Fender Pawn Shop Special Excelsior: Excel With The Excelsior!
The Fender Pawn Shop Special Excelsior is one of the more unusual amps we've had here in the Junkie, so we gave Matt the job of reviewing it so you all know the scoop!
We’ve recently had the new Fender Excelsior Amplifier arrive in Music Junkie and I thought I would let you all know what I think about it.
Taking it out of the box it’s a cool looking amp with a mean dark brown vinyl cover and staggered speaker grill. It seems odd that Fender haven’t put there badge on the amp it simply has the Excelsior on the front with a groovy crossed sword logo. The idea behind this series is that everything is meant to be that little gem you find in your local Pawn Shop and take home to find it’s actually insanely awesome.
So plugging the amp in you have a nice clunky power switch at the back of the amp and the orange power light glows as the amp warms up.
Looking at the top panel you have three different inputs: Guitar, Mic, and, Accordion. So you can get a sense for the versatility of the amp. Being a guitarist however I wanted to see what my Telecaster sounded like so plugged strait in.
The simplicity of the controls is really nice. You have a chunky volume and tremolo control and a bright/Dark switch.
Being a fan of the at classic Fender sound I started on the bright switch. Now with a Telecaster this is a seriously piercing bright sound so I promptly switched across to ‘Dark’. This gives an incredibly sweet tone, which fells really dynamic and has an instant bluesy vibe. Swapping over to a Les Paul the ‘bright’ sounds great and really brings out the detail nicely.
The Excelsior is a Valve amp and you can really tell when your jamming away it just feels nice and responsive and has such a sweet tone. The power rating is 13Watts, which packs quite the punch – I definitely wouldn’t blink an eye at gigging with this. For you valve geeks out there we have two 12AX7 and pre amp valves two 6V6 on the output power amp. It’s interesting to note that this amp rocks a 15inch speaker driver, which initially made me think of the Peavey Delta Blues which is one of my favourite amps and it has that same bluesy chime to it.
Now this is a clean amp and it does this really well and loud - and it does crunch up nicely if you push it to gigging volumes - but if you want any crunchier sounds at a home volume then put a drive pedal in front of the pre-amp and you're rocking. I tried it out with the new Akai Tri-Mode Distorion and had a big smile on my face!
I know I’ve only gone on about how good this is as a guitar amp but I don’t play accordion… if you do please come down as I’m intrigued! I’m sure this amp will hold it’s own with a variety of instruments and with the mic input would make a great harmonica amp.
Now last but not least the price! I was trying this out a little blind and knowing Fender valve amps I expected this to be no less than 500 quid. At around £225 I can’t stress enough how much of a bargain the Fender Excelsior Amplifier is!
So come down to Music Junkie's flagship music store in Leicester and try one of these bad boys out… they’re awesome!