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Excelsior or Princeton Reverb?

Axis29

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,505
So, I've got my big amp thing taken care of (a Blackface Vibrolux Reverb and a '63 Vibroverb Reissue). I bought a Blues Junior NOS a few months ago (right before the Excelsior hit the stores). But, I'm not 100% in love with it. It's a great little grab and go amp... but I dunno? Maybe it's not different enough?

I love bias vary tremolo and have it in the VVRI. I am not a fan fo the BF Trem bug... I never turn it on in the VR.

Reverb is nice... but the Excelsior seems not to need it.

A 15" speaker is different than what I have.

The Princeton has more features and is more flexible, but the simplicity of the Excelsior has an appeal.

So many different pros and cons... What do y'all think?
 

Prairie Dawg

Member
Messages
1,931
So, I've got my big amp thing taken care of (a Blackface Vibrolux Reverb and a '63 Vibroverb Reissue). I bought a Blues Junior NOS a few months ago (right before the Excelsior hit the stores). But, I'm not 100% in love with it. It's a great little grab and go amp... but I dunno? Maybe it's not different enough?

I love bias vary tremolo and have it in the VVRI. I am not a fan fo the BF Trem bug... I never turn it on in the VR.

Reverb is nice... but the Excelsior seems not to need it.

A 15" speaker is different than what I have.

The Princeton has more features and is more flexible, but the simplicity of the Excelsior has an appeal.

So many different pros and cons... What do y'all think?
The Excelsior circuit bears a lot of resemblance to a 6G2 Princeton with the exception that it is cathode biased.
 

HawkeyeKane

Member
Messages
1,325
The Excelsior is more simplistic, and yet looks phenomenal. It'll be slightly lighter than the PRRI since there's no reverb tank or transformers. Yeah, a PRRI has more features, but you say you're kinda going for a grab-n-go amp? Then Excelsior is prolly your girl. If you ever need reverb added to it, then there's always pedals dude. And I believe BillM Audio is coming up with mods for the Excelsior if he hasn't developed some already.
 

dave_mc

Member
Messages
1,532
i bought the excelsior because of the 15" speaker ( i don't have one in anything else, either)- and it definitely does sound a bit different because of it. I've also tried the excelsior with a 12" eminence legend 1258, and it didn't have that "different" type of tone which is so cool with the 15" (or course, it might also just be that the 1258 suits other amps more- i love it with my vht special 6).

i'm no tremolo afficionade, but it sounds pretty nice too, if you ask me. EDIT: oh and it looks very cool.

However... i'm sure you've seen the reports, but mine rattles like a mofo at anything approaching volume. Like... 9-10 o'clock on the volume control. There's also a lot of background noise, especially on the bright setting (and it gets worse as you turn it up).

If you can try one first, try to get one that doesn't rattle, kind of thing. I'll probably send mine back for a replacement (I do like it), but if the replacement rattles (assuming i can't fix the rattle with new tubes and some judicious screw tightening), I'll probably just get a refund.
 

IM4Tone

Member
Messages
3,769
Well, the price differential is huge. The PRRI has classical Fender sounds; the Excelsior is unique and very un-Fender-like.

There is a ton of info on the internet about the Excelsior, and many videos too. If you don't have a lot of time for research, at minimum read billm's comments on his website.

Also: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/1031585&highlight=Excelsior&page=20

The tone pot mod is a must IMO....simple and inexpensive. A New Eminence Legend 1518 makes a major sound difference, both in tone and volume. It also takes away some of the uniqueness of the Excelsior's sound.....this may be good or bad depending on taste. The 1518 gives it a more "mainstream" sound AND the Excelsior is no longer so light!

Regarding tube rattle: http://www.eurotubes.com/eurotubes-EuroDamper-Tube-Damper-Rings.htm Yes, a big 15" speaker adjacent to tubes plays havoc with rattling!

I really like my Excelsior, but I'd like to have a PRRI too!:omg
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,676
It sounds like you want something different, the PR is a little different but very much in the same ballpark as your other amps, so I'd vote Excelsior. Another thing to consider is a Pro Jr, I know you like 10" speakers....
 

Axis29

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,505
The Excelsior circuit bears a lot of resemblance to a 6G2 Princeton with the exception that it is cathode biased.
Reaaaaalllllly? This might be the one that sways me towards picking up the Excelsior first.

The other points are all very good. I do like 10" speakers (in pairs), anmd the 15 might be different enough. The price difference is huge (and currently I', nto made of a lot of dough). I could sell the BJr or trade ti in on either one...

The Excelsior in my local GC has no rattles (as loud as I have been able to play it) And it seems a lot fo the rattles seem to be coming down to the tubes... which I would probably swap instantly (I have a little stash of tubes and it would happen to the PR as well).

But, everyone tells me PRs are special... I've played through one or two over the years and always appreciated the tone.


Ugh, I hate decisions like this. I don't think I'd lose either way....
 

dave_mc

Member
Messages
1,532
(a) Well, the price differential is huge. The PRRI has classical Fender sounds; the Excelsior is unique and very un-Fender-like.

There is a ton of info on the internet about the Excelsior, and many videos too. If you don't have a lot of time for research, at minimum read billm's comments on his website.

Also: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/1031585&highlight=Excelsior&page=20

The tone pot mod is a must IMO....simple and inexpensive. (b) A New Eminence Legend 1518 makes a major sound difference, both in tone and volume. It also takes away some of the uniqueness of the Excelsior's sound.....this may be good or bad depending on taste. The 1518 gives it a more "mainstream" sound AND the Excelsior is no longer so light!

(c) Regarding tube rattle: http://www.eurotubes.com/eurotubes-EuroDamper-Tube-Damper-Rings.htm Yes, a big 15" speaker adjacent to tubes plays havoc with rattling!

(d) I really like my Excelsior, but I'd like to have a PRRI too!:omg
(a) it sounds pretty fendery to me- granted i'm no fender afficionado. it's obviously a much warmer, tweedier type of tone, but yeah.

(b) that's sorta what i'm scared of- as i said, I've tried mine with a legend 1258, and I'm not sure i liked it as much. And it's not like i dislike the 1258, i love it with my vht special 6. But that stock speaker seemed to suit it better than the 1258. only problem (which can also be an advantage if you need lower volumes) is the stock speaker isn't super-efficient, as you said.

And I mean, obviously you can only tell so much from youtube vids (i.e. very little), but i'm not sure the legend 1518 sounded better than the stock speaker in billm's video, either.

(c) good idea, can't believe i didn't think of that :)

(d) haha yeah that's probably the correct answer :D
 

IM4Tone

Member
Messages
3,769
.......(b) that's sorta what i'm scared of- as i said, I've tried mine with a legend 1258, and I'm not sure i liked it as much.........And I mean, obviously you can only tell so much from youtube vids (i.e. very little), but i'm not sure the legend 1518 sounded better than the stock speaker in billm's video, either.......
Regarding (b), I really liked the "honky nasally" sound of the stock speaker for specific genres (like rockabilly), but not for all genres. The 1518 is more suitable to a larger variety of music. It surely has a more conventional sound.

Yes, it's very hard to tell via videos due to the various modes of recording and compressors, but as far as volume, I played the stock speaker at 12 o'clock on the vol. and the new 1518 around 9 o'clock for the same apparent vol. (didn't check it w/ a sound meter.)
 
Last edited:

vivalaking

Member
Messages
51
walk into guitarcenter with your guitar, and play both. Thats what I did. I liked the excelsior because it's simple, and the 15 sounds good. You can't go wrong with either.
 

dave_mc

Member
Messages
1,532
Regarding (b), I really liked the "honky nasally" sound of the stock speaker for specific genres (like rockabilly), but not for all genres. The 1518 is more suitable to a larger variety of music. It surely has a more conventional sound.

Yes, it's very hard to tell via videos due to the various modes of recording and compressors, but as far as volume, I played the stock speaker at 12 o'clock on the vol. and the new 1518 around 9 o'clock for the same apparent vol. (didn't check it w/ a sound meter.)
thanks for the info :)

"A more conventional sound" is something of a double-edged sword- as you said, it makes it more suitable for a wider variety of music, but then it might lose the quirkiness which made you like the thing in the first place.

still, i'm probably getting ahead of myself... need to see if I'm getting a replacement or not first :D
 

Axis29

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,505
I appreciate all the additional input... I was back at GC again today.

Unfortunately, they don't even have a PRRI to try. They do have a DRRi and TRRI, but they're different creature. I've had a DRRI and liked it, until I got my Vibroverb... Then lucked into my Vibrolux. Before I bought the Vibrolux, I have up the Deluxe. At the time I didn't think I'd have a need for a smaller amp again... And really didn't for a while. Now I find I want a grab and go, or a little less headroom at lower volume, amp.

While there, I ran into my former guitar teacher. He's a great guy and player, lotsa jazz. I talked him into trying the Excelsior. After about ten minutes he stopped, looked at me and told me to buy it.

So, I guess the Blues Jr is gonna hit the blocks... My decision is made. It's the Excelsior soon and a Princeton when I find a good vintage one I can afford.
 

IM4Tone

Member
Messages
3,769
...."A more conventional sound" is something of a double-edged sword- as you said, it makes it more suitable for a wider variety of music, but then it might lose the quirkiness which made you like the thing in the first place.....
Exactly....wish I had two! :crazy
The thought has even crossed my mind to find an inexpensive 15" empty cab and put the original speaker in it so I could switch from one to the other.
 

dave_mc

Member
Messages
1,532
Exactly....wish I had two! :crazy
The thought has even crossed my mind to find an inexpensive 15" empty cab and put the original speaker in it so I could switch from one to the other.
ahahaha

i don't think i have room for any more cabs :rotflmao but that's a good idea

wouldn't it be easier to just leave the original speaker in there and put a different speaker in the other cab? though i guess if it's more "useful" with the other speaker, it might make more sense to have it in the amp.
 




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