Alluringly refined yet harboring tones from polite to raw to raucous, the Pawn Shop Special Excelsior model is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive tube combo amps in Fender history. Its brown textured vinyl covering, smartly stylish “E” grille design and bold crossed-swords front-panel badge convey a decidedly stately vibe with a marked air of cold-war cool.
To say nothing of its admirable tone and power. The 13-watt Excelsior elegantly encloses a single 15” Special Design speaker, with a bottom-loaded primary chassis and top-loaded control chassis for operating convenience and low noise (powered by two 6V6 output tubes and two 12AX7 preamp tubes). Distinctive features include “GTR,” “microphone” and “accordion” inputs that each have individually optimized circuitry; tremolo circuit with speed control, bright/dark tone switch (for treble or bass emphasis), volume control and 1/4” internal speaker disconnect that lets the amp drive an external speaker enclosure. For playing at home, smaller gigs and studio sessions, the Excelsior is a class act that brings a fresh and unconventional new vibe to your playing.
|Model Name:||Excelsior™, 120V|
|Series:||Pawn Shop Special|
|Controls:||Volume, Tremolo, Bright/Dark Switch|
|Wattage:||13 Watts at 8 ohms|
|Inputs:||Three - (1/4" - GTR, MIC, ACCORDION)|
|Grill Cover:||Brown Textured Vinyl Covering with Gold Grille Cloth|
|Amplifier Depth:||9" (229 mm)|
|Amplifier Width:||19.5" (49.5 cm)|
|Amplifier Height:||21" (53.34 cm)|
|Amplifier Weight:||33 lbs. (15 kg)|
|Speaker Description:||8-ohm 15" Special Design Speaker|
|Speaker:||One - 15" Special Design|
|Pre Amp Tubes:||Groove Tubes® - (2 x 12AX7)|
|Power Tubes:||Groove Tubes® - (2 x 6V6)|
|Unique Features:||13 Watts of output power, Two 6V6 output tubes, Two 12AX7 preamp tubes, 15" Special Design speaker, GTR, Microphone, and Accordion inputs, each with individually optimized circuitry, Bottom-loaded primary chassis with top-loaded control chassis for low noise and operating convenience, Volume control, Tremolo with speed control, Treble/Bass tone switch, 1/4’’ speaker plug may be disconnected to use Excelsior with an 8-ohm, 15W minimum, external speaker enclosure|
|Knobs:||Unique Brown Plastic Pointer|
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Have been trying this one out at the local Guitar Center. This may be the next amp for me. I thought I wanted nothing to do with tubes again, and I played this, and I am floored.
So simple: a volume knob, a tone switch, and tremolo. A tone to die for. A price I can live with. This will rival the "boutique" amps at a fraction of the cost. it's loud enough for a small club, and it can always be mic'd if it needs to be. I imagine that a it should do well with a pedal in front of it if you want some gain, or simply turn it up.
This would be wonderful for recording, and I don't really miss the fact that there is no reverb. It does have an output for another cabinet if you so desire, and I really like the 15" speaker. Lots of lows.
Fantastic little amp.
WOW fender i'm AMAZED at this wonderful shape, design, sound and features (lack of distortion though :-( .) my brother has the cream version and loves it he's also getting it for me for christmas.
I am a huge fan of this amp, it is simple, plug and play....loud. I have 2 of them running together through an a/b/y pedal, one on dark, one on bright.....the sound is full, rich, clean and loud, as a Fender should be. Nothing to go wrong, put your pedals in front of them and away you go...simple. With my Tubescreamer, fuzz, boost and delay pedals, these amps sing. Wouldn't change a thing.
I bought this amp quickly after it arrived here in norway, so I've played it in.
When i first got it it was impossible to use the bright switch, it was too "ice picky", but after using it live and at higher volumes at rehersals, and just playing it alot it has smoothed itself out. I can get some good semi clean tones from it, maybe not 80s fusion jazz cleans, but really clean enough for most people. The overdrive in the amp is superb, and I really like putting a booster infront of it to give it an extra kick.
