Fender Deluxe 5E3 Tube Amplifier (1960)

Fender  Deluxe 5E3 Tube Amplifier (1960)
$13,500.00 + shipping
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Item # 10626
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fender Deluxe 5E3 Model Tube Amplifier (1960), made in Fullerton, California, serial # D-10259, 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. This is a very late example, made in the waning days of 1960 not long before the launch of the all-new brown tolex covered model in the 1961 model year. The tube chart marking "JL" indicates assembly in December 1960, just after JFK was elected; maybe someone had it in time for Christmas!

The 5E3 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 dated the 5th week of 1960.
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 now 60+ 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, which features a nicely smoked, deep amber patina, likely due to the countless night clubs this was played in. The original handle sadly met its end long ago, and has been replaced with a high quality repro. The faceplate is beautifully clean with only very minor signs of wear and practically all the stenciled lettering nicely intact. The grille cloth is in great shape as well with no notable tearing and the amp even retains its original cover made by Victoria Luggage Co.

Electrically, this Deluxe is nicely original. The speaker is the original Jensen P12R, marked 220-005, dating it to the 5th week of 1960, and has been professionally reconed. Both the power and output transformers are original and are marked 6452M (Triad) and 606-046 (Schumacher), respectively. The amp sports a full set of NOS RCA tubes in the power section and NOS GE tubes in the preamp section. 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! Very Good + Condition.