SOLD - Vintage Fender Tweed 5B3 Deluxe – USA 1952
Pickup currently unavailable
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 swing, Western, and rockabilly bands began getting louder, the overdriven tone of a cranked-up Deluxe found its way onto many live and recorded performances.
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. 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.
The Deluxe 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.
We believe this is a vintage 1952 Fender Deluxe amp with the 5B3 circuit. It features the sought after “TV front” because the wide panels around the grill were like the television sets of the 1950s.
Of course it is completely hand-wired and constructed using point to point circuitry.
Unfortunately there are no numbers on the tube chart or serial number to be found. But the features, cosmetics & circuit all indicate this is a ’52 Deluxe.
It appears to have had some work done on it over the years, including -
Recovered in newer but authentic tweed
The original speakers in the early 50s Deluxe amps were the Jensen model P12R. The speaker in this one is a Jensen 12” model C12R, serial # 220 202, which indicates around 1962.
It has had a number of capacitors and resistors changed. This is not unusual, and often necessary to keep an amp of this vintage in good tonal condition.
Many screws are not original to the amp.
The tone pot / power switch has been changed to a push-pull unit instead of the original sweep-on model.
Non original baffle and grill cloth
Non original leather handle
Non original back panels
Non original speaker cable, plug & socket
Serial #: unknown
Power Output: approximately 15 Watts
Tubes: 5Y3, 6V6 (2), 12AX7 (2)
Controls: Mic Vol, Inst Vol, Tone
Dimensions: 18'' x 16.5'' x 9''
Weight: 22 lbs
We think the transformer is original but it has had a three prong earthed power cord installed. This is not a bad thing for the safety of the user, and is a quite common retro fit on these amps.
So it runs on 110 volts which means you’ll need a stepdown transformer for Australia. But luckily, a quality unit is included with this amp.
Regardless of the work done on this amp, sound-wise, it is amazing. It has a deep woody clean tone that quickly turns into a thick harmonically rich overdrive. It's perfect for crunchy chords or singing blues leads, with natural compression and a dynamic overdrive tone.
This one is a nicely re-worked example of one of the most iconic Fender amps ever built – the tweed 5A3 Deluxe. It is now in great condition - rock solid and reliable. And it sounds like an old Deluxe should – raw, nasty, greasy and complex.