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Old October 17th, 2013, 04:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Your input needed: Excelsior Tremolo Depth Mod

I'm trying out some ideas for an adjustable depth control for the tremolo on the Excelsior. I put up a quick and dirty YouTube video and would appreciate some feedback from you Exy players (or just people with an opinion. )

My "manifesto" for Excelsior mods is that anything in the top chassis has to be a top-of-board mod. It's just too much trouble to remove the board, and there's the danger of breaking something. So this control is currently two wires that attach to component leads on the board.

It has the stock depth and no adjustability in pull-up position and starts its adjustable range in the down position with somewhat more depth than stock. It goes up to full-cut, throbby intensity, with a nice bias-modulated "swoosh."

Please give it a listen and tell me if you think it's useful and if this is how you envision the control working. Clicking on the pic takes you to my tremolo page. I don't think I can embed YouTube links here.


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Old October 17th, 2013, 04:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think it sounds a heck of a lot better. Like you said, deeper, richer. Actually audible. The stock tremolo barely sounded like tremolo to me.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 05:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds much better than stock IMO. Worthwhile mod .
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Old October 17th, 2013, 06:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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sounds fantastic bill. one day when i get brave ill try to mod mine. but ill wait till i get either a munchx or a 5e3 amp. as its my main amp right now. cheers.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 06:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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This mod doesn't add tremolo to an amp, so it wouldn't help a 5E3. It just modifies the existing circuit for variable intensity and greater depth. Just two wires to solder!
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Old October 17th, 2013, 07:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billm View Post
This mod doesn't add tremolo to an amp, so it wouldn't help a 5E3. It just modifies the existing circuit for variable intensity and greater depth. Just two wires to solder!
im sorry for not making my self more clear. this Ex is my main amp. i do not want to do anything that i may not be able to fix till i get another amp. i really want a 5e3. have ever since iv heard one :)

once i get another amp, ill play around with your mods. i will leave the stock speaker since its broken in and i like how it sounds.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 08:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Impressive!!

Wow, a MAJOR improvement over the stock tremolo. I don't think I would ever want it 'off' so this should just involve drilling/mounting a pot on the top? I've already made my trem knob/foot switchable (via a Cliff switching jack), but will certainly do this when there's more details on parts/wiring or a kit available!
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Old October 17th, 2013, 08:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nice!

Sounds great, Bill. It would be even better if you could lower the minimum intensity of the mod so it's more subtle, more like stock. Then you could do away with the push/pull switching and have a more straightforward control logic. I don't know if that's possible with your top-of-board restriction, but it would be cool if it were.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 09:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It's not possible to have continuous depth increase from stock to full pulse without cutting component leads and soldering to stubs (or removing the board).

But it may be possible to have two ranges, from stock to mild and from mild to full pulse.

I'll look into it.

This will be an inexpensive kit once development is done. It will require drilling a 9/32" or 7mm hole in the panel and two solder connections to on-board leads.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 09:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sounds deeper, with more "intensity"
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Old October 18th, 2013, 06:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Much more useful; well done!
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Old October 19th, 2013, 07:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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that sounds much better.
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Old October 19th, 2013, 01:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I like it
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Old December 6th, 2013, 05:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Sounds really good, a real improvement over stock. Maybe combine this mod with an optional on/off foot switch jack.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Yes, I was thinking exactly that: depth, speed/range, and on/off in one tremolo fix-it kit.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 04:04 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Am I the only one who likes this amp practically stock? I think all I did was add solder in a knob exactly how the switch was soldered. Stock speaker, stock tremolo and stock inputs. I think this is a bad ass amp, I get nothing but constant compliments for my tone and gain and I gig with this amp exclusively.

And the only reason I did the knob was because I found the bright\dark switch perfect for pedal steel bright and jazz dark but I needed subtle bright for my Tele and pedals.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 10:42 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I'm sure you have plenty of company in people who like the raw, raunchy, pawn shop vibe. None of the mods I've done to date change the vibe. I've spoken with the guy who designed the Excelsior, though, and he readily admits that the tone is limited by some of the components, chief among them the speaker. The guys at Fender agree that it was the "best bad speaker they could find," but they were building to a price point, not to maximum tone.

When I went to visit Fender, I'd already tested some 15-inch speakers and was pretty sure that the Legend 1518 was the one they would have put in the amp if price weren't a problem. And that's what showed up in the Pro model.

You've changed the switch to a pot, so you're already modding the amp to your taste. Who knows, maybe if you ran the 1518 speaker, you'd get even more compliments on your tone. Or you'd opt for a different tone control if you decided you wanted more range or access to the amp's raw, unfiltered tone (which is pretty cool, by the way).

And for people who use tremolo, the speed range is off-kilter and one size doesn't fit all when it comes to depth. Both are easily fixed.

The mods I've done to date simply wring more out of the amp. It's still raw and raunchy. No one would mistake it for a Princeton Reverb or a Peavey Delta Blues. It's just better at being raw and raunchy, with fewer compromises.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 05:48 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I did the 1518 and hated everything about it. It's now sitting in my garage laughing at me. Never again. For me its Jensen or go home.
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Old March 24th, 2014, 10:31 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Any chance on buying this mod soon, Bill?
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Old March 24th, 2014, 10:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Sounds way better! Definitely worthwhile!
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