Jump to content
Heritage Owners Club

Recommended Posts

s/h amp day.

About 2 weeks ago. Just havnt got around to thinking enough about it to devote a thread to it. 

Its pretty terrible in some ways, tbh, you never feel like you are engulfed in a swirl of harmonic complexity at any stage when you play through it, its more of a grating sensation. Its a fender excelsior, not the pro.

Around 2013 I was selling these things and thought they were kinda okay for the price and meant to grab one just for the heck of it. Ive now come to realise that the ones I thought were okay was the Pro with an Eminence speaker and not the one I grabbed. The 15" Eminence Legend makes a big difference both in volume and the amount of time it takes to fatigue the ears. I think my tinnitus arced up as soon as I hit a high E on the 12th with the non Pro speaker,

One came up s/h cheap so I grabbed it. I played through it before I took it but it was more of a "cool, yeah what ever" kind of run through. I dont know why I didnt put it through its paces more or stop to check out details. I think Im just over buying, selling and dealing with people.

Once I got it home and played through it it just frustrated me so I just left it for a while and just kind of glanced at it a few times. When I returned to it I ended up having a graphic eq and parametric eq in front of it trying to make it behave and sound right, and it didnt. In the end I plugged it into a 112 cab and things looked a little bit positive for me.

Then I hit the interwebz. I found pages and pages of discussion about this amp on multiple forums dedicated to mods to make this stupid cheap amp sound good. Some people like it stock others have gone all out with it. That much written about mods to an amp generally means you are better off buying something else. I shouldve read more before I bought it.

Today was the day for me so I went through and swapped out the tubes for JJ6v6s and played with different 12ax/at/ay/au7s in V1 and settled on an ax7, an EH I think.

That took care of some of the thin sound and some of the rattiness.

It was still pretty underwhelming and then I remembered the 112 cab and tried that again. Much better.

So I made up a temporary 112 baffle and stuck a G12M in the combo. Its now a loud amp, probably too loud, the G12M is much more efficient than the stock 15". It has a nicer bottom end and smoother highs with nicer mids. Thicker sounding but with detail and theres almost a hint of a shimmering halo of 3d goodness, almost. Lot more of what I want, less of the clang, flub and icepick.

While I had it all apart I tightened everything because everything in this amp rattles and vibrates and at different frequencies.

Whats left that I dont like is partly the actual amp design itself and partly the cab. I can fix the cab but the amp is what it is, Im not going to go nuts swapping components for minimal improvement. Or I might. I can never tell what I'll do in this type of situation. Im pretty lazy but also a bit curious and have a one track mind.

The cab is mdf and has two 2inch slats running in front of the speaker, who would do that? There is a boxiness that cant be dialled out with a graphic or parametric eq with the combo that isnt present through the 112 extension cab. It would probably sound great in a band setting, you wouldnt have to fight for space.

I think Im going to build a new pine cab for the amp and speaker. One without 4inches of timber running in front of the speaker.

Despite all this negativeness I actually kinda like the amp, it reminds me of a Dynacord Imperator  amp I used to own in the late 70's, it was crap sounding also but a bit like this excelsior it was a good kind of crap  sounding if you played according to the sound of it, raucously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Gitfiddler said:

I'm looking forward to finding out what kind of mystery amp this is. 

Reading about cabinet construction now, different cabinet designs, timber, baffles etc. Lots of variables and easy to fail at getting it right. Gotta be honest, it would be easier to turn it into a head and run it through any extension speaker cab.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, JeffB said:

Reading about cabinet construction now, different cabinet designs, timber, baffles etc. Lots of variables and easy to fail at getting it right. Gotta be honest, it would be easier to turn it into a head and run it through any extension speaker cab.

Don't get lost in the weeds.  Most cabs are designed to get maximum # of cabs out of a sheet of plywood.  You'll find different wood and thickness have a different timbre; even within species.  The thing to avoid is plywood with voids.  Otherwise, consider material cost and go for it!

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Steiner said:

Don't get lost in the weeds.  Most cabs are designed to get maximum # of cabs out of a sheet of plywood.  You'll find different wood and thickness have a different timbre; even within species.  The thing to avoid is plywood with voids.  Otherwise, consider material cost and go for it!

As Steiner say's here, keep it simple, go with pine, it's lighter and sounds like a musical instrument.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/25/2020 at 12:52 AM, JeffB said:

Fender Excelsior. Brown.

I had one of those briefly, gave it a go.  I didn't like the tone control being a toggle switch from bright to dark.  I've heard there are mod kits out there to convert it to a tone control knob to make the sounds much better.  Just a thought.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, DetroitBlues said:

I had one of those briefly, gave it a go.  I didn't like the tone control being a toggle switch from bright to dark.  I've heard there are mod kits out there to convert it to a tone control knob to make the sounds much better.  Just a thought.

You can balance the switch between bright and dark and get, well, between bright and dark.

I just run the amp with the amp volume turned up and the guitar controls to suit, I dont think converting the 2wayswitch (3way actually) to a dial is necessary for me.

Its a raw sounding amp, it wants to be played a certain way to sound right. Its actually kind of fun to play like that again. I had lost some of that physicality in my playing over the years.

Whereas the fender concertII I have makes any od pedal you set in front of it sound good this amp can make a lot of od pedals sound quite bad. Its been fun working through od's fuzz and fx. If I had only ever had this amp as a reference I would be reading pedal reviews and thinking everyone had hearing problems, or I did.

