Other Equipment

Pedals and Fender Narrow Panel Tweed amps

1

I'm trying different pedals with a clone of a Fender 5E7 Bandmaster and thinking they sound okay until I turn them off and find the amp sounds better on its own.

Lately I have to play it at lower volume than I would like and I'd like to add some clean boost, with perhaps some O.D., tremelo, delay, and reverb. Is this just the wrong amp for using effects? or are there certain pedals that are more compatable with this type of amp?

2

Perhaps Billy Zoom will offer some insight. I think the early Tweeds are susceptible to the phase inverter distorting before the power tubes do. I recall putting a 330K grid stopper resistor on my 5E3 Deluxe years ago to make it more pedal-friendly.

3

Well those designs were around well before the pedal scene. It's cool when some pedal dudes realize they don't need all of that stuff all the time.

4

I noticed Weber sells an attenuator. Wondering if this might get the amp where I want it between clean and break-up but at lower volume. Anyone have any experience using one of these?

5

All I ever use these days is my take on narrow panel tweeds. Because they are such a full-sounding amp they can show up most overdrive pedals as sounding kinda thin. With some time spent tweaking, however, you can get some great sounds from a narrow panel tweed and a good OD pedal.

You need an OD which can produce low-gain sounds, which most struggle with. Also, you need an OD with a full-range frequency response. A lot of ODs lose the low end because it can easily muddy the sound. Some of the Menatone ODs like the King of the Britains can sound great and very natural with a tweed. Timmy is popular, but I find it a little bland. The Wampler Euphoria has a good, full-range sound. And the Fairfield Barbershop can sound amazing with a tweed amp.

One of the first ODs I liked with a tweed amp was the Badcat Two-tone. It's actually an AC30 preamp in a box - really! It uses two 12ax7s at proper amp-like voltages and current. The trick is to keep the gain low and experiment a lot with the EQ.

With the right approach a good overdrive will get such good results that I defy anyone to tell when an overdrive is being used. Just don't stick a tubescreamer in front of a clean amp and expect it to sound at all natural!

6

I'm trying different pedals with a clone of a Fender 5E7 Bandmaster and thinking they sound okay until I turn them off and find the amp sounds better on its own.

Lately I have to play it at lower volume than I would like and I'd like to add some clean boost, with perhaps some O.D., tremelo, delay, and reverb. Is this just the wrong amp for using effects? or are there certain pedals that are more compatable with this type of amp?

– Gregory_Pecarry

Hi Gregory, I have the same circuit (Victoria 35310) and have no problem with pedals. That circuit is very fussy and prefers a lower gain input tube though. Do you have either a 12AY7 or 5751 in the first socket? I find I have to keep the amp down low, about 3, but to compensate I use a Fulltone Fat Boost. My amp is a great platform for my pedal board.

7

Yeah, the only working O.D. I had on hand was a tube screamer and it was apparent it wasn't a good match from the start. Would something like an X-otic RC Booster work?

8

Powertronman, I looked and it has a 12AX7 in the first slot. The tube chart specifies 5751.

9

You need an OD which can produce low-gain sounds, which most struggle with. Also, you need an OD with a full-range frequency response. A lot of ODs lose the low end because it can easily muddy the sound - JimmyR<

Excellent point. I have the '57 Fender Bandmaster 3-10. Incredibly good amp. It seems to love pedals. Mine anyway. To begin with, I did change the first preamp tube to an NOS Sylvannia 12ax7. Otherwise the amp is completely stock. I use an MXR Script RI dyna comp for clean boost and added sustain. Great match. For OD I have an Xotic BBPre MB. This is the perfect OD for this amp. Everything from clean boost, to slightly overdriven, on-the-edge-of-distortion grind, to full on hot blues-driven tube overdrive. Way beyond classic. For ambience I use a Catalinbread Topanga, with a very mild setting. Very, very, sweet.

The Bandmaster is the finest amp I've ever owned, with the possible exception of my very first blackface Deluxe Reverb. Even without any pedals, the tone and touch sensitivity make this amp absolutely primo for everything from jazz, to blues, to classic country. But hey, add a good pedal, your favorite electric guitar, then wail all night long. Great, great amp...

10

I have two tweed bandmaster clones - I'm not a big overdrive pedal guy, but still, to my ears the tweeds work better with boosters and OD's than blackface Fenders. It helps to have the amp at a point where it compresses a little already though. If things get a little harsh or thin, try the normal channel.

