Effingood EFN-5 "O-Five" Tube Guitar Amp
By Chris Loeffler |
Effingood Amps EFN-5 “O-Five” Tube Guitar Combo Amp
Is it that Effingood?
by Chris Loeffler
Effingood Amps, one of the newest players in the boutique amp world, back-tracks on their cheeky name by pointing to space-race hero and tube amp enthusiast Bob Effin the brand's origin. Still in the early stages of building their online presence, the Effingood 0-Five started showing up on Reverb and a handful of mom and pop shops early this year, claiming a hybrid 5F1/5F2 lineage that puts it somewhere between a late 50’s Champ and Princeton in architecture and tone. The 0-Five combo features a single instrument input, Volume and Tone controls, a power switch an accompanying indicator lamp, and an 8” internal speaker.
What You Nee to Know
Short of pulling the amp apart , it’s hard to verify the exact nature of the hybrid (the tone control is clearly from a 5F2, while the 8” speaker is a 5F1 standard... a couple filter values are difficult to verify given the number of incorrect schematics of the original floating around). What we do know is that the 0-Five is handmade in Bremerton, Georgia, 100% hand-wired to turret board, and is 5W powered by a 12AX7 preamp, 6V6 power section, and single GZ4 rectifier. The amplifier is enclosed in a lacquered, tolex-covered birch cabinet with pine baffle, finished with nickel hardware and a leather handle, and includes a 8” Celestion Super 8 speaker.
The 0-Five is a simple circuit, and has a visceral immediacy that makes it great for exploring the nuances of pickups. It takes dirt and boost pedals extremely well, especially boost and Bender-style fuzzes, but anything that doesn’t push the EQ too far to the Treble or Bass spectrum can be added to good effect. The importance of the preamp gain to the character of the amp’s sound makes most modulation and delay effects less than ideal, although the Clever Fox Tremolo (optical circuit) cut beautifully through the amp’’s overdrive at around 2/3 output. More than anything, the 0-Five is an amp you buy because you like simplicity and a classic, woody tone.
Limited headroom (no such thing as crystal cleans at high volume) and tone options are part of the amp’s charm, but also make it a poor choice for modern, high-fidelity tones, and the 8” speaker means there’s only so much bass on tap.
Considering Sweetwater has just three current-production tube combo amps with 8” speakers for ($199-$329), all of which are factory produced overseas with surface-mounted PCB boards, less than $400 for the 0-Five, which is completely hand-wired, built in the US, and includes a tube-rectifier seems like a quite a bargain. Heck, an unassembled kit from Ted Webber will run you $504 for the similar configuration 5F1 model (without a Tone control). Short of gambling on a vintage Champ or Princeton ($1k+ on Reverb), there aren’t many options for the early Champ/Princeton tone, making it even more surprising the Effingood 0-Five is is available at such an affordable price. I have no doubt the amp will see a price increase as Effingood established its place in the amp market, so consider it an undiscovered gem at this point.
Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer.