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Thread: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

  1. #41
    firstlessonologist guitfiddle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    That slight bit of rattiness could have an amazing ability to cut through onstage. Some of the very best stage tones I've ever gotten just don't sound great when played with no other instruments.
    - Tom

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly
    Some people make the wine. Some people drink the wine. And some people sniff the cork and wonder what might have been.
    The Eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the Crow.

  2. #42
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Gunny47's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Quote Originally Posted by guitfiddle View Post
    That slight bit of rattiness could have an amazing ability to cut through onstage. Some of the very best stage tones I've ever gotten just don't sound great when played with no other instruments.
    this

    further data: check out EVH or James Jamerson (or any other great musician) isolated tracks. Very interesting stuff
    ------------
    Back to thread: Thanks for the review - sounds cool. I will definitely try one soon. Saw one in the store, but didn't get to play it. I thought that the amp looked like it was trying way too hard to be hip/vintage/old school/whatever, but if the tone is sick, it would be worth having.
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  3. #43
    John Mayer's Mankini ImmortalSix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunny47 View Post
    this

    further data: check out EVH or James Jamerson (or any other great musician) isolated tracks. Very interesting stuff
    ------------
    Back to thread: Thanks for the review - sounds cool. I will definitely try one soon. Saw one in the store, but didn't get to play it. I thought that the amp looked like it was trying way too hard to be hip/vintage/old school/whatever, but if the tone is sick, it would be worth having.

  4. #44
    Kablamminator ratherdashing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalSix View Post
    Rob DeLeo is a criminally underrated bassist.

  5. #45
    Toneologist IM4Tone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    I've added the 500k ohm pot in place of the dark/bright switch.....ridiculously easy to do and if you're like me- the darks are too dark and the brights too bright- that's corrected! Less than $2 for the pot and 3 matching Fender knobs for $1.50 ea.

    Replaced the stock speaker w/ an Eminence Legend 1518 and that's a huge change; volume gets a major, and I mean major, boost. The extreme, somewhat harsh, raspiness is gone yet it retains just enough edginess to still appeal.

    Only negative is it went from light, grab and go status, to somewhat heavy for it's size. I don't have an accurate scale, but I weighed it on the bathroom scale which read 43# (stock is advertised at 33#). I still find that hard to believe, but when I first grabbed the handle to lift it, there was no question it gained considerable weight...I had estimated to be 5-8#s. I can live with that negative in light of the positives.

    If you watch billm's video (before and after) it is "spot on" even though you can't hear the volume increase due to recording device compression.

    Maybe down the road, I'd like to put a footswitch on the tremelo for on/off.

  6. #46
    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Quote Originally Posted by IM4Tone View Post
    I've added the 500k ohm pot in place of the dark/bright switch.....ridiculously easy to do and if you're like me- the darks are too dark and the brights too bright- that's corrected! Less than $2 for the pot and 3 matching Fender knobs for $1.50 ea.

    Replaced the stock speaker w/ an Eminence Legend 1518 and that's a huge change; volume gets a major, and I mean major, boost. The extreme, somewhat harsh, raspiness is gone yet it retains just enough edginess to still appeal.

    Maybe down the road, I'd like to put a footswitch on the tremelo for on/off.
    Thanks for updating this thread with mod info.

    I was wondering if the new knob completely covers all traces of the original switch? And did you encounter any problem fitting a speaker with larger magnet in there? Doesn't sound like you did.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie Bill View Post
    I've got 60 guitars...but 49 trumpets is just...INSANITY! WTF!

  7. #47
    Toneologist IM4Tone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Quote Originally Posted by Gearjoneser View Post
    Thanks for updating this thread with mod info.

    I was wondering if the new knob completely covers all traces of the original switch? And did you encounter any problem fitting a speaker with larger magnet in there? Doesn't sound like you did.
    The new knob DOES NOT cover the two screw holes. It does cover the slot (which must be very slightly widened in the middle...I used a Dremmel tool.)

    The new speaker is a tight fit. Not because of the larger magnet, but due to it's having a different spoke configuration on it's frame. Both the pre-amp section and the power amp sections must be removed to change speakers. The speaker must go in with the wiring attachment at 12 o'clock so that the most clearance is available at 6 o'clock (between spokes) for the power amp to go back in. The PA housing needs to be flexed slightly (not bent), but makes it OK. The speaker wiring must be lengthened due to the 12 o'clock attachment point.

    Now that you know the pitfalls w/ the speaker (I put it in and back out several times before I saw what was going on.) it is nowhere as difficult as my description suggests.

    All-in-all easy to do if you're willing to spring for the $90 for the new 1518. If not, by all means, do the switch replacement w/ the pot.

    Let us know how you like it if you do the mod(s).

  8. #48
    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    I had completely dismissed this before, but am really impressed with the build of how everything in back is protected. and the wire casing is cool too. So, these sound pretty cool? Fender has another lil cool amp too..
    Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now.

    Jol Dantzig

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Failure of some Excelsior amps can be traced to faulty soldering of the larger devices on the circuit boards like power resistors, spadelug, or any other wiring that may have poor soldering.
    Also, many of the Spadelug connectors were too short and did not protrude through the circuitboard and therefore were not soldered adequately during the flow soldering manufacturing process. EVERYONE should check all the circuitboards for cold solderjoints to prevent eventual charring of the PC board. If you smell any electrical type burning smell coming from your amp turn it off and make sure you dont have any intermittent connections on each of the circuit boards.
    Here is example of damaged printed circuit board from improper factory soldering.

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/attachmen...d-problems-jpg
    Last edited by wosinek; 02-23-2014 at 11:13 PM.

  10. #50
    Toneologist IM4Tone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Odd resurrecting this thread after nearly a year and a half....
    I've rarely seen comments/complaints about this type of fault in the Excelsior. Many about rattles and vibrations, but not about cold solder joints.
    For an inexpensive amp, I've had no problems to-date (except for rattles and vibrations...which are easy to correct DIY with patience). That is more than I can say about other amps I've owned for 3 to 5 times the cost.

  11. #51
    One of Jerry's Kids Securb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    I have had mine for 2+ years and have had zero problems with it. It is my go to amp now. I have yet to plug a pedal into the amp because the tone is so dynamic.

  12. #52
    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Now, I've finally gotten a chance to play the new Fender Vaporizer. All the Pawnshop amps are pretty fun and quirky, and so is the Vaporizer and Ramparte. They all seem like an old Gibson amp someone hacked with mods.

    I love the look of the Vaporizer, and was happy to see reverb included. Unlike the smooth textured pastel tolex of the Excelsiors, the blue, green, and red tolex on the Vaporizer is textured like tiny bubbles. That was the first cool thing I noticed.

    The odd part of this amp is that there's a 2nd channel that must be activated with the included footswitch. I didn't see any button to switch channels on the amp itself. Maybe I missed it? Not sure.

    The other odd part about the gainy Vaporizer channel is that it has no volume knob, EQ, or anything. It's as if the signal is sent past the whole circuit right to the output stage. It's just full blast grainy gain that must be controlled from your guitar's volume knob. I've never seen an amp setup like that.

    So, here's yet another fun and cool looking amp from Fender's Pawnshop series. It's either for you or it is not.
    For $400 retail, Fender isn't gouging anyone. It'll be interesting to see the collections of these amps years from now.....the players who bought one of each.

    I've got enough amps, but if a blue Vaporizer ever comes up used and cheap, I may have to grab it.



    Last edited by Gearjoneser; 02-25-2014 at 01:21 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie Bill View Post
    I've got 60 guitars...but 49 trumpets is just...INSANITY! WTF!

  13. #53
    Ultimate Tone Member wickenspoet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    I see that they now make the Excelsior with a 15" Eminence speaker available stock as an option with these amps.

    Do you guys think that the new speaker they offer fixes some of the complaints certain people had about the amp being brittle, or breaking up too early, or not being loud enough for a band?

  14. #54
    Toneologist IM4Tone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Quote Originally Posted by wickenspoet View Post
    I see that they now make the Excelsior with a 15" Eminence speaker available stock as an option with these amps.

    Do you guys think that the new speaker they offer fixes some of the complaints certain people had about the amp being brittle, or breaking up too early, or not being loud enough for a band?
    Most relate 'brittle' to the fact that the bright position is too bright but the dark is too dark. The very simple installation of a 500k ohm pot (@$5) in place of the 2 position switch allows any in-between settings. The Eminence 1518 is a MAJOR increase in volume an improvement in tone. This amp can get loud. I've had no problem using it in a band. Swapping a 5751 pre-amp tube ($17) in V1 insures against premature breakup, and makes for a smoother tone.

    If you're thinking of getting one, better do it fast, since they're discontinued.
    Last edited by IM4Tone; 02-24-2014 at 09:29 PM.

  15. #55
    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Sounds like a cool amp if it's already what you want. But by the time I was done modding it, I might as well have just built my own similar amp from scratch, just the way I wanted it, with far superior quality of components and construction.
    Quote Originally Posted by LesStrat View Post
    Yogi Berra was correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by JOLLY View Post
    I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

  16. #56
    Let it B JeffB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    My brother has the updated version in Sonic Blue. Super cool amp. I have thought about picking one up myself.
    I'm an internet person. All we do is waste time evaluating things that have next-to-zero real world significance.

    Remember, it's just a plank of wood. YOU have to find the music in it - The Telecaster Handbook

  17. #57
    Toneologist IM4Tone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaBass View Post
    Sounds like a cool amp if it's already what you want. But by the time I was done modding it, I might as well have just built my own similar amp from scratch, just the way I wanted it, with far superior quality of components and construction.
    I don't know what mods you did, but my suggestions on the tone pot mod and a 5751 pre-amp tube (which really isn't a mod) will cost <$25 and take very little time nor skill.

    The Excelsiors are quirky and most people love them or hate them.......few are in-between. It's very 'old school'. Think Valco or Supro.
    Last edited by IM4Tone; 02-25-2014 at 03:36 PM.

  18. #58
    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    This thread is a couple years old, but I've never started a thread that racked up more views than this one.

    Wow, almost 11.5 thousand views!
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie Bill View Post
    I've got 60 guitars...but 49 trumpets is just...INSANITY! WTF!

  19. #59
    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    I guess this thread wouldn't be complete unless the original poster (me) finally acquires a Fender Excelsior. The antique blush with upgraded Eminence Legend speaker was the one that I really wanted upon it's release. Not to mention that my acquisition skills means it cost me nothing but a trade for a delay pedal!


    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie Bill View Post
    I've got 60 guitars...but 49 trumpets is just...INSANITY! WTF!

  20. #60
    Toneologist IM4Tone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finally tried the Fender Excelsior

    Congratulations! Finally.

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