Other Amps

Fender Excelsior 13 Watt 1x15” Tube Combo Amp

1

Played one of these today in my teaching store and was quite amazed!

Had a very nice vibe! :)

3

way to go Fender where else can you get 13 watts vintage looks and tubes for under 400.00 doneros , want one but dont need one ,maybe some day i'll trip over one !

4

$275 with free shipping on eBay all day long.

6

Our own michiel modded one for Paul Pigat to use in Euro land i believe...

7

I'm a fan, too, but there are haters here.

– Crowis Boneous

I'm a fan, too, but there are haters here.

– crowbone

haytahhhh!!!!

8

Yes, I've fiddled a lot with Paul's Excelsior. Mostly trying to alter the circuit itself. But in the end nothing makes more difference that swapping the speaker (better low-end response), power tubes (the relatively muddy shugangs rattle within a week) and preamp tube (6072/12ay7 in V1 gives smoother highs and a bit more cleans).

So a couple relatively easy mods will get you pretty far on this amp. The only thing is cost. You have the amp for 275, but you'll end up dropping another 100-150 for speaker and tubes.

Only replacing the tone-switch with a knob really made a valuable difference in terms of circuit changes (around 6-7 bucks worth of components, and half an hour of tinkering).

I know your stand on the cheapo transformers Tavo... Still have to experiment with that.

Truth be told: I used the amp (my own, not Paul's) bone stock for bandpractice (7-piece jazz group) for a couple of weeks and it started to bore me. I replaced the 6v6s with NOS RCA and inserted a NOS GE 6072a and the amp came alive. Now it's the speaker that's bothering me. Have various 15"ers standing by for experimentation (old Fender 75 speaker, Eminence Legend 15, Jensen C15N, Jensen EM1500), but haven't gotten around to swapping them out yet.

I call it "my good-enough" amp.;-)

10

I had one for a few days, then returned it. I did like the tremolo and the looks. I put this one in the same category as the ill fated Fender Champion 600. Replace speaker, tubes, transformer, mod, upgrade, rebuild, etc...and it's a pretty good amp. :|

11

So how about the new limited versions with the Weber speaker? Does that make enough of a difference (so it may then just be a matter of changing valves)?

12

Agreed OldPicker. I'd expect that weber speaker will be a major plus.:)

13

It's all personal taste and nobody is right or wrong...I love the Excelsior as is! Gretsches, Fenders and Rickenbackers love it as well!

...wisdom

14

I've yet to see one in the flesh, so I don't know if I hate it or not 8-o 8-o

15

I kind of like the amp, but, the idea of having to upgrade tubes and speakers right out of the box is a little off-putting. The painted finish, rather than Tolex or tweed keeps the cost down, but, pastels? A "Flat" position on the tone switch, or, even better, a tone knob, would be nice, or just do without it. Do all of the new ones come with the Weber? How much more would it cost with better quaity tubes? A couple of factory upgrades could turn this into a killer.

18

That looks really cool VDH.

I love the looks of the Excelsior but I have not yet played through one or even seen one other than in photos or videos. I do want to try one someday.

19

Yes, I've fiddled a lot with Paul's Excelsior. Mostly trying to alter the circuit itself. But in the end nothing makes more difference that swapping the speaker (better low-end response), power tubes (the relatively muddy shugangs rattle within a week) and preamp tube (6072/12ay7 in V1 gives smoother highs and a bit more cleans).

So a couple relatively easy mods will get you pretty far on this amp. The only thing is cost. You have the amp for 275, but you'll end up dropping another 100-150 for speaker and tubes.

Only replacing the tone-switch with a knob really made a valuable difference in terms of circuit changes (around 6-7 bucks worth of components, and half an hour of tinkering).

I know your stand on the cheapo transformers Tavo... Still have to experiment with that.

Truth be told: I used the amp (my own, not Paul's) bone stock for bandpractice (7-piece jazz group) for a couple of weeks and it started to bore me. I replaced the 6v6s with NOS RCA and inserted a NOS GE 6072a and the amp came alive. Now it's the speaker that's bothering me. Have various 15"ers standing by for experimentation (old Fender 75 speaker, Eminence Legend 15, Jensen C15N, Jensen EM1500), but haven't gotten around to swapping them out yet.

I call it "my good-enough" amp.;-)

– Michiel

Yes, I've fiddled a lot with Paul's Excelsior. Mostly trying to alter the circuit itself. But in the end nothing makes more difference that swapping the speaker (better low-end response), power tubes (the relatively muddy shugangs rattle within a week) and preamp tube (6072/12ay7 in V1 gives smoother highs and a bit more cleans).

So a couple relatively easy mods will get you pretty far on this amp. The only thing is cost. You have the amp for 275, but you'll end up dropping another 100-150 for speaker and tubes.

