say his Super sounds like a Deluxe, but rather if the Deluxe and Bassman are on opposite ends of the tweed spectrum, the Super/Pro/BM are closer to the Deluxe side. Jimmy please correct me if I'm wrong.

15

I'll echo what Jimmy said - I love the bandmaster/pro/super circuit. I think the 2X10 5F4 is the single most underestimated Fender amp out there.

16

The Tweed doesn't actually affect the sound. You have to look at the circuit, parts, and construction.

17

The Tweed doesn't actually affect the sound. You have to look at the circuit, parts, and construction.

– Billy Zoom

And of course, most importantly, tone comes from the grill cloth.

https://bluesbreaker-pinstr...

18

And of course, most importantly, tone comes from the grill cloth.

https://bluesbreaker-pinstr...

– Afire

You guys are full of it!! I know the REAL reason my Bassman and Deluxe sound different is because one has a plastic handle and the other a leather one. This place is for sharing knowledge, not trying to send us novices on wild tone chases.

I think I've narrowed it down to either a Super or the AC15/30. If my 5E3 didn't have the mods the Vibrolux would still be in it but I think I can get too close to Vib territory with the mods engaged. The Super is definitely noticeably different than the BM, and since my BM is PCB I'm not as comfortable modifying it, other than Otter's 6V6 suggestion which I'm definitely gonna try

19

I'm thinking about assembling my second amp from a kit and leaning towards either another tweed or Mojotone's AC15/30 clone. I currently have a '59 Bassman LTD and a Mission Amps 5E3 I put together about 15 years ago. The 5E3 has some mods - special taper pots that move the start of breakup from 2 to 5, a VVR master volume, and switchable negative feedback. With the mods that amp is much more versatile and probably the best I've ever played. The Bassman is also an awesome amp, and with the right pedal also does the Marshall thing pretty well (I know the circuit was used by JM) so building an 18 watt or JTM45 seems redundant. I also know I'm way more partial to the tweeds I have now than I am to the Blackfaces.

Anyway, I know what a Vox clone is gonna sound like but other than the Deluxe and Bassman I have no experience with Tweeds at all. If I'm gonna build another tweed I'd want something that either sounds somewhere between the raw raunchy grit of the Deluxe and the creamy smoothness of the Bassman, or something that's like a low power Bassman that I can crank at home (it seems like low power Bassman tone is ever elusive).

I don't want to go smaller than a 10" speaker so not interested in a Champ. I believe Princetons also have an 8"? I'm leaning towards a Vibrolux (but I don't want to if it's essentially a 5E3 with tremolo) or a Super - I read somewhere that the treb/bass tone stack versus the Deluxe's/Vibro tone knob adds a different character so that may make it different enough. Even the low power Twin also interest me. I know they're all very different power wise.

I wanted to see if there any resources out there with side by side tone comparisons or a chart of songs using this or that tweed? A tweed dictionary of sorts? Or at least something that explains the differences. Like I know .... is the same as .... but with a 15" speaker and .... is the same as .... but with 3 speakers, etc, I just don't know what the blanks are.

Thanks as always

– 66gent

The Tweed Vibrolux is not a Deluxe with tremolo, that would be the tweed Tremolux. The Tweed Vibrolux is a Harvard with tremolo. The main difference is that the Harvard and Vibrolux are fixed bias and the Tremolux and Deluxe are cathode biased.

20

Sorry, I neglected to say (all my amps these days are cathode biased, where is my mind) you will need to re-bias if you swap the 6V6s into your Bassman.

21

Sorry, I neglected to say (all my amps these days are cathode biased, where is my mind) you will need to re-bias if you swap the 6V6s into your Bassman.

– Otter

Yeah I figured that but thanks for mentioning it. I have a Bias-Right and the LTD has a bias pot so all good.

22

66Gent - yes that is what I meant! I was referring to the phase inverter and break-up. Actually when you hear a properly biased 5E3 Deluxe you might be surprised. It's a lot less mushy than stock.

I agree with Walter. The 5E7-5F4 amps are my favourites of the tweeds. I've built them as 2x12, 2x10 and 1x12. I even built a Super with a 12 and a 10. But I do think most tweeds benefit from a beefier PT to help the low end avoid too much poopiness. With a few mods they can be even better than stock.

23

I'll echo what Jimmy said - I love the bandmaster/pro/super circuit. I think the 2X10 5F4 is the single most underestimated Fender amp out there.

– WB

I agree Walter. An amazing amp. Fender made a small run of Supers with 6V6 rather than 6L6 tubes and the 6V6 version is my favourite - and the one featured in our Need For Tweed video.

The Vibrolux is different in many ways to the 5E3 - notably the input wiring and fixed rather than cathode biasing. Plus you get that great trem. It's actually closer to the brown Princeton than the 5E3 Deluxe.

The later Vibrolux and 5E3 amps had 125A1A output transformers, which to my ears, tighten up the tone and make the amps sound less gritty and fizzy.

24

Hey Huw thanks for doing that tweed comparison video. It was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for and coincidentally featured both of the (repro) amps I already have and both of the ones I’m considering.

25

Glad you enjoyed it and that it was useful.


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