Fender Deluxe 5E3 Tube Amplifier (1958)

Fender  Deluxe 5E3 Tube Amplifier (1958)
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Item # 10067
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Fender Deluxe 5E3 Model Tube Amplifier (1958), made in Fullerton, California, serial # D-05304, tweed fabric covering finish.

The Fender 5E3 Tweed Deluxe is considered to be the most desirable version of this long-running model and undeniably one of the finest small combo amps ever designed. The revised model started production mid-'55, spearheading the launch of the latest circuit revision replacing its relatively short-lived 5D3 predecessor. Alongside the new 'Narrow Panel' cosmetic appearance the amplifier circuitry also evolved from the 5D3. The new circuit runs at higher voltages than the earlier models giving it more headroom and total gain. It uses the same 12AY7 and 12AX7 preamp tubes but with a cathodyne phase inverter, which is comparatively cleaner than the phase inverters used in other early Deluxe models, offering more balanced gain staging between the power and preamp tubes and has its own unique snarl when turned up.

The control layout also changed from the earlier Deluxe models, now featuring two channels (normal and bright) both having a high and low inputs with each channel having an independent volume control and sharing a single tone control. Typical of the Deluxe model, the amp sports a dual-6V6 power section putting out around 15 watts into a Jensen 12" speaker.

This amp's tube chart is stamped HD, indicating assembly in April, 1958. The tube chart also indicates model 5F6 (the model number for the tweed-era Bassman), which this amp certainly is not. Leo Fender was known for his frugality and the company using up every possible spare part around this era is well documented (this includes many left-over 1x10" Harvard cabinets, repurposed to house many 5F2-A Princeton chassis' and their little 8" speaker towards the late 50's). Even with this small production anomaly this is one of the nicer Deluxes we have had, an absolute classic of mid-50s Fender goodness.
 
Height is 16 1/4 in. (41.3 cm.), 19 7/8 in. (50.5 cm.) width, and 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm.) deep.

The amp remains in very good shape, considering its 65+ year lifespan. Externally, the cabinet shows some typical wear and scuffing, most notably around the edges and seams of the rather frail, lacquered tweed-covering. The original handle sadly met its end long ago, and has been replaced with a high quality repro. The faceplate is very clean, save for a few minor scratches towards the edges, with practically all the stenciled lettering nicely intact, and the grille cloth is in impeccable shape as well.

Electrically, this Deluxe is nicely original. The speaker is the original Jensen P12R, marked 220-746, dating it to the 46th week of 1957, and has been professionally reconed. Both the Triad power and output transformers are original and are marked 6452-E and 0246, respectively. The amp sports a full set of RCA tubes, except for the first 12AY7 preamp tube, which is made by Tung-Sol. The amp has received routine maintenance, including the replacement of all electrolytic caps, a three-prong power cord, all sockets, pots and jacks cleaned and biased to spec. It sounds fantastic and is simply just about good as it gets for tone! Excellent - Condition.