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Build or buy a 5e3 type amp?

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by SilvaStrat, Sep 3, 2019.

  1. SilvaStrat

    SilvaStrat Strat-O-Master

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    I am wanting to experiment with a 5e3 type amp , I am considering a Fender 57 tweed Deluxe , but at $1999.00, I would wait to a used come around , or I am get a kit from mojo tone for 750 ish , I think I can build myself , appears to be a fun experience to have , I am handy enough to do it .
    How far apart is the mojo tone from the fender ? Better /worst ? Any thoughts ,
    I also am considering the used dr. Z cure , and if I am not wrong , there is a send and return on the back , what makes a very good option , but must not be same circuit , any idea?
     
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  2. CB91710

    CB91710 This is a Custom Title Gold Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The Fender repro is going to have RoHS solder... that sucks, and you can use proper tin/lead solder on a kit build.
    The biggest issue with the available kits is most likely also going to be an issue for the Fender, and that is the current "Jensen" speakers are not the same as what was available in '57.
    @fezz parka can give you the rundown on a good speaker for the project, as well as pointers for the kit. I think he's built more of them than Leo ;)
     
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  3. dueducs

    dueducs Senior Stratmaster

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    IMO, you would be smart to either build (w/ @fezz parka advice or previous threads) or buy used. Occasionally, I see built kits for sale for less than a grand that need very little (if anything) to be great. The speaker is usually the one thing everyone wants to change. @CB91710 makes a good point about the solder ad the boards used.
     
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  4. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster

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    i'd build it if your at all comfortable with DIY and have the patience for it. The hardest bit about building an amp is getting the tolex done neat. The cost of the components is a tiny part of the retail price of a commercial build so there is a ton of value to be had doing it yourself, you can build a real boutique-quality amp and there are tons of resources on the web to guide you. Resale is usually poor though so there is that to consider if it worries you.
     
  5. dueducs

    dueducs Senior Stratmaster

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    Agreed with everything you've said. However, that poor resale value means a quality used unit can be very affordable, even if you replace a few components.
     
  6. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Most Honored Senior Member

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    Either way will work, I bought the Fender 57 RI and love it. I probably should have built a kit or ordered one from Clark or other builders but I am not very patient and was able to get it in 2 days at Sam Ash so I bought the Fender.

    A 5e3 requires that you use your guitar volume and tone controls so I always tell folks looking at these amps if you are a set the guitar on 10 and leave it type of player you will not get anywhere near the full experience and tones from the 5e3 that you will by using your guitar volume. Also both channels volumes interact with one another (even if not jumpered) and this takes some playing with to get dialed in. When I first got mine I plugged my Les Paul in and was like "why do I have no clean tones after 3.5 on the amp volume? Once I found out that you need to use guitars volume knob to get the clean tone I was hooked on this amp.
     
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  7. dbolt

    dbolt Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Monotone kits come with the cabinet completely assembled. Order it without the speaker and substitute a Celestion Gold. You will be beyond satisfied.
     
  8. esseff

    esseff Strat-O-Master

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    Any excuse...

    Just finished mine a couple of weeks ago.
    .
    IMG_20190813_181502.jpg

    Now I'm in the middle of building a couple of cabs - for my 5F1 and 5F2. Never done a cab before so I'm starting small.
    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  9. rolandson

    rolandson Still Breathing Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Build.
     
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  10. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Strat-Talker

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    I cannot imagine not having a 5E3 today. I built my Mission kit around 8 years ago. It's become my most-used gigging amp (my avatar). We mic everything in my trio, and it's great to be able to get a big tweed sound without having to schlep my 57 Twin RI.

    Big +1 on what Stratoskater said ^^^.

    The hardest thing may be picking a speaker. I've tried 5 in mine. I'd start with something close to the original Jensen P12q that they came with, and go from there. The second speaker I tried was Weber's 12A125A. To me, that speaker sounds fabulous in a 5E3. I subsequently bought a much more expensive Celestion Blue because so many people love that speaker. It's totally subjective but, in my case, the Celestion Blue has now been sitting in a box for years. :)

    Whichever way you go, good luck! I don't think you'll regret it.
     
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  11. GaryM

    GaryM Strat-Talker

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    Build.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
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  12. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

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    The circuit is pretty basic, especially compared to a modern channel switching, loop having, multi knob, dyna watt, type amp.

    I mean to say "basic" as an attribute, not a negative.

    The way kits are sold these days, if you can work a screwdriver, and not burn your house down with a soldering iron, you can build one....... if you're careful.
    Details matter. Your neatness matters. Your ability to follow directions matters.
    But you certainly don't need to be an electronics wizard to do it.

    Me personally, I would absolutely love to build amps, especially from a kit.
    I just don't have the work space to do it. I have the tools, and the soldering skills, and a fair amount of knowledge, I just don't have the clean space to do it.

    I have been eyeing up a jtm 45 kit. I could build it in a day if I was uninterrupted (which would never happen at my house). But again, I don't have the clean space to do it.

    If you have the space, and the time, you should totally get a kit.

    If you have to work on your kitchen table, and move everything off of it for dinner.....
    Or you will be constantly pulled away from the work (which is where people get lost, forgetting where they left off)...
    Then buy an amp that's built.
     
  13. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Most Honored Senior Member

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    ^ Pretty much summed it up perfectly!
     
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  14. fezz parka

    fezz parka Making a record.... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Nice work.

    Those metal can tubes are almost 100% of the time microphonic. Sometimes old school is just old.

    I'm also seeing really old filter caps. Unless its just the jacket with new caps inside, that's a firecracker waiting to pop off.
     
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  15. GaryM

    GaryM Strat-Talker

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    Thanks, Fezz.

    Those are some of the various NOS 6V6 tubes that I have. They tested as matched on my Hickok 600A. So far, not microphonic. (Fingers crossed.) I think I’m getting only 12 watts out of the pair. They do sound sweet Though. I did have to wire the output socket to ground the tube shell. Those metal cans get hot as blazes!
     
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  16. JB74

    JB74 Senior Stratmaster

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    I would buy a used 5e3. If you want to get your hands dirty, it will be fun fixing someone elses cockups. Far more challenging than following monkey assembly instruction sheets.

    Learning about a circuit is more important than assembling. If you don't want to learn and understand the circuit and why it sounds the way it does, then buy, do not build.

    My personal favourite is the 6G9a tremolux. If I were to "build" it would be one of these, simply because there are many more nuances and challenges in the circuit that take some work to finesse.

    Just remember that you are working with high voltage, and if you do not understand the one hand rule, then you shouldn't really be building, but buying.
     
  17. Stormy Monday

    Stormy Monday Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I bottom fed and bought a used POS deluxe clone for $450. I put another $250 in it and undid the "improvements" and a new Weber speaker. Great amp. So shouldn't matter how it shows up.
     
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  18. fezz parka

    fezz parka Making a record.... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I have a bunch of those old stereo speakers too. Magnavox...Cleveland. Some are really sweet....some get ratty. That CTS probably sounds cool.
     
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  19. archetype

    archetype Senior Stratmaster

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    Build. You can buy a kit without speaker or tubes and then buy what suits you. Advice is available here, or in deep quantity and quality on TDPRI where lots 5E3 builds have been documeted.
     
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  20. fezz parka

    fezz parka Making a record.... Strat-Talk Supporter

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    FWIW...The Weber 5e3 kit is 597.00. Thats a pretty good deal.
     
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