Only replacing the tone-switch with a knob really made a valuable difference in terms of circuit changes (around 6-7 bucks worth of components, and half an hour of tinkering).

I know your stand on the cheapo transformers Tavo... Still have to experiment with that.

Truth be told: I used the amp (my own, not Paul's) bone stock for bandpractice (7-piece jazz group) for a couple of weeks and it started to bore me. I replaced the 6v6s with NOS RCA and inserted a NOS GE 6072a and the amp came alive. Now it's the speaker that's bothering me. Have various 15"ers standing by for experimentation (old Fender 75 speaker, Eminence Legend 15, Jensen C15N, Jensen EM1500), but haven't gotten around to swapping them out yet.

I call it "my good-enough" amp.;-)

– Michiel

EXACTLY.. you had to take your mechanical skills, extra time (who has that laying around) and your extra dough (another $275 for basic tubes and speakers) ...and what does that amp end up costing after you begin to dump the chump junk for the tasty parts?

HAAAATAAAAAAHHHH! :P

21

Those who feel the need to change and mod may reflect and realize they want to mod everything, constantly. There is no need to "have/need" to mod this amplifier. Sure, any piece of gear can be, not "need to be" changed, dependent upon the player. What it all boils down to is this...players are fixated on "sound," when the audience couldn't care less what "gear" man uses, as long as the songs are killer the audience will applaud...usually. Mr. W. Slim, you don't "have" to mod anything, no matter what 50 % of this forum might say. I'd bet 50 % of players could all get the same killer pre-CBS Fender amp, or a Dumble, or a Trainwreck or an early Marshall, or even a Carr and some would think or read that they "need" to mod it. Tube or speaker this or that, whatever! The players songwriting ability, or playing is all that really matters in the end, not gear!

...wisdom

22

indianation65, that's the first time I agree with your tagline.

...wisdom

23

baaaahhh, whizzdumb! Guitar gear keeps me from other horrible vices and I like showing up to the gig with something new every month, I'm not trying to be the worlds best guitar player. Just as long as I'm entertaining and do my job, I get paid to play.. THEN SPEND IT on american made gear.

If it makes sound, mod it .....wisdom!

24

It's funny, I quite like the characteristics of this amp that most people seem so intent on modding :| . I've only played the amp in Guitar Center, but it was relatively empty so I got a good chance to crank 'er up with a variety of guitars.

First of all, I loved the early break-up; it was a nice, gritty, guttural moan, reminiscent of my Silverclone or Vox AC4 but in a deeper, 15" register. With the 220k plate resistors, cathodyne PI (my favorite features of my big boy Silverclone), and power sag resistors, it's on the "edge of breakup" from the get-go.

While many people dismiss the speaker, I must say that it is the main selling point of this amp, to me. Papery and inefficient, it seemed to have the perfect combination of both producing low end, but also being pretty loose with it. Most 15"s I've played in other amps were authoritative, but much too tight.

WRT the lack of tone control: meh, I'm more of a set it and forget it kind of guy. I'd much rather set the amp a little too bright, and control the treble on my guitar (let's just say, my Teles' tones are rarely on 10, and I utilize my Gretsch's mudswitch to it's fullest extent). It seems to me like when some people sit down with an amp, they try to fiddle with the controls until it sounds the most like their favorite amp! I'd prefer to let the amp do the talking, as it were, and appreciate the variety of tones out there.

Combined, the "failings" of this amp produce a primitive, bluesy growl not seen in many current production amps without getting beaucoup boutique. It's dead nuts for any type of low-fi, rootsy music you could throw at it; it's a wonder to me it hasn't caught on better with a rockabilly crowd so keen on reproducing the tones of 50s-era recordings (often utilizing Sears amps, crappy microphones, and taxed recording equipment). Sure, it don't sound like a Fender, it probably ain't pedal-friendly (though I'd love to stick a Rangemaster into the accordion input), and it won't deliver enough volume to play with a decently-loud ensemble, but if you're looking for those characteristics you shouldn't be looking at the Excelsior in the first place. Get a Blues Jr. or a Classic 30 for cleans and modern versatility, and don't criticize an amp for not being what it ain't trying to be. It's not like they discontinued the Princeton Reverb in order to put this amp out.

Hell, I've been considering building a small amp for practice use, but I might just buy an Excelsior. I probably couldn't put one together for less than double the price! And that, my friends, is a fitting tribute to the department-store amps of yore that clearly inspired the Excelsior.

Did I mention the tremolo is to die for?

25

the gear vs player bit always makes me think of this story...

when rockpile was at their height, nick lowe started using a hamer 12 string bass and guitarists billy bremner and (stray cats producer) dave edmunds were using new hamers as well..and somebody went up to dave and said "what's with the hamers??..when i come to see you i expect to see your 59 es 335!"

amen

it's not just about good...it's about good & cool!

cheers


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