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Thread: Affordable Fender 6L6 style kit

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    Affordable Fender 6L6 style kit

    As you can probably tell I'm a total noob to amp building. I currently own five tube amps and have maintained them and have done minor mods to them as well over the past 30 years or so. I've always been a Marshall guy (I currently own 2 JMP's, a JCM, JTM and two small Fender EL-84 combos) but I'm looking for a clean Fender 6L6 sound. I believe it might be called a 5E7 style amp that I'm looking to build but I'm not exactly sure of the designations used.

    In the past I've owned a silver face Twin (too big) and a '66 or '67 BandMaster head (very briefly as I sold it after only a few weeks). The Bandmaster had a beautiful clean tone but it lacked clean headroom but I suppose that could have been due to the biasing or tubes, ect:

    Anyhow, I'd appreciate any assistance in choosing a kit as I'm not even exactly sure which style I'm looking for.

    I don't need a cabinet, tubes or speakers. I'd like reverb (or at least the option to add it later on) but it's not a deal breaker.

    Sorry if my post leaves a lot of questions unanswered but I really don't even know where to start.

    Thanks for any assistance.
    Rob.

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    A 5E7 Bandmaster was the Tweed 3X10 version. Not what I would usually consider a 'clean' amp compared to later BF Fenders with reverb, Pro Reverb, Super Reverb etc. Something based on the AB763 circuit might be more what you're looking for.

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    Agree with Joe.
    If a Twin's too big, and Bandmaster not loud enough then something based on a Super Reverb may fit the bill.
    https://taweber.powweb.com/store/kits_60a.htm#6A40H
    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdf64 View Post
    Agree with Joe.
    If a Twin's too big, and Bandmaster not loud enough then something based on a Super Reverb may fit the bill.
    https://taweber.powweb.com/store/kits_60a.htm#6A40H
    Pete
    Thanks Joe, At the time I didn't realize the A 5E7 was the Tweed version. I've had some time to do some research since my original post.

    Pete, I'll look in to the Weber kit. Price seems ok. Without tubes and cab I'd be looking at $500+ shipping.

    Much appreciated!

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    Mojo has the the BF Super Reverb in either a Combo, or Head.
    You can buy it with different options.
    I've heard some of the weber parts like the Iron are questionable.
    If you know someone with a Mojo Dealer discount, you can even save more money!
    Blackface Super Reverb Style Head Kit
    T

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    Last edited by big_teee; 04-29-2013 at 04:49 PM.
    If Wishes Were Horses, Beggers Would Ride! (Carmichael's Proverbs 1628)

    Terry

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    It's hard to be objective when it comes to what's clean and not. In my ears the 5F6A is quite rough and prone to break up. Sniff around youtube and have a listen. The fact that you're a Marshall dude might result in a love story since the 5F6A is the amp that got Marshall going in the first place. (It's known as a Bassman 59, the original circuit has no reverb.)

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    Senior Member Joe L's Avatar
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    Check out the kits at Marsh Amplification. The chassis and faceplates are true to the originals which makes for a very handsome amp.

    I built a BF VibroVerb using their chassis with mostly original molded blue caps that I had. It looks absolutely killer and sounds fantastic. I used Heybour transformers from Mojo. The PT is for the VV/Super and I used a Twin Reverb OT for more low end meat. Since the amp only has two 6L6s I just relabeled the 4 and 8 on taps as 8 and 16 ohms and put a switch in the polarity hole. Thru the Weber 15" California it sounds so clean and sweet (exactly like SRVs Lenny on Texas Flood). Thru my '77 Marshal cab it flat ass rips!

    I had already built a BF Deluxe Reverb using Webers chassis and had to have a faceplate custom made. The input jacks are spaced wrong and the doghouse cover is so large, you can't push the amp in enough to be flush with the front of the baffle.

    Whichever way you go, holler if and when you need info. I've got plenty.

    Here is an AB763 clone from Rockford Amps. Good parts and a very, very nice layout.


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    Last edited by Joe L; 04-29-2013 at 05:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stratz View Post
    Thanks Joe, At the time I didn't realize the A 5E7 was the Tweed version. I've had some time to do some research since my original post.

    Pete, I'll look in to the Weber kit. Price seems ok. Without tubes and cab I'd be looking at $500+ shipping.

    Much appreciated!
    If I wanted an AB763 type amp, I'd get an Allen amp kit. A little pricier, but high quality components and good support from David Allen.

    Allen Amplification - Quality Tube Guitar Amps, Kit, Parts, and Repairs

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    Senior Member Joe L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
    If I wanted an AB763 type amp, I'd get an Allen amp kit. A little pricier, but high quality components and good support from David Allen.
    I've heard a lot of good things about David's amps. They are a bit pricey though.

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    Thanks all....This is not going to be an easy decision. Some amp kits are a much more expensive compared to others.

    The problem is that I don't know enough about amplifier components to tell the marketing hype from the truth. No offense meant to anybody directly.

    People fall hard for the BS and marketing hype every day when shopping for guitar pickups so I'm guessing it might be similar with amplifier components.

    Been doing some more research and still have a lot more to do so I'll let you all know what I decide upon.
    Thanks!

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    Sound like good plan. Either way you go, at the end you have to trust the vendor when you finally click on [submit]. My first build ever was a Twin Reverb and I'm still head over heels...

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    Senior Member Joe L's Avatar
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    That Super Reverb kit from Mojo looks to be a winner.

    My opinion on "what counts".

    1. Output transformer. Never had a bad sounding Heybour.
    2. Brand and longevity ratings for electrolytics. Spragues are not what they used to be in HV values.
    3. Layout of parts and wiring, specially grounds. Look at a '64 Super Reverb and a later one by CBS.
    4. Pots - Alphas sound just fine but get noisy in a few years here in Louisiana.
    5. Cloth covered solid core pull back wire. Very easy for beginners to use. Stranded teflon is nice but expensive.
    6. Capacitors. I like yellow ones and orange ones. Oh, and blue ones. In other words, its hard to hear a difference in a blind test.
    7. I like Carbon Film Xicons from Mouser in 1 watt, 500v rated. As far as sound differences, I believe more in the Tooth Fairy.

    None of this matters if it doesn't look BITCHIN!

    My VibroVerb. Plastic is still on the faceplate.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	VibroVerb.jpg 
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    ..Joe L

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe L View Post
    I've heard a lot of good things about David's amps. They are a bit pricey though.
    Yes, but one factor to consider is support if you have problems with the kit. Nice to know help is available if you get stuck. Not so much of an issue with an experienced builder.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    The Super Reverb would be a great amp once you got it all completed.
    A lot of the amp companies are selling remarketed Mojo Parts.
    Don't know if that is the case of the Allen, and the Marsh amp Parts.
    I think TubeDepot Amp kits use Mojo Chassis, and cabinets, don't know about their components.
    Weber orders all of their import stuff, Direct I suppose.
    So I think a lot of the kits are using the very same stuff, with maybe their own touches with small components used?
    T

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    Terry

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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    The Super Reverb would be a great amp once you got it all completed.
    A lot of the amp companies are selling remarketed Mojo Parts.
    Don't know if that is the case of the Allen, and the Marsh amp Parts.
    I think TubeDepot Amp kits use Mojo Chassis, and cabinets, don't know about their components.
    Weber orders all of their import stuff, Direct I suppose.
    So I think a lot of the kits are using the very same stuff, with maybe their own touches with small components used?
    T
    AFAIK, the Marsh and Allen kits are not Mojo parts. Though they may in some instances use the same supplier for parts, i.e. transformers, etc.

    If the OP is looking more for a more exact Fender replica, the Mojo fits the bill better than the Allen kits, which, although many are based on classic AB763 Fender's design, have unique features as well.

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    Last edited by JoeM; 04-30-2013 at 06:19 PM.
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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeM View Post
    AFAIK, the Marsh and Allen kits are not Mojo parts. Though they may in some instances use the same supplier for parts, i.e. transformers, etc.

    If the OP is looking more for a more exact Fender replica, the Mojo fits the bill better than the Allen kits, which, although many are based on classic AB763 Fender's design, have unique features as well.
    Thanks for the info!
    My problem with all of the better kits, IMHO, They are all Too Damn High!
    T

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe L View Post
    T
    My VibroVerb. Plastic is still on the faceplate.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	VibroVerb.jpg 
Views:	619 
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ID:	23121
    Your build looks beautiful Joe. Was it a kit or did you piece it together?

    I've changed my mind and decided I want to build a combo so I'll need a cabinet.
    After listening to countless clips I'm also now undecided between a 6L6 and 6V6 build but I'm very fond of the Deluxe Reverb and the Vibrolux Reverb amps.
    All of the different Fender circuits are confusing me. If I were looking for a Marshall kit I'd have no problem.

    The first minute and 30 seconds of THIS video is the sound I'm looking for. But it's a 6V6 amp with a 6L6 conversion which only confuses me more.

