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.