Tristan’s well-modded N5X and other projects

Tristan started off with a standard N5X and then looked at options for adding more gain while keeping it switchable so that the N5X’s standard tone was still available.

“The cabinet is ‘tung oiled’ pine from Very light, but hopefully darken with time. Some lovely grain there, but not captured in the pic. The main issue I have is it’s so soft! So many marks / dings already – even the lightest knock from a swinging jack plug can leave a mark.

“Tristan then looked at the L2L project at and you can read his in-depth write-up here: – it’s a MUST-READ for anyone contemplating a higher gain amp, as you will see and hear what to do if/when you encounter unwanted oscillations (typically a squeal at higher gain settings).

As if that wasn’t enough, Tristan also tried the SEL project, using another N5X circuit as the starting point. “The SEL has been good so far for the, unusually, cleaner side of things – playing rhythm on Sultans of Swing with a strat on middle/bridge pickups eg. And the amp is certainly louder! I still need to sort the dirtier sounds and find the sweet spot. Free’s Wishing Well sounds OK with the brightness of the SEL making it cut through.”

You can keep up with Tristan’s mods at