    It seems that Weber and Mojo are the least expensive. Is there anything wrong with the Weber kits?

    Some sites like Ceriatone are very difficult to navigate.

    I really want to build my own amp but trying to figure out which company's kit is supposed to be used for a certain Fender amp is driving me nuts.

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    Last edited by Stratz; 05-10-2013 at 03:17 PM.

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    Senior Member potatofarmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stratz View Post
    It seems that Weber and Mojo are the least expensive. Is there anything wrong with the Weber kits?
    I just built a Weber 5E3. The cabinet construction is a little sloppy - the exposed pine on the inside of the cab is covered in glue overspray and one of the box joints doesn't look perfectly flush. I've had to replace the pilot light holder (broke during installation), the input jacks (shorting terminals weren't making contact) and now the solder lugs on the pots aren't making contact with the wiper and disc. It came with ceramic sockets, but they're really cheap. The "cloth covered" wire is pretty awful.

    I guess the only thing I really like about it is the price, and there's something to be said for that; if this kit weren't so cheap I wouldn't have a 5E3 at all. Kinda paying the same amount as a more expensive kit, only I'm bartering about $300 worth of frustration instead of cash.

    On the whole though I'm still considering getting the Weber ReVibe kit some day.

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    Senior Member Joe L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stratz View Post
    Your build looks beautiful Joe. Was it a kit or did you piece it together?
    My part preferences are too well defined to be covered by one kit or supplier. Plus I have managed to build up some stock over the years.

    Chassis, circuit boards and faceplates from Marsh Amplification. Pots are a mixture of new CTS from Mojo and old but good CTS from old Fenders I have owned. Resistors are 1 watt Xicon Carbon film except for a few nos carbon comps where they might matter. Electrolytic caps on the board are 25uF/25v spragues. The ones in the doghouse are F&T. The caps on the board are all old stock blue molded along with the ceramic tone caps. Jacks are all switchcraft with insulators so I could control the ground scheme. Switches are Carling. Reverb tank from Mojo. Transformers are the Mojo Heybour MOJO762EX for power and the 100w Twin Reverb output with switchable 8/16 ohm impedance using the Polarity switch hole.

    I forget where I got the cabinet hardware but I built and covered the fingerjointed cabinet in my woodshop. The baffle is Baltic Birch with leftover cloth from another project. The speaker is the Weber California 15.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stratz View Post
    I've changed my mind and decided I want to build a combo so I'll need a cabinet.
    After listening to countless clips I'm also now undecided between a 6L6 and 6V6 build but I'm very fond of the Deluxe Reverb and the Vibrolux Reverb amps.

    It seems that Weber and Mojo are the least expensive. Is there anything wrong with the Weber kits?
    Weber makes good speakers but there has been issues with the quality of their electronics. I would say for an experienced builder with parts on hand they could be a good deal but not for a first BF Fender style build.

    As far as models of Fenders, don't be confused. From the tone you heard on that youtube recording, you want 6L6s. The Deluxe Reverb doesn't normally have that low end.

    I still say, the Mojo Super Reverb is the best quality for the money. It is the same basic amp as the Pro, Vibrolux and Vibroverb but is the only one with a Mid control on the second channel. It is wide enough to put 2-10s, 1-12, 2-12s or 1-15 depending on the cabinet you stuff it in. I would make sure to get an output transformer that supports 2/4/8 ohm speakers for flexibility.

    It may not be the cheapest, but it will make a great amp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stratz View Post
    ...The first minute and 30 seconds of THIS video is the sound I'm looking for. But it's a 6V6 amp with a 6L6 conversion which only confuses me more...
    The amp in the clip has a circuit called AB763 in it. It's a very popular circuit, among Fender nerds. The thing with AB763 amps, if you ask me, is that it comes down to the playing style. If you're hard playing guitarist you might need a bigger AB763 amp, or on the other hand if you play softer you might wanna go for a smaller. Break up comes with how much signal your guitar pumps. Along with that the other thing to consider is that a bigger AB763s pump a lots of volume before they start to break up, smaller AB763s break up with lower volume.

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    That's the most beautiful lead dress I've ever seen. Its immaculate.

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    Woodgrinder/Pickupwinder copperheadroads's Avatar
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    With the Mojotone kit you get a layout & schematic & possibly not a beginner project , I know other companys kits like Trinity includes about 50 pages on safety ,trouble shooting & lead dress & how to get rid of hiss & hum.

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