And as mentioned, it handles pedals really well, I usually have a Blackmore strat with vintage noisless pickups going into a medium siced pedalboard with;
Devi Ever Soda Meiser, Dunlop Wah, EHX - lpb-1, Carl Martin Opt-Comp, EarthQuaker Devices Bit Commander, BOSS PS-6 Harmoniser, Belcat Delay Analouge Delay, Boss DD-3, and Boss TU-2.
I've also tried a few other pedals with good luck. It is especially good to crank and put some extra dirt in front of. Usually i keep the volume on the amp at about 2 o' clock and use the volume on my Strat to clean it up, and the boost to kick it into overdrive.
The dirt in the amp is getting a 60s swamp rock vibe, CCR comes to mind.
Oh, and it is PERFECT with a baritone, the 15" handles it perfect.
All in all it has a great vibe and is loud enough to gig indoors, outdoors it comes too short. The tremolo is frikkin' awesome! really nice for what i do at least. But i'm not a tremolo guy, so what do i know.
I gave it 4 stars on features, just because it wouldn't hurt with a reverb, but i'm not really missing it...
Gunerius owns this item
For what it is and does in my case, this amp is more than I expected. First, it looks so cool. I hope the badge on the front holds up. It looks plastic, and should be metal for longevity. The volume knob and trem. knob are awesome looking but a bit hard to see where you are in dim light. A small piece of white label tape will fix that for me. The entire look of the amp is complete, and nothing looks out of character. Even the back is cool to look into. One idea I have is a cross member to keep pets away from the speaker, since the back is completely open. The corrugated wiring harness was a nice touch, as was placing the preamp and main amp apart. As for the size of the amp, it's bigger than it looks. Taller than my HotRod deluxe but about 4 inches narrower. It's a hefty 34 pounds. It Beefy. Also the vinyl is more cushy that the normal Fender Black stuff, and upholstered very nicely. The handle, oh yea, the handle. Well, that could have some improvements. Kinda cheap looking, and stiff as hell. I might change that. As for the sound. It's great. I love the fifteen inch speaker, and with my gibson LPJS, with p90's it roars. The bass kicks ass. I usually play it in the Bright mode and it sounds alright. The Dark mode is a bit muddy to my ears most of the time, but it's definitely useful. This amp sounds best at around 2 o'clock, but you may need to lower the vol. on your guitar. I have tele's with stock pickups and one with an humbucker and a Duncan hotrail, strat's with stock, and custom-shop, and even have a chinese replicant lp that loves this amp. There are people who will want to mod this amp. I don't think I'll change anything until it breaks then I may upgrade. I even happy with the tubes at this point. I purchased this amp on sale for $299.00. It should have been $599. for the sound and looks. Probably will be soon. Nice amp Fender!
dbw camden owns this item
Let's just call this a shameless plug for Fender Amps and their new Pawn Shop Special amplifier, the Excelsior. I just purchased one at Beaverton Portland Music from from my man, Corey. It is a classic tone machine!
Let me state for the record that I do not now, nor have ever worked for Fender Musical Instrument Company. :-( However, I love their products as I have a '96 Lone Star Strat, Std Tele, Std P-Bass, '65 Reissue Twin Reverb, "Franken-" Princeton and a G-DEC with a Tone Tubby.
The Excelsior is one of the finest amps I have discovered for the kind of guitar tone I love. It goes from a sweet, clean tone with some woof to that sweet tube overdrive we tube heads love. It is the sound of vintage Rock & Roll. The rhythm guitar sounds are phenomenal and the lead tones great. The amp plays very sensitively to your touch and a small move of your volume knob means a great deal in tone.
For some unknown reason, Fender has discontinued making them. If anyone is interested in getting one, it would behoove you to get one quick. The price is amazing and the value is over the top. I have no idea what will happen in the future with the Excelsior, but I hope Fender will continue making it as it is a great, low-priced amplifier.
Note - I've noticed a small odd sound just as I move from warm and clean to overdrive. It sounds like a bit of compression that has not fully accepted overdrive, but a slight turn of my volume knob up or down removes the sound. It could just be related to its newness. I'll find out more once I complete the break in process.
I took my Lone Star and Tele for test drives on the Excelsior and both sounded great! There is a wonderful synergy between Fender guitars and amps and the Excelsior is another brick in that wall. The amp has 13 watts and a 15" speaker. It is perfect for recording and small club work. It also looks very cool.
