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Clapton's Cesar Diaz Modified Low Power Twin - How to Get that Tone?

CatManDoo88

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Mar 3, 2019
Messages
155
Hey all, now that I got my dream 64 335 reissue, I am craving those wonderful 335 into Tweed Twin blues tones Clapton got in the mid-90s (From the Cradle, Nothing But the Blues, Hyde Park, etc.)

I have a 57 Custom Champ Reissue that gets me in the ballpark. Is there anyway to get closer with a small lower volume amp? (We have a 6 month old and I am mostly a basement player) I know Clapton's Twin was modded (including I think ceramic speakers), could similar mods be done to my Champ? Would they get the tone closer? (I know they are different circuits and 8 vs 12 inch speakers make a big difference as well).

Sorry if these are stupid questions, I know very little about amps.
 
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Old dude 70

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Joined
Dec 20, 2021
Messages
31
Well….

short answer is maybe, depending on your need for accuracy. What you have is a great amp for Layla, Delaney and Bonnie era Clapton

but your main issue is going be volume, if you can crank the champ a bit and maybe add a pedal you should be able to get pretty close

my guess is at a good level youre not going be able to play with the baby in the house, at that point the answer is no, it won’t ever sound like you want at tv or lower volume, acceptable? Up to you

If you want closer that that, either a modeler or a simple headphone amp will be better
 

CatManDoo88

Active member
Joined
Mar 3, 2019
Messages
155
Well….

short answer is maybe, depending on your need for accuracy. What you have is a great amp for Layla, Delaney and Bonnie era Clapton

but your main issue is going be volume, if you can crank the champ a bit and maybe add a pedal you should be able to get pretty close

my guess is at a good level youre not going be able to play with the baby in the house, at that point the answer is no, it won’t ever sound like you want at tv or lower volume, acceptable? Up to you

If you want closer that that, either a modeler or a simple headphone amp will be better
Thanks! Yeah, it is a great Layla era amp, but I really need to get a good Strat.

I've actually been able to get away with the Champ cranked in the basement while wife and baby are on second floor (we are blessed with a good size house with good insulation). But anything bigger goes too far.

I've been doing some research and it seems two of the major mods done to Clapton's Twin was swapping out the 12AY7 preamp tubes for 12AX7s and the stock alnico speakers for ceramics. It seems the same preamp tube is actually common with Tweed Champ reissues because the 12AX7 is more historically accurate and a lot of people don't love the stock speaker. It seems a common mod is replacing the stock Webber alnico with a Jupiter 8SC for a more open ended sound.
 

ajtonly1

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Joined
Jan 30, 2022
Messages
39
Get an attenuator, you can those natural sounds that sound more organic from the natural distortion of the amp than any pedal can do IMO. Ymmv but a cranked amp negates the need for a pedal
Good luck 🤙🏼
 

Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
Messages
525
They made a Clapton TT for a while. I almost bought one but they had just stopped when I was looking to actually buy. I have the 57 ri and can get some EC sounds out of it. I just put everything on 7 and it sounds good with any guitar.

I thought Suhr made his TT. I could be wrong. I know Dumble made those tweed Bandmasters he’s using now.

If you YouTube Clapton Lucy you can see him play some sort of TT with a LP and they have a clip with a Strat as well.
 

jb_abides

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Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
4,196
I've watched these before ... always noting: same setting and clothing for both the GC Gibson Lucy and Fender Brownie.

It's a Clapton neutral zone! 🍑
 

CatManDoo88

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Mar 3, 2019
Messages
155
They made a Clapton TT for a while. I almost bought one but they had just stopped when I was looking to actually buy. I have the 57 ri and can get some EC sounds out of it. I just put everything on 7 and it sounds good with any guitar.

I thought Suhr made his TT. I could be wrong. I know Dumble made those tweed Bandmasters he’s using now.

If you YouTube Clapton Lucy you can see him play some sort of TT with a LP and they have a clip with a Strat as well.
Yeah, one of those Clapton Twinoluxes would probably be my dream amp, but they are just too powerful and loud for where I would use them. I actually picked up a used EC Tweed Tremolux recently (the 12watter from that signature series). It was a really good deal and sounds pretty amazing. And I seem to be able to get away with it on a 5 watt low power mode with the baby.

With respect to Clapton's actual stable of amps, Clapton's holy grail amp that he started using on stage during the From the Cradle era was a vintage 57 low power Twin he picked up in the 80s. Cesar Diaz modded it for him in 85 since it had a tendency to blow up. Changed all the preamp tubes to 12ax7s, added another 2 power tubes, replaced the tube rectifiers with silicon diodes, and put in 70s Fender Blue Label speakers.

