I was recently presented with another interesting amp build and this time it was a 5F8A high power tweed Twin, but the customer wanted it in a LunchBox head. So after some thought I figured out I could fit the circuit into my 16×8 chassis enclosure so I committed to the build. When everything was said & done the amp turned out be be a very nice fit in that chassis, and it really was a tone monster with a loud, throaty growl & bark when it got pushed. I also added individual bias points so each tube’s bias can be measured just to make sure that each pair match or even the entire quad. I’ll be waiting to see if the owner sends any sound clips to share but in the meantime here’s some of the build pics.
I recently had the opportunity of building a different circuit from my usual offerings, and what was an added bonus for me was that I had two different customers within 30 days asking for the same amp but in different configurations.
The amp circuit was the 5F10 Harvard which in my opinion was one of the most under-rated of the Fender tweeds, and an incredible amp to play. The first of the two amps was done in a traditional chrome chassis but since there aren’t any available for the 5F10 I substituted the 5F2A Princeton chassis and added the extra input jack & tube sockets. The second was a LunchBox head which affords me the fun of extra layout work as well as more time drilling & punching the chassis.
So here’s some pics of each of the builds to show how they turned out.
I’m often asked which amp would be my desert island amp and while I do love the 5F1 Champster a lot I would still have to say the 5E3 D-Lux would be the one I’d want to have with me. I do consider it to be a veritable “Tone Chameleon” as it can cover quite a broad spectrum of music styles, and it’s just a fun amp to play.
A lot of folks think of only Neil Young when you mention the 5E3 tweed Deluxe and while he has made it his own sound, I remind people that Stephen Stills also used a 5E3 tweed Deluxe during their time in the Buffalo Springfield to get some huge clean tone. Larry Carlton used the 5E3 tweed Deluxe for all of his work with Steely Dan as well, and Wes Montgomery was also known to use the 5E3 tweed Deluxe in the studio as well. Then when you add the fact that the amps were originally designed with the country player in mind who also used it for a “poor man’s PA”, you begin to see that there’s more to the amp than just overdrive. Speaking of the “poor man’s PA”, the amp channels were originally labeled instrument & microphone and the combo sat in front of the mic stand to prevent feedback when they were performing. That also explains why the controls were mounted in the rear & facing up which made them easier to adjust as needed.
So the next time you get a chance to play thru a 5E3 tweed Deluxe, whether it’s an original or a Li’l Dawg D-Lux I hope you’ll take the time to think about it’s 65+ years as a workhorse combo with a long & colorful history.
When you think of the amps that had the most influence on music, I believe the Fender tweed amps of the late ’50s have to be at the top of the list. The variety, innovation, power, and most importantly the tone, set the Fender tweeds apart from anything else being offered at the time and for years to come.
There are quite a few amps available today, and to some extent they all have their beginnings in the legacy that Leo Fender left behind. Lil Dawg Amps is included in that group as well, and it’s with a nod to Leo that I try to maintain an open mind to innovation with my versions of his timeless circuits.
I do offer the traditional tweed builds in reproduction chrome chassis’ and dark lacquered reproduction tweed cabinets. I also understand that some people like to have their amps a bit more personalized so I also offer deeper cabs, over-sized cabs, or different speaker configurations upon request. For example, when I started with the 5F1 Champ circuit in a 1×12 combo I didn’t realize how popular it was to become with my customers. My LunchBox builds are another that are steadily gaining in popularity.
I’ve also found that letting customers decide what they wanted often gave me great ideas as well. A good example of that would be the “Mutt”, which is part 5E3 and part 5F1. So making the buying experience along the lines of “going to a candy store” is a great way to find out what players really want as well as stretching the notion a little on this amp build.