5E3 - Build Or Buy?

paul-e-mann

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All you guys talking about building amps all the time and suggesting the 5E3 as a good starter project got me gassing for one. If any of you remember I bought a 2203 kit some years back and could never get going with it so I sold it off, I watched some 5E3 videos and am now feeling the same despair seeing all the work that goes into a build, I just dont have it in me to build, I'm a player not a builder and just gotta accept that. So thanks to @Gene Ballzz for turning me onto some resources, I've been talking to vintagetoneamps.us, they have a reasonably priced amp they will build. I'm still thinking it over and feeling it out but I think I want a combo and not a head since I dont own a good grab and go combo, the guy also has a ppimv option they will add no charge which is really nice, these amps as I understand are loud. Appreciate anyone's thoughts on this.

mNFLE9k.jpg
 

paul-e-mann

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Id say go with building it yourself IF you are 100% sure that youll finish it AND enjoy the time spent soldering.

Otherwise, Id suggest buying one already finished!

It may actually be less expensive to find one already built, but youll loose the satisfaction of saying "I built that".

Hope that helps.
Ones already built seem to be very expensive, kits to build seem to be very expensive as well. This guy I'm looking at seems to be relatively affordable but still trying to determine if I want to do it or not, could get a Blues Jr for alot less, or will a 5E3 be redundant with the plexis I already have? There is a cheap Chinese kit on ebay but I'm not convinced I'll actually follow through and build it, plus once you add a speaker and cab it adds up and for a little more I could have bought a ready built one from this guy.
 

Guitar-Rocker

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I looked at your vendors site. Couldn't see any internal photos. It would be nice to see what his work looks like.

I did look at the 3 different levels of pricing for the offering of 5E3's, and the descriptive difference in component qualities shown doesn't seem like a lot so you may want to ask what are the component differences that you are getting for your money in those different price ranges.

Example: You need to go at least "Standard" model to get SwitchCraft jacks, and Carling switches. Those should be standard on any build. My 2 cents.
 

paul-e-mann

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I looked at your vendors site. Couldn't see any internal photos. It would be nice to see what his work looks like.

I did look at the 3 different levels of pricing for the offering of 5E3's, and the descriptive difference in component qualities shown doesn't seem like a lot so you may want to ask what are the component differences that you are getting for your money in those different price ranges.

Example: You need to go at least "Standard" model to get SwitchCraft jacks, and Carling switches. Those should be standard on any build. My 2 cents.
Here is an ebay listing of one of his amps with pictures, but youre right he doesnt have any internal pictures on his website which is strange:
 

paul-e-mann

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I looked at your vendors site. Couldn't see any internal photos. It would be nice to see what his work looks like.

I did look at the 3 different levels of pricing for the offering of 5E3's, and the descriptive difference in component qualities shown doesn't seem like a lot so you may want to ask what are the component differences that you are getting for your money in those different price ranges.

Example: You need to go at least "Standard" model to get SwitchCraft jacks, and Carling switches. Those should be standard on any build. My 2 cents.
Here's another one he's got listed:

Do you think this looks like a good deal for what I would be getting? What parts would you choose from his options:

F&T Electrolytic capacitors, Mallory or Orange Drop coupling and tone capacitors, CTS potentiometers, Switchcraft jacks, choice of 1 watt carbon film or 1/2 watt carbon comp resistors in signal path, choice of Classictone or Heyboer transformers
 
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Guitar-Rocker

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I would think the slim pickings of ClassicTone iron left after the plant closing would be near gone by now. Maybe his website needs a bit of a small update. I'm thinking you can still get Heyboer through Mojotone somewhat, if you don't mind waiting. They currently show out of stock for 5E3 iron.

Hammond iron for the PT and Choke would be a good bet, and a MPS OT would be fine. All of those are readily available.

All of the rest of those other component choices would make for a very good amp. Personally I would not go carbon comp resistors.
 

