Other Amps

Excelsior: everyone given up on these?

1

I was intrigued by these relatively inexpensive amps when Fender introduced them but never did anything about it. Like a lot of Fender pawn shop stuff they didn't stick around for long but this week one showed up in our local guitar store and, well, you know how it goes......

The previous owner did the tone knob mod and also fitted a couple of JJ 6V6 power tubes and they all seem to work OK. And the thing is louder than I expected for a 13w amp. Does anyone here still own/use one of these? If so did you swap out the speaker and, if so, for what? I have an Eminence 15ins Big Ben sitting around doing nothing right now -- or maybe fit a false baffle board and a 12-inch?

3

Let's see if Crowbone chimes in on this...

4

Well they have small but dedicated following. I know a guy w/ 2 of them. I am ok with guitar thru 15s. Just something a bit different from Fender.

5

I heard they were heavy - how's the weight?

6

They are great amps, even without the mods. I've owned 2, one with an upgraded Eminence Legend 15" and one with the stock small-magnet speaker. I liked 'em both! I thought it was great for roots rock and the trem gets some nice T-Bone Burnett sounds.

7

I have 2 of them, and have been gigging with them in smaller rooms since I got them. I haven't modded anything as of yet but want to do the tone dial mod instead of the stock clicky switch.

Heavy? No! It's not as light as a quilter but I think it's one of the lighter amps out there. Maybe 30lbs?

I've rarely pushed it past 4, but if you do, it(the sound...tone) can get a bit squished, I guess is the best word, but that level has always been way too much for the room I'm in.

As far as taking pedals is concerned, I run a tuner, an Atomic Brain, a trem and a delay, in that order, with no complaint from me or listeners.

One other mod I'm looking to make is taking the stock brown tolex off and adding this yard or so that I have of Tweed onto it, and swapping the Excelsior badge with a Roundup style Steer head belt buckle.

You can find these used for as low as $225.00

8

Also the trem works fine on its own, but if you need more contour, or specified trem sound, use a pedal.

9

I also have two, one in poop brown, the other that surfoamy green. Both have clever mods by Kevin Devere at Uncle Alberts which change the gain structure (though I don’t remember details), as well as speaker upgrades (different in each, again I don’t recall what) which make them heavier.

The most important mod - and the fix it was hardest to find - is to cut out the crossbar in the speaker cutout in the baffle board. The edges of the speaker surrounds in mine intermittently - at particular resonant combinations of volume and frequency - rubbed against that bar in their excursion, making a rasp and rattle that had me chasing through every component of the amp and cab. Happy day when Dave Baas, a great tech and all-round guitar guy in Bloomington IN, figured it out.

I like guitars through 15s, and these amps have unique voicing and breakup which distinguish them from my 15” Peavey Delta Blues.

Very cool amp, and I’m glad Fender came up with it. I could do with a re-cover of poop brown, though. Maybe cream, to pair with the greeny one.

10

I bought mine used for 225, replaced the tone switch with a proper tone pot/knob, added the Legend speaker and also had a dwell knob added so now I can adjust the depth of the tremolo. These are fun amps though pretty dang heavy.

Lots of overpriced ones on Reverb.

I need an extra knob if anyone has one for sale, my tone knob looks dinky

11

I also have two, one in poop brown, the other that surfoamy green. Both have clever mods by Kevin Devere at Uncle Alberts which change the gain structure (though I don’t remember details), as well as speaker upgrades (different in each, again I don’t recall what) which make them heavier.

The most important mod - and the fix it was hardest to find - is to cut out the crossbar in the speaker cutout in the baffle board. The edges of the speaker surrounds in mine intermittently - at particular resonant combinations of volume and frequency - rubbed against that bar in their excursion, making a rasp and rattle that had me chasing through every component of the amp and cab. Happy day when Dave Baas, a great tech and all-round guitar guy in Bloomington IN, figured it out.

I like guitars through 15s, and these amps have unique voicing and breakup which distinguish them from my 15” Peavey Delta Blues.

Very cool amp, and I’m glad Fender came up with it. I could do with a re-cover of poop brown, though. Maybe cream, to pair with the greeny one.

– Proteus

This is the coolest version of the Excelsior I’ve seen.

12

This is the coolest version of the Excelsior I’ve seen.

– Powdog

Wow!

That's pretty!

13

I like the red. The brown on the back is unfortunate.

14

I thought it was black (bad pic?) just like the rest of his amps.

15

This is the coolest version of the Excelsior I’ve seen.

– Powdog

'tis mine. I painted it with One Shot enamel paints and added the chrome trim. Also did the tone pot mod, just need to check it again for that unwelcome rumble mentioned by Tim Proteus....and it's red and black mate, not the unfortunate brown that you mentioned

16

This is a mighty fine idea Powdog..... something your skills could achieve

17

This is a mighty fine idea Powdog..... something your skills could achieve

– Vince_Ray

That's what I'm going for, with maybe a little more Western flair to it.

18

that tweed one is from mike campbell of the heartbreakers rig..there was a rumor flying that they might do a special run of mike campbell tweed ones, but alas nothin came of it...

cheers

19

Actually forgot about mine until this thread appeared.

Back in the corner, and I had to chuckle when I saw the Coke Bottle Maroni 6v6's that I put in.

Bought the amp and it's not bad, but when I received that little Plexi based amp from Powdog..........well, the Excelsior just hasn't gotten any love.

Cool amps for what they are, and I'm sure at some point it'll get some playing time again.

20

Oh - so it's the Ed Roman black-is-the-new-brown edition of the amp!

In that case, well done and carry on.

21

Oh - so it's the Ed Roman black-is-the-new-brown edition of the amp!

In that case, well done and carry on.

– Proteus

If Ed were still around, I bet he could regale us with an incredible, apocryphal story about how he custom-designed a special tolex that looked brown from one angle, and black from another... sort of like Andy Devine's tall-tale spinning character in that Twilight Zone episode.

22

Oh - so it's the Ed Roman black-is-the-new-brown edition of the amp!

In that case, well done and carry on.

– Proteus

No, it's just red and black.....smarty pants.

23

Thank you for all the info and opinions. I bought the amp for use primarily with our little guitar/bass/vocal trio, not the full band, and we have a 'small room' gig coming up in a week or so. I'll see how it goes then with it's stock speaker.

Changing speakers in these things appears to be more than a simple drop-in just to find that the improvement is marginal. Also, at 12.6 lbs the Big Ben looks to be quite a bit heavier than the stock unit and these days I'm not looking to add weight to anything I have to lug around.

24

I’d just play it like it is and enjoy it for what it is. You can’t dissect this amp or soon you’re setting out to improve the tubes, the circuit, the speaker and baffle, the cabinet, etc. It was designed to be disposable.

25

I have owned 3 over the years, a couple of the Surf/Seafoam green ones and one of the powder blue. I did the tone pot mod as well as Proteus's speaker mod. On two I put Fender tilt back legs and a more vintage logo.


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