Inside Fender's Excelsior

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Billm, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    the "smooth chocolate tone mod"... is that the same thing as BillMs "replace the switch with a 500K pot" tone mod? Because I can do that myself.

    I see alnicomagnet's "smooth chocolate" kit has some caps involved, claiming a "brown fender" tone stack, where his "dark chocolate" mod doesn't list any parts... I'm guessing this one is just a pot and a knob?

    Just wondering what the benefit is of either of alnico's mods over simply replacing the switch with the pot?
     
  2. bluesifer

    bluesifer NEW MEMBER!

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    I think the idea is the same for any tone switch to pot mod. Can't say what the advantage is for one over the other.

    I just wanted to say that I like the stock speaker so far. V1 to 12AY7!
     
  3. Sune Andersson

    Sune Andersson Tele-Meister

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    I just updated my Excelsior with my Altec Lansing 418B speaker from 1970! :cool:

    Here´s an image: I can tell you, this amp weighs A LOT now!

    [​IMG]

    Have no chance to test it out properly, as my guitar is at home but tomorrow!!!
     
  4. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I love alnicos.
     
  5. lefty52

    lefty52 TDPRI Member

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    Gizzy,
    Would it be possible to PM me with a break down on the mods you made and what your feelings are now about how the amp sounds. Looks like you did an amazing job!
     
  6. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Go to the Amp Owner's Club forum and check out the Excelsior Lounge thread... all the info you will ever need on the Excelsior.
     
  7. Gizzy

    Gizzy TDPRI Member

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    I had the Brown Excelsior, did the tone pot mod and liked the sound but sold it a few months ago to help fund a les paul purchase. I missed it after it was sold so in July I bought the surf green pro. I like the sound with the Legend speaker better than my brown one. This week I finally got around to doing the tone pot on this one. I did it almost the same as my brown one(Pictures on page 22 of this thread) except I removed R8 and I think you get a better tome range with this removed. Without removing R8 you are putting the 500k pot in parallel with the 470k R8 so to get the full range from bright to dark R8 has to go. I also connected the switch so I can open the connection to the wiper of the pot giving the same effect as putting the switch half wsy between bright and dark. I also replaced the power tubes with JJ's and the 12ax7s with old stock Telefunken's. I really like the sound now. Super clean.

    Lefty52, did you get my PM, if not let me know and i'll try it again.
     
  8. Sbax

    Sbax TDPRI Member

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    That's the first I've seen about R8 being removed when doing the tone pot mod. Can anyone else comment on this? I've found the schem and it makes sense to me.
     
  9. Billm

    Billm RIP

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    I finally came up with a tone control that sounds good and is easy to install. Nothing to clip, just two joints to solder. Pulling up on the control bypasses it completely and gives you the amp's raw tone.

    The brown vintage-style Fender knob works for me; the difference in color isn't as great as it seems here:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, you can turn the upper chassis around and mount it, so the amp is easy to work on when modding. That Orange Drop peeking out is an experimental larger coupling cap from the phase inverter. It didn't make much difference.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  10. Synchro

    Synchro Tele-Meister

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    Bravo Bill. Are you offering this as a kit?
     
  11. Woderwick

    Woderwick TDPRI Member

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    I too would be interested as have done the 500k mod
     
  12. Billm

    Billm RIP

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    My version is a kit, and it doesn't require removing R8 because all that's left of the built-in tone stack is 347pF, attenuated through 510K of resistance--not even detectable by ear.
     
  13. figaro

    figaro Tele-Meister

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    The Billm Excelsior tone control kit is only $22! Also, great idea on turning the chassis around in the cabinet. Thanks Billm!
     
  14. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

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    maybe one day ill get around to trying to mod mine. good job bill.
    chris.
     
  15. kidmo

    kidmo Friend of Leo's

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    Good to know, I'm going to try this one :lol:
     
  16. Billm

    Billm RIP

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    Funny that it took so long for me to try it, but I plugged in two guitars at the same time, mostly to answer a customer's question. He wanted to plug in acoustic and electric guitars at the same time for his solo jazz gigs.

    Many times, when you see an amp with multiple input jacks and only one channel, the guitars interact--the volume and tone of one affects the other. Not so on the Excelsior, at least not with an acoustic and an electric. Even two electrics have virtually no effect on one another. When you plug into Gtr, Mic loses its 6dB pad, but both inputs have independent 1 megohm ground references, so they don't interfere with one another.

    The Accordion input, since it's isolated by a capacitor, remains independent, too.

    Pretty cool, for the cost of just one resistor. Way to go, Fender.

    That said, I'm not too thrilled with the acoustic tone. It's midrangey and nasal, even with JJs, Eminence speaker, TO20 transformer and new tone control. But if you have multiband controls on the acoustic, it's tolerable.
     
  17. Synchro

    Synchro Tele-Meister

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    That's good to know, because my accordion is very independent and would insist on nothing less. :)
     
  18. chadd

    chadd TDPRI Member

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    Billm's tone control

    I installed one of Billm's tone controls in my Excelsior yesterday. Before, I'd have set it on "bright" and then dial my guitar's tone control way down to compensate. It was in a very touchy range of the tone pot, so it was tricky to get it just right. Now I can set the Excelsior's control to a slightly bright neutral point and then adjust with the more forgiving upper range of the guitar's control.

    And I'm digging the bypassed raw tone, too. Well worth the $28.
     
  19. hoiguy79

    hoiguy79 TDPRI Member

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    new mod?

    hi guys new poster old reader of the forum, I have the excelsior amp, want to do a mod, changing the slide tone siwtch for a jack to use a footswitch to change the dark bright options. So i'm not an expert on electronics, but think i can do this, please check this scheme and tell me if it makes sense to you. sorry for my english i'm from mexico.

    Edit: Does this mod hurts the amp if the jack has no plug in it? Will it mute it?
     

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    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  20. Little Ricky

    Little Ricky Tele-Holic

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    I compared the weight of the stock speaker to a Jensen neo 15" and the Neo is much heavier. It's also rated for 150 watts compared to the stock speaker which is rated at 50 watts.
    If you could get a 50 watt neo you'd save some weight, but they just don't really make low watt neos, as far as I know. I guess that would kind of defeat the whole purpose of the neo magnet (high power handling at lower weight than equally powerful ceramic).

    Compared to other speakers I tried on the Excelsior, the stock is pretty inefficient, so if you want to lose weight, I would just suggest an equal or lower watt ceramic with the corresponding smaller magnet.
     
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