Given that it was one of a kind, Clapton was pretty anxious about touring with it, so he had Suhr make too copies in the late 90s back when he was at the Fender Custom Shop. Those were his main stage amps through the Cream Reunion and after.
 

jrgtr42

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Mar 24, 2005
Messages
2,268
ONe thing no one has mentioned is the speaker size. The Champ is an 8" speaker, Clapton's amps are 12".
I would think about re-cabbing that Champ into a larger box, with the bigger speaker. You'll get more bass response, and
depending on the speaker you choose, if it's more efficiant than the stock, you'll get more volume too.
I'm not saying you'll sound like Clapton with that change, but it'll help. Maybe a boost pedal, a Klone or something will help too.
But a big amp cranked is where the sound comes from - the tubes themselves, working hard, etc.
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,627
Yeah, one of those Clapton Twinoluxes would probably be my dream amp, but they are just too powerful and loud for where I would use them. I actually picked up a used EC Tweed Tremolux recently (the 12watter from that signature series). It was a really good deal and sounds pretty amazing. And I seem to be able to get away with it on a 5 watt low power mode with the baby.

With respect to Clapton's actual stable of amps, Clapton's holy grail amp that he started using on stage during the From the Cradle era was a vintage 57 low power Twin he picked up in the 80s. Cesar Diaz modded it for him in 85 since it had a tendency to blow up. Changed all the preamp tubes to 12ax7s, added another 2 power tubes, replaced the tube rectifiers with silicon diodes, and put in 70s Fender Blue Label speakers.

Given that it was one of a kind, Clapton was pretty anxious about touring with it, so he had Suhr make too copies in the late 90s back when he was at the Fender Custom Shop. Those were his main stage amps through the Cream Reunion and after.
I got one of those back in the day.

Sounds great.

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CatManDoo88

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Joined
Mar 3, 2019
Messages
155
I got one of those back in the day.

Sounds great.

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Very, very nice! How does it sound with the 335? Is it as crazy loud as a lot of the reviews suggest? Have you had any experience with the Tremolux and how would you compare their sounds?
Beautiful! I really wish I had bought one. They hardly ever come up for sale.

Thanks for sharing!
Two weeks after I started this thread, an EC Twinolux came up for sale around here at the same time as the Tremolux I actually bought. Both amps were actually the same price. I would have bought the Twin if I could justify the loudness and/or had somewhere I could play it without driving my family or neighbours insane. At best, I would only be able to use it on the lowest attenuated power setting, which never sounds as good the thing wide open. I can have the Tremolux wide open at the same power/volume.

It seems like the Tremolux circuit is modded to sound more like a mini Tweed Twin in that it has fixed bias, a more functional tone stack, and a higher power ceramic speaker to increase headroom and top end while taming that 5E3 bass response. I'm not 100% certain about the stock Celestion, so I am going to give a Jupiter M12C (vintage Jensen C12N soundalike) for more American voicing.
 
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charliechitlins

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Messages
613
But a big amp cranked is where the sound comes from - the tubes themselves, working hard, etc.
If this were so, attenuators would work perfectly.
The pushing of the speaker is a critical element.
You cannot imitate a cranked 2x12 combo with a little 8 or 10" speaker.
Maybe if you mic'ed it, EQ'ed and tweaked it and put it in some headphones...
I still think the best way to experience a cranked amp at low volume is with a pedal with speaker emulation into something very clean, like a PA.
I can't believe somebody hasn't come out with a pedal called the Bedroom Bandit or something that gets big sound at little volume.
I do OK with an OD pedal with a clean boost after it, but my expectations are very low for true cranked amp sound.
As close as I get, actually, is a cheapie Behringer V-Amp 2 amp emulator thing I picked up on a whim.
It has a lot of terrible tones, but some really great ones.
I can only imagine what a GOOD unit of its kind would sound like.
 

