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  #1  
Old 06-27-2020, 11:43 AM
anton anton is offline
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Default Which amp to keep? Tweed Deluxe or Carmen Ghia

Hi Folks,

I've got two nice amps, and I need to decide which one to keep. I know, nice problem to have. I know this is pretty subjective and ultimately up to me, but thought talking it out might help. Or at least we can have some good discussion.

My two amps are a 5E3 Tweed Deluxe made by Sara Richter and a Dr Z Carmen Ghia. Both are 1 x 12" combos. The 5E3 is a pretty straight ahead clone from what I understand, with a Jensen Electric Lighting speaker. The Z has a well broken in Weber Alnico Blue Dog.

I like to play blues, and have a Baja Tele and Eastman T59, which is a 335 type clone. I am playing mostly at home and with friends. Yea my amps are probably a bit overpowered for that.

To me the Deluxe has a more familiar and recognizable tone. It sounds right for blues. It sounds good with both my guitars. I do find the bass response a bit much, and there seems to be this woofiness I can't dial out. From what I understand that is the nature of the circuit. I really like the touch sensitivity and fat clean tones.

The Carmen Ghia is not dissimilar. It has a single volume and tone control, and not a ton of clean headroom, especially with humbuckers. To me the break up is perhaps a bit smoother than the Deluxe, and it is also a very touch sensitive amp. It seems a good bit louder overall. To my ears it sounds like a much brighter amp than the Deluxe. I usually have the tone on my guitars down quite a bit when playing through it. I don't really play my Tele with this amp as everything seems almost to bright. There is this kind of directness and rawness to the tone, its very cutting. I understand alot of Z amps have this quality, and the Ghia is a very simple and direct circuit. I hear alot of string separation, which is a nice when fingerpicking the electric.

So thats where I am at. I don't NEED the money, but it feels wasteful to have one amp sitting there if I am not into it and could use the cash for something else.

I'd be interested to hear others thoughts/opinions.
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Old 06-27-2020, 12:14 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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I have no idea! They both sound like wonderful amps.

I looked up the Weber Alnico Blue Dog. It's listed as: "The 15 watt is aggressive, bright, with a strong midrange crang.". Speaker changes can make a significant difference in an amp's tone. I wonder if you should try something else in the Carmen Ghia.
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Old 06-27-2020, 12:24 PM
anton anton is offline
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Thanks, yea I have thought that too. I am not sure what else I would try. I have a WGS Green Beret (greenback clone) that I have tried in the Ghia. I can't say I like the tone much better. The GB puts out alot more bass, and the Weber sounds more rounded and warm, maybe because its an alnico speaker?
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Old 06-27-2020, 01:09 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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I also play a Tele and ES-335.

Never played a Carmen Ghia, but I have a Tweed Deluxe and it is a desert island amp for me. I have two other amps (Vox AC4HW1 + VSA Amps PR clone). If I could keep only one it would be the 5e3 Deluxe (especially with the Tele).
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Old 06-27-2020, 01:37 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Well of course you have to decide. Even if anyone here has played both amps we might have different desires and playing styles and so our advice would not necessarily fit you.

Your post could be summarized that one amp may be a bit too dark at time for your taste and the other a bit to bright. In general, I'd say that a bit too bright can be dealt with simple solutions a easier. Also "a bit too bright" if often what you want in an ensemble live or recorded situation.

With a bit too bright amp you can turn down the tone control on the guitar. You mention you sometimes do that on the Carmen Ghia. Guitars vary in how they respond to that knob, and in some cases turning down the volume also reduces treble. Another trick is to point the amp away from you, even all the way around. Treble is very directional, so you can move off a few degrees and make a difference. Roy Buchanan (Tele and a bright fender combo player for the most part) always used to gig with his amp turned completely to the back of the stage.

With a too dark amp you can use an EQ pedal of other pedal to boost cut the lows or even boost the highs. EQ pedals are very useful tools if you have timbral preferences that change song to song, or to make two guitars fit with one amp.

There were pedals sold as "treble boosters" that were a big part of some early British rock guitarists arsenal when used the darker amps. They also usually added some gain boost too, which may or may not help you reach your desired sound, and there are modern pedal sold that work in that manner.

Another pedal we don't think of as a EQ pedal that can be used is a wah wah pedal. Engaged and left toe down, most make things sound more trebly. Disengaged, some cut highs. And here's a neat trick not used as often as it deserves: they are really foot operated EQ sweep tools. You can use it without doing the waka-waka theme from Shaft thing. While a wah's not really a tool to get deep full bass, you can get all kinds of interesting mid-range filtering with one left in one position, or move it from position to another for different parts of a piece.


None of this helps you make the decision you need to make if you feel you need to make the decision I'm afraid. But if you like one of the two amp more for other reasons, like weight or used value that could be used toward other gear or needs, one of them may help you make one of the pair more versatile in their EQ profile.
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Last edited by FrankHudson; 06-27-2020 at 08:11 PM. Reason: typo
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2020, 02:02 PM
29er 29er is offline
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Way back when I used to gig I went through a ton of great amps including a Dr. Z Maz 18 Jr and a Carmen Ghia. Out of probably 20 amps I owned the Ghia is the amp I wish I had kept when I stopped gigging. I guess what I'm saying is maybe ask yourself which amp you would miss the most down the road. And if you decide to sell the Ghia drop me a note
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Old 06-27-2020, 02:17 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anton View Post
Hi Folks,

I've got two nice amps, and I need to decide which one to keep. I know, nice problem to have. I know this is pretty subjective and ultimately up to me, but thought talking it out might help. Or at least we can have some good discussion.

