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Session 5E3_EXTRA Combo

5E3-EXTRA tweed


Nothing Like Conventional Solid-State Amps!

RetroTone Power Amp

Utilising Session's RetroTone™ class AB power amp means the bass and hi-frequencies appear to spring to life with clarity and detail... just as it would if using a tube amp design. Given the opportunity for comparison every human can hear the difference over a conventional solid-state amp. Players are likely to choose RetroTone™ as the preferred listening standard

Like a typical 1950s 'single tone control' amp, 5E3-EXTRA exhibits a dominating 'mids' tonality which, with its own built in distortion, can be used for all kinds of rock tones! And it's lightweight too!

The 22W version's overall tone and volume is ideal for 'jams' when its 7W 'Power Scaling' mode is selected. Using a Les Paul Standard guitar, it'll respond with wailing tones that are plenty loud enough, but will not cause offense to the audience or the 'jam organiser'. Real old school tone generated just like it used to be back in the day - with fat and singing sustain! And no need for expensive (iffy) 'power attenuators' either.


Demo courtesy of: Steve Giddings - 5E3-EXTRA owner

Great with modelling pedals...
No 'double mid-sucking' going on!

5E3-EXTRA tone is purposely minus the ‘mid suck’ found with the later 60s ‘black panel’ amps.  Most call it the ‘tweed tone’, ‘EL84/6V6’ tone or ‘octal’ tone.  But the truth is, it’s all down to the single TONE control... not really the output valves.  The valves are merely the physical difference players can see, so they get the credit for the tone... incorrectly!  5E3-EXTRA should be able to amply provide a good 'Stones' tone... which is not a 'black panel' amp sound creation!

It can play clean right up to its full output power and is not allowed to 'fuzz out' in typical Neil Young sounds.  No, it's the old sound, but can be very clean and loud too.  Just like Leo Fender wanted, but found tube technology unable to deliver back then.

In addition, it can create 'front end' distortion, like most modern amps do... or a 'power tube' distortion by use of its built in 7-12W 'power scaling' facility.  This is plenty loud enough for a grungy kinda tone at pub gigs without need for micing.  But can tackle bigger gigs too... just plug it into the PA via its (optional) built in G12T DI OUT with speaker simulation direct to the PA.  The 'power-scaled tone' will be in the G12T DI'd output as well!

G12T DI was used by The Hellecasters during recording - We are mentioned on their albums.

Its optional FXDI board (FX Send/Return with G12T DI OUT) makes it the ideal pedal platform for modelled sounds in mind too... especially from pedals that focus on 'classic amp sounds', because it's neutral tonality leaves the pedal to create the amp's sound.  Not like the usual amp's 'mid-sucking' tone overpowering the pedal's tone generation!

It's strange that a 1950s style modern amp could be total bliss for modern players... and it truly is... and light weight... and dependable!

"Superb for controllable home practice volume levels"

SESSION’s designer has nailed this genre of tone in reliable solid state circuitry.  Something not generally thought possible, but it is down to experience! Our forty years of solid state guitar amp design knowledge has ensured we have been able to get it spot on... and it won't look out of place either, with its classically styled cabinet and coverings!

5E3-EXTRA tweed


"...the good thing is, there's nothing cold or
'un-valvey' about it"
- Guitar Magazine

Two Basic 5E3-EXTRA Models... In a nutshell:

  • SESSION's 22W or 45W 'RetroTone' solid state design awarded 9/10 for Tweed tone (2016)

  • Vintage warmth, chime and dynamics! No 'ice-picky' highs

  • Choice of 10" or 12" speakers

  • Humbucking Power Transformer - 75% less radiated hum to P-90 pickup equipped guitars!

  • Two methods to create distortion

  • 7W Power Limiter Switch for smaller gigs

  • Optional FULLY BUFFERED FX Loop with G12T Line Level 0dB DI Out.

  • Perfect as a 'pedal platform' amplifier

  • High Clean Headroom to full output power

  • Lightweight - from around 10kg

  • Guitarist/designer created

  • High reliability & low maintenance

  • No digital (computer) modelling... SESSION's 'old school' analogue 'EasyFix' design philosophy!

  • Complete combo prices start from £369.00 inc UK delivery


5E3-EXTRA Front Panel

Front Panel Controls: L-R: Input, Volume, FAT Switch, Master (Volume), 7w Power Limiter Selector, Tone, Mains Indicator and 'toggle' Power Switch


5E3-EXTRA Rear Panel

Rear Panel Facilities: L-R: Amp Details, External Speaker Output, FX Loop Return,
FX Loop Send, G12T DI Output


Session™... an amp company that thinks with one foot in the past!