Its a cheap amp. Its a bit of fun for very little outlay. I doubt I will resell it, it will probably always sit around with a lead plugged in ready to go. I have a group of friends that jam regularly, play Howling Wolf and John Lee Hooker etc, the amp will work perfectly in that situation if I ever feel the need to join in.

 

Edited by JeffB
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/29/2020 at 1:05 PM, JeffB said:

Its a cheap amp. Its a bit of fun for very little outlay. I doubt I will resell it, it will probably always sit around with a lead plugged in ready to go. I have a group of friends that jam regularly, play Howling Wolf and John Lee Hooker etc, the amp will work perfectly in that situation if I ever feel the need to join in.

 

I have a couple amps around just for that purpose, to jam and have some fun.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/25/2020 at 4:53 PM, rockabilly69 said:

As Steiner say's here, keep it simple, go with pine, it's lighter and sounds like a musical instrument.

I like using western red cedar...also very light, more stable than pine,very little  cupping or warping or  bleeding knots and the bonus....it smells great!

DSC03361.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, loudtubeamps said:

I like using western red cedar...also very light, more stable than pine,very little  cupping or warping or  bleeding knots and the bonus....it smells great!

DSC03361.jpg

What kind of joints are you using on these cabs?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you butt-joint your cab, get a 3/4" or 1" square rectangles, glue and screw them in the corners.  Lesson you pick up the cab and watch it fall apart on you!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, JeffB said:

What kind of joints are you using on these cabs?

 

 

Yup, pretty basic...butt joint , glued and brad nailed.

The cleats are then glued and screwed into the top/ sides /bottom from inside and act as bracing as well as fastening surfaces for the baffle and rear cover plates.

 Once the  tolex adhesive has cured, I like to spray about a dozen thin coats of orange shellac to seal the fabric.

DSC05589.jpg

DSC03356.jpg

Edited by loudtubeamps
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Ive been playing around with cab design and ideas. Also playing around in the workshop with joints, dovetails, box, tongue and groove, etc.

Decided Im going to go the mesa way and go with half blind dovetails. For no other reason than I think they look great, when done right. I think I can do it right, dunno, guess I will find out. Probably buy a jig.

I did a few mock-ups of different joints and really only liked the  look of the tongue and groove butt joint or the half blind dove tail. The half blind dove tail just seems to be the one that addresses a lot of other considerations and also appeals visually.

Right now Im stuck between head and cab or combo. A head and cab is always more useful but a combo is half the work.

Going to do a first run in pine but I have some Tasmanian Oak and Blackwood stored away from a few renovations I over ordered on about 20yrs ago. Should be dry by now.

Cant start proper until mid/late January.  It will give me time to settle on cab design etc. Really, at the core its only one or two boxes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dovetails are gorgeous!  There's one reason for their unique look; they are an absolute terror to create.  Precision is key, you'll want a commercial jig.  Even then watch out!  The first jig I used took days to tune in the bit height.  0.001" height difference is enough to change a tight fit to a sloppy fit.  Too loose with the router collet and the bit will move, too tight and the collet will fail; you need to be right in the sweet spot (i.e., experience).  I also learned - the hard way - that the pressure you place on the router will change the joint's fit.  IIRC, you worked in home remodeling so I won't go into keeping track of datums and making crisp, orthogonal cuts.

Finger joints are much easier but have their own setbacks.  They can be made on a home-made jig and with less expensive tooling plus can be formed with a "safety" factor to insure a good outcome.

If you use pine, make sure it's OLD!  Pine (a four letter word in my vernacular) has a tendency to load up on tooling which changes dimensions and burns!  When you work it, it smells like PineSol, uck...

The end result is well worth the journey.  The effort will stay with you the rest of your life.

 

 

 

80107447_2665790230145741_2819899308340412416_o.jpg

80380222_2665790340145730_5042347835215839232_o.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats great work! Beautiful. I'll probably be bothering you for advice and ideas etc :)

Im not anywhere near that level yet, not in conceptualisation or execution.

Im going to do the prototype in pine because its cheap and I feel like I can practice without being too precious about wastage.

I have old bench, table and drop saws from a previous life as well as router table and drill press etc but I havent really used any of it since around 2000. Even then it wasnt used to its full capacity since 1994.
Ive been testing out, buying new blades and bits and fixing stops and clamps etc for the last month. Its all older stuff, a cordless Dewalt compound mitre drop saw I bought recently has more power than an old Elu mains powered drop saw it replaced. Comparing powered vs newer battery planer, saws and drills I have Im surprised by how gutless some of my old power tools are.   I have to buy one new router to replace one Ive had for about 30yrs. It works but parts to set and lock it are broken and they dont make that model any more.

Im not looking at this as a one off thing, more of an ongoing interest/hobby.

Im not sure whether to buy a dovetail jig for the router table or a free standing dove tail jig. Other projects in mind dont require dovetails so Im not even sure of price point cut off yet. I was watching some vids and reading some reviews of some quite cheap free standing dovetail jigs and the finished products I saw were not terrible.

Anyway, its all stuff to ponder and fill my head with, so thats good. I wouldnt mind starting tomorrow but I have stuff to do before I can get into it. I have a one track mind and once I start doing a new thing everything else goes out the window, Im trying to break that and learn patience, or something.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...