My two amps are a 5E3 Tweed Deluxe made by Sara Richter and a Dr Z Carmen Ghia. Both are 1 x 12" combos. The 5E3 is a pretty straight ahead clone from what I understand, with a Jensen Electric Lighting speaker. The Z has a well broken in Weber Alnico Blue Dog.

I like to play blues, and have a Baja Tele and Eastman T59, which is a 335 type clone. I am playing mostly at home and with friends. Yea my amps are probably a bit overpowered for that.

To me the Deluxe has a more familiar and recognizable tone. It sounds right for blues. It sounds good with both my guitars. I do find the bass response a bit much, and there seems to be this woofiness I can't dial out. From what I understand that is the nature of the circuit. I really like the touch sensitivity and fat clean tones.

The Carmen Ghia is not dissimilar. It has a single volume and tone control, and not a ton of clean headroom, especially with humbuckers. To me the break up is perhaps a bit smoother than the Deluxe, and it is also a very touch sensitive amp. It seems a good bit louder overall. To my ears it sounds like a much brighter amp than the Deluxe. I usually have the tone on my guitars down quite a bit when playing through it. I don't really play my Tele with this amp as everything seems almost to bright. There is this kind of directness and rawness to the tone, its very cutting. I understand alot of Z amps have this quality, and the Ghia is a very simple and direct circuit. I hear alot of string separation, which is a nice when fingerpicking the electric.

So thats where I am at. I don't NEED the money, but it feels wasteful to have one amp sitting there if I am not into it and could use the cash for something else.

I'd be interested to hear others thoughts/opinions.

I would think at the volume you play the 5E3 is all you need but I don't think you have the right speaker for what you want, I would change the speaker in it to something more like what you find in '59 like this...

https://www.eminence.com/speakers/sp...?model=GA_SC59

Every Ghia I've ever heard seems to be a one trick pony, although a good trick. 5E3s on the other hand, at the volumes you play, seems like the perfect versatile amp for the blues tones you like. This comes from experience. I own a Clark 5E3 (with a Celestion Blue in it), and play through two original 5E3s all the time at a close friends house. And we play every guitar you can imagine through them, certainly all the ones you have These new Eminence speakers will bring the best out of your Deluxe Clone.
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Old 06-27-2020, 10:29 PM
robj144 robj144 is offline
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Keep both... sometimes you want a particular sound. It's good to have options.
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Old 06-27-2020, 11:18 PM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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I own two Tweed Deluxes, a fender from the 50s and a Victoria from 2000.

Try a Carr Sportsman. I almost bought one.
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Old 06-28-2020, 02:06 AM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Sarad View Post
...Carr Sportsman. I almost bought one.
Killer Tele tone...

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Old 06-28-2020, 03:40 PM
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Keep them both and play in stereo.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:09 PM
anton anton is offline
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Thanks for the input everyone. Good thoughts all around.

Rockabilly69, is the eminence alnico you posted similar to the Weber 12a125A? https://www.tedweber.com/12a125-a That is what I see recommended often for the Tweed Deluxe. I was thinking of trying one out.

FrankHudson, thanks for the info about brighter and darker amps, and how to work with them. I agree, the Ghia would probably sound great in a band situation. I should get into a regular electric band, that would be fun.

That Carr Sportsman looks and sounds lovely. I have liked the few of their amps I have played. There was a used Rambler at a local music store here that sounded great, it sold pretty quick.

I guess at the moment I am at least keeping the Deluxe. I paid $700 for it. When it arrived i broke the key on the rectifier tube putting it in, so I had to have that fixed, and I think the tech put in a new input jack as well. Taking those repairs into account I wouldn't make a ton if I sold it.

I'll keep thinking on the Ghia. Maybe I'll try a different speaker. I know I can send it off to Dr Z to get a master volume installed, which might be cool.
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:37 AM
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KevWind KevWind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aknow View Post
Keep them both and play in stereo.
Yes,,, or wet dry (what I am looking into)
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:13 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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Both in stereo is an excellent idea. I have done that with both my tweeds. The old Fender breaks up a bit sooner.
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:54 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anton View Post
Rockabilly69, is the eminence alnico you posted similar to the Weber 12a125A? https://www.tedweber.com/12a125-a That is what I see recommended often for the Tweed Deluxe. I was thinking of trying one out.
No, the Eminence is a different speaker, I've had the 12A125 in a few of my amps, which I liked, and I have the 12A150A in my 1964 Deluxe Reverb, and it too is a good speaker, but the Alessandro-voiced Eminence speakers are FANTASTIC. I think you would really like one, though they not cheap I can tell you this every 12A series Weber speaker that I've put in my amps took a while to break in, especially the higher wattage 12A150. So if you do go that way, give the speaker a chance if it doesn't sound great right away. What I mean by that, is harsh highs, because they really sound good with some break in time. I ran pre-recorded guitar music on a loop through mine while I was out of the house. After a few days it started sounding really good.

Another speaker that whould lean out the flubby bass, and give you a nice clarity is the Tone Tubby Humboldt Alnico, and they are reasonably priced. They come highly recommended for dark amps, which a 5E3 definitely is!

https://www.tonetubby.com/all-products/humbolt-alnico/
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