Fender, Tweed Deluxe 5D3, 1954


Tweed Deluxe 5D3
The Story Behind

The Fender Deluxe amp of the 1950s was a medium-powered unit designed to let guitarists "hold their own" in a small group. As Blues, Western, and Rockabilly bands began getting louder, the overdriven tone of a cranked-up Deluxe found its way onto many live and recorded performances.

The earliest version of the Deluxe was the 5A3, and is often referred to as having a TV Front appearance because the wide panels around the grill were like the television sets of the 1950s. This was true also of the smaller Fender Princeton student and studio amp introduced in 1946 and upgraded in 1948. Subsequent versions of the Deluxe were the "wide panel" cabinet design 5B3, 5C3, and 5D3, followed by the "narrow panel" cabinet 5E3. The Deluxe was the most popular of the Tweed amplifiers made by Fender.

It is relatively small in size, having one twelve inch speaker. Depending on the model it has either two or four inputs and two channels. Each channel has a volume control. Both channels share a tone control. The inputs and controls are mounted at the top of the amplifier. It is often referred to as the "Tweed Deluxe" because of its covering—a light brown material which is actually a cotton twill that is often lacquered.

At the time, Leo Fender produced amplifiers with the intention of having the amplifier stay clean even at high volumes. The Tweed Deluxe is not known for producing a clean tone at high volumes, and as such, was regarded as being an intermediate amplifier. Ironically, the saturated tone this amplifier produces at higher volumes is the reason why it is one of the more famous amplifiers Fender ever produced. It is part of the signature tone for many musicians, a few notable examples being Larry Carlton, Don Felder, Billy Gibbons and Neil Young.

Unusual for a Fender amplifier, the Deluxe (models 5D3 and 5E3) has both a feedback-less and cathode biased output stage (a distinctive combination it shares with the Vox AC30). Most push-pull Fenders use feedback tapped from the output transformer's speaker winding to enable more headroom before power stage distortion starts, and in the quest for more volume use the more efficient negative voltage biasing (which also runs the power valves at a cooler temperature). These aspects of the circuit make a key contribution to the complex, wild and ragged sound of an overdriven 5E3 Deluxe, especially in comparison to other Fender amplifiers. The earlier 5C3 model did use feedback although it too was cathode biased.

The amplifier has a 5Y3-GT rectifier, 2 6V6-GT power tubes operating in push/pull mode, and a 12AY7 and a 12AX7 in the preamp. The output is rated at about 15 watts.[13]

The Tweed Deluxe originally came equipped with a Jensen P12R speaker. Due to limited power handling, owners sometimes replaced it with the more powerful Jensen P12Q.

This amp is a 1954 Tweed Deluxe 5D3 in perfect working condition and developing a superb sound.

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