1956 Fender 5E6 Tweed Bassman

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At A Glance:
Model: 5E6 Bassman
Year: 1956
Finish: Tweed
Modifications: See decription
Repairs: Se description

Case: Roqsolid cover

Technology: Valve
Watts: 40
Preamp Valves: 12AX7
Power Valves: 6L6
Channels: 2
Footswitch: No

    Introduced in 1952, the Fender Bassman has gone through many iterations, the arrow panel era being its defining moment, becoming the benchmark amp for decades to come and the holy grail for those in search of the fabled tweed tone. 

    Ths amp has had quite a life. Bought by the current owner a few years ago, it's been completely overhauled by Steve Dove of SA Ampworks as it was in poor internal condition. Work has been carried out on the chassis as well as a slew of new components and structural work. Here is a full rundown - 

    Stripped out chassis, component board temp treated, in regard noise and output level issues.

    o Fitted New Heyboer correct spec UK power transformer, replaced  DC filtering cap bank, and associated resistors, circuit built up using carbon comp vintage type resistors and signal caps with comparable performance to the out of tolerance originals, also the prior replaced, and wrong type were removed, and substituted with authentic.

    o Octal valve sockets renewed, and groundings remade from these, the  flashover resistors were upgraded on the output pair.

    o Damaged chassis at power transformer side, was improved on, the poor workmanship, that had been result of earlier US transformer fit, visually improved over, and new fitting far more solid!

    o Output transformer that had oxidised, cracked, overheated, leads replaced with 95 Schumacher, type used in 50;s Tweed BM.

    o Valve heater chain removed (burned) replaced right through with cloth sleeved exact type, but heavier duty, and higher current capability.

    o Bias cct upgraded with improved smoothing of output bias supply.

    o Rectifier now silicon, a recommended change from the underperformer that was fitted originally.

    o The circuit had been subjected, to substandard board solder work throughout, very dried out, and had bled through into the  sandwich section, underneath board and created, basically a nasty untidy mess, boards were removed, totally de-soldered, underside wiring fully redone, refitted. This was obviously before the topside components were renewed Eq controls were reworked/cleaned, wiring here redone where degraded!! and hence renewed, grounding on controls, made good.

    o Main groundings redone, was very shabby as was also supply ground/earth taken from here off new 3 conductor power cable.

    o DVM meter checked all point-point connections and visual examined new solder work.

    Cabinet rework/resto:

    o Baffle removed! Scrapped. Replacement made from high grade marine ply, using original as ref template, cut out as original, drilled out for replacement speaker stud screw fixing threads. Redid aperture edgings, commercial wood glued and pinned back into place. New (aged) baffle covering applied exactly as factory fit, stapled and adhesive used at edges to add additional strength.

    o Visually checked the 4 speakers, cones in good order, 

    o New baffle planned to fit correctly! (allow to float) as tweeds should! fitted into cab, replacement fixings (in part) needed and that done, speakers installed.

    o Tested cab with fender Super reverb chassis (same) 2 ohm loading, and no vibration present, or increased low end disruption! as with this cab prior, sounded taught and focused!

    o Fitted chassis into cab, loaded valves: Mullard rectifier, 2x Philips, Sylvania JAN output 6L6's - mix Vintage USA/England preamps, output checked on scope, bias set measured. All good.

     The tweed has been re-lacquered and aged appropriately. The handle is a replacement The control panel is good condition, the silk screened text is still clear.

    The amp is still has its full complement of Jensen P10 speakers dated the middle of 1955t. We suspect that some of the speakers have been re-coned.

    As you’d hope, this amp sounds fantastic. Loud and crisp, the unmistakable 50’s Fender character is here in spades,  the 5E6 circuit break up a little sooner than the more famous 5F6-A circuit.

    These don’t come up for sale in this condition and also sounding this good! It is at home equally well in the studio or on the road and once you crank these, you can soon tell what all the fuss is about…

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