Although based on a classic 1950s amplifier, 5E3-EXTRA is not quite as simple as it may first look!  It has a number of features which can be extremely useful, when considered along with ‘where’ they are strategically placed in its circuitry.  Therefore, this page is very important to the player in order to get the very best out of 5E3-EXTRA.  Certainly, the fact that 5E3-EXTRA is solid state, makes these features possible and versatile additions

5E3-EXTRA's general circuit design and tone, follows those of the 5E3, 5E5 and 5F2-A Tweed Narrow panel amps from around 1957

INPUT: Where guitars and electronics meet.  It’s designed to have a 1M Ohms impedance (Z) and 150pF input capacitance, exactly like ‘good’ ECC83 or 12AX7 tubes do, so your tone is guaranteed to have the same level of sparkle and warmth

VOLUME: Located near the amplifier’s input, it regulates the gain of the input section and is suitable for matching widely varying modern guitar pickups to the amp for the absolute ‘highest clean headroom’ sounds.  High clean headroom ability is most sought after by today's players

It can also be used to provide various amounts of ‘front-end’ distortion too.  This distortion’s character can be modified by the TONE control. 5E3-EXTRA has two types of built in distortion available. The second is the 7W alternative described later

MASTER (Volume): Towards the output of the preamp, post tone control.  It is used to set up the output level of the amplifier according to the sound that has been set with the other controls

TONE: Situated post ‘front-end’ distortion.  A single knob tone control is employed which boosts and cuts the high frequencies only - by about ±10dB @ 5kHz. This simple 1950s circuit is able to provide a true ‘flat’ response when set to around 7 on the dial. To achieve this kind of tone, the 1960s mid-sucking 2 & 3 band 'tonestacks' had to go! Perfect for jazz players, who will immediately hear the tone of the 'old-school' greats clearly cutting through

Further, this is where the musician’s fabled ‘6V6/EL84 tone’ or ‘tweed tone’ description really emanates from… and where 5E3-EXTRA’s clean tonal character is created with assistance from its RetroTone power amp

FAT: This is placed pre-distortion (VOLUME control) and can be used to boost or cut the bass signal prior to distortion.  This helps to match high bass output pickups to the amp better.  Or, if required, to give its ‘front-end’ distortion sound much more ‘low end rumble’ for classic style ‘slide’ blues sounds, or just use it creatively

PWR (HI/7W): Situated post MASTER volume.  Switching it to 7W limits the output power to about 7 Watts.  Its distortion is very ‘even-harmonic’ in tone.  It can be heard to ‘slip’ into saturation without any harshness.  Unlike the ‘front-end’ distortion, this alternative 7W distortion’s tone is completely unaffected by the TONE control’s settings.  It’s for those who really like the renowned 5E3 early distortion sound - although 7W is much too loud for home use

Optional FULLY BUFFERED FX LOOP: This, if fitted to your amp, is located between the preamp and RetroTone:22™ or RetroTone:45™ power amp.  The FX SEND has a 1k Ohms output Z which suits it to driving professional studio FX units with typical 10k Ohms input impedance (tube FX LOOPS cannot easily do this).  The FX RETURN has a 1M Ohm input impedance to avoid loading the output circuits of some ’iffy’ FX pedals

Optional DI OUT (G12T): When fitted, is driven from the FX LOOP output so that all effects being used in the FX LOOP can be captured in any recording or sound reinforcement activity.  Incorporates our G12T speaker simulation used by The Hellecasters.  Output impedance: about 1k Ohms.

RetroTone™ Power Amp: RetroTone™ is SESSION’s modern analogue solid state power amp design, which is able to provide our amps with all the chime, warmth and dynamics guitarists expect from their guitar amps

They are as loud as any similarly rated tube amp... confirmed by our customers!

Toroidal 'Humbucking' power transformer - for 75% less hum radiation than any tube amp! Perfect for all single coil pickup, especially P-90, equipped guitars! Stand nearer to your amp and pickup far less hum

There is NO digital simulation, NO 'Class D' switching power amp circuitry or 'surface mount components' which are deemed 'return to maker' for even simple repairs.  5E3-EXTRA is entirely ANALOGUE and can be serviced by your local competent service techician

5E3-EXTRA™ - your ‘Stairway To Tone Heaven’

Built On SESSION's Award-Nominated RetroTone™ Designs



Review: Award-Session 5E3-Extra 22 | | All Things Guitar

Guitar Magazine's praise - they really liked it! SESSION proves SS can do it... again! First BluesBaby, now 5E3-EXTRA!