Gene Ballzz

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Ones already built seem to be very expensive, kits to build seem to be very expensive as well. This guy I'm looking at seems to be relatively affordable but still trying to determine if I want to do it or not, could get a Blues Jr for alot less, or will a 5E3 be redundant with the plexis I already have? There is a cheap Chinese kit on ebay but I'm not convinced I'll actually follow through and build it, plus once you add a speaker and cab it adds up and for a little more I could have bought a ready built one from this guy.

FIRST> If you question your ability/ambition to "follow through" building is not a very valid option! And it won't really save very much in the long run! Especially after the even relatively small investment to gear up properly for a succusseful build.
NEXT> A Blues Junior, even with tweed covering, bears scant resemblance to a 5E3 Deluxe, electrically or sonically!
FINALLY> From a fair amount of research, the best bang for the money spent on complete 5E3 units seems to be from either Vintagetone or Lil Dawg. Be wary of "used" home built units, as the builder's skills may not have been even close to as good as your own! I also suggest avoiding units with "highly touted mods" as what mods work best boil down to a highly personalized opinion. A bone stock, well built 5E3 is a thing of true sonic beauty, even with all its warts, crooked teeth and stray hairs! These circuits are so simple that many/most mods improve one or more aspect of the overall amp, while often/usually sacrificing others! The best mods are often switchable between said mod and "bone stock" and after the honeymoon period of experimentation, most folks gravitate back to "bone stock!" The exception here may be Rob Robinette's three way negative feedback switch, although one of those three options is still "bone stock!"

With all that said, the best and most effective place for modification and/or experimentation comes with speaker choice. Of course, this can become quite the deep rabbit hole, in and of itself!

Just Tweedlin'
Gene
 
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StrummerJoe

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To me, you answered your own question in your OP when you wrote "I'm a player not a builder and just gotta accept that."

Many players, myself included, get a satisfaction from the pure tone that comes from such a simple circuit. Killer grind on its own, but when you put a good boost in front it can scorch for rock.

Happy hunting!

 

ampeq

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All you guys talking about building amps all the time and suggesting the 5E3 as a good starter project got me gassing for one. If any of you remember I bought a 2203 kit some years back and could never get going with it so I sold it off, I watched some 5E3 videos and am now feeling the same despair seeing all the work that goes into a build, I just dont have it in me to build, I'm a player not a builder and just gotta accept that. So thanks to @Gene Ballzz for turning me onto some resources, I've been talking to vintagetoneamps.us, they have a reasonably priced amp they will build. I'm still thinking it over and feeling it out but I think I want a combo and not a head since I dont own a good grab and go combo, the guy also has a ppimv option they will add no charge which is really nice, these amps as I understand are loud. Appreciate anyone's thoughts on this.

mNFLE9k.jpg
I like these guys a lot for Marshall stuff. No reason to believe all their other stuff isn't top notch as well. http://www.ceriatone.com/american-classics-5e3/
 

paul-e-mann

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To me, you answered your own question in your OP when you wrote "I'm a player not a builder and just gotta accept that."

Many players, myself included, get a satisfaction from the pure tone that comes from such a simple circuit. Killer grind on its own, but when you put a good boost in front it can scorch for rock.

Happy hunting!

I think alot of those prices are wishful thinking LOL. Thanks for you affirmation! :yesway:
 

paul-e-mann

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What's your budget?
Well guess what, my budget is $290, about $500 less than having an amp built for me, I went with a Chinese kit off ebay and to my surprise it wasnt that hard or time consuming to put together, just working out a couple kinks and it will be done. To answer the question in the thread title, I decided to build and glad I did, its been a great learning experience. :yesway:
 

paul-e-mann

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This is what I hope it sounds like when I'm done:

 

paul-e-mann

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Anybody with this amp, does the Jensen C12Q speaker sound good in it or should I do something else?
 

paul-e-mann

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Anybody with this amp, does the Jensen C12Q speaker sound good in it or should I do something else?
For those of you interested, I got a used Jensen C12Q off ebay for this amp for $45 and it sounds great! :yesway:
 

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