Fender Deluxe 5E3 Tube Amplifier (1958)

Fender  Deluxe 5E3 Tube Amplifier (1958)
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Item # 11878
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Fender Deluxe 5E3 Model Tube Amplifier (1958), made in Fullerton, California, serial # D-05310, tweed fabric covering finish.

This is a superb and just lovely example of the Fender 5E3 Tweed Deluxe, considered 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 was also evolved from the 5D3. The new circuit runs at higher voltages than 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 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 channel has an independent volume control but share 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 version of the Deluxe was a world standard gigging and recording amplifier in the 1950s and has remained one of the most prized of all vintage amps since; any professional grade studio offering "vintage sounds" without having one of these available is fooling themselves (and their clients!).

This amp's tube chart bears the stamp HF, indicating assembly in June of 1958. The serial number is D-05310; according to available records, Fender made nearly 2000 units that year alone! The tube chart also bears a misprinted Bassman model designation "5F6", scratched out and corrected to 5E3, an occasional occurrence. Due to Leo Fender's frugal nature, no tube chart was ever wasted!
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.

Externally, this amp's rather fragile Tweed cabinet covering bears an attractive amber patina and shows very little wear; what there is shows mostly on the lower corners and edges. The grille cloth is in excellent shape, taut and no sign of tearing or fraying. The faceplate is beautifully clean with only very minor signs of wear and virtually all the stenciled lettering is intact. The original handle was long gone and has been replaced with the highest quality reproduction. The amp also comes with a new cover in the style of the old originals made by Victoria Luggage Co.

Electrically, this Deluxe is nearly all original. The speaker is the original Jensen P12R, marked 220-749, dating it to the 49th week of 1957. The Triad-made power and output transformers are original and bear the stamped markings 6452-J and 0246. All pots appear original as well. The label inside the chassis bears Lupe's signature. The amp has otherwise seen our typical maintenance and servicing, including replacement of electrolytic capacitors, a 3-prong grounded power cord, cleaning of all sockets, pots and jacks and biased to spec.

This is a fantastic looking and sounding example, fresh off the maintenance-bench with a clean bill of health. This iconic piece of history is worthy of a museum collection but still ready to rock for many years to come! Overall Excellent + Condition.