G&B Quote 2


Because amps take about 21 days to build,
your card will NOT be charged until 2 days prior to despatch

Full Combo - Please Order Here:

Looking for the chassis only version? Order it here


5E3-EXTRA - 22W 12" Combos

EX22-112 - Complete basic 12" combo amp in Two-Tone black finish WITHOUT SPEAKER
Price: £345 - Includes £10.00 UK delivery
Add to Cart

US 115VAC available too by request!
Shipping about £70.00 - US no taxes on imports under $800 value

Choose other options

FXDI - Active FX Loop with G12T DI Out - £50.00
Add to Cart

12" Celestion V-Type speaker - Price: £80.00
Add to Cart

12" Celestion Creamback NEO speaker -Price: £130.00
Add to Cart

TWEED + Striped Ox-Blood grille - Price: £45.00
Add to Cart

Red Power Indicator

Black Arrow (Chicken Head) knobs - FREE
Add to Cart

White* Arrow (Chicken Head) Knobs - FREE
Add to Cart


FXDI = FX Loop and G12T Speaker simulated DI Out for direct recording or direct to PA

* = Standard issue colour if not specified

Can I order without a speaker fitted? YES, see above.


All amps are UK assembled to order only. Please allow up to 21 days for your custom order to be built & despatched

Totally clean guitar sounds may not be as loud as you might expect


5E3-EXTRA - 45W 12" Combos

EX45-112 - Complete basic 12" combo amp in Two-tone black finish WITHOUT SPEAKER
Price: £395 - Includes £10.00 UK delivery
Add to Cart

US 115VAC available by request - same price!
Shipping about £70.00 - US no taxes on imports under $800 value

Choose other options

FXDI - Active FX Loop with G12T DI Out - £50.00
Add to Cart

12" Celestion V-Type speaker - Price: £80.00
Add to Cart

12" Cel' Creamback NEO speaker - Price: £130.00
Add to Cart

TWEED + Striped Ox-Blood grille - Price: £45.00
Add to Cart

Red Power Indicator

Black Arrow (Chicken Head) knobs - FREE
Add to Cart

White* Arrow (Chicken Head) Knobs - FREE
Add to Cart


FXDI = FX Loop and G12T Speaker simulated DI Out for direct recording or direct to PA

* = Standard issue colour if not specified

Can I order without a speaker fitted? YES, see above!


All amps are UK assembled to order only. Please allow up to 21 days for your custom order to be built & despatched

Totally clean guitar sounds may not be as loud as you might expect


Build Method and Progress Reports

When you place your order, a confirmation is automatically sent to you. There is no further contact until your order is ready to ship. We do not send 'progress reports' as there's nothing much to report until it's finally ready

We collect payment approximately 2 days prior to your order being ready for despatch. Earlier if it has an uncommon cabinet covering. So checking your card account could give you a very good indication that it's nearly ready to be sent to you


UK & European Delivery Times & Charges

UK - Takes 1 business days from day of despatch - usually DHL

Europe - Takes 4-7+ business days depending on destination.

Mainland UK Delivery Cost - The purchase price includes £10 towards shipping to Mainland UK. Certain remote UK destinations are likely to attract a £5 surcharge. We will let you know before we collect your payment, or you can enquire by email

Delivery to Continental Europe & Outside Europe Cost -
Please email us for a quotation before ordering!

USA, Can, Aus, NZ & many others: We will happily send amplifiers nearly anywhere in the world. But sadly, we are not able to offer a universal shipping cost to every country. Therefore, customers resident outside Europe, PLEASE email us for a shipping quotation & online ordering instructions. It's really easy & safe. Thank you



Returns Policy

UK Customers: You are entitled to return the product prepaid within thirty days if you are not satisfied with it's performance - Except custom orders with special cabinet coverings. We offer this on the strict proviso that the product has not been modified in any way, misused, damaged or defaced

Customers Outside UK: All returns must be prepaid. If the reason for return is the fault of Award-Session, we will credit your card with the reasonable shipping amount paid. Please send a copy of the receipt to us by email

Placing an order with Award-Session indicates that you have read and understood all our Terms and Conditions of sale, published on our CONTACT page. The conditions published on this page override those published anywhere else

Back to ordering


Our administration & returns address:
Award-Session, 34 Belvedere, Basingstoke, RG24 8GB, UK
No stock is held at this address

Sound clips: Sadly it is impossible to convey any meaningful measure of the amp's tone over the Internet. Please refer to what we have already provided in videos & audio clips. If you want to hear the amps, then please Email us to make an appointment to try one out at Basingstoke

Due to continuing product improvement, the features and the design are subject to change without notice

All trademarks acknowledged. Award-Session has no affiliation with their owners


Since 1979


Session amplifiers

The Home of Loud Lightweight Guitar Amps and Smooth Analogue Tone Since 1979


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Award Session Guitar Amp


Alternative 'BigDog' cabinet in 'Two-Tone Black'. 'Tweed' too

100% money back Guarantee

BigDog 2X10", 1x12", 2x12" 1X15" Cabinets - About the size of a Bassman combo.
Ask for a quote.
More here: BigDog-cabinets


Bonus Uses...