I have NOS 5751's in the first preamp slots on mine, and a 5V4 rectifier in the one, 5U4 in the other amp. I have a dunlop Echoplex Booster that works great for a little more grit, and recently got a Greer "Tone Smuggler" pedal that really works with my amps too.

For my taste, tube screamers really only work well with strats and teles with vintage output pickups - on almost everything else, the mid they add gets a little grating and annoying, and the perceived bass cut is too much.

All depends on the guitars you use, and of course the tone and feel you're after. What speakers do you have in the amp?

11

Tried many an overdrive, some really good ones too, but rarely ever use one.

What does work for me with most amps is a good clean boost. Currently, and for years now, that's the TIM pedal. Before that, Bad Bob, Xotic RC boost, Catalinbread super chili picosa. They worked very well with my Clark Tyger (tweed bandmaster), Vicky tweed pro, LP tweed twin and bassman. Just keep the gain knob low. Let the amp do the heavy lifting.

MD

12

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences.

The speakers are Weber P10Q. I just ordered a 5751 for the first slot. It's had Ruby 6L6 output tubes since I bought it 20 years ago. Thinking of trying some NOS Tung-Sol 5881 which I think are slightly less power? Not certain. Playing a strat with vintage output pickups, a 57RI Duo Jet with Dynasonics, and a Silvertone H63 with P-13 pickups. I've mostly been playing the Duo Jet lately. I sometimes use an outboard Fender reverb tank as I play a lot of instrumental/surf/spagetti western/spy movie sounding stuff with influences of punk, classic rock, jump blues, shit kick country, and rockabilly. (at least thats how I think of it.) I've always been a straight into the amp or reverb and amp kind of guy. Other players where I currently live are much more classic rock and jam band oriented so I'm trying to adapt my sound a bit to fit in with that.

I think part of the issue I've experienced lately has to do with volume. When I firsrt got this amp I was playing a strat with a band that turned the volume up and the amp volume was always at 5-7 and in the sweet spot. Playing at home and sitting in with a band at a small local bar its usually closer to 3 to fit in the volume of the situation.

I'm wondering if something like a Weber Mini Mass attenuator might help with tube saturation vs volume issues?

The pedals I have around that I've been trying are a Tube Screamer, a Demeter Tremulator (the one pedal sounding right) a Dan Echo delay, and an EH Holy Grail reverb. (all around 20 years old.) The Holy Grail lacks depth compared to the outboard unit.

So folks have generously provided suggestions for clean boost (interesting a lot of them are based on pre-amps for echo devices) I'm looking for a good delay for slap-back to more ambient uses, and a more portable reverb. A fuzz might be fun for certain things. Suggestions welcome.

13

The BB-MB is a great pedal. It does the low-gain thing well too. My main OD right now is based on the Wampler Euphoria, so I guess the Euphoria would get you into the same ballpark. The thing is to set gain lower than you think. Mine is set around 9.00, and if I play gently it sounds clean. But when I hit harder it bites just like an amp does. My amp is a tweed Super-style amp, so very similar to the Bandmaster (same circuit) but with a single 12. With the amp on around 2-3 I can get very convincing OD tones with the pedal set up this way.

Actually I recently discovered a way to get incredibly natural overdriven sounds from my amp at gig levels - even lower too. I use my regular OD for the dirt and put a Fairfield Barbershop in front with both knobs at around 12.00. It doesn't really add level or much dirt, but adds some very "real" sounding sheen. It really sounds like I am playing louder. Fortunately both pedals are quiet, so add very little noise at all, which is a pet peeve of mine. Some pedals add so much noise!

Clean boosts can help, but I really think you need some dirt in there too.

14

Thanks JimmyR. So the W.E. style pedal to give a bit of breakup and the Fairfeild Barbershop set as an almost clean boost in front of it to get the level up?

15

Yup, pretty much. The Barbershop adds clarity in a bizarre way. A lot of guys love the dirt from the Barbershop by itself but I find it a little harsh. As a booster though, or even at unity, it is amazing. See if you can find a store with both pedals to try it out.

16

My 5e3 came fitted with a VVR, which helps tame the beast. Mine has uprated trannies and will run 6L6s, but it sounds way better with the stock 6v6s. 12ay7 and a 5751 in V2, and it's a low volume dirtbag.

17

Uncle Daddy - Had to look that one up. Variable Voltage Resistor. Sounds like it might get similar results as using an attenuator? I've ordered a 5751 for the first pre-amp socket (had a 12ax7) and a set of NOS Tung Sol 5881's to replace the Svetlana 6L6 output tubes currently in it. Isn't a 12ay7 quite a bit lower gain than even a 5751?