jrgtr42

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Messages
2,268
If this were so, attenuators would work perfectly.
The pushing of the speaker is a critical element.
You cannot imitate a cranked 2x12 combo with a little 8 or 10" speaker.
Maybe if you mic'ed it, EQ'ed and tweaked it and put it in some headphones...
I still think the best way to experience a cranked amp at low volume is with a pedal with speaker emulation into something very clean, like a PA.
I can't believe somebody hasn't come out with a pedal called the Bedroom Bandit or something that gets big sound at little volume.
I do OK with an OD pedal with a clean boost after it, but my expectations are very low for true cranked amp sound.
As close as I get, actually, is a cheapie Behringer V-Amp 2 amp emulator thing I picked up on a whim.
It has a lot of terrible tones, but some really great ones.
I can only imagine what a GOOD unit of its kind would sound like.
Fair point, and I should have mentioned speakers getting pushed as part of the sound.
you're right - even a single speaker in a smaller box won't have the same effect and the 2 x 12 in a bigger cab, but
a 12" versus an 8" will be way closer, and a low watt speaker, like a 15 or 25w, with the champ will be moving pretty good.
Another part is the volume itself - it resonates and reflects in the room and there's no way to replicate that. 50 or 100 watts at full tilt just
can't be replicated by a small amp even at full blast.
 

Amp360

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Feb 16, 2012
Messages
525
I blew one of the speakers in my TT and it actually sounds better now. Attenuation can work great but the sound of the speakers is important, too.

I like my Ox because it does a better job of modeling speaker breakup than anything I’ve heard (I haven’t heard everything).

Either way, those Clapton amps are awesome.
 

CatManDoo88

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I blew one of the speakers in my TT and it actually sounds better now. Attenuation can work great but the sound of the speakers is important, too.

I like my Ox because it does a better job of modeling speaker breakup than anything I’ve heard (I haven’t heard everything).

Either way, those Clapton amps are awesome.
One of the the things I actually like about the Clapton Tremolux is the lack of speaker breakup due to the 50 watt speaker in 12 watt amp. 5E3 break up a bit too much for my taste when dimed and the 50 watt speaker makes the amp sound less like it is on the verge of melting down.

With respect to the Clapton amps generally, it always bugs when people attribute his lesser tones in recent years, such as the 2005 Cream Reunion shows, to his Tweed Twins. They say he need an LP into Marshall to sound his best. Personally, I think Clapton's 90s Les Paul or 335 into Tweed Twin tones are just as good as the Gibson/Marshall days. The crappy tones are all his Signature Strats with their lifeless noiseless pickups and mid-boost circuits in my opinion.
 

Amp360

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Messages
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We can agree to disagree. I really like his signature Strat. The SLO/Lace sound was great imho.

I have a Clapton Stratocaster and it’s probably the most versatile guitar I own.
 

renderit

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Very, very nice! How does it sound with the 335? Is it as crazy loud as a lot of the reviews suggest? Have you had any experience with the Tremolux and how would you compare their sounds?

Two weeks after I started this thread, an EC Twinolux came up for sale around here at the same time as the Tremolux I actually bought. Both amps were actually the same price. I would have bought the Twin if I could justify the loudness and/or had somewhere I could play it without driving my family or neighbours insane. At best, I would only be able to use it on the lowest attenuated power setting, which never sounds as good the thing wide open. I can have the Tremolux wide open at the same power/volume.

It seems like the Tremolux circuit is modded to sound more like a mini Tweed Twin in that it has fixed bias, a more functional tone stack, and a higher power ceramic speaker to increase headroom and top end while taming that 5E3 bass response. I'm not 100% certain about the stock Celestion, so I am going to give a Jupiter M12C (vintage Jensen C12N soundalike) for more American voicing.
Loud. However...

Like any big tweed the original intent was the clean sound at lower volume just like the Bassman.

Amps were given the huge power so you could get clean up at higher volumes without distortion.

I happen to like them down low as well, very sparkly with that extra something only tubes can give so for me they work and work well.

The sound is all their own.

If you want the distortion on this one the volume has to be pretty high.

The attenuators work well to get this lower but then what you mentioned with the speakers not traveling enough is correct, it gets dirty but is lacking something.

Overall I love the sound on this beast. Just different enough from the Bassman to be its own thing.

Another I play a lot is this. A tweed through a 15" knocks your fillings out with a 335. Whole different sound. At half the volume...

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charliechitlins

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Messages
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Fair point, and I should have mentioned speakers getting pushed as part of the sound.
you're right - even a single speaker in a smaller box won't have the same effect and the 2 x 12 in a bigger cab, but
a 12" versus an 8" will be way closer, and a low watt speaker, like a 15 or 25w, with the champ will be moving pretty good.
Another part is the volume itself - it resonates and reflects in the room and there's no way to replicate that. 50 or 100 watts at full tilt just
can't be replicated by a small amp even at full blast.
Nothing like that thump you can feel in the soles of your feet.
My Bassman delivers that.
 
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