Early British 'Two Eyes' R'n'R Tones

John Bell1

Sound Samples
John Bell - Reef Break
John Bell - Man Of Mystery
Recorded at The Shadders, Emsworth using: EX22-110 amp

Demoing these very old sounds is vital in showing that SESSION's solid state guitar amps are capable of true vintage tones! The sounds modern players pay a premium for when buying amps of that era. But it's here for a lot less!

Tone ability from one extreme
to another! Top players try instruments from all eras and adapt them to create their 'trademark tone'. 5E3-EXTRA can provide great rhythm tone too

Power Amp Pushing

You can even 'push' the power amp for 'on-the-edge power-tube-like' distortion! Although, better to just switch in its 7W power limiting for a more controllable experience at smaller gigs volumes

If you're a jazz guitarist, you'll love its 'sweet mid range' and 'on-the-edge' tones, especially with semi-acoustic cello style guitars. As Nigel Price found - Voted Britains top jazz guitarist

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Celebrity Session Users

Eric Clapton/August Album + Tour - Rockette:30 x2
Dave Stewart/Eurythmics - Many recordings
Sessionette:75 x3
Stuart Adamson/Big Country Sessionette:75 x2
Dave Gilmour/Pink Floyd
Mike Rutherford/Genesis Most recordings + tours
Sessionette:75 x7
Jerry Donahue/Will Raye
The Hellecasters
All recordings & tours
Retrotone + JD10 DRP
Gordon Giltrap
MB11 & GG10 Acoustic Preamps
Geoff Whitehorn/Billy Ocean Sessionette:75 1st Prototype + 15:30 Tube Studio Combo
Nigel Price/Jazz Guitarist
NP22-112 Combo

1980s Hits Sample


Choose Your Speaker!

All speakers can be good for almost any kind of music... but people 'hear' sound differently and that makes it difficult for anyone else to recommend speakers for any particular music or tonal taste

Speakers are NOT all the same, that's why there are hundreds on the market! Their cones, when vibrating, inject 'mechanically created' harmonics into the sound, that are NOT produced by the amp's electronics. RetroTone™ actively provides conditions in the power amp to fully exploit their creation!


Celestion V-Type

Celestion V-Type speaker

We say from live use experience:
This is a great 'general purpose' selection. The one for bright twangy tone! Great with a country sounding Tele. Brill at Shads & Beatles too! Blues Rock, Rock... you name it, this will do a GREAT job!

Probably one of the nicest speakers Celestion has ever made - and at a reasonable price too! You could say Classic 70s tonality with a hint 60s AlNiCo Blue for good measure. Brighter than the A-Type. 60 Watts/8 Ohms/98dB

Fitted in EX, the whole amp weighs only 13.5kg. That's with a birch ply cabinet too!


Celestion NEO Creamback

Celestion A-Type speaker

We say from live use experience:
The Neo Creamback is every ounce a Classic Celestion, delivering all the magical tone you'd get from a traditional Creamback.  To us, it's a bit like a lightweight version of the V-Type.

For those looking for traditional tone from a modern lightweight package!

Fitted in EX, the whole amp weighs only 10.2kg. That's with a birch ply cabinet too!


About Guitar Speakers

Take special note! The speaker is the most important component in your guitar amp!

Unlike hi-fi speakers, they are NOT designed to produce a faithful reproduction of the signal presented by the amplifier

It physically produces the air waves that your ears detect as sound. At the same time, their cone mechanically produces cone break-up modes which adds rich harmonics to the guitar sound. The amp electronics has NOTHING to do with this... be it a valve or transistor amp

This enables each speaker model to give your guitar a unique tone. It even affects the character of the distortion sound! This is why there is a bewildering variety of guitar speakers available on the market. Each is slightly different

Use 5E3-EXTRA As A Powered Speaker Cabinet

Playing via your selected multi-fx preamp directly into the FX RETURN bypasses everything else, so 5E3-EXTRA will NOT colour the tone in any way... apart from the tone of the speaker fitted. You'll need two 5E3-EXTRA amps for real stereo reproduction

Optional FXDI board is required to be installed for this function

5E3-EXTRA’s RetroTone™ power amps are designed to add the warmth and chime that players usually associate only with a tube/valve guitar amp.  But surprise, RetroTone™ will easily impart the same ‘valve amp’ vitality to your modeller's tone as well. That desired 'amp in the room' ingredient!

All these uses with a vintage stage appearance too!


Session 5E3_EXTRA Combo


Stewart Ward

Stewart Ward is a working guitarist who designs all products from scratch and from the gigging viewpoint. Seen here with his favourite guitar, a 1963 Fender Telecaster.


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