18

I used the 5751 in V2. With the VVR I can push the front end harder and dial back the power section. Or it works the other way as well; hold down the volume and keep the VVR wide open. It gives a broader range of tones than just the volume control by itself.

An attenuator is different. It affects the signal after leaving the power stage and before the speaker. You lose much of the top end of the range due to the way the ear percieves the reduction. Most attenuators make an amp sound very middy with no sparkle.

Have you tried dialling the mids right down? Tweed amps are pretty warm, so dialling down the lower range may help with your pedals. My 5e3 was pretty thick sounding with hollow body guitars (but fine with Telecasters) so changing the coupling caps helped reduce the mids. It takes pedals well. I've tried delay, tremor and an overdrive that sound fine. My overdrive has T/M/B controls and I tend to still cut the lower end before hitting the amp, and I can get pretty much full crunch at TV volumes.

19

12AY7's have about half as much gain as the 5751 (45 vs 70 gain factor). The power scaling units work very well. I've installed a bunch of Dana Hall's units, but I think he's closed up shop as his domain name and site are for sale. The other choice is the London units. The cool thing I like about Dana's VVR is that you can scale down the voltage on the whole amp, or you can scale down just the power tube voltage, leaving the preamp and PI at full B+. Works equally well for fixed bias amps as well as cathode biased amps like the 5E3.

20

Power scaling works great, better solution than attenuators but it does involve some minor surgery and a bit more skill than I possess. Pedal wise, how about the Wampler Clarksdale Delta? That's meant to be tweed in a box but I guess you'd end up with a pedal that emulates the sound of them amp that you already own. Same old Catch 22

21

Power scaling works great, better solution than attenuators but it does involve some minor surgery and a bit more skill than I possess. Pedal wise, how about the Wampler Clarksdale Delta? That's meant to be tweed in a box but I guess you'd end up with a pedal that emulates the sound of them amp that you already own. Same old Catch 22

22

You don't need any pedals with a 5E7.

23

Power scaling sounds like an interesting solution, probably not something I'd have time to do the right way at the moment. I've only done minor electrical work such as changing pickups and pots in guitars. So a bit of study and practice to get to where I'd want to try that. There's a good tech in town I'm bringing a guitar to later in the week, I'll ask him about it,

The amp has such nice natural breakup, be nice to be able to use that. I'm thinking with the 5751 in the first slot and the NOS 5881's it might just have a little lower headroom that would help with getting the saturation at a more workable volume. There's a couple of 50's Fender tweed pedals out there, I could see using one with my SF Princeton but with a real 50's Fender tweed (clone) I'm not so sure.

I live near Clarksdale, Mississippi. Not a lot of boutique guitar amplifiers in the clubs there. A lot of beat up Peavy's because its a local company. Delta Blues is kind of a tourist thing these days. The Hill Country Blues centered around Holly Springs came later than the Delta Blues and still has some energy to it. R.L. Burnside's grandson Cedric being one that still actively plays around the area. A lot of Junior Kimbrough's family too. Magic Sam's recording of 'Sam's Boogie' is a good example of the Hill Country boogie shuffle you still hear.

24

Billy Zoom:

"You don't need any pedals with a 5E7."

I think you're right. In the past when I could turn it up to proper volume that's how I've used it. Something fried in my Princeton Reverb a couple of months ago and I started playing the 5E7 again and want to make it work but its been a bit loud for the situations I've been playing in.

25

You're not likely to beat natural tweed overdrive.

My narrow panel tweed is a Clark Beaufort (5e3) with a negative feedback mod added to add a little headroom. I use a belle epoch for slap back and occasionally an out board reverb unit or keeley phaser. I'm looking for a good tremolo pedal however.

I have never been much of an overdrive pedal person, but the amp's natural overdrive is addictive. I just use a little boost out of my keeley compression pedal for some extra sustain (basically because I don't have a dedicated boost pedal yet and my monte allums cs3 isn't on my board atm) if I'm playing through the second input (always on the bright channel for me). The amp is supposedly 18w and keeps up with a medium volume 5 piece. We play 60's style rock n roll, and I favor playing on the edge of breakup so I can control it with picking or even the guitar's volume. It seems like the sweet spot power-wise for club/bar gigs, especially on a gretsch.

If you're thinking about power scaling, grabbing a 5e3 -with or without mods- might be the way to go if you're ever looking for an excuse to grab another amp since you can get a kit or find a used replica easily.

Another option would be to find less efficient speakers, though your 5e7 will still have three tens which is hard to quiet down.

Or, you could just go back to that Princeton reverb. :)


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