Curlybird owns this item
Retro look & vintage feel portable amp. I love the deep sound its has for its size, the Excelsior's 15" speaker adds tons of Depth. The tremolo sounds great, the only flaw is lacking of a reverb option, I plugged in a Boss FDR-1 Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb pedal and it added a cool surf sound to it. Also good for a swampy blues tone. Low price for a high quality Fender product!
CaptainFreddie owns this item
This amp is the perfect amp to marry to a Fender Strat. It is extremely versatile and has great tone. Having said that, I would have loved to have a pedal to switch through the channels or at least between the Dark and Bright settings. As stated by others, reverb would have been more useful than the Tremelo. Lastly, at times a Tone knob would come in handy. Having said all that, this is one funky little amp and for the price it is absolutely killer!
AvMo owns this item
You can't beat this amp for the money - it has great tone and takes pedals really well. It's warm and rich-sounding and I love the tremolo.
lvaughan owns this item
First off let me say this is a GREAT amp for those of us attuned to the lo-fi, alt.country, and classic rock styles; it won't be the choice of metal-heads or those that want crystalline pure country cleans. If however you want an amp that cranks wonderfully to that perfect crunch, that's got a great full tone and you can ride off your guitars volume this could be just the thing for you. No big heavy cabs here but a practical chuck-it in the back of the car amp whatever the situation whether, gig, recording or rehearsal able to cut over the drummer and just about ok for the odd bit of home use to. My Marshall JTM45 half-stack has been redundant since I bought this its that good. The individually voiced inputs on this are practical and best when linked to push the amp that bit harder. Tremolo....oh so sweet and usable!
My only real complaint....as seems to be common with these and is mentioned on a lot of the forums there is an unidentifiable rattle that's developed which does let this down a bit and creates a few annoyances when recording, It's ok live (I blame it on the drummers snare!), although at some point I am going to have to take her apart, invalidate the warranty and find the cause whether valve or cabinet -and I don't expect to have to do with this with an amp that isn't 40 years old and well toured.
The other niggle...a simple tone nob rather than the BRIGHT/DARK switch would have been more practical but as I'm going to invalidate that warranty sooner or later I'll probably mod this.
Anyway, as I say all in a great amp for the money, early Led Zep Page (low wattage and 15-inch speaker too if the myths to be believed), Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Black Keys, this amp does them perfectly; if Fender could only sort out their quality control it would be a perfect little work horse.
mustangjones owns this item
Cool vintage vibe. I love this amp. The sound is warm and deep. It can get loud if you want! The big 15" speaker gives a lot of bottom end and fullness. I really only use the guitar input, and then adjust the tone with the guitar.
Simplicity is the key. I just plug in and turn it on. I don't waste time or worry about perfect amp settings. Any adjustments I make to the guitar are clean and clear. And this amp's natural overdrive is soothing to the soul. It also accepts my fuzz pedals nicely ...and the Pog2 and the Echo Park as well. My MXR modified OD and the Civil War muff sound especially good.
You can't beat the price for a cool looking, awesome sounding, all tube amp.
1partgump owns this item
I love my Excelsior amp! The response is awesome and the looks are perfect! I'm not a tremolo guy at all, though, so I wish it had reverb instead! That ids my biggest con! Oh well even without it the amp sounds great! I love the 15" speaker. I wish they had put in an upgraded speaker to the originals like they have with the newer 'ugly' colored ones!
Overall, this is a GREAT amp!
This is a superb amp ! Value for money , you cant beat it ! Only gripe is there is no reverb . The tremolo is a fantastic addition tho ! All in all , well worth buying. The design is a pleasure to the eye ! Good job Fender !.
john mcgowan owns this item
This is a great amp, hands down. There is that great clear sound that only a Fender amp can provide.The sound is super rich and you actually get to feel the amp respond. Nevertheless, If i have anything to suggest it would be this.
1. Add some white paint to the knob arrows so I can see them better
2. Add another preamp tube with a Master Volume so this amp can be overdriven at bedroom levels. Then, this amp would be perfect!!!
3. The stock tubes are somewhat dissapointing, sufficient for a beginner. However, the cost of better tubes like JJs would also probably drive up manufacturing costs.
I suggest you grab one while you can - you will be in amp heaven!
zuperbal owns this item
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