Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Tweed Super Pro Bandmaster Build Begins

I alluded to a new project in one of my last posts.  It's here now, on the interweb!

A couple of years ago, I built a clone of a Fender Vibrolux tweed amp.  It came out really well, and I recently loaned it to my guitar and ukulele teacher for a week or so.  It got rave reviews, so I'm embarking on a new build for her.  

The basic request was for a amp that was reasonably sized, and had separate bass and treble controls and no tremolo.  The Vibrolux has just a tone control, and of course tremolo.

I started looking at circuits and wound up with the tweed Super/Bandmaster/Pro design.  All three of these amps have exactly the same circuit - tube rectifier, two preamp stages, phase inverter, and push-pull 6L6 output tubes.  The only difference between them is the speaker configuration and output transformer impedance.  The Super (5F4 in Fender parlance) has 2x10" speakers, the Bandmaster (5E7) has 3x10" speakers, and the Pro (5E5) has a single 15". 

Since weight and size was a requirement, I decided to go with the Super/Pro sized cabinet, but with a single 12" speaker.  Ironically, Fender never offered a tweed amp with 6L6s and a single 12" speaker, so it's sort of the amp they never made!

The cabinet, which you see here, was built for me by the great folks at Mojotone.  At some point when my routing skills are up to snuff, I'll embark on cooking up my own, but for now, it's Mojo.  Their amp cabinets are super high quality.

In the 50s, Fender lacquered the tweed on the cabinets.  The survivors today are aged to a amberish-orange color.  The 'new' tweed is almost whitish-yellow, as you can see here.  So the first order of business is to apply a finish that will protect the tweed (which is actually cloth), and look like an old one.

I start by taking the cabinet apart.   It's very straightforward - you just need to be careful you don't gouge the tweed or tear up any screw heads. 

Here we have the disassembled cabinet ready to go to the...uh...finishing shop, aka the backyard.


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