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Your input needed: Excelsior Tremolo Depth Mod

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Billm, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Billm

    Billm Friend of Leo's

    Mar 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    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.

  2. tiskit86

    tiskit86 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 6, 2011
    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.
  3. ASC67

    ASC67 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 3, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN.
    Sounds much better than stock IMO. Worthwhile mod .
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  5. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

    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.
  6. Billm

    Billm Friend of Leo's

    Mar 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    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!
  7. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

    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.
  8. DavidP

    DavidP Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    Vancouver, BC

    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!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  9. chadd

    chadd TDPRI Member

    May 23, 2007
    Los Angeles

    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.
  10. Billm

    Billm Friend of Leo's

    Mar 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    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.
  11. upstartocaster

    upstartocaster Tele-Meister

    Mar 1, 2011
    Sounds deeper, with more "intensity"
  12. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

    Much more useful; well done!
  13. tele salivas

    tele salivas Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 5, 2008
    that sounds much better.
  14. Gearhead88

    Gearhead88 Tele-Holic

    Dec 24, 2012
  15. weevilcaster

    weevilcaster TDPRI Member

    Feb 4, 2008
    Sounds really good, a real improvement over stock. Maybe combine this mod with an optional on/off foot switch jack.
  16. Billm

    Billm Friend of Leo's

    Mar 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    Yes, I was thinking exactly that: depth, speed/range, and on/off in one tremolo fix-it kit.
  17. TheDTrain

    TheDTrain Tele-Holic

    Jun 12, 2010
    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.
  18. Billm

    Billm Friend of Leo's

    Mar 26, 2008
    New Jersey
    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.
  19. TheDTrain

    TheDTrain Tele-Holic

    Jun 12, 2010
    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.
  20. bahko

    bahko TDPRI Member

    Jul 7, 2013
    104 Greywood Court
    Any chance on buying this mod soon, Bill?
  21. Unadan

    Unadan Tele-Holic

    Sounds way better! Definitely worthwhile!
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