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Fender Excelsior Pro Tube Upgrade

petty1818

Member
Messages
3,577
Just wondering what tubes people have used in their Excelsior Pros as an upgrade from the cheap Chinese tubes that come with the amp? I am considering JJ 6V6 but not really sure about the 12AX7s. Also, what did you notice tonally when you upgraded the tubes?

On a side note, does anything need to be done to the amp when changing tubes or is it as simple as pulling the old ones out and popping in the new ones?
 

Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,450
For new tubes I like JJ 6V6 or Tung Sol 6V6 and 12AX7. This amp is cathode biased so you don't have to do anything but replace the tubes.
 

Staticbuster

Member
Messages
2,851
My buddy has an Excelsior. He swapped in JJ power tubes and EHX 12ax7's for the pre. He's very happy and the amp sounds a little smoother on the top end after the swap.
 

petty1818

Member
Messages
3,577
Thanks for the input. I think I will go for the JJ 6V6s and maybe the Tung-Sol 12Ax7s. I am hoping to tame the top end a bit. I might just have to work in the speaker but even on the darker setting I find the amp a little bright with my strat.
 

Billm

Member
Messages
574
Go with JJ 6V6s. I have a TAD 7025 WA select in my preamp, the stock tube in the PI/tremolo. There was no audible difference in changing V2. The TAD is nice and smooth in V1.
 

5cent

Member
Messages
354
Not to get too un-technical, but wouldn't rolling off some of your tone control do a lot more to darken up your tone than trading out tubes?
 

petty1818

Member
Messages
3,577
5cent, that's definitely the easiest way to go but I like to improve the amp tone first and work from there. It's pretty well known that the Excelsior has cheap tubes in it and a simple upgrade would help. It's a simple change and fairly inexpensive.
 

IM4Tone

Member
Messages
3,773
JJ6V6S power tubes, Jan 5751 in V1, Tung Sol 12AX7 in V2 are in my Excelsior (brown w/ Legend 1518, making it the same as the Pro)
 

DaveKS

Member
Messages
16,716
5cent, that's definitely the easiest way to go but I like to improve the amp tone first and work from there. It's pretty well known that the Excelsior has cheap tubes in it and a simple upgrade would help. It's a simple change and fairly inexpensive.
Agreed, get it so when vol and tone are full on and it sounds like you want, then after that, anything that you do with the vol and tone knobs is just icing on the cake.
 

Satchmo

Member
Messages
63
JJ6V6S power tubes, Jan 5751 in V1, Tung Sol 12AX7 in V2 are in my Excelsior (brown w/ Legend 1518, making it the same as the Pro)
I'm using the same tubes but haven't replaced the speaker. I tried a bunch of different tubes in V1 but the 5751 sounds best to my ears.
 

petty1818

Member
Messages
3,577
Just curious, why the Jan 5751 in V1? I am not really familiar with this amp but it sounds like it offers less gain. I know the original Excelsior had less headroom but not sure if the pro version would benefit from this tube? Anyway, just wondering!
 

IM4Tone

Member
Messages
3,773
Just curious, why the Jan 5751 in V1? I am not really familiar with this amp but it sounds like it offers less gain. I know the original Excelsior had less headroom but not sure if the pro version would benefit from this tube? Anyway, just wondering!
Yes, slightly less gain and smoother...better tone to my ear. Can still be driven into OD with a number of pedals. I use either the SD Twin Classic (2 channel: OD and Distortion) or a JOYO American Sound adjusted to breakup like an old Tweed and sustain forever. Mine is the original "brown" but has the Emi Legend 1518, so it's the same as the Pro. You can always add gain via a pedal, but can't add clean. :D
 




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