1955/56 5E3 Fender Deluxe

The Deluxe is one of Fenders most iconic Amplifier models and also one of Leo Fenders earliest amps in the guise of the 1946 Model 26 or Woody Deluxe.

Like much of the Fender range the Deluxe would go through many changes throughout the Golden period of Fender amp production from the iconic ‘tweed’ era through the ‘Brownface’ era and finally to the blackface era from 1963 that would see the introduction of the now equally iconic Deluxe Reverb Amp.

Throughout the late 1940’s and into 1950’s the Deluxe would go through different circuits and styles to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the players of the time; from the 5A3, 5B3 and 5C3 circuited ‘TV Front’ series and early ‘Wide panel’ Deluxes from 1948 through to 1954 to the Wide panel’ 5D3 Deluxes from 1954 to 1955. It was the ‘Narrow Panel’ 5E3 Deluxe produced from 1955 to 1960 that would become the Holy Grail of this Iconic amplifier model.

Alongside the new ‘Narrow Panel’ cosmetic appearance the amplifier circuitry would evolve from the 5D3 circuit. The 5E3 circuit uses two cathode biased 6V6 valves operating in class AB push/pull in the power section, a 12AY7 and 12AX7 in the preamp section and a 5Y3 rectifier.

The control layout would also change from the earlier Deluxe with the two channels, normal and bright, both having a high and low inputs with each channel having an independent volume control with one shared tone control.

Perhaps best known for its distorted and overdriven tones which are partially explained by the lack of a negative feedback loop and the 6V6 cathode bias design which offers more sag and compression the 5E3 Deluxe is a very sweet sounding clean amp. Despite the fact the amp breaks up quickly there are a whole variety of tones to be had by experimenting with the tone control and volume controls including the one you aren’t plugged into so interactive are the channels.

The 5E3 Deluxe is truly a classic sounding amp.  There are not a lot of cleans but they are angelic, the overdrive is gritty, warm and punchy. From Larry Carlton to Neil Young it’s easy to